Trolling, trolling, trolling

I’ve always defined a troll as someone who deliberately incites an argument, perhaps using insults, but last night’s Insight program on SBS clearly emphasised the distinction between inciting debate and bullying or abusive behaviour.

Occasionally it feels like language is changing.  Misogyny now appears to mean sexism and all provocative behaviour on the internet falls under trolling.  It doesn’t enhance debate and it gets messy when people misinterpret things.

I have no idea what possesses people to jump onto blogs, news forums or even Facebook to stir up trouble but I am concerned that people are confusing it for some new type of activism.  Slactivism if you will.

One of Insight’s “Trolls” and his doppleganger Theon from Game of Thrones

That trolls feel they are the authority on mundane conversations and it is their duty to stir up trouble is such a delusion of grandeur and I don’t think upsetting people is a clever way to inspire people to question their own firmly held beliefs.

If you can’t challenge someone else’s opinion without using respectful language then it might be time to step away from the computer.

How do you define trolls?