Are trolls missing a couple of things?

Are trolls missing a couple of things?

Summary: Trolls are the anonymous conversation killers of the online world. Yet I think they do provide something valuable: an insight into the human condition.

TOPICS: CXO, Browser

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"

Then disaster:

"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"

From: The unguarded thoughts of the digital haves...

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.

Topics: CXO, Browser

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  • Are you expecting a large number of talkbacks here?

    I fear you will be disappointed, because AFAICT almost [b]everyone[/b] here uses a fake name. Not that I can confirm that those [i]very[/i] few people who post under credible-sounding names are using their [u]real[/u] names, either.

    And you've just branded us all "Anonymous Cowards"...
    • identity not necessarily real name... trolls want anonymity

      trolls go for anonymity... having an identifier that is consistent isn't really anonymous... I mean, this isn't the only site I use shryko as a screen name...

      and really, is it cowardice if it's a pseudonym, as so many good authors have done? take "dear abby" for instance. it's an identifier that's consistent, and it's not really hiding.
    • Using real name

      I do. If I wouldn't say it to your face, I won't say it at all.
      Dr. John
  • What tripe...

    An article about trolls and you don't even interview Linux Geek?
    Hallowed are the Ori
    • Oh dear, now you've confused my tiny little mind... ;-)

      That was an obvious troll for a response from Linux Geek, and yet you are one of the few ZD-Net talkback people with a credible-sounding name!

      The entire point (such as it is) of the article now lies in tatters...
      • Nah

        It just identifies him as a person with Cajones (if that is his real name of course).
        • A person with "boxes?"

          What the hell does that mean?
      • Credible name?

        Why would you think a name like "John E. Wahd" is credible-
        sounding? Sounds like the name of a porn star. Male. With
        cojones (not cajones - cajon -accent on the o- means "box").
    • LOL -

      Linux User
      • Let's not forget

        behind the vista, a leopard is stalking

        and of course

        Ole man.

        both deserve mention outside the yada.
        • They drank so much of the koolaid....

          That their teeth are permanently stained blue and had to add micro$oft to spell check.
          Duke E. Love
  • Considering mant ZDNet headlines are trolls

    why should the writers worry whether or not trolls post here?
    • they probably don't...

      after all, they would be able to tell from people's posts if they're a troll or not.


      oh, and as far as cojones go, screen names can often be considered like a real name... I've not found many sites where "shryko" has been taken as a username, after all. so, I generally just have it for my purposes online. And I don't think of it as anonymous... ever.
      • Just so

        I have been using Sagax since 1996. I know of no one else who wants to use it. So, Sagax i am.
  • Anonymous has nothing to do with being troll

    Trolls post off-topic drivel. Like most people, they use an Internet handle - unlike most, they often change it, frequently because they've been banned under the previous one.

    All you can learn from them, sometimes, is what ax they're grinding - from some of the less coherent ones, all you learn is that they're not well.
  • Anonymous <> troll

    When I post editorials or blog comments locally, I post under my real name and town of residence. It lends credibility and relevance to the posts; as well as giving people a source for their own feedback. If they get belligerent; well, just as easy to refer the potentially violent to the local police department. And if they show up in person, then New Hampshire does allow the use of deadly force in defense of self and family within my curtilage (home and immediate vicinity, i.e. within 300 feet of the house); and I am an expert marksman with firearms, possess many of them, and really don't have any compunctions against using them.

    I use a pseudonym for other internet postings as my real name is rather common and could be too easily lost in the sea of same names, which in itself is a form of anonymity.
  • ZDnet is the Weekly World News of IT.

    With a few notable exceptions, ZDnet is the Weekly World News of IT.

    I understand that you make money by generating traffic. This is not the issue. It is HOW ZDNet generates traffic that is contemptible.

    They incite holy wars as a matter of policy, or so it seams. Their headlines seem to be chosen by how much traffic can be generated in their talk back section.

    Speaking as an IT professional, as a whole, to about 20% of the items are of interest to professionals in the trenches. The rest is crap.

    No really. Look at trade journals and newsletters like InfoWorld, IDG,,, etc.

    Do they resort to the sort of tripe that you call news? No, they don't have to. They have actual news and meaningful op/ed that is of value to professionals.
    Duke E. Love