Trolls are the anonymous conversation killers of the online world. Yet I think they do provide something valuable: an insight into the human condition.
In 2006, when AOL released the search terms of its users, it revealed a cornucopia of fascinating insights into people's inner lives:
It all makes for incredibly compelling reading. These are the thoughts of people when they feel safe there is nobody looking over their shoulders.
In one instance, it looks as if a wife and a husband are using the same computer, each hiding their extramarital affairs from the other, then later looking for help online to deal with the pain of failed relationships.
These are real soap operas, tracked over a period of months... from the excitement of first meetings:
"how to get rid of nervousness of meeting a blind date 23 Apr, 12:27"
"if your spouse has an affair should you contact the other person's spouse and let them know : 07 May, 09:58"
And the same user account asks:
"i had sex with my best friend and now he treats me differently :26 May, 13:58"
I think that trolls offer an insight into the inner dialogue of some people. This is what they would say if they didn't have to put their real name behind it.
How would you know if someone is a secret troll?
I don't know but I could guess that it has something to do with this:
What's the difference between a troll and a normal person? It is the same difference as that between a rooster and a chicken: cojones.
I don't mean it in a gender sense but in a cojones sense. I know plenty of women with cojones.
All journalists and bloggers are roosters, and so are all commenters that use their real names... Trolls are chickens imho.