My name is Paul and I am a troll. An internet troll. I’m not one of these trolls that end up on the news; the ones that make you go, “Oh my god, he actually looks like a troll!” I don’t go on to RIP pages and post “Ha ha!” or tweet Simon Cowell that I’m going to cut his big, stupid face off. Not all trolls are the same; just like there are good witches and bad.
But right now there’s a witch-hunt. A troll-hunt. Trolls are the trendy new thing for the tabloids to hate; trolls are the new paedos. Well, I’d like to distance myself from these New Paedos: I don’t want to get my door kicked in by a mob and be tortured in a bath. So let me tell you about my kind of trolling, a hobby of sorts, a fun and empowering way to annoy the fuck out of people.
Firstly, why do I do it? Why do I want to annoy people? Because annoying people is funny. Why is it funny? Maybe because I find life and the people in it fucking irritating at times, so to turn the tables now and then by being an absolute pain in the arse, well, I don’t know, it tickles me.
For example, I enjoy trolling atheists. I’m an atheist myself, but arguing with the religious is infuriating, draining and it actually hurts my head. Atheists always seem to come out of religious arguments worse, in terms of how much it ruins their day. I fancied switching sides, for a laugh, and so I tweeted, “It’s such a shame that athiests will never know true love. #atheism.”
Look at the misspelling of “atheists” – what person could possibly resist that bait? Not many, and I must have had a dozen catches almost straight away. You know the type. Militants. Wanks. The type that have “atheist” in their bio, like anybody gives a fuck. The type that searches for #atheist on Twitter. And I argued with a handful of them simultaneously for close to an hour, giggling like a schoolboy as I typed, “Your going too hell!” They didn’t know whether to go after the religious debate or the grammar. It was hilarious. A collection of atheists despairing for humanity – and, for a change, I wasn’t one of them.
But trolling isn’t just about winding people up for the sake of it. It’s a great way to redress the balance when you’ve been wronged; to put things right so that you can get to sleep without grinding your teeth in anger.
For instance, one night on Xbox Live, a group of English gamers took the piss out of my Dutch accent, then buggered off laughing. A new lot came along and did the same. Anything I replied with was repeated back to me in the voice of Scotty from Star Trek. I couldn’t win. I felt so powerless, so weak, so Dutch. Until I started trolling. When the next lot of English came along, I put on a laidback American accent and said, “Speak English, you dumbass Brits, speak the language we taught you.” As you can imagine, they went mental: “It’s not your language, you obese, American tit, why d’you think it’s called English?” My reply? “I can’t understand a word you are saying, you dumbass Brit. English, please. Speak English…”
I kept it going for hours, different games, different players, sometimes adding in the odd reference to the Queen and saving their ass in the war, right up until 5am the next day. And I can tell you, hand on heart, that it was one of the best nights of my life.
In fact, my kind of trolling is sometimes so harmless that it will blow your mind. One thing I like to do is visit technical forums and ask for help regarding an entirely fictitious problem I’m having with my software. When I receive help, I say, “Nope. Didn’t work.” If they guide me to a button to click, I say, “Nope. Can’t see it.” Sometimes I just reply with nothing but “Nope”, and it drives them up the wall. But what’s mind-blowing about that? I just made it up. It never happened, there is no forum. Yet just the thought of annoying these non-existent people makes me smile. That’s next-level trolling right there.
I hope I’ve demonstrated the difference been the styles of trolling, and that not all trolling is bad, not all trolls deserve to be followed on to a bus by a telly crew or jailed for six months. Trolling can be a great way to engage with the world, a way to regain self-esteem and happiness, or, dare I say it, a way of life.
Better still, I hope I have inspired you to dip your toe in and get involved yourself. If so, I’ll see you out there, and happy trolling.
The story you just read above is something different from usual on here, it’s a monologue about a phenomenon and I thought I should share it. copyright belongs to B.L.