Why troll?Posted: September 2, 2014
I don’t play a lot of video games and I don’t know much about ‘online’ culture, but I take an interest in human beings and their foibles… so can someone who is ‘on the inside’ explain to me how one benefits by trolling someone else? I genuinely want to know, and I want to know from the point of view of the troll. I don’t need an analysis from someone who is not a troll and is critical of trolling — I want to hear, as much in the troll’s own words as possible, why they do it. I’m specifically interested in instances of organized online trolling — where multiple people agree to pursue a common ‘enemy’ and seek to have some sort of effect on that person, i.e.: to drive them from an online community, make them withdraw from online activities, make threats against that person and incite others to make threats against them, etc.
I’m interested to ask these questions after reading a number of articles about the life and times of Anita Sarkeesian (like this one: http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/internet/2012/06/dear-internet-why-you-cant-have-anything-nice). Short version: Sarkeesian is a video gamer who writes about video games, online culture and feminism and ‘trolling’ her seems to have become something like a life’s work among a certain set of video gamers. In the interest of full disclosure, I’d like to say that I think what some people are doing to Sarkeesian is wrong, so trolls probably shouldn’t expect a sympathetic ear… but I would like to hear, in the troll’s own words, what they hope to accomplish and/or what they get out of the activity. And it doesn’t have to be from someone who trolled Sarkeesian specifically— I’m just interested in hearing from the trolls in general. Call it an amateur sociological study if you like. And you can remain anonymous if you must, although having a means of asking follow up questions might be nice.