Would this be called trolling

If someone joined the board to masquerade as someone who belonged on the board? (i.e. as a parent on parenting boards) They don’t threadshit or act abusive, they merely misrepresent who they are.

I’ve seen this from time to time on parenting boards. Typically they give themselves away by having “pregnancies” that progress much too fast, or other drama such as miscarriages followed by pregnancies so fast that they would have had to overlap.

I would say that the other parents on the board feel tricked if they have given sympathy for the weird stuff that has happened to the person in question. If it was just a person pretending to have a kid when they didn’t, but without the drama - I can’t quite imagine why you’d want to, or how you’d keep up the facade, but I also can’t see it getting anyone upset.

Not surprising on a board this size, we’ve had a few people get exposed for pretending to be something or someone they’re not. In most cases, the person leaves by choice as soon as they’re exposed. However, I think in one case a person was banned. I don’t think it was solely due to having used a fake persona because I think there were other factors. But, as I recall, part of the reason for the banning was the fake persona. So apparently this particular type of lying violates the “don’t be a jerk” rule.

Of course, this only applies to people who get exposed. Who knows how many posters are successfully playing this game and getting away with it?

I’ve seen that happen a couple of times and the members go absolutely, stark raving mental. Not sure if they throw the word “troll” around so much. Hard to tell through all the OMG DESTROY HER LIFE! HUNT HER DOWN AND MAKE HER PAY! SHE’S DESTROYED MY FAITH IN HUMANITY!

Nemo-I wasn’t refering to the Dope.

You’re probably thinking of beryl_mooncalf, who was pretending to be a lawyer. I remember the thread that lead to his being uncovered as fairly entertaining, although I haven’t read it in some time.

Kaitlyn is always the one I think of. Man, those were the days when going in the pit meant you had a martini in one hand and a semiautomatic in the other. waxes nostalgic

No, the banning I was thinking of came after that because I remember we were talking about the beryl_mooncalf incident when we were discussing the then-current incident.

You just caused me to reread that whole clusterfuck. Good times, man, good times.

God, look at Jodi go in that thread. She just tore beryl to pieces.

Oh yeah, there was an op.

Making a fake persona is trolling. It may not be heavy-duty trolling but the point of a false persona, as opposed to a sock puppet, I think, is trollish in nature.

Jodi didn’t tear up Beryl half as bad in that thread as Beryl tore up Beryl.

After reading the Staff Report What is a troll? I’m not sure.

On the one hand, they would be intentionally misleading people.

But on the other hand, if they’re not doing it in order to get a reaction, stir up trouble, or play “gotcha,” I don’t think “trolling” is the word I’d use for what they’re doing.

The okayness of the behavior is a separate question to whether the word “trolling” applies to it.

That would not be trolling. I should know because I wrote the 2011 Oxford Dictionary of Message Board Terminology, and have a PhD in electronic colloquialisms. Trolling is based on the ancient practice of fishing for trolls from bridges using a chain and anchor baited with an innocuous opinion.

ETA: I just explained this to my wife, Morgan Fairchild, the other day.

I can speak of two examples of uber trolling.

One happened on an equine messageboard - a woman annouced she was pregnant. Two weeks later she announced that she’d had her twelve week scan and it was triplets!!! OMG :eek::eek::D:D

Five weeks later she posted some nonsense in which she thought she’d wet herself, but actually her waters had broken!!!

Over the next three or four hours she reported that
a neighbour had called an ambulance
she was en route to the hospital
she was at the hospital waiting to see a doc
she’d seen the doc and was waiting to go somewhere else (delivery room p’raps?)
she’d had the babies

Two boys and one girl (IIRC) weighing 4lbs1oz, 4lbs4oz and 4lbs2oz

I was reading this and ROFLMAO, not just at her, but at the other posters who were congratulation her, offering sympathy and advice and trying to set up a PayPal account to buy her and the babies flowers, and baby stuffs.

The next morning a woman said that she was a nurse and this thread was a complete lie. She was flammed and left the board.

Another woman tried to say “that’s not possible, full-term triplets don’t weigh that much” and was similarly flamed into oblivion.

After a few hours someone finally thought to link all the threads, and lo and behold she can’t have been more than 19 weeks pregnant when she’d gone into labour, and no way had she given birth to premature babies weighing a total of 12lbs+, heck a single full-term baby wouldn’t weigh that much… and still the flaming continued “how dare you call her a liar, she is a well respected long term member of this board!!!” The doctors had made a mistake, or she’d mis-typed the weights, or any number of explanations for the incredulous situation.

I lost track of the thread overnight, but the next morning the member had been banned, the threads had all been deleted and the board varied from subdued to furious-that-they’d-been-duped.

Apparently the member’s mother logged on and tried to explain that her daughter had been pregnant but miscarried … and she got flamed into oblivion too.

For weeks after anyone who tried to post anything was called a troll and flamed.

I dunno how the heck they keep falling for it, a previous troll said she’d been in a bad motorcycle accident … and was caught out when she posted pics on Facebook, of herself competing with her horse, while she was supposedly still in the ICU.

Another person was using two or three sockpuppets and claimed one of them had dropped dead while out riding her horse (other people sent flowers to her funeral - well they tried to but couldn’t find a funeral taking place, or a funeral home, or an obituary… )

Another one kept posting professionally taken pics of herself and her Grand Prix dressage horse - which she’d stolen from the real owner/rider’s website, along with a badly-translated-from-Dutch (or maybe it was German) bio of herself and her horses.

It probably doesn’t help that the vast majority of the members there are 12 y.o girls.

Troll #2 (I’m blanking on the minutiae of the situation, as I didn’t see any of the threads/posts, just the discussion afterwards) was a girl of around 24 years of age, who’d joined a fansite for a TV series as she was a massive fan of the show and had a crush on one of the lead actors, who was to be appearing in Panto in London’s West End that Christmas and she was hoping to go see him. People were encouraging her to go and saying they were going and offering to meet up etc.

Then she broke the tragic news, she has terminal cancer and might not be strong enough to go, or even still alive come Christmas…

There was an outpouring of sympathy for the poor girl, and a fund set up to A pay for her trip to London, and B send her flowers etc. I think they even paid for her to have a laptop… and people giving her their email addresses, IM details, mobile phone numbers etc.

The gist of the story was that she was an American who’d been living in Germany when she was diagnosed, and was now residing in the ICU of a hospital in England.

One morning her brother posted saying “please keep her in your prayers, when I came to see her this morning she was very near death”.

<thoughts and prayers posted>

A few hours later he reported that the doctors had done some tests and were treating her.

Later that afternoon she posted thanking everyone for their kind thoughts and all the prayers, she was feeling much better now!!

A week or so later the same thing happened… this time the brother said she was having a test [that my father had had done a few years earlier - but he didn’t ever have cancer (?)], the brother claimed that the results were back two hours later… but hang on it took 3 days to get my dad’s results back, and that was a rush-job…


She had a non-terminal easily treatable form of cancer. She claimed that she was in the hospital in England as it was the only hospital in the world where she could be treated. She also posted photos of herself with a bald head. Um don’t you only go bald from the treatment, not the actual cancer…? She’d be at death’s door one morning and the following afternoon she’d be in Germany, then she’d be back in England and her brother was in Germany. Then her brother tripped himself up by saying he’d flown into a location in England that doesn’t have an airport, but does have a train station, and had made the 2 hour fraught drive to the hospital to be at her death bed (she recovered before he got there, after the doctors had performed tests and successfully treated what ever was causing her to be nearly dead)

A quick look at Google maps will tell you that even supposing he had flown into whatever the town was, he was a good bit less than an hour’s walk from the hospital…

Eventually people began to see inconsistencies in her/their story and PMs were flying back and forth, and eventually people started questioning her on the board about her cancer, the hospital she was in, and the treatments she was receiving. IIRC she was tested at one point for a prostate problem… :eek:

Her doctor logged in and posted his disgust at everyone being so cruel to a young woman who was dying, and that she was distraught at their turning on her.

I don’t know the full upshot of it, but I believe she and her “brother” and “doctor” were all banned from the board. One woman who was convinced she was telling the truth, but “possibly exaggerating a bit”, stayed in contact with her.

Don’t know what’s happened in the 2+ years since then…

I disagree. They are misleading people (that’s a given) and they are doing it to get a reaction. It’s just they want a positive reaction rather than the more common negative one.

Look at the examples that have been given: people claiming to be pregnant or terminally ill or a lawyer or an attractive woman - these are people who are asking for attention.

I confess. I am not a Fidelius, and never have been one.

This was long before I began reading Straight Dope, and in my opinion “you not only live in Wrong Kong, you are the mayor, nay, the king” deserves some kind of award. I hope I get a chance to use it in work one day. You’re so wrong that you’re the mayor of Wrong Kong, nay the king. It’s going to mutate in the retelling. You’re the king of Wrong Kong. Looking back through the thread it seems that this Mooncalf character completely loses his or her rag at post #85; up until then he or she is belligerent but coherent, beyond that… Time Cube.

On a par with the monkey butler thing. Things seem a bit calmer now.

Attention-whore may be a more apt descriptor. Trolls are attention-whores too, but they do it for negative response and to disrupt the unity of a community. Plain old attention-whores, as described in this thread, tend to bring communities together (sowing unity nets better donations than seeds of discord). At least, until their lie is found out.

I guess there are subsets of attention whores.

  1. “Everyone look at me” - Just interject themselves into every thread and try to make it about themselves. But not necessarily lying.

  2. Trolls - Create a false persona in order to create arguments and dissent.

  3. What we’re talking about here - Create a false persona in order to gain sympathy or prestige.

Yeah, they’re like those dudes who pretend to be decorated SEAL vets who’ve been to hell and back, but can’t stop talking about their military careers as epic snipers.