How to Be an Internet Troll

19 Feb

Seven steps to losing your soul online: 

A troll's true joy

What with the decline of Nazi-centric movies—along with the social pressure to respect foreign cultures and civilizations even if they’re harboring terrorists—our society is experiencing a shortage of despicable cultural icons. Luckily, nature abhors a vacuum so we’ve seen that gap filled with the Internet Troll, a truly hateful individual who is a cultural composite of a hacker, serial killer, and Beavis and Butt-head. And judging by the number of trolls stomping their way through the comments section of many an online news article, it’s apparently become a highly lucrative and satisfying occupation. So if the recession has left you underemployed or worse, here’s your guide to becoming the plague of Internet culture.

  1. Absolve yourself of all ethics. Nothing is below your contempt; no tragedy is unworthy of your scorn. Millions dead? Children tortured? Widespread pain, suffering, and hopelessness? LOL, that’s entertainment.
  2. Absolve yourself of all allegiances. You do not endorse a political party, a religion, a sports team, a rock band. You are “pro-nothing.” You will never be supportive of anything except maybe whimsical genocide and your own hubris.
  3. Create your persona. It’s best to make multiple disposable identities, each appropriate for a certain venue. Each persona’s name should be inspired by some degenerate practice or brutal obscenity. And if your avatars don’t evoke scandalized embarrassment or vomiting, you haven’t applied yourself.
  4. Seek appropriate venues. The best places to inflict yourself upon others are those corners of the web that involve emotion, such as amateur fan sites or local news postings on hot-button issues. Avoid heavily commercialized sites that can afford moderators (unless you are advanced enough to communicate without profanity).
  5. Choose your prey. Your enemy is not a person, not an idea, but a practice. Precise, respectful, well-reasoned discussion is anathema. Politeness and morality your bane. For novice trolls, simply seek out emotional posters to taunt—watch for all-caps, misspellings, and heavy use of exclamation marks, and you’ll have your target.
  6. Strike without honor or restraint. Remember steps 1 and 2: You are thoughtless, soulless, free from integrity or morals. Insult, demean, condemn. Engage with flawed logic, answer rebuttals with abuse, refuse to see reason. Your role model is Sauron on a bad day—but more capricious, more volatile.
  7. Keep telling yourself it’s “just for fun. To keep up your intensity, you must convince yourself that everything you write is “harmless hate.”  Your online persona is not the real you, not even some hidden personal id you are setting free. It’s just a game—like those console games of simulated murder you play for hours late into the night. Counseling is unnecessary, and family and friends would probably think your posts were funny if they knew they came from you. (But don’t tell them. Trust us.)

Good “step-up” jobs for retired Internet trolls:

  • Political pundit
  • Radio shock-jock
  • Celebrity journalist

One Response to “How to Be an Internet Troll”

  1. Jacqueline Delibes February 24, 2013 at 3:41 pm #

    Me like.

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