Monday, 17 February 2014

Science: Internet trolls really are twisted

Canadian researchers conducted an online poll to see what drives trolls. And it wont be much of a surprise to some that they are driven by sadism and psychopathy. What was a surprise to researchers, was the degree to which sadistic tendencies predicted trolling behaviour.

Here is how The Young Turk's reported the story...

Having met a few trolls online I have found a technique that works pretty well to best them, and that is to play along like they are playing a character to highlight the insanity or weakness behind their own position. It works well in politics and religion. They have no answer for their insanity being called as beautiful and poignant satire lampooning their insane position. First time I tried it, I got a right wing Christian gun nut who open with expressing a desire to kill many atheists finishing the discussion with "bless you."

You have to gush with the complements using this method. It may take them a little while but eventually they will realize they are getting nothing from you and are just pointless exposing themselves as odious buffoons. Even better to complement them on their great Poe (any sufficiently advanced parody is indistinguishable from a genuine kook).  A conversation could look like this.

Troll: Liberals lick llamas!
Me: Wow! That's a great Poe. LOL.
Troll: What's a Poe? Isn't your llama wet yet?
Me: See Rational wiki ( Haha, nice. more please :)
Troll: That's offensive. Obama is the anti Christ he hands out llama's so liberals like you will vote for him.
Me: Yeah, so offensive and funny, you do it so very well I almost thought you were serious. Have you sent your Resume to Stephen Colbert, I reckon you have a shot at a gig on the writing team!
Troll: America is a Christian nation if you don't like it, get out!
Me: Priceless, that one always cracks me up. Can you do John Hagee's voice too? If I go, I'm taking all the nuclear medicine guys with me, a big chunk of the engineers, and most pharmaceutical researchers too. Kiss the next big thing in iPhone good bye the physicists are coming as well. You better stock up on garlic and echinacea. :)
Troll: You can't have morals without God! Atheist's would just run the streets raping and pillaging, I know I would.
Me: LMAO, perfectly well played. Wonderfully highlights how right wing kooks have so much wrong with them it is easy to convince them they need an imaginary overlord to keep themselves in check, while missing that reason and thorazine are much more effective. Neither myself or anyone I know has the sightless inclination to gang-banging. But each to his own guess, except there would be consequences. Prison is quite likely, and as atheists are under represented it would be hard to find like minded people to hang out with in the break room. Then there would all those christian do-good types handing me ultra violent porn in the old testament text songs of Solomon and all that smiting. I don't have much in the way of anger issues or sexual perversion but after a few years of prison rape and reading about the vengeful god, sure I could develop some. And if it became a big thing for folks to do in the weekend, then friends and family would be vulnerable to being victims of rape and pillage and, call me crazy, I don't want that to happen to my friends or family. Yes, you're so right, we don't really need imaginary friends to be good people. This is good have got more?
Troll: You are only an atheist because you want to sin.
Me: He-he, must be missing something, I don't smoke, drink, do drugs, steal, rape, murder and I value integrity. If all this "sin" is so desirable and I feel no compulsion at all for any of it. And still I know no good reason to accept your god-hypothesis or anyone else's. This is great, You've brought really great comical interrogative to this conversation. :) any else you would like to examine?
Troll: Bless you and Good bye.

You may never  turn the troll to your side of the argument, but if you keep your cool treat them like they are really arguing for your side of the debate as a Poe you will have achieved something worth while.
  • You have turn the conversation around to your side of the argument despite the effort to derail it.
  • You will have demonstrated that you can keep cool be civil under pressure. (Bill Nye wanted to face palm but he kept it out of Kentucky.)
  • You may move unpersuaded audience closure to your position, or at least they will be dissuaded by the trolls.
This technique I extrapolate from the story of an old black preacher who disarmed the local KKK by "trolling with love". One time they set a burning cross across the road from his house, he if they needed hotdog and marsh-mellows for their barbeque. Another time the confronted him a restaurant, The grand wizard something like "The next thing you do to that chicken we will do to you." He responded by picking up the chicken from his plate and kissed it. The other KKK guys couldn't stop laughing, the Grand Wizard just walked out and eventually left the KKK.

See also
   Trolling the KKK with Love.
   More about the study of trolls from Time.
   The published findings on Science Direct

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