Thursday, March 1, 2012

How to Be the Perfect Troll, Vol. I: Guerilla Tactics

A longtime disciple of John Cleese, I've always enjoyed trolling people, both online and off, more than most. A while back I wrote a comprehensive list of things you can do to irritate the shit out of people in the way I know best—by acting like a drooling simpleton. Unfortunately, that list was eaten by a server manned by a team of retarded children and it has been over a year since I really made an effort to troll anyone, meaning I am well out of trolling stroke. Still, here is an incomplete list of the essentials for being an effective troll in any setting, completely off the top of my head.

1. Bad spelling, poor grammar and inappropriate use of words. Ah, the holy trinity of trolling. Even the most unlettered attempt to troll can be made so much more effective by deliberately confusing your with you're or their, there and they're. As Number 6 points out in his excellent essay, the people most likely to respond to a troll are those who lack personal sovereignty and thus feel the visceral urge to police the expressions of others. There is generally a lot of crossover between this mentality and spelling/grammar Nazism. A great technique is writing a period not at the end of every sentence but at the end of each line you type. I also like misusing commas and semi-colons. Experiment and see what works best for you.

Oh, and there is one other thing you might try, but I digress. Moving on!

2. Argue with people by repeating what they've said in only slightly different terms. This is one of those things that works at least as effectively face to face as online. Repeating yourself in general is frustrating for most; doing so because the person you're communicating with can't keep up enough to realize there's no difference of opinion while still being very obnoxiously opinionated? Why, it's enough to make your head explode.

3. Stay in character by saying as little as you can as loudly and regularly as you can. If you've spent any amount of time on internet forums, one thing you are sure to notice is that the people who have the most posts are ironically the people who tend to say the least. That's because they weigh in on each and every issue rather than sticking to an area of expertise (and this is generously assuming they have one). Why don't these people just stay silent when they have no idea what they are talking about, i.e., almost always? As the great Adam Carolla is quick to point out, the dumber you are, the louder you are. Stupid people advertise. It's just that simple. If you want to irritate people, make your voice heard as much as possible whenever possible...for the lulz.

4. Respond with vacuous, idiotic, contextually ambiguous text message standbys like "lol" apropos of nothing. Make people wonder what the fuck you're laughing at and why, especially amidst serious discussions. Other favorites include "ok" and "wat."

5. Avoid the quote button. Or, on threaded message boards, don't respond directly beneath the post of the person you are addressing. Respond with a standalone post that contributes nothing to the discussion while clearly being in response to something that was posted 5 pages ago.


7. Respond to multiple choice questions with yes or no. For example, the person you are "debating" asks if you're pro life or pro-choice and you respond "yes" without specifying which of the two it was in response to.

8. Always, and I mean always, jump at the chance to misinterpret or flat out overlook similes and metaphors. For instance, in a discussion about learning a new skill, when someone remarks "Look, most people don't hit a homerun their first time at bat," you should always respond with something to the effect of "wat are you takling about? this si a discusion about lerning guitar, bseaball has noting to do with it!" This is best accompanied by a "roll-eyes" emoticon, if possible. Which segues nicely into the next guideline...

9. Few things induce rage like misplaced condescension. If you've ever met a smug creationist talking about how stupid it is to believe "we evolved from mud," you already know what I'm talking about. The most obvious application of this is in discussions that act as beacons to contrarian smartasses in the first place, i.e., global warming. It's also great when you get a chance to dismiss the Parteiadler as a racist symbol by saying "The swazticka hsa been around fro thousdans of years, its NOT RACSIT!" Garnish generously with condescending lmao's and rofls.

10. Defend your fellow idiots. It probably goes without saying, but you should always play the role of die hard apologist in any discussion related to offensive, bigoted remarks made by a public figure. The only problem here is that there are a number of prejudices that go completely unpoliced, i.e., anti-Arab sentiments. Thus the obvious move is to play the part of the always unctuous holier-than-thou PC Police.

11. Randomly quote meaningless Bible passages in any discussion with atheists. Weaken your already threadbare argument on gay marriage by appealing to an authority they don't recognize. These also take up lots of page space while contributing almost nothing worth responding to in terms of actual content. It's also great to quote the Bible (or the Quran, if you're feeling frisky) as proof of God's existence, accompanied by the circular "teh BIble is true becoz it was writen by GOD!" This is particularly effective when assuming the role of the morally superior windbag, i.e., "i get my morality from God, where do u get yours!"

12. Present feeling rather than facts. A simple "IMBEACH OBAMA!" can go a long way towards deteriorating the integrity of the discussion. And of course it never hurts to pepper your diatribes with "lol stupid lib" and "PINKO COMMIE BASTERD!"

Okay, that's it for now. I might make a follow up entry to this if I ever get back in the trolling swing of things, so stay tuned.

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