Park City SEO content creators who draw any amount of traffic will likely be familiar with the occasional troll making their mark in the comment section at the bottom of the page. A troll in this context is a person who posts comments intended to get a reaction in the form of outrage from other people who post comments. I have personally had quite a bit of experience with trolls, both arguing with them as well as being branded as one. Of course a troll will never admit to being a troll and I am no exception. But what I can do is provide some insight on what motivates trolls as well as the methods they employ. Hopefully, once armed with this information a person dealing with a troll will be better able to handle them.
It must be understood that a troll enjoys getting a reaction out of people. In other words they take pleasure out of making other people emotional. Quite literally, the troll’s brain releases a rush of endorphins both in the anticipation of a reaction and in the receiving of a reaction from another comment expressing outrage directed at the troll. This is not to say that the outrage is necessarily pleasant for the troll to experience in the moment. Often the troll will feel wounded and then justified in their crusade to fight the good fight against those uptight squares who have the wrong idea about him (or her but I suspect most likely him). Sometimes Trolls do not start out with the intention of being trolls but are pushed into the position by reacting to what they perceived to be unjust treatment by other posters or moderators. Once labeled a troll it is near impossible to rebuild an online reputation in whatever blog or message board the troll was labeled. At that point the troll might settle into the role until banned or the behavior no longer receives the same psychological reward.
Unless the troll is simply out to disrupt a conversation he often has some kind of agenda he is pushing. This could be political, religious or any other agenda where people are likely to have strong opinions. The troll will attack other people for having different views or displaying some other undesirable trait. An argument will typically ensue where each side will accuse the other of being wrong both in their beliefs and behavior. On the surface it will appear that each side is trying to convince the other that their ideas are correct. But really each side (whether they realize it or not) is simply trying to make the other side appear foolish and ashamed. In this sense, the troll turns both sides into trolls in this interaction. The troll will never admit he is wrong. But right and wrong is not really what the interaction is about. The interaction is about getting a rush out of getting an emotional reaction out of other people.
People often make the argument that a person should never engage a troll in an argument because it only encourages their behavior. I tend to think this is not the best advice. Personally, I have no problem with engaging trolls as long as I can maintain an awareness of what the troll is after. This keeps me from becoming emotionally involved which will translate through the text despite my denials. Rather, as long as I can maintain an awareness of the troll’s true motivation I can maintain a psychological aloofness to the troll’s behavior.