We win: Internet trolls are sadistic, Machiavellian psychopaths, SAYS SCIENCE
Sad news day for that dude who sent me the hilarious “ur hot y feminazi?” message last month, and, indeed, for all people who spend a stupid amount of time online harassing innocent bloggers and telling them to die in fiery rape pits for no apparent reason! ACCORDING TO SCIENCE, you are a sadistic, Machiavellian psychopath. And I am awesome*.
A recent study on internet behavior found most people who engage in what we would normally consider to be “trolling” exhibit the personality traits of what psychologists call “The Dark Tetrad”: narcissism, Machiavellianism, psychopathy and a sadistic personality. If I have learned anything from the excessive amount of crime shows I watch, these people are also pretty likely to become murderers–which means I should probably start absorbing the whole “Don’t feed the trolls” mantra as soon as humanly possible.
As someone who has always kind of wondered about what kind of person would actually have enough time on their hands to actually “troll” anyone on the internet, this is pretty illuminating. I guess the reason is that they have terrible personalities, and thus, probably not much of a social life.
Personally, I’ve found that the best way to deal with a troll is through the magic of doxxing. We used to have this one troll who would get hysterical over every single typo we ever made and demand to know who allowed us all to write for the internet. We’re pretty good at catching them, but hey, when you write all day, mistakes happen. The New York Times has never had an issue without one. There are also ways to point out a typo without being a raging douchemonster, but this guy was clearly just trying to be an ass. Anyway, I Googled the guy and found out that he was an aspiring writer himself–and a really, really bad one at that. So I turned the whole thing around and made fun of him and his sad jam band reviews. It was incredibly cathartic and satisfying. I highly recommend it!
We’ve actually discussed inviting the occasional troll of the “complains about everything and yet reads us anyway” variety to write a post for us. Along the lines of a “So you think you can do better?” kind of thing. However, the one lesson I have learned about trolls is that they’re not especially clever, so it probably wouldn’t be a very successful experiment.
*Technically not proven by science. YET.