COURTESY WARNING to REGULAR CONTRIBUTORS
The following article on the subject of trolls is
intended as a primer for newcomers to these
newsgroups. Few long term habitués are likely to
find anything informative, amusing or interesting
We now return to our regular scheduled programming:
the world premier of "Nobody Here But Us Chickens".
Any resemblance between the stereotypes described
here and any individual, living or dead, fictional or
real, is entirely coincidental. No animal should feel
hurt in the making of this article. We release this
treatise into the public domain with no rights deserved.
The Book of Trolls
Newcomers to these newsgroups will encounter the
word "troll" used as a noun or a verb. As a noun, the
word has a technical meaning which falls well short
of encompassing the creature's true magnificence: an
individual with little or no interest in the subject
at hand who makes provocative
statements and then departs. Therein lies the rub.
In reality, for better or worse, the genus found here
To fully understand the difference between the
classical definition and the Realpolitik of "trolling"
(i.e. a verb/gerund describing the unbearable
lightness of being a troll) we need to understand the
difference between the vulgar English expression "shit
disturber" and the French word "emerdeur". The very
nature of the phrase "shit disturber" connotes someone
who stirs up a pre-existing cauldron. An emerdeur,
on the other hand, creates the (ahem) milieu and then
immerses everyone into it. This more closely describes
the vital role that these proud beasts (known
affectionately as "trolls") perform. Their other
crucial function is to act as fodder or "liquidity" for
our newsreaders. Without trolls, we might have to wait
for days between posts. Seeing no messages on our
readers, we might wonder if our news service is failing
to make regular updates. At the slight cost of
scrolling through numerous bleatings, we will never
again be worried by an absence of contributions. Yes,
we may still have to wait long days between rational
posts. But the troll serves much the same evolutionary
purpose as the second hand on a wrist watch. For this
alone, we should all be grateful.
Any view of trolls should spark another form of gratitute
as well. Indeed, it is difficult to avoid regarding one of
these beasts and saying to ourselves:
"There but for the wrath of God
The "official" definition of "troll" misses the mark in
suggesting that the troll is strictly an "agent provocateur".
In truth, a troll can be more megalomaniac than instigator.
Long into the night they will proclaim their own genius and
integrity in sharp contrast to the stupidity and depravity
of others. Trolls are unique among mammalia in that males
are not the only ones headbutting and buttheading in this
manner. Trolls come in both genders, which may or may not
explain their proliferation. (Little is known about their
mating rituals and, oddly enough, no scientific studies on
this subject are scheduled. Suspicions that they may
interbreed with humans are as yet unsubstantiated.)
All trolls share the implacable belief that the hours,
days, months and years devoted to insulting others
are wisely invested. Surely any reader seeing such
brilliant time management will be forced to recognize the
posting troll's individual intellectual superiority.
Note: Humans are warned not to challenge this precious
article of faith. Approaching the Shroud of Turin with a
blow torch would be far safer.
then, the troll must exhibit the following identifiable charms:
- Disregard for the underlying subject; and, more recently,
Trolls have genera and phylum but no class, per se.
None whatsoever, in fact. Trolls come in three varieties:
The Care and Handling of Trolls
This is the most literate version,
identified by their ability to write in full
sentences and, at the very least, use a spell
checker. The IntellecTroll has read "everything
worth reading" without, of course, understanding
or benefitting from any of it.
Their patron saint is Ezra Pound. They consider
Alan Price a heretic for saying:
"If knowledge hangs around your neck like pearls
instead of chains you are a lucky [one]."
are in continual
conflict with Parole Trolls, but are usually clever
enough to avoid provoking the Patrol Troll.
This, your garden variety troll, is
incapable of coherent thought, speech or writing.
The etymology of their name remains in dispute.
Some argue that it is a reference to this group's
difficulty with expression ("parole" being French
for "word"). Others argue that the often sexist,
racist and/or intimidating behaviour of these brutes
suggests recent and regular incarceration.
Their patron saint is Don Cherry. They consider
Alan Price a heretic for knowing that "knowledge"
has a "d" in it.
Each newsgroup has its own resident "watchdog"
troll. Sometimes known as "PaTrolls" (but never
"PeTrolls"), their rare good moods are marked by
condescension rather than outright savagery. The job
of this Cerberus is to bark and expose the presence of
incoming trolls. This requires keen senses, since
invading trolls often attempt to disguise themselves as
humans. Inbred egomania usually betrays the intruder.
Otherwise, just as Dracula's failure to cast a
reflection in a mirror exposes him, the newcomer troll's
inability to employ self-effacing humour will alert the
vigilant Patrol Troll.
Their patron saint is Johnny Cash. These watchdogs
consider Alan Price a heretic for bringing up the
subject of chains around necks.
Patrol Trolls are "lone wolves" but
are domesticated to the extent that they co-exist well
with humans. The last known attack by a Patrol Troll
on a human being came when the latter opened an offering
of a notorious Parole Troll and then complained at great
length about how (gasp!) offensive it was. Sympathy for
the victim was underwhelming. Indeed, when concerned
citizens demanded that "it be put to sleep" many assumed
that the suggestion referred to the human involved.
This option became moot when it was discovered that the
person was already technically brain dead.
Patrol Trolls maintain a cold war peace with most
Parole Trolls form their diet.
There is really only one rule regarding the proper
care and handling of these special creatures:
Unfortunately, just as some of us have trouble
"seeing the forest for the trees", many find this
commandment too unsophisticated to accept as a
panacea. Hence, we have added four more commandments,
listed here in the fervant hope that no astute reader
will notice that they are simple restatements of the
Know this: If you respond to a troll, you lose.
That's right. It doesn't matter how original, witty or devastating
your retort, the troll wins merely because you have
responded. "Dem's da rulz!"
- 2. Do not "feed" (i.e. insult) the trolls.
- 3. Do not mention the name of a troll.
- 4. Do not comment on the works of a troll.
- 5. Do not read the posts of a known troll.
We hereby submit for your perusal our humble
zoological treatise on this fascinating species.
It expresses our desire that we will be able to
experience this brilliant fauna in all of its
natural glory for years to come and to pass on
this appreciation to our children.
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Over to The List of r.a.p. Trolls