Tag Archives: Types of Troller

The 3 Types of Eyeball

Eyeball, n. A user of an online community who likes to watch what others do for the ‘opportune’ moment to post a provocative message. Examples include Lurkers, Trolls and Big Men.

Eyeball Type Description
Lurker Driven by ‘Surveillance’ forces. Lurkers make silent calls by accident, etc., clicking on adverts or ‘like’ buttons, using ’referrer spoofers’, reporting posts, modifying opinion polls or user kudos scores.
Elder Driven by ‘Escape’ forces. An Elder is an out bound member of the community, often engaging in “trolling for newbies”, where they wind up the newer members often without questioning from other members.
Troll Driven by ‘Chaos’ forces. A Troll takes part in trolling to entertain others, bringing some fun and mischief to an online community.

The 3 Types of Bzzzter

A Bzzzter is a person who posts wrong or false information to an online community, especially a newsgroup. They like to chat regardless of accuracy or usefulness of their contributions. There are three types of Bzzzter; The MHBFY Jenny, the Wizard, and the Flirt [1].

Bzzzter Type Description
MHBFY Jenny Driven by ‘Forgiveness forces’. A MHBFY Jenny takes part in trolling to help people see the lighter side of life and to help others come to terms with their concerns.
Wizard Driven by ‘Creative’ forces. A Wizard does trolling through making up and sharing content that has a humorous effect
Flirt Driven by ‘Social’ forces. A Flirt takes part in trolling to help others be sociable, including through light ’teasing’

Bzzzters and the law in the United Kingdom

There are a number of laws in the UK that can be used to deal with Bzzzters who are showing problematic behaviours, including the following [2].:

  • The Defamation Acts 1952, 1996, 2013; can be used to bring action in the civil courts by one person if another person has said something about them which is untrue and this has a harmful effect on them.
  • Section 127 of the Communications Act 2003 can be used to prosecute people who; “for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety to another, he—
    • (a) sends by means of a public electronic communications network, a message that he knows to be false.”
  • Section 1 of the Malicious Communications Act 1988 (abbreviated) provides that “Any person who sends to another person—
    • (a) a letter, electronic communication or article of any description which conveys—
      • information which is false and known or believed to be false by the sender […]
  • is guilty of an offence if his purpose, or one of his purposes, in sending it is that it should, so far as falling within paragraph (a) or (b) above, cause distress or anxiety to the recipient or to any other person to whom he intends that it or its contents or nature should be communicated.

It can be seen from these that the Communication Act 2003 requires the person to know what they are sending is definitely false, whereas the Malicious Communications Act 1988 only requires that person to believe it is untrue, even if it is not. This latter Act can spell bad news for Bzzzters if they spread a rumour that is not true, but at the time believed it was. The Malicious Communications Act 1998 is therefore a criminal version of defamation, which can be used to inhibit free speech by those with the power to use it.

Citations

[1]. Jonathan Bishop (2014). Representations of ‘trolls’ in mass media communication: A review of media-texts and moral panics relating to ‘internet trolling.’ International Journal of Web Based Communities 10(1), 7-24.

[2]. Jonathan Bishop (2013). The Art of Trolling Law Enforcement: A Review and Model for implementing ‘flame trolling’ legislation enacted in Great Britain (1981-2012), International Review of Law, Computers and Technology 27(3).

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The 3 Types of Hater

Hater, n. Haters are Internet users who post obnoxious or offensive messages online, such as to online communities. There are three types of Hater – the E-Venger, the Iconoclast and the Snert [1].

Hater Type Description
E-Venger Driven by ‘Vengeance’ forces. An E-Venger does trolling in order to trip someone up so that their ‘true colours’ are revealed. As Haters they may target people who wronged them, such as those who banned, blocked or censored them. Some E-Vengers will target memorial webpages or similar to serve their idea of justice on those who they feel are ‘jumping on the bandwagon.’
Iconoclast Driven by ‘Destructive’ forces. An Iconoclast takes part in trolling to help others discover ‘the truth’, often by telling them things completely factual, but which may drive them into a state of consternation. As Haters they will set up webpages and use other means to expose what they see as the truth, especially if the generally accepted view is to the contrary.
Snert Driven by ‘Anti-social’ forces. A Snert takes part in trolling to harm others for their own sick entertainment. As Haters they will target people who they feel had a better deal in life than they were afforded. It is usual for them to target people who acheived things they wanted to but didn’t.

The Psychology of Haters

Haters are known to behave in ways similar to Anti-social Personality Disorder [2].

Haters and the law

The fact that someone is a Hater does not necessarily mean they are breaking the law. In the United Kingdom the case of DPP v Connolly ruled the following:

“Satirical, or iconoclastic, or rude comment, the expression of unpopular or unfashionable opinion about serious or trivial matters, banter or humour, even if distasteful to some or painful to those subjected to it should and no doubt will continue at their customary level, quite undiminished by [section 127 of the Communications Act 2003].”

Snerts post comments that are rude, distasteful and painful to some. Iconoclasts express opinions and ideas that are iconoclastic (obviously), unpopular  and unfashionable. E-Vengers will nearly always express distasteful or painful comments, especially  if it helps expose the injustices they feel wronged by.

Where Haters cross the line between free speech and committing an offence the following Acts of Parliament might apply [3]:

  • The Malicious Communications Act 1988
  • The Protection from Harassment Act 1997
  • The Communications Act 2003

Citations

[1]. Jonathan Bishop (2014). Representations of ‘trolls’ in mass media communication: A review of media-texts and moral panics relating to ‘internet trolling.’ International Journal of Web Based Communities 10(1), 7-24.

[2]. Jonathan Bishop (2013). The effect of deindividuation of the Internet Troller on Criminal Procedure implementation: An interview with a Hater. International Journal of Cyber Criminology 7(1), pp. 28-48.

[3]. Jonathan Bishop (2013). The Art of Trolling Law Enforcement: A Review and Model for implementing ‘flame trolling’ legislation enacted in Great Britain (1981-2012), International Review of Law, Computers and Technology 27(3).

The 3 Types of Lolcow

Lolcow, n. A type of Internet user who will get into conflicts online, such as on bulletin boards, and will then be targeted continually by other users of that website because of their compulsion to act the same way as got them trolled in the first place.

Of the 12 types of Internet trolling, three of them can be singled out as Lolcows – The Big Man, the Ripper and the Chatroom bob.

Lolcow Type Description
Big Man Driven by ‘Order’ forces. A Big Man does trolling by posting something pleasing to others in order to support their world view. They hold strong and unchangeable opinions and will be targeted because of this. Big Men enjoy this attention more than others would want.
Ripper Driven by ‘Thanatotic’ forces. A Ripper takes part in self-deprecating trolling in order to build a false sense of empathy from others. They usually have issues no one wants to help them with offline and so use online communities to seek help. Because they ignore others’ suggestions – just wanting attention – they become targets for regular abuse and often retort “I was only trolling.
Chatroom Bob Driven by ‘Existential’ forces. A chatroom bob takes part in trolling to gain the trust of others members in order to exploit them. They usually use online communities for their own purposes, more often than not with a sex-related motive. They are targeted because people see them as ‘creeps,’ and despite their high opinions of their appeal they struggle to achieve it.

The 6 types of Cyberbully

The six types of cyberbullies include the Elders who are more driven by a form of escapism where they troll others because they are bored and cynical. The Big Men are more cognitive based, and will argue with others even if they don’t want them to. The Snerts are full-time cyberbullies, who get enjoyment out of cyberbullying. The E-Vengers have an ‘axe to grind’ and will cyberbully those who offended them. Iconoclasts have a strong sense of what the truth is, and will make sure others know that truth, even if they don’t want to. Finally there are the chatroom bobs, who cyberbully not by saying nasty things but gaining someone’s trust in order to then abuse them.

CyberbullyType Description
Elder Driven by ‘Escape’ forces. An Elder is an out bound member of the community. Their cyberbullying often takes the form of what is known as “trolling for newbies.” This sort of cyberbullying is to wind up the newer members by saying something they know they will react strongly to. It often happens without questioning from other members.
Big Man Driven by ‘Order’ forces. A Big Man does cyberbullying by posting something to others who don’t agree but which they find pleasing. This supports their world view and they argue with others until they agree or they personally get banned.
Snert Driven by ‘Anti-social’ forces. A Snert takes part in cyberbullying to harm others for their own sick entertainment.
E-Venger Driven by ‘Vengeance’ forces. An E-Venger’s cyberbullying is done out of malice in order to trip someone up so that their ‘true colours’ are revealed.
Iconoclast Driven by ‘Destructive’ forces. An Iconoclast type of cyberbullying involves helping others discover ‘the truth’, even if they don’t want to hear it. This includes telling them things completely factual, but which may drive them into a state of consternation. They may post links to content that contradicts the worldview of their target.
Chatroom Bob Driven by ‘Existential’ forces. A chatroom bob is a very subtle kind of cyberbully. Thet post friendly messages in order to gain the trust of others members in order to exploit them, such as by getting ‘naked pictures’ and then sharing them with others.

The 12 Types of Internet Troller

The twelve types of troller are quite unique and will be grouped into pairs because some are quite similar and differing in that one group posts kudos to be friendly and the other flames to be nasty.

Troller Character Type Description
Lurker Driven by ‘Surveillance’ forces. Lurkers make silent calls by accident, etc., clicking on adverts or ‘like’ buttons, using ’referrer spoofers’, reporting posts, modifying opinion polls or user kudos scores.
Elder Driven by ‘Escape’ forces. An Elder is an out bound member of the community, often engaging in “trolling for newbies”, where they wind up the newer members often without questioning from other members.
Troll Driven by ‘Chaos’ forces. A Troll takes part in trolling to entertain others, bringing some fun and mischief to an online community.
Big Man Driven by ‘Order’ forces. A Big Man does trolling by posting something pleasing to others in order to support their world view.
Flirt Driven by ‘Social’ forces. A Flirt takes part in trolling to help others be sociable, including through light ’teasing’.
Snert Driven by ‘Anti-social’ forces. A Snert takes part in trolling to harm others for their own sick entertainment.
MHBFYJenny Driven by ‘Forgiveness forces’. A MHBFY Jenny takes part in trolling to help people see the lighter side of life and to help others come to terms with their concerns.
E-Venger Driven by ‘Vengeance’ forces. An E-Venger does trolling in order to trip someone up so that their ‘true colours’ are revealed.
Wizard Driven by ‘Creative’ forces. A Wizard does trolling through making up and sharing content that has humorous effect.
Iconoclast Driven by ‘Destructive’ forces. An Iconoclast takes part in trolling to help others discover ‘the truth’, often by telling them things completely factual, but which may drive them into a state of consternation. They may post links to content that contradicts the worldview of their target.
Ripper Driven by ‘Thanatotic’ forces. A Ripper takes part in self-deprecating trolling in order to build a false sense of empathy from others.
Chatroom Bob Driven by ‘Existential’ forces. A chatroom bob takes part in trolling to gain the trust of others members in order to exploit them.

Lurkers and Elders

Lurkers do not have a persistent identity or obvious visibility in the online community. While they take part, such as by clicking advertisements, voting in polls and voting others kudos points up or down. More often than not their posts are kudos trolling and occasionally they will change their web browser’s ‘referrer address’ which tells the community the last website they visited to one of a search engine with entertaining words in the search results. Lurkers are best suited to communities where one doesn’t need to take part to stay a member and where there are a lot of activities that can’t identify them, such as polls, and other voting. Elders on the other hand, while experienced and knowledgeable about the community and its norms, are cynical and looking for a reason to leave the community. Their flame trolling will often be directed to the novices, commonly called ‘trolling for newbies’, who they will try to incite to start a tirade of abusive messages, known as a ‘flame war’, which they know the Big Men and Snerts will get caught up in. Elders, like Trolls, are best suited to communities where there is a clear divide between “Us” and “Them” groups which novice members are likely to be strongly for or against and therefore easily susceptible to flame trolling.

Flirts and Snerts

Flirts are those who take part in online communities to share their experiences and support others achieve the things they want. To do this they take part in kudos trolling where they pretty much only post comments which are in agreement with others and which they support with evidence from their own lives. Flirts like communities to have a solid chat or discussion forum open to anyone. Snerts on the other hand take part in flame trolling where they offend and abuse others. They will call people names that are insulting to them and attack them personally rather than attack the substance of their arguments. They will sometimes go to great lengths to offend others, such as by making offensive videos about them or starting posts dedicated to abuse of them. Snerts take well to communities where there is complete anonymity, “free speech” and no checks or recording of their true identities.

Trolls and Big Men

Trolls are people who liven up online communities through post messages that while having someone at the butt of the joke are entertaining to others. A type of kudos trolling, the messages posted by trollers, while not usually constructive, hold the community together, especially when the targets of the jokes are the Snerts. Trolls tend to target communities where there is a clear “Us” and “Them”, such as those based around sports teams where there is clear tribalism and competitiveness. The Big Men also unite the community, but not in a peaceful way. They take in upon themselves to be the arbitrator of right and wrong forming a de facto council which the Snerts especially object to leading them to unite against the Big Men.

The messages of Big Men can therefore be seen to be a type of flame trolling. Big Men are best suited to communities which are disorganised with no clear structure where they can try to assert some order, such as flaming people if they go off topic.

MHBFY Jennies and E-Vengers

MHBFY Jennies, or in other words ‘My Heart Bleeds For You Jennies’ are the agony aunts and counsellors of the online community. They show empathy for all members, whether the Big Men who are often set upon by the Snerts, or even the individual Snerts, who they try to fix into being nice people. Their kudos trolling takes the form of humorous comments that help others see the lighter side of life. MHBFY Jennies are best suited to health support communities where people are looking for advice and support during troubled times. E-Vengers on the other hand have a point to prove and grievance to air. They may have been wronged by a particular group of people or previously banned from a community which they then re-join under a pseudonym. E-Vengers are best suited to communities where there is a clear bias that supports their point of view, or where there are few identity checks and pseudonyms can be used to support anonymity or multiple identities.

Wizards and Iconoclasts

Wizards provide a creative spark to the online community. They are always looking to be original, through editing wikis to make them informative, designing and selling virtual goods in virtual worlds, or helping others think ‘outside the box’ in forums. When they do their kudos trolling it might be to make a ‘deliberate mistake’ or put ‘hidden code’ into pages which if found could be entertaining. Wizards are best suited to communities where one can make lots on contributions or a difference to others’ lives. Their opposites, the Iconoclasts on the other had seek to destroy content or shatter the certainty others have in their beliefs. For instance in a forum, if they know someone holds a particular point of view they will link to an authoritative source that disproves it. The Iconoclasts are best suited to communities where they can remove or change content or otherwise disrupt them through ‘edit wars’ where they battle with others to have their unconstructive edits accepted. In wikis they are the ‘deletionists’ who want content which does not support their worldview removed.

Chatroom Bobs and Rippers

Chatroom Bobs are driven purely by their desire for a thrill. They will post jokes others find entertaining but this is only to seduce them so that they do something to fulfil their needs, such as asking them to send sexualised photographs for the Chatroom Bobs own pleasure. Chatroom Bobs are best suited to communities that are not moderated and where there is a private messaging feature and ability to share images privately. The Rippers on the other hand provide a depressive look at the world to online communities, which strangely promote community cohesion through the Flirts and MHBFY Jennies having a ‘victim’ to support and nurture. Their kudos trolling is often in the form of self-deprecating jokes, which can help make others feel a sense of superiority, such as the Snerts. Rippers are best suited to communities that are made of people who offer lots of suggestions, which they can keep giving excuses to turn down as they are only looking for sympathy.

Citing this model

Cite this model as follows:

  • Bishop, J. (2012). Scope and Limitations in the Government of Wales Act 2006 for Tackling Internet Abuses in the Form of ‘Flame Trolling’. Statute Law Review 33(2), 207-216.
  • Bishop, J. (2013). The Psychology of Trolling and Lurking: The Role of Defriending and Gamification for Increasing Participation in Online Communities Using Seductive Narratives. In: J. Bishop (Ed.) Examining the Concepts, Issues, and Implications of Internet Trolling. IGI Global: Hershey, PA. Available online at: http://www.jonathanbishop.com/Library/Documents/EN/docIGIPaper_GFP.pdf

More Information

For more information on these different types of troller you can read the associated published research article by Jonathan Bishop.