THIS being a quiet Saturday evening, I thought I’d address the problem of the Internet Troll, best described by the creator of Flayme.com thus:
I believe that most trolls are sad people, living their lonely lives vicariously through those they see as strong and successful.
Disrupting a stable newsgroup gives the illusion of power, just as for a few, stalking a strong person allows them to think they are strong, too.
For trolls, any response is ‘recognition’; they are unable to distinguish between irritation and admiration; their ego grows directly in proportion to the response, regardless of the form or content of that response.
Remember that trolls are cowards; they’ll usually post just enough to get an argument going, then sit back and count the responses (Yes, that’s what they do!)
Prime characteristics of trolls include:
• No imagination
• Off-topic posting
• Repeating a question or statement
• Missing the point – trolls rarely answer a direct question. They cannot, if asked to justify their twaddle, so they develop a fine line in missing the point.
• They are thick or sad – lonely folk, with few social skills; they rarely make what most people would consider intelligent conversation.
Why, of course you do!
It’s Bob Hutton, the Christian knuckle-dragger who describes himself on various message boards as “an evangelist” from Broadstairs in Kent, and a man who has chosen to dog this blog for months.
Regrettably, some readers have chosen to feed this troll by responding to his posts – off-topic, witless and repetitive Christian blathering. The result is that visitors – normally placid and fairly well-mannered folk – have been goaded into rages of Mount St Helens proportions, and there has been an embarrassment of effing and blinding on this blog.
Hutton – best described by one Freethinker contributor, Dr William Harwood, as “godphuked” – is now barred, but this has not stopped him from attempting to get his messages through. Spam filters don’t always work, so occasionally his drivel appears under a post. These messages are almost always deleted. But if one slips through, PLEASE ignore it – do not feed the troll no matter how great the temptation.
Since we began deleting the cretin’s comments, he has been whining nonstop that we are trampling all over his right to “free speech”.
So what pearls of wisdom have we missed; what lofty intellectual observations has he made since the drawbridge was hoisted? What sparkling gems of wit have been brushed into the bin?
Since March 3, 2009, until today, this pathetic creature has attempted to post 30 comments. Here is a selection – be warned of a very high MEGO (My Eyes Glaze Over) factor. Hutton might be queer, but Oscar Wilde he ain’t!
• I went on to Billy Harwoods (sic) blog and posted there but he doesn’t believe in free speech either!!
• You MUST repent. If you don’t repent then Hellfire awaits you when you die.
• Hello there – you really must repent of your unbelief and accept Jesus as your Lord and Saviour.
• Gay activities are sinful and they need to repent.
• The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah is not a myth, that event actually happened.
• Oh dear, you people are so cynical, so full of hate and bitterness! You need Jesus in your lives.
• Creationists are on the move; we will not be silenced!
• Creationists are on the march –we will prevail!
• Creationism is the truth. Evolution is evil-lution.
This isn’t even original. It was concocted years ago by some American numbskull.
• The payback will occur on the judgement day when you face God!
• Islam is a false relgion (sic) that comes from the Devil.
• Jesus died for us – He died for our sins.
Actually, he didn’t. He died for his OWN fucking sins!
• Precisely, who decides what is acceptable free speech? If this blog believes in free speech I should not be getting deleted.
• Buffy: you must repent of perversion.
• Hey Barry, where are you? Worshipping at the shrine of Dawkins? You must repent of your unbelief!
• Jesus is Lord – you will not silence the followers of Jesus!
• I don’t hate gays but what they are doing is a perversion and they need to repent.
• Those who refuse to repent WILL end up in Hell – you have been warned!
Clearly frustrated by having his messages deleted, Hutton suggested a ludicrous compromise:
Hey Barry, if you don’t like me posting lots of comments then I would suggest you take up the offer I made viz. you don’t delete my posts and I will only put on one post per article. Is it a deal?
No, it bloody isn’t! And I don’t take kindly to veiled threats.
And here’s one that had me on the floor laughing. It came after I recently described Hutton as “mental”:
No Barry I am not mental – I am perfectly sane. You must repent of making a false allegation.
This from a pervert who has confessed to entering supermarkets to insert religious tracts into food packaging.
“Mental”, in fact, might be grossly understating the condition of this troll’s mind. “Crazy as a shithouse rat” is far nearer the mark.
• This piece first appeared on the Freethinker site in 2009