"We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid." B. Franklin


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A Troll By Any Other Name...The Scientific Classification Of Internet Trolls

The study of the common troll is relatively new one. Trolls were well documented in Norse mythology and in that of Scandanavia. In Norse mythos, they were seen as isolated, supernatural beings that dwelled in places far away from civilization and were rarely helpful to human beings. They were seen as large, hulking beings or even pint sized annoyances that terrorized anyone that dare to venture into their particular territories. Scandanavian lore further evolved the nature of the troll to the point where they became more humanoid. These trolls were seen as dim-witted and ugly, but otherwise much more like human beings. Usually, they were much older and very strong. These trolls had a habit of taking farms and estates and using them for whatever entertained them. Some were even said to be man-eaters or have the ability to turn to stone upon contact with sunlight. The one thing that these two types of trolls both had in common...neither was EVER helpful to humankind!

Although there is a basis for trolls in the folklore of Norway and Scandinavia, it is only recently that we have seen this creature reinvent itself in the ongoing folklore of the internet. Maybe they have being lying dormant all around the world, lurking in dark and hollowed tree stumps or the recesses of dank caves since their disappearance after the Middle Ages. Or, maybe they have been walking amongst us the entire time waiting for the safety and anonymity of the internet to begin their reign of terror. Either way, the internet troll is here!

Now that we know the folklore, we must ground this in a real world context. What better way to do that than science? As far as I know, there have been relatively few scientific studies of the internet troll. In fact, I might be a pioneer in this burgeoning field. So, it is with this knowledge that I used my deep and thorough scientific background to analyze and classify the internet troll. Noted Swedish natural scientist Carl Linnaeus developed a system of naming living organisms in which each species would be classified by a genus and species name. It is known as binomial nomenclature. I attempted to use binomial nomenclature to classify internet trolls and to let you know what sets them apart from one another so that if you see them in the wilds of the internet, you will know how to handle yourself.

So, like noted primatologist and anthropologist Jane Goodall going to Africa, I journeyed into the wilds of the internet armed with only my keen eye, sharp wit, and superior observational skills. The following are the results of my findings.

The taxonomy of the internet troll can be broken down into the Major and Minor categories. The Major category is comprised of the species that is more commonly seen. The Minor category, however, is comprised species that are a bit rarer or that are subsets of a major species.

Trollus rabbidicus- Commonly known as the Rabid Troll, this troll will stop at nothing to derail the conversation. It doesn’t matter what the topic or how correct or wrong one might be, this troll is insistent on being heard and seen. This troll is simply out to get any and everybody. Nobody is safe from this troll. Not even OTHER trolls. It is best to avoid this troll at all costs. There is no defeating this troll.

Trollus abiratottus- Commonly known as the Angry Troll, this troll is just mad at everything. Nothing pleases this troll. Usually, it is a common practice to avert your eyes to keep from enraging species with short tempers. However, this doesn’t seem to work with the Angry Troll. In fact, the anger is usually intensified by this gesture. There are minor subsets of the Angry Troll that include Trollus hatereus (The Hating Troll), Trollus corprolaliaeus (The Cursing Troll), and Trollus grittarus (The Screaming Troll).

Trollus admorumeus- Commonly known as the Toll-to-Death Troll, this troll will never give up. In fact, in the wilds, there was many a carcass found at the keyboard of a laptop or computer. Sadly, the internet search engine was still up and running to find any shred of evidence to support their completely irrational and off base claims. I was able to spot 3 variants on this troll as well. They are Trollus twisticattus (The Word Twisting Troll), Trollus stalkereus (The Stalking Troll), and Trollus cambiottus (The Profile Changing Troll). The one thing that is known about each and every one of these trolls is that they will stop at nothing to troll. They will twist your words, follow you to other threads, and even change their profiles to continue to do what nature drives them to do.

Trollus caecus- Commonly known as the Blind Troll, this troll seems to understand and comprehend everything except for the point that you are trying to make. Although it appears to be stumbling blind when confronted, it is suspected that this is a form of posturing. Much like a possum might play dead, this troll attempts to play blind when confronted with a point that he might not be able to argue against. This troll is mostly harmless, but is such an annoyance and a common site in the wild that it must be considered in the Major category of Trolls.
Trollus intellectuallis- Commonly known as the Intellectual Troll, though this might seem like an oxymoron, this troll attempts to use the perception of a superior intellect to confound and confuse its prey. Often posing as some sort of pseudo-authority on the subject at hand, the Intellectual Troll often argues from that position and will rarely relent to the pressure of possibly not knowing something. It often hides behind piles of facts and statistics that, while they might be correct on their own merit, often don’t support its current argument. Sometimes confused with the Troll-to-Death Troll, because of a common relentless nature, the Intellectual Troll will often scurry out of the comments section before succumbing to a gruesome death.

Trollus spoilereus- Commonly known as the Spoiler Troll, this troll lives to spoil anything that it can. Movie endings, game endings, even the major plot twists of your favorite television series are fair game for the Spoiler Troll. He thrives on the anger created when a spoiler is released onto a message board and often gloats at his triumph. The only way to avoid this troll is to heed the signs of other travelers that have gone before you.

Other minor trolls that I have come across include: Trollus ploliticus (“Thanks Obama” Troll that brings politics into everything), Trollus infanteus-(Crybaby Troll), Trollus grammaticus (The Grammar Nazi Troll), Trollus disagreeus-(“Disagree” Troll…hits disagree just to be disagreeable and offers nothing to the thread but a click…I know you are there, I just can’t catch you!),and his counter part Trollus Agreeus ,and Trollus humorous-(The Seriously Funny Troll…often derails the comments section, but makes going to any forum a blast. It is Only a troll because it takes the comments off topic…not to be confused with Trollus pseudohumorous which only thinks that its funny. Another subset of this troll is Trollus memetticus,or The Meme Troll, which attempts to use only memes as a source for humor. Finally there is Trollus hipstereus, a relatively new Troll that takes the hipster attitude and applies it to the gaming industry.

The study of the troll is in its infancy. I am positive that there are many other trolls out there that I have failed to classify. (My grant only allowed me to study for only so long)
Other factors, aside from classification were discovered as well. These include mating habits (or lack thereof), feeding habits (is it really tears?), and various behavior patterns. Time and space don't allow me to state the breadth of my findings. That being said, I am committed to the identification, classification, and understanding of the species we know as Trolls. Look forward to my complete study in the Journal of Non-realistic Scientific Pursuits in an article called "The Exploration Of Symbiotic Relationships in Various Subspecies of Genus Trollus".

If you have spotted some trolls out in the wild and don't see them in my classifications, feel free to contact me at the N.I.T.I. (National Institute of Troll Identification). Or, simply write in the comment section…but beware…not even THIS section is immune from the predatory nature of the Troll!

**Disclaimer!!!** There is no such study as the study of trolls. Although I love science and have a degree in it, I am NOT a TROLL scientist. The only Latin that I know is Pig Latin, and my Latin American friends. There is no N.I.T.I., journal, or article. Nobody is perfect. At some point, probably everybody has trolled somebody. Most importantly, this was done out of a need for more FUN on this site and less doom and gloom. If I brought at least 1 smile to a face, then I have succeeded in my goal for this…my first and likely ONLY blog post.

Trollus memetticus in action.

The Anatomy Of A Troll

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WizzroSupreme1506d ago

I think you just won the N4G PS4 contest. Dang, great stuff.

iceman061506d ago

Thanks. Wasn't looking for rewards. As I said, was really looking to lighten the mood around here!

WizzroSupreme1506d ago

Well, you certainly did for moi. Bravo sir. I believe I'll aim for troll history as my college major. ;P

thorstein1505d ago

One type of troll you missed was: Trollus Ignoramus - the troll that posts something that is has been proven to be a false claim (often ad nauseum) and refuses to learn the truth when presented with a plethora of evidence.

And (though not technically a troll but certainly akin to Trollus Humorous) is the Poe. Someone, who, without using a smiley or sarcasm tags, is sooo incredibly sarcastic/ satirical that they are taken seriously by the actual original poster as someone who agrees with them.

See Poe's Law.

iceman061505d ago

@Thorstein...I actually spotted that one (ignoramus) in the wild but, for some strange reason, my notes were incomplete. LOL Actually, that was planned on my list (at least in my head) but somehow was left off when writing. Thanks because that would be a Major troll. I REALLY like the idea of the Poe. Hate that I missed that one.

Bathyj1502d ago

I always associated the term trolling, with trawling, a fishing term. Meaning to dangle a piece of bait out and drag it along a distance, hoping to cross the path of a quarry that will be suckered in and bite at it.

iceman061502d ago

This is also true. However, since most have turned it into the mythical creatures in all of the memes, I just ran with it. Plus, who the hell fishes anyway!?!? (I kid...I actually like fishing) I thought of using that. But, then it wouldn't have taken the blog into another direction. One that would have required me to look up more and make up less! LOL