It’s snowing quite heavily here on this blog, though outside it’s warm and wet. But today I want to discuss the question: What is a Troll?
Who is a troll?
I guess a troll is a person who feels safe posting nasty or insulting comments on-line. It’s a kind of cowardice as mostly these are comments people would never make in real life; such as the vitriol that emerged when a boat-load of refugees drowned a few weeks ago off the coast of Italy.
‘Good riddance,’ said a shed-load of trolls*, ‘I hope they all drown.’ Yet not one of these people repeated their comments on the subsequent Radio 2 phone-in on the subject: in fact nearly all of the callers said they were shocked and disgusted by them.
It’s as if the internet is like the darkest, sludgiest part of your subconscious – the place where your worst thoughts and feelings come out to play. We all have spiteful and mean thoughts but most of us boot them out whenever they show themselves, because we understand the damage they can do. But clearly some of us don’t.
I have a troll. He doesn’t pop up very often, and I suppose I should think myself lucky that I only have one, but it’s always a bit of a shock when his vitriol leaks out all over my comments box. I enjoy getting comments on this blog, and usually click on the orange icon with every expectation of pleasure, so I was shocked yesterday to read instead of the usual pleasant chit-chat or informed opinion, that my poem was ‘doggerel’ and that my friends are ‘half-wits’. The comment did not of course make it through my rigorous screening process, so for future reference, here are a few tips for would-be trolls on this blog:
1. Make educated, thoughtful criticisms. Don’t just say a poem is ‘doggerel’, say why it’s doggerel. Was it the metre you didn’t like? Was the language facile? Did the poem not get the point across? Quote a line or two to emphasise your thoughts.
2. Be creative with your insults. Don’t just call people ‘half-wits’ – call them ‘apish bull-headed abominations’ or ‘dull-brained blockheads’ or ‘rump-fed hornbeasts’. If you want to be really rude, you could try ‘cockwomble’ or ‘globby bottle of cheap, stinking chip-oil.’ Shakespeare is a good source: try this dictionary for further ideas:
3. Humble me. Send me some of your own work so I can see just how intelligent you are and how far superior your own work is to mine. Then maybe I’ll expire with disappointment or just stop writing in despair.
Ooooooooooooooor……………… alternatively, you could just stop being a troll and do something better instead!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
* not literally a shed-load