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Diary Of A 5,000-Hours-Per-Year Internet Troll

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And this is really at the heart of the matter, a message board troll feels intense shame.  It is shame that motivates him to shame others.  Where this shame comes from is a whole other discussion but part of it definitely had to do with working a job I hated for so long.

As you mention in your book it is basically pointless to try to change another person’s mind but I suppose at some level I was also operating under the delusion that if I said the right thing he would admit he was wrong.”

I asked GVOK three questions in response:

  1. Did you ever feel like it was a waste of time? Like, maybe you could’ve been finding a better job or relationship or whatever?
  2. Did you ever get really really angry?
  3. Would you get mad if someone didn’t respond to you?

His response.

“Oh wow.  You responding just made my day - sitting here auditing legal bills in the basement of my parents’ house on a rainy day.

Yes, I felt like it was a waste of time but I was compelled to do it.  That’s why I had to eventually got myself banned from the message board.  There should be a rehab for this sort of thing.  Just think of all the trolls who can’t force themselves to stop.  It is probably ruining their lives because getting back at these people who wronged you on the message board is all you can think about.  It’s incredibly draining emotionally and at the same time takes top priority in your life.

Yes, I got really angry – but you try hard not to let that show.  I guess I need to emphasize this point – you have to put forth the image that nothing affects you and you think it’s funny how your victims can’t control their emotions.  Meanwhile, you are a simmering volcano.

It was slightly infuriating when someone didn’t respond but I knew my targets pretty well and was pretty confident they would respond.  In fact, that’s how they became targets in the first place – because they were so reliable.

 There is an interesting connection between trolling and working these boring corporate / cubicle jobs that became clear to me after reading your book. You feel intense shame, you are bored, you have access to the internet – of course you will end up trolling!”

And he ended his discourse with:

Rule #1 of the Internet: Don't feed trolls. They have a sickness. Don't respond. Just ban them.

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