An internet troll is a person who disrupts internet discourse through inflammatory, hostile or pointless posts. They aim to cause a reaction and therefore 'feed' on responses particularly hostile ones. If ignored, they usually move on.
There are four species within the genus Troll:
- The Multiple Personality Disorder sufferer
- The Attention Whore a.k.a. Dullard
- The Disruptive Child
The Multiple Personality Disorder sufferer
This Troll species has its own sub-species:
- The Stirrer: An established user who creates an alter ego for the purposes of stirring trouble. This Troll will often post fake pictures, have a 'cyber-sex-change', make use of PMs and quote imaginary message logs.
- Billy-No-Mates: A new user (most likely without friends in The Real World) who instead of taking it steady, getting to 'know' online personalities and contribute 'value' posts, instead charges in, submitting tens of posts of drivel per day, then when established users turn on them, they create further user identities to defend the 'original' user.
The Attention Whore
This Troll is unable to exercise self-restraint. Not one to understand the concept of, "quality not quantity," this user racks up an enormous number of posts in a very short period of time; possibly 1 post out of every 50 of which adds value to a thread. Dale is an attention whore.
The Disruptive Child
This Troll is usually a civvy with no understanding of things martial. Again there are sub-species:
- The Woolly-Minded-Liberal: a closed-minded individual; war and everything associated with it is 'bad'. No discussion; they are right.
- The Anti-Establishment Provocateur: not to be confused with a Devil's Advocate, this Troll is, like the Woolly-Minded-Liberal, a closed-minded individual who has read anti-establishment literature, but has neither the intellect or the inclination to think about what they have read, thus can only repeat it parrot-fashion.
- The Walt: someone who pretends to be something they are not. An annoyance and an insult to those who 'do'; despite being proven not to know of what they speak, this shameless Troll will post spuriously till the end of time. This Troll is occasionally found on other military-related websites and will sometimes be invited to play amongst the Big Boys & Girls of ARRSE.
N.B. I have chosen not to 'name names' as the oxygen thieves sadly thrive on 'publicity'.
Wikipedia has a full description of internet trolls, including a history of the term.