Trolls are found in every corner of the Internet: message boards, Facebook, dating sites, the YouTube comments section and blogs. These people deliberately post disruptive and offensive comments, photos or other forms of online content to provoke others and get attention. Your suffering is a troll’s pleasure.
Perhaps unsurprising is the fact that trolls tend to be narcissists, psychopaths, and sadists. Yet each still has their own persona:
The manipulator will take everything you say out of context and use it against you to make you sound like a fool.
Common mistake people make dealing with The Manipulator: Thinking they can change The Manipulator’s mind.
What to do instead: Don’t try to change their mind. Giving a troll another reason to engage is only adding fuel to their fire.
The debater loves to start an argument and have the last word. These types of trolls will take a fact-based piece of content and challenge its message from every opposing angle they can find.
Common mistake people make dealing with The Debater: Giving The Debater a piece of their own mind and believing their intervention with this type of troll will win the debate.
What to do instead: Understand that morals and social etiquette fly out the window with a troll, so ignoring them is really your best bet for “winning.” Engaging in an argument with The Debater is the same as arguing with an idiot and having them beat you with experience.
This troll believes they are the Encyclopedia of the comments section and that everyone else knows nothing. They set out to make themselves sound smarter and better than you in any way they can. The know-it-all is never wrong (in their own head).
Common mistake people make dealing with The Know-It-All: Telling the Know-It-All to knock it off. The Know-It-All might find it difficult to get attention in the physical world. Being “right” fuels their narcissistic motives because gaining attention for being obnoxious online makes them feel important.
What to do instead: Ignore them. Don’t make them feel special for being a jerk.
The insult troll is a hater. They have no motive other than stirring up negative emotions and making you think you did something to deserve being insulted. These trolls pick on everyone by calling them names, accusing them and doing anything they can to make someone feel ashamed.
Common mistake people make dealing with The Insulter: Letting the Insulter’s comments affect how they feel about themselves.
What to do instead: Ignore them completely and understand they likely exemplify “Dark Tetrad” personality traits (which most trolls possess). These traits include narcissism, Machiavellianism (impulsive and charming manipulators), psychopathy, and sadism. The suffering of another person is a troll’s pleasure, so just don’t think that this kind of person should make you feel bad or upset.
The yeller is angered by everything and expresses that anger by typing in all caps and using a lot of profane language.
Common mistake people make dealing with The Insulter: Turning their own caps lock button on and responding.
What to do instead: Consider turning off the comments on your blog or using a closed Facebook or LinkedIn page. Responding to a troll’s remarks can put you in a position you might regret. Remember that the things you say online exist forever. Your online footprint tells a story of your behavior and choices, so having some choice words with The Yeller might be something you later regret – not to mention won’s stop them either.
The Grammar Police
This type of troll cannot let a misspelled word go by on the Internet without their interference. They’ll even use your spelling error as a reason to attack you personally.
Common mistake people make dealing with The Grammar Police: Asking or telling them to stop acting like your seventh-grade teacher.
What to do instead: Trolls do what they do for their ego. The Grammar Police enjoys making others feel dumb. If you let them get you defensive, that’s your ego acting too – just don’t let it. Big deal you misspelled a word.
These trolls take content that’s meant to be funny, a joke or parody and play the victim. They’ll troll others by turning the matter into an argument.
Common mistake people make dealing with The “Offended:” Getting involved with their misery.
What to do instead: Ignore The “Offended” and they’ll move on to find something else that bothers them.
To a troll, your suffering is their pleasure and the Internet serves as their playground. The anonymity of the Internet brings out the worst in these people. By understanding the psychology of trolls, you can understand you aren’t dealing with normal people.
Use the discussed tactics above to avoid the different types of trolls and their dark psychology.