Internet trolls are a force to be reckoned with.
Have you ever played an online video game? Entered a chat room? Posted a topic? Wrote a blog? Of course you have. And maybe you have even been trolled in the process… but what is trolling and how have you been affected?
The internet troll is a unique individual, at times making quick appearances, other times invading our cyber lives in overwhelming fashion. They are best described as individuals who regularly exhibit the three characteristics of the Dark Triad:
- Narcissism – pride and egotism with a lack of empathy.
- Machiavellianism – deceiving and using others for self gain; immoral individuals.
- Psychopathy – exhibiting remorselessness and again a lack of empathy.
Related Article: A Note on the Top 1%: Psychopaths or Superhumans?
Internet trolls are not only described by those characteristics, but also proven to share a correlation with them! In a new study, titled “Trolls Just Want to Have Fun” (genius), it was found that:
trolling correlated positively with sadism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism, using both enjoyment ratings and identity scores.
But why would anyone troll your blog about cute animals doing cute things? Your blog is silly and I hate you and your cute things are disgusting that’s why! Sorry about that, my inner troll popped up unexpectedly.
But seriously, they thrive off of personal work and emotion. Something you put a great deal of work and time into is the ideal target.
Even in a chat room where a serious debate has ensued, a troll will inevitably charge in to divert the focus of the debate or simply mock any and every intellectual point made. Their actions and words spark an emotional connection and provoke a passionate, heartfelt response. This is precisely the point when a troll reigns victorious.
Related Article: NOT Another 9-11 Article (rolls eyes*)
Did you just achieve a new rank in a game? Did someone follow up that achievement with a statement to anger you? You read: “Newb.” or “LOL props scrub,” and with that all your hard work and sense of achievement wanes into a form of senseless rage. But why would someone want to anger you? Why is it that someone is getting pleasure out of your misery?
The answer lies in the conclusion of the study:
[Internet] trolling appears to be an Internet manifestation of everyday sadism.
Sadists. All of them. This result bolsters the idea that a their behavior is actually representative of an even greater evil, the Dark Tetrad. This malevolent nexus of annoying includes the Dark Triad with the addition of sadism – gaining pleasure from others’ misery.
Interestingly enough, you may have trolled someone yourself, out of boredom if not for any other reason. Maybe you’ve said someone’s profile picture is ugly or created a fake story, telling others the story is the gospel truth… does “spreading gossip” ring any bells? Does that make everyone a little sadistic, narcissistic, psychopathic, and Machiavellian? Is the world just an endless stream of Rick Rolls? Are we all internet trolls at heart?
Related Article: You Might be a Psychopath; Psychological Catch 22
Being trolled? Just breathe… they want you to respond in a heated manner. Ignore the comment, delete it, or simply move on to a different topic. To reply to them is to fuel them! LOL… here’s a graph depicting the reality of the dark tetrad around the world.