Wednesday, September 6, 2017

How To Recognize An Internet Or Facebook Troll, Bot or Fake Social Media Account


Decades ago, before there was any internet, the idea of people all over the country and even the world, being able to communicate spontaneously, freely and openly and discuss any desired topic, would have been considered a wondrous thing, possibly facilitating universal understanding, worldwide harmony, and even peace on Earth.

Now we know better, however. By this time, our online innocence has long been tempered by the realization that any communication, like any other usually positive thing in life, can be mis-used, abused, misunderstood or violated, far beyond reasonable disagreement.

In this day and age, when internet communications can escalate into edgy, fiery, or even enraged debates between strangers, it is a good idea to be able to recognize those who are not there to honestly discuss, or even logically argue about a topic. Some folks' intent is specifically to disrupt, upset, confuse and/or distract the party with whom they are engaged. They will persist especially in disputes that have no real resolution, or are based on past events that cannot be changed.

The so-labelled internet (or Facebook) troll is defined by their dishonesty, in terms of seeking actual discourse on a subject. Either for reasons of sadistic pleasure, personal aggrandizement, or even just profit, some people on the internet aim to "do damage" to others they perceive as adversaries, fools or inferiors, in some way. 

This can be anyone, even a regular, normally "nice" person who happens to be in a foul mood, due to a personal difficulty, or perhaps their bitterness over the status or effects of a current issue. YES----Even good people might go trolling sometimes, in a weak moment, in a desire to hurt somebody they perceive as an "enemy" in some way. Sadly, this is part of being human. 

The truth is, for a short time, anybody can turn troll.

But the persistent trolls, and the PAID ones, are generally not self-correcting, and they can be identified if their behavior is consistent enough.

This list is an attempt to assist in the recognition of TRUE trolls ---- NOT just somebody feeling hurt and in a bad mood (which could be anybody) -- But the devoted trolls, the ones who never let up, and have no desire to honestly communicate at any time. Or, additionally, 
the ones who do it for profit.

                    THIS is not what online communication should be about

Back in High School, you probably had an English Teacher or 2
constantly reminding you to back up your arguments, or buttress your case, with supporting information, examples, quotes, etc etc.

Online communication is a great place to put that advice to work.

There are always alternatives to insulting people, if your arguments are fact-based

This is not to say that factual, evidence-based arguments won't piss some people off, or evoke their displeasure in some way.

But empty name-calling and un-grounded accusations are a sure way 
to trash any conversation at any time.

Without basing discussion on evidence and and actual examples, internet arguments are just 2 creatures making noise at each other


Automated programs designed for doing repetitive or mass-number
tasks/posts online;They may be commercial in origin, or malicious
or designed to manipulate or deceive large numbers of people.


A useful clue for recognizing likely youtube Bots
When a youtube account *has no content, but somehow still has a number of subscribers*, that is a indication of a possible "Bot" (an automated account programmed to give automatic "troll-like" responses to posts on different threads).
If you check the account of someone who has given a hostile, "troll-like" response, and you get an account that looks like the image below, consider that a warning flag of a possible Bot.

Typical "Bot" youtube account
(note: "No content", but has 15 subscribers)



Back to Trolls ...



Typically, Trolls:

1. Keep repeating "edgy" or anger-inducing 
   talking points, with no other kind of response.
   Posts are usually, but not always, short.

2. Get angrier when you try to address 
   them seriously when discussing a topic,
   and will try to evoke an emotional, 
   non-cognitive response. They may even suddenly LEAVE
   a discussion when the interaction stays serious 
   and avoids combative emotion.

3. When pressed by earnest questions, will 
   sometimes strike-back with OFF-TOPIC COMPLAINTS,
   such as, "Stop tagging me"/"Stop using my name"
   or similar non-topical complaint.

4. Will not participate in actual discussions 
   of policy/ideas/related *substantive* topics
   and will try to keep discussion emotional 
   and REACTIVE by continuously trying 
   to AGGRAVATE others in an online discussion. 
   Trolls normally AVOID SUBSTANCE and often,
   when they are unable to keep angry emotion 
   on an un-resolvable/continuous level,
   change the subject, or bring up new "edgy" points to 
   keep the talk in a more antagonistic mood.

5. Will sometimes have brief FB pages that lack substance,
   and are comprised almost entirely of 
   copy/paste images and political
   slogans, with little or no personal content 
   that is not inflammatory in some way.

6. May have a "female" FB moniker, but respond
   in ways that seem at least subtly (or more overtly) 
   male, in terms of their
   (****IMPORTANT NOTE**** : I am 
   not saying that women never respond with 
   aggressiveness or profanity, but I have found 
   this type of response to be far less-common 
   among female online posters than in males.
   Maybe it's a "testosterone thing". It is hard to say.)

7. May have a moniker that seems glib or contrived, 
    and may possibly not be an actual name. The moniker itself 
    may even be subtly antagonizing, or ironic.


                   PLEASE ... If you are going to argue, and you do not want to                    be a troll,  keep it factual (CLICK to ENLARGE)

Being able to turn-off the computer when, or even BEFORE you get really upset is a good idea, and will be beneficial to your mental health.

                                  Try not to be too obsessive over what unseen strangers say

                                It is pointless to end up like this, or even worse ---- 
                         Want OTHERS to end up like this

Besides avoiding trolls, and better yet, avoiding BEING a troll,
this is always good advice, if you can do it ...



  1. The Disagreement Hierarchy needs to be reformatted to increase its legibility - it is difficult to read.