START A PETITION 25,136,189 members: the world's largest community for good

The Dark Psychology of Internet Trolls

Offbeat  (tags: Internet trolls, dark psychology, bullies, victimised, Internet )

- 145 days ago -
There's an area of forensic (having to do with legal or criminal cases) psychology that is known as "Dark Psychology." And it just might help us better understand Internet trolls -- people who feel the need to use the Internet to victimise.

Select names from your address book   |   Help

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.


Kit B. (277)
Sunday March 2, 2014, 11:24 am

Really good reading, and I think it is very close to being accurate. Some may have missed out on some "mommy attention" and will or say whatever is needed to get attention. Others are intent on being hurtful and mean. It's often very difficult to ignore trolls, there is a desire to set the record straight, or introduce some real facts to counter balance the fluff. The truth is that often just adds fuel to the fire.

Jonathan Smithsonian (4)
Sunday March 2, 2014, 11:28 am

Barbara K. (87)
Sunday March 2, 2014, 11:47 am
Great article, thanks for the forward, Kit. I realize that I've seen more trolls than I realize. I generally do not feed the trolls. Most of them are over politics lately. Thanks for the post, Marie.

JL A. (272)
Sunday March 2, 2014, 11:48 am
Thanks for posting Marie. Each of the articles posted about this research has provided additional insight that should help us better not add fuel to the fire.

AniMae Chi (392)
Sunday March 2, 2014, 11:51 am
Thank you for finding & posting this Marie!

Deb E. (64)
Sunday March 2, 2014, 11:55 am
Great reminder to remember who to feed and who not to. Thanks for the post, Marie, and for forwarding, Kit

Marie H. (166)
Sunday March 2, 2014, 12:04 pm
Thanks Elisa for forwarding to me xx

pam w. (191)
Sunday March 2, 2014, 12:16 pm
Interesting.....and so very familiar.

We've got our share...that's certain!

Elisa F. (233)
Sunday March 2, 2014, 12:21 pm
You are so welcome, Marie. I believe this article gives great insight into the minds of cyber-bullies/trolls.

Pat B. (354)
Sunday March 2, 2014, 12:37 pm
Interesting read, especially the comment board. Thanks, Marie for this, and Kit for FW.

Kit B. (277)
Sunday March 2, 2014, 1:02 pm

I have received a number of letters of scorn because I sent out a notice about this article. I find that amusing and the definition of irony. One person had very different concerns that are personal, others just decided I was calling them a troll. Goofy!

GGmaSheila D. (132)
Sunday March 2, 2014, 1:07 pm
Thanks for the particularly relevent article. The trolls I've encountered on C2 know the members they target from reading comments on various articles and/or past dealings. They target those whose vulnerability lie in the very comments made, thus providing fodder with which to poke, prod, and provoke. I've been lucky, they didn't seem to target my comments.

The article is correct in how to avoid them. The best way to avoid the pitfalls of trolls is to remember the Rule of Nonengagement...difficult when you've been slurred, maligned, even called names. I must say I did succumb with a rant, a temper tantrum, but lucked out they didn't pick on me. They enjoy anger of others, even when aimed at them.

We must all remember nothing is really personal, though it may seem like it at the time. Trolls troll...hoping to catch anyone with whatever bait they throw out. When no nibbles, they just change bait. Like some fisherpeople, they troll where the pickings are fairly easy, not liking the challenge of catching as much as the actual engagement itself. That said, you may run into a few that actually enjoy the challenge of catching a particularly slippery prey. Once caught, they turn to the next challenge.

Cyber-trolls can work alone, or with others, though not necessarily coordinating their efforts. More like playing off one another's bait, making sure the nibbler actually bites and is hooked. These are the ones most difficult to get away from if you make the mistake of engaging...

Daniel Partlow (189)
Sunday March 2, 2014, 2:06 pm
Sounds like good advise to me. Ignore them!

Terry King (108)
Sunday March 2, 2014, 2:12 pm
Several current and former Care2 members jump immediately to mind!

Elle B. (81)
Sunday March 2, 2014, 2:17 pm
Ty for the article Marie. . .a good reminder that unfortunately they are still marauding about far too often. . .thank-you for the notice and your succinct comments Kit . . . providing facts and sharing truth with trolls is like piping mountain spring water into the sewer drains. . .

“He rejoices to have made his way by ruin of others." ―Lucanus (39-65 a.d.), Pharsalia (I, 150)

“Cruelty, like every other vice, requires no motive outside of itself; it only requires opportunity” ―George Elliot

“A knavish speech sleeps in a fool's ear.” ― William Shakespeare

"There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all." ―Peter F. Drucker

Rose NoFWDSPLZ (276)
Sunday March 2, 2014, 2:26 pm
Thanks Kit for sharing

Lois Jordan (55)
Sunday March 2, 2014, 2:42 pm
Noted. Thank you, Marie.....and Kit for the link. Most of the sites I read are pretty good at ignoring the trolls in their comment sections. There are times, though, when they are fed so much that people reading thru the comments don't even give "thumbs down" and just ignore them....scroll past that section. I've found this is the best way to deal with them.

pam w. (191)
Sunday March 2, 2014, 2:43 pm
Kit...."I have received a number of letters of scorn because I sent out a notice about this article. I find that amusing and the definition of irony. One person had very different concerns that are personal, others just decided I was calling them a troll. Goofy!"

++++++++++++++Kit...I hope you responded by quoting this old song...... "You're so vain, you probl'ly think this song is about you! You're so vain....I'll bet you think this song is about you....don't you....don't you...don't you"


Lynn Squance (227)
Sunday March 2, 2014, 2:54 pm
I admit that I have fed a troll thinking that I was straightening out a point. And although it was a political post, I knew the had mislead the discussion with lies. I have however tried very hard not to feed the trolls.

Kit, anyone who takes offence at getting a recommendation like this from you and then goes "ape shit" all over you certainly has their problems, and you are not one of them! Thanks for referring the article. It should help everyone understand the definition of "troll" and get a more consistent definition. It also demonstrates the psychology of the troll and why we should not feed the trolls.

daryl bishop (243)
Sunday March 2, 2014, 3:14 pm
boy is this dead on. we had one on another site i was on. everytime they would kick her off. she just starteda new profile. they finally threatened legal action. people don't realize that they should not be afraid of them they just live in our machines. she would threaten people and some she really terrified some

Laura T. (109)
Sunday March 2, 2014, 3:27 pm
interesting article

Ruth Ann W. (205)
Sunday March 2, 2014, 3:36 pm
TY Marie!

Joanne Dixon (36)
Sunday March 2, 2014, 3:40 pm
The article is certainly right on as regards the troll who trolls for fun. And probability would suggest that some of those who troll for money also enjoy it. But I am convinced there are many out there who only troll because they are starving and can't find other employment. I don't suppose it matters much since not "feeding" them in the posting sense is the way to treat both.

I've sometimes started an honest post only to realize there is a troll following the thread who would seize on it, and instead deleted it and just posted "Don't feed the troll." Not much they can do with that, since "Are you calling me a troll?" and "I'm not a troll" are both admissions that they are indeed.

Robert B. (57)
Sunday March 2, 2014, 3:43 pm
Good advice to ignore an obvious troll. They don't thrive well on zero responses.

Autumn S. (142)
Sunday March 2, 2014, 3:50 pm
thanks for posting this, Marie

A F. (130)
Sunday March 2, 2014, 3:51 pm
thank you

Janis K. (91)
Sunday March 2, 2014, 4:13 pm
Thanks for posting!

SJ J. (116)
Sunday March 2, 2014, 4:20 pm
noted, thanks Marie
Previously they were on phone.

Shirley S. (172)
Sunday March 2, 2014, 4:38 pm
Interesting post. One TROLL I am sure was flagged by me just recently. Poor sick people who don't have any lovely care2 friends.

jess b (22)
Sunday March 2, 2014, 4:45 pm
Good comment SJ - I was thinking before I saw your comment, that there are bullies and, before the internet, they just didn't 'go viral'.
I believe that there are people that were bullied, and, essentially, are covert bullies, if not overt - they tend to be bystanders 9though bystanders are not necessarily 'bullies'.
In any case, 'hidden' hostility and anger comes out, one way or another. Bullies tend to be cowards they prefer, generally, to be in groups, or follow 'alpha' bullies.
online, it can be the same. sad what the internet is used for. Like everything, there are always abusers.
thks for posting Marie.

tasunka m. (334)
Sunday March 2, 2014, 4:53 pm
A troll on the cartoon messages board , some 400 lb. Loser told me to bend over, , I reported her and the site permabanned me and she got to stay.
Some trolls have connections.
Thanks Kit, I've learned to ignore it too.

Rose NoFWDSPLZ (276)
Sunday March 2, 2014, 5:00 pm
Quite a few trolls here at care2

Eternal Gardener (702)
Sunday March 2, 2014, 5:11 pm
Pity the trolls, (can't be a very happy life) and help them out of their misery by starvation! Great post, thanks!

Natasha Salgado (511)
Sunday March 2, 2014, 5:51 pm
Why not just ignore the filthy trolls--i do. Thx Marie

Connie O. (40)
Sunday March 2, 2014, 6:15 pm
I have seen trolls (and especially on another site)...although none have come after me personally.

Dale O. (189)
Sunday March 2, 2014, 6:24 pm
Eternal Gardener has an interesting point. Some of them are indeed miserable. Some go and deliberately add disinformation. They are on many sites and it is unlikely that the internet will be ever free of them.

A few went to an article about AA and spent their time stating that the organization was a hot bed of rapists, murderers and other things and they would warn anyone from going to an AA meeting. I am not a member but the idea of them filling the comment board with news articles of people murdered if they went to an AA meeting was rather bizarre. I guess a few had some bad experiences or something did not work out with someone else that they had met there but they made it their aim to go on about how anything about a specific organization was tainted and it seemed to be an obsession as they were commenting for over a month I think.

There is one talking about the flu shot and attacking anyone in favour of flu shots by telling them that they are all trolls and in the pay of big pharma, then saying how he hates people in favour of vaccines, telling us to eat shi* and other rather bizarre things about how he want to put his fist through someone's mouth, saying that we are dupes of the New World Order, that FEMA is cremating Americans in coffins with 4-7 people in them...totally off the wall.

Yes, some of them are out there. My least favourites are the ones who call others trolls if they have the opposite opinion that they have. The one against vaccines felt that anyone in favour was the lowest life form in the planet. One can debate the merits of a given position but when one has to get personally insulting and tell people to eat feces, well...I guess they are not there for a reasoned debate.

Kit B. (277)
Sunday March 2, 2014, 6:24 pm

Thanks Pam for the nod to Carly Simon. Trolls are bothering me less these days, but there are days when it is very difficult to ignore them.

Marie, I think you have done a service to all those who read this about trolls.

Lydia S. (172)
Sunday March 2, 2014, 6:26 pm
Thanks for the insight into the mindset of the " troll " I've wondered [ recently in fact ]
what are they getting out of it ...?
And the redundancy of the troll that keeps coming back on a post to be nasty & negative when others have clearly moved on or asked politely for the post to considered ended ..
Most of us have little time to get on to connect , support causes ect . yet the troll has endless time & energy that leads me to the one thing the post left out . Trolls do not pee !
Really ! Maybe thats why they troll .
Thanks all , great comments .

Brian M. (145)
Sunday March 2, 2014, 7:37 pm
Trolls live to disrupt meaningful discussion...of just about any topic. Some of the more common tools that they use include:

1. Accusing others of a "personal agenda."
2. Accusing others of abusiveness, dishonesty, disloyalty, or some other negative trait.
3. Discounting the value of the discussion at all.
4. Discouraging consensus building by suggesting the problem is too big and thus hopeless.
5. Discounting practical solutions in favor of more extreme, irrational solutions.
6. Button-pushing: trying to provoke others through name calling, insults, etc.
7. Derailing discussions by taking the thread on a tangent that actually leads away from the topic.

And there are many other techniques at their disposal. I agree with what many have already suggested here: the solution is: Don't Feed The Trolls.

Jim Phillips (3215)
Sunday March 2, 2014, 10:17 pm
The best line in the article was "The lesson here? Please don’t feed the trolls." lol.

Some good comments above.

ty, Marie.

Evelyn B. (37)
Sunday March 2, 2014, 10:37 pm
Excellent idea to post this! Thanks, Marie!
We see quite a few trolls around, often feeding hate dialogues - and I try to starve them thoguh I do so want to reply sometimes!
I see several names here of people I've seen attacked by trolls .... that's when it is hardest to resist posting something!

Cynthia no frwd B. (261)
Sunday March 2, 2014, 11:18 pm
Do not feed the trolls
thx Marie, Elisa

William Barratt (41)
Sunday March 2, 2014, 11:29 pm
Thank you Marie for sharing.

Sherri G. (111)
Monday March 3, 2014, 12:26 am
Good Article thanks for the link kit. Noted TY Marie

Susanne R. (249)
Monday March 3, 2014, 12:27 am
“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
~Eleanore Roosevelt

I'm guilty of letting trolls get under my skin. However, I agree that the best advice is to ignore them. If they don't get the attention they crave, they'll go elsewhere to get their fix. I think it's important to remember that they're the one with the problem, not you!

Thank you to Marie for posting this and to Kit for the forward!

Kitty Heardman (21)
Monday March 3, 2014, 1:02 am

. (0)
Monday March 3, 2014, 1:16 am
Trolls should be ignored I suppose. But sometimes I prefer to reply with a thoroughly dismissive comment. Is that feeding the trolls? As in a Grimms fairy tale, I hope the troll under the bridge will be transformed.

Franck R. (50)
Monday March 3, 2014, 2:32 am

Ben Oscarsito (353)
Monday March 3, 2014, 3:43 am
Right; -Ignore the idiots!

Ben Oscarsito (353)
Monday March 3, 2014, 3:44 am
"Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience"
(Mark Twain)

Lindsay Kemp (1)
Monday March 3, 2014, 4:01 am
Very interesting - thanks for posting

kate k g (459)
Monday March 3, 2014, 4:03 am
thank you Marie

Giana Peranio-Paz (378)
Monday March 3, 2014, 4:42 am
You must see the movie "Disconnect" it's so amazing and deals with this subject.

Sandi C. (237)
Monday March 3, 2014, 7:41 am
Good info.

Terrie Williams (761)
Monday March 3, 2014, 9:27 am
And some are PAID operatives. I try not to give into the urge to them. I am getting better at ignoring them.

Bill C. (354)
Monday March 3, 2014, 11:03 am
This is a blog and not research, not that I disagree with the blog I just like people to understand who wrote what, the writer is a physician whose specialty is Internal Medicine not Psychology or Psychiatry

What is interesting is when people use things like this on the Internet as a weapon because they will not see their own problems with others who have differing opinions.

All too often on this site people who can not defend their stance attempt to demonize the other who as a different view and in that the person accusing another of trolling becomes the troll

Past Member (0)
Monday March 3, 2014, 12:14 pm
Didn't have any problems up till now, hopefully not going to, thank you Marie:)

JL A. (272)
Monday March 3, 2014, 12:18 pm
This doctor reports on research that has been published in reputable peer-reviewed journals and was also the topic of three other articles posted on Care2 by others during the past month.

Jae A. (323)
Monday March 3, 2014, 1:07 pm
Great topic post Marie. Thanks for sharing. I just want to point out , what I see as the obvious, that some had in their minds when it comes to the topic of 'trolls' ... which are not , as I understood the article/opinion that of the political kind in general. Lets not throw the word 'troll' at anyone who disagrees and sometimes does so with a personal nerve hit in the political thread process as being the type of troll you want to remain silent against. If that is your choice when it comes to political threads ...well.....if your side loses I'd say you don't have anyone/anything to blame but yourself and your stay silent/ignore the oppositions strategy. Silence is a sure win for the opposition in a contest ... and that's what election are.

This 'article' did not cover or make a distenction between social media trolls and political media/'differences'....The articles type of troll is more of a cyber bully with personal attacks as their main/only focus. Not something that just happens reg. as the result of their political 'argument'. Lets not confuse political opposition with that of a 'troll' . Spreading lies about politics is not the same as spreading lies/hate about another individuals personal life on line/bullying...In the case of care2...that would have to be personal attacks only, without a political view in mind, to take place on various threads about another poster.

Heated exchanges happen on a personal levels...once a political argument goes off track...that's when almost anything can take place .....personal attack etc. I think what many 'want' to call trolls on care2 political threads are not trolls ,at least not the same types that this article is talking about . Stirring up things sure but politically before personal......the personal [usually just simple name calling] being the result of more often than not... political debate gone wild so ta say

In politics the less feed back the opposition gets the more likely they are to convince someone to agree with them that hadn't before....believe their one sided view due to no one calling their B.S.....B.S. as with a political opposition opinion on whatever political topic it happens to be about. Silence and or simply agreeing with your own choir is not the way to win elections or to bring forth truth/facts to a political topic..on what we should think of as a public forum, such as care2 threads are, in general.

Political debates/discussion/post etc. are not for the faint of heart so to say. They can be brutal and rightfully so. Political discussions are meant to agree and to argue if not agreeing. That is the element that can take things to personal levels sometimes without trolling being the primary purpose. Targeting certain individuals and or their posted threads/comments, even if in time lead to personal attacks [name calling etc.] is not trolling in the same sense that this article/blog is talking about in my's serious, heated, politics.

Not to combat B.S. when it comes to political topics/comments is political suicide in my opinion .
Combating is not feeding a troll. Politics and political arguments do not come with clear cut rules of engagement....Remain silent when it comes to those on care2 who are not in agreement and you'll lose . No opposition equals a win.

Those spreading B.S. in my opinion when it comes to political topics on care2 aren't trolls, their political adversaries.....nothing more, even if they do hit a personal nerve in others now and then on personal level, not just political ones. That just comes with the word.. 'politics' in this day and time i.m.o. Political Trolls...those who strive to stir things up....a welcome in my opinion. That is how truth can over come fiction/lies etc. when it comes to political threads/comments if one doesn't ignore or remain silent.

Care2 has many categories open for topics/discussions. Political adversaries can cross over to other categories to make friends....then lure them to political threads they post on in hopes of having that 'friend' now take their political side. It's a common practice on care2 folks. If that 'friend' isn't up to date or is limited themselves as to where they get their political news they can be easily swayed if no opposing views/opinions are posted along with those of their 'new friend' so ta say. Politics is about choosing sides...the ones who sway the most to their side win. Pretty darn simple i.m.o. If silence / to ignore is your strategy,when it comes to politics...well good luck when it comes election time.

All that being said :-)... when it comes cyber social sites etc. the type of trolling the article/blogger talks about is nothing near what we experience on care2 on political theads in my opinion. On the sites this article would apply I find the persons opinion a sound one..such as Facebook/Twitter or other social sites but way off base if one is talking about the type of 'political troll' many on this thread are thinking about.............I.M.O.

I welcome 'political trolls' as I think they provide the best avenue in which to make an opposing point clearly with detail. SO what if the heat in the kitchen gets way hot.....that's just politics.
No opposing views/opinions/facts....makes for a win .

Progressive are a majority on care2 political let the opposition feed their B.S..lies/hate/misinformation. to others without comments being returned as to the opposite of theirs.........political suicide, as I mentioned above, i.m.o.

Good category in which to post this one as I think the topic/article had cyber bullies/trolls like those the article has in mind, not those often referred to as trolls on political threads in general when it comes to care2.


Uno D. (664)
Monday March 3, 2014, 3:10 pm
What people need to be careful about is the willy nilly labeling of other people as trolls for reasons other than actual trolling.


Uno D. (664)
Monday March 3, 2014, 3:15 pm
Oh, yay! I was able to post!

It's always been common Internet wisdom not to "feed the trolls." I see so many people say it, suggest it, but fail to follow-through.

The Internet is a funny place ... it's "real" ... in that there are real people behind the keyboards (in most cases, anyway) who contribute to threads for various reasons.

On the other hand, it is SO easy to get up and walk away ... or just ignore the comments of someone you think is an ass ... yet so few seem to want to do that.

It's like the uncontrollable urge to get in the last dig or last word.

What it boils down to is that you cannot control someone else - their thoughts, their actions ... you can only control yourself and how YOU react. And that's exactly what you should do.

Save the lectures to everyone else and articles by "experts" ... lead by example.

Uno D. (664)
Monday March 3, 2014, 3:18 pm
As far as Care2 trolls ... let's not label people but address their posts.

If you attack someone merely because you don't like them, or because you have prejudged someone based on other things you've seen them say, but you have no idea who they really are because you've never taken the time or considered a different perspective, it could be said that you are the troll.

Lauren Kozen (153)
Monday March 3, 2014, 3:18 pm
Noted & Shared. Thanks Marie.

Donn M. (1)
Monday March 3, 2014, 4:02 pm
Not sure I could trust the "mind" of someone who lumps businessmen in with mass murderers. Very few people, at least on this site, would actually fit his description of troll. Agree with Bill C.

Kit B. (277)
Monday March 3, 2014, 6:40 pm

The point of the first part of this article is worthy of our notice. Some people at Care2 are trolls in a lose definition, meaning they are members so not unknown drop-ins. There purpose in disrupting is not to simply disagree but to leave misinformation and hope to begin an argument. Any of us can tell when that is the purpose of the individual. Simply disagreeing with either the article or the popular opinion on the thread is not troll behavior but free speech. I may not like it, you may not like it but once these articles are out there, the possibility for dissent is out there.

I believe it's reasonable and healthy to disagree, sometimes I do it just to get a dialogue going. If I asked you for all the positive points of Joe Stalin, you just might have to stop, think and do some work. Presenting those points might irritate other commenters but is not "troll" behavior. I think the good doctor took things a bit far, but I do agree that some trolls (some are professional) are very good at disruption, some could not spell Machiavellian if their life depended on doing that correctly. ( I sure hope I did).

Bill sometimes it's better to just focus on the gist of the article and not try to analyze each point. Though I agree he went a bit far by delving too deeply into psychological aspects of each possible motivation, the overall presentation was that it's better to not toss bread crumbs under the bridge.

I agree with that and I agree with Jae. To never confront a liar is not healthy either. Name calling and bully tactics resolve nothing whether it's the Internet or the jerk at work.


Kit B. (277)
Monday March 3, 2014, 6:42 pm

Hang around Care2 a few years Donn M and you may be whistling a different tune.

Lynda H. (96)
Monday March 3, 2014, 7:19 pm
Ain’t that the truth, Kit!

One in 20 people are sociopaths: that doesn’t mean they are serial killing axe murderers, but that they sadly have no conscience or desire to be socially accepted. Some but not all of these find some amusement in disrupting the social interaction of others for the reactions: these are the ‘trolls’. Not ‘reacting’ is the best way to deal with them, and I’ve found it is the best way to deal with all the angry disagreements and rebuttals I receive from those who are not trolls, but just ‘hot heads’ or over-excited.

But while it is the best practice to ignore trolls, one must be careful to stand up to bullies, who take silence as a ‘win’, and assume more power by it. One should never be bullied, silenced or intimidated, either in the ‘real world’ or the internet, but it will continue to happen as long as those authorized to protect us fail to do so.

Kit B. (277)
Monday March 3, 2014, 7:37 pm

You hit that mark, Lynda. We must stand up to those bullies that come to a thread for no other reason than to attempt to disrupt and harass. That's when we should not turn around and leave but act as a protective shield. I have zero tolerance for the bullies and am sad to say the same ones at Care2 keep popping up.

Donn M. (1)
Monday March 3, 2014, 11:41 pm
Maybe you are right Kit. The author's main characteristic of a troll is that they enjoy hurting others and causing pain. Now I had always thought of the people who do that here as just being nasty and not as trolls, no, never mind, I still think they are just nasty. I guess I have a narrower definition of trolls, and believe that most people who mindlessly accuse others of trolldom are simply that. Mindless.

Bill C. (354)
Tuesday March 4, 2014, 11:35 am
I have been around for over a decade and often see the same overly sensitive people posting the same type information, that is fine if you also look at your own actions. Like this article was used as I said earlier in another thread and now it is here, also fine.

I does amaze me when I have a sign on my billboard that says clearly my mail is not working and can not reply that people send page long diatribes to tell you thy are removing you as a friend, knowing you can't reply.

I really do not care; as a realist I have 354 friends, I can call maybe 20 people I feel I know well enough on the internet to call friends and maybe 7 I have developed a lot of trust. Rest are casual oh yea I remember you.

If the Internet is the most serious thing in your life, start to look elsewhere, Internet is a Tool

Who is the victim who the slayer? Seems an easy position when you get no feedback from the individual, the risk nothing.

So many lie and exaggerate their situation as I have seen people start treads that thy were being "stalked by a troll" when all they needed to do was click block.

I have had real stalker, served 5 years in prison and bet on my door with threats'; I was in court with him or 2 years....that is a stalker.

Own your behavior and control the only person you control, you. Get the fact not all people see it your way.

JL A. (272)
Tuesday March 4, 2014, 11:54 am
For those interested in more of the sources of the research described in this blog and the eminent credentials of the researchers:

Uno D. (664)
Tuesday March 4, 2014, 2:09 pm
I am working my way through this thread and trying to comment as I see fit. I agree with Bill C. I think his (first) post is spot on.

The author of the blog does provide some common sense opinions, but I don't think he's offered any special insight that all of you don't already know.


Uno D. (664)
Tuesday March 4, 2014, 2:15 pm
RE bullies ... my suggestion would be to "stand up" to a perceived bully only if you're up to the "challenge." And remember that they may be looking at you from the very same viewpoint. And if you decide to be confrontational, be prepared to deal with escalating tempers ... that is how conflict works, in most cases.

Or walk away ... which doesn't say anything negative about you as an individual.

In either case, I also suggest that every individual learn to think for themselves and not get caught up in heated "side-taking" or "bandwagon jumping." That never does a whole lot to engender respect.

Kit B. (277)
Tuesday March 4, 2014, 4:43 pm

Respect is gained by the content, clarity and reliability of comments made. Respect is not garnered by how often one repeats themselves or how arrogant their behavior.
Anonymity makes all the difference, and unfortunately, this frees some to partake in some pretty egregious behavior. This is particularly true online. We’re 20 years into the experiment of the World Wide Web, and we can clearly see how Internet anonymity plays out across social media, chat rooms, and comment sections. Usually just a nuisance, anonymous troublemakers, known as trolls, can be dangerous when they go after the vulnerable. In an effort to better understand what makes them tick, psychologists are starting to take a closer look at the psychology of the Internet troll.

1 Van Der Linden, Sander. “How the Illusion of Being Observed Can Make You a Better Person: Scientific American.“ Scientific American, Inc., 3 May 2011. Web. 30 Apr. 2013.

2 Mann, Leon. “The Baiting Crowd in Episodes of Threatened Suicide.“ Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 41.4 (1981): 703-09. Print.

And:Internet Trolls Really Are Horrible People:

In everyday life, decorum dictates that certain things just don't happen. Funerals, even for divisive figures tend to go by with solemn respect. Compare this with a recent example of online trolling at its most extreme: In 2011, a Reading man was jailed for raiding the Facebook tribute pages of a 14 year old girl who had committed suicide, filling it with crass jokes and insults. He had never met the girl in question.
Common wisdom dictates that people are more aggressive, rude and forthright online because they're anonymous and can act as unpleasantly as they like without immediate consequence. If you're irritating in real life you risk at best social sanctions and at worst a physical assault. There's definitely evidence that points to anonymity as a factor, especially in the internet's early years when IRC, Usenet and message boards were the norm, but nowadays Facebook commenting has added a personal touch, seemingly without significantly curbing the aggression.

Bill C. (354)
Tuesday March 4, 2014, 5:57 pm
Just curious do you feel that your own opinions are so inadequate or lack merit you need to somehow validate them?

You make my point for me.

It's as if one has a headache but needs an expensive test to validate their own head hurts.

Veiled and or suggestive use of information has little merit past personal gain or peer gain, that is clearly true on Care2 as it has been demonstrated over and over by the same people.

You have to ask if it is true the same people are getting "bullied" the fact remains they own 50% of the responsibility and yet they keep doing it.

The web was not invented for social interaction it was grabbed by money makers for such use, you have to admit if a space traveler asked what your I=pone was and you replied an instant contact to all the information n the world but mostly I use it to send silly cat photos and argue on social sites that traveler would pack-up and leave.

Lynda H. (96)
Tuesday March 4, 2014, 6:13 pm
Well said, Kit: anonymity most definitely allows both internet trolls and bullies to thrive. Cruel things can be said without losing teeth or getting arrested, and it is only those immediate consequences that stop such people from acting out their antisocial behaviour in public.

Bullying is an animal instinct of advantage through control and domination: on the internet, bullies gang up on certain people, intimidate, post drivel to bury their posts, deflect the argument and ridicule their victim. The internet troll, however, only wishes to disrupt and upset people. I somehow don’t think they are all in the Dark Tetrad of sadism, Machiavellianism and narcissism. I think they are psychologically/emotionally disturbed, but not neurologically impaired.

Either way, the anonymity provided by the internet is an illusion. Unless extreme measures are taken to protect one’s identity, it can be traced by the police, the ISP, the website host/domain. And on the front line of “conTROLL” is the website moderator. They have access to the IP addresses and the ability to remove both posts and trolls from the site.

In the school yard, the bully victim must report it to the teachers, but over years of working in a school, I’ve watched many teachers do nothing - or punish the victim for being weak and making them work! (I brought in an anti-bullying program to the school myself, and was consequently bullied out of my job by those teachers and the parents of the bullies). Some police will work hard to protect you from a bully, but others will do little: some police are bullies themselves. We have good laws, rules, Codes of Conduct, etc. established, and people who are paid to enforce them: both bully and troll flourish when bullies and disinterested people are placed in the positions of enforcement and protection.

Uno D. (664)
Tuesday March 4, 2014, 8:35 pm
Kit said: Respect is gained by the content, clarity and reliability of comments made. Respect is not garnered by how often one repeats themselves or how arrogant their behavior.

I'm not quite sure who you are inferring displays arrogant, repetitious behavior, Bill C? If so, I disagree.But, then, I've been lucky enough to have had the opportunity to get know Bill from more than one narrow view. If there is anyone on Care2 who is worthy of respect, that would be Bill C. Not only for his wit and wisdom, but for the things he's accomplished in life and the adversity he has survived and continues to survive. He is my friend and I have buttloads of respect for him.

But this conversation isn't about Bill C, is it? It is about trolls.

I realize that everyone has their own opinions about who is a troll, but from what I've seen in my years on the Internet is that a lot of people who are quick to label other people trolls exhibit much of the same behavior. Of course, they don't realize that is what they're doing, but an objective observer does. Words can hurt, but this is the Internet. Everyone has the opportunity to not respond ... to not "feed the troll." Just about everyone on this thread has said that. Just about everyone on this thread probably knew that before having read the "Dark Psychology" blog. Unfortunately, many of the same people are unable - or unwilling - to disengage from conflict and after a lot of back and forth, throw up their hands in frustration and call other people trolls and bullies. .

I respect people who, if they choose to engage, to at least do it with some level of intelligence and honesty. And who are willing to at least entertain the validity in what their opponents have to say. And if it doesn't and never will align with their opinions, at least have the grace to step out without name-calling.

Uno D. (664)
Wednesday March 5, 2014, 5:18 am
Bill said: You have to ask if it is true the same people are getting "bullied" the fact remains they own 50% of the responsibility and yet they keep doing it.

Again ... spot on. In also agree with Donn ... real internet trolls are rare. If you use the word troll as a verb rather than a noun, though, then there are plenty of people who are guilty ... obviously, not just on Care2.

Kit ... I'm a little puzzled about your comment ... the one where you say "hang around Care2 enough, etc." I'd like to know exactly what you meant by that comment.

Vague comments like that are exactly why misunderstandings happen on internet boards ... someone takes offense at it, makes a snarkity comment in return, it's returned, etc., etc., ad nauseum. It's like 2 (or more) dogs fighting over a bone. And there's usually very little reward to come out of it.


JL A. (272)
Wednesday March 5, 2014, 6:50 am
Excellent analysis Lynda that also included a great example of the inappropriate victim blaming tendencies that still exist.

Jae A. (323)
Wednesday March 5, 2014, 10:40 am
The article accomplished more than the obvious responses to it thus far...number of 'notes' / 'comments' Those alone are something pretty fine I think. It accomplished a goal of getting people to discuss, in an opened minded way, the topic, with varying opinions and much 'food for thought' within various comments I think....

That being said..... Well stated Kit / Lynda !
Thanks again to Marie for the sharing !

Kit B. (277)
Wednesday March 5, 2014, 12:03 pm

I find it interesting that some considered additional information on this topic to be directed toward them.

@Uno, what about that comment could possibly be misunderstood?

Uno D. (664)
Wednesday March 5, 2014, 2:55 pm
Well ... your response was to Donn's comment, which was "Very few people, at least on this site, would actually fit his description of troll. Agree with Bill C."

I think Donn's comment was actually quite accurate. While there are some mean people on Care2, there are very few who would actually be considered trolls on the internet.

Or, at least, in my view. To me, a troll is someone whose sole purpose for being on a site like Care2 is to stir up trouble and hurt other people. This is the description provided in the blog that is the subject of this thread

What they break down to is a person who enjoys inflicting pain on others, who shows no remorse, who is callous, who is antisocial, enjoys manipulating others to his own ends, who feels quite self-important, has an over-inflated ego, and someone who derives pleasure from hurting someone else either directly or vicariously. He also shows disinhibited, bold behavior, often wanting to call attention to himself and his acts.
I agree that there are quite a few people who have been mean and nasty, who are generally mean and nasty, and who are sometimes intentionally mean and nasty, I really don't think there are a lot of trolls, as defined in by the blogger, who fit the description here at Care2. Do you, really?

I've been here for about 15 years and I can actually count on one hand - or maybe one and a half hands - the people who actually have fit that description.

So my question to you is, what, exactly, do you think is an Internet troll?

Lynda H. (96)
Wednesday March 5, 2014, 5:08 pm
Uno, speaking for myself only, I agree with you that the contemptible internet troll - posting only to upset and disrupt - is not common on Care2.

But I have encountered far too many who obviously find great pleasure and amusement in hurting other people’s feelings; who lie to manipulate; ridicule and mock; encourage other members to attack others; attack one group of people to ingratiate themselves to another group; pester and harass, and who display grossly over-inflated egos. They are aggressive, rude, argumentative and overpowering, doing their utmost to intimidate and silence people from expressing their honest opinions or suggestions. Some of them are paid to do so, others are self-righteousness and have a pathological need to control and overpower others. They are not trolls, they are bullies. And since I and my friends have been attacked and bullied by them throughout my 7 year membership in Care2, my perception is that Care2 is unfortunately riddled with bullies.

JL A. (272)
Wednesday March 5, 2014, 5:31 pm
I have seen at least some of what Lynda shared was her experience. Some was pretty intense on some of the political threads just before the last major election.

Wiki gives us several types or subtypes of internet troll,s with the one in the article of this thread being just one of the types.

Uno D. (664)
Thursday March 6, 2014, 5:46 am
Good morning, Lynda ...

I have run across people like that here, too, but very rarely, especially compared to others social networking sites. I've never been aware of any paid trolls or bullies? Seriously? Paid by whom? Care2? And how'd you come by this info?

Just as an aside, I pretty much view trolls and bullies as the same thing, but that's just me. Either way, I'm very sorry that what you describe has been your experience during your Care2 membership. That sucks.

I feel lucky, then, that I haven't shared the same experience. I honestly can't say that I've even witnessed that sort of behavior on a regular basis - except maybe in some of the political groups. And most of the folks in those give as good as they get.

In any case, you can never, ever control what anyone else does or how they act. You can only control your own reactions ... or lack thereof.

Someone earlier said something about standing up to bullies (versus ignoring) ... I tend to disagree with that. I honestly don't think that someone who exhibits bully traits actually feels like they have "won" when faced with silence ... I think they feel satisfaction from knowing they've intimidated someone(s). Being greeted with a wall of silence wouldn't evoke that same warm, fuzzy feeling inside. :D

Again ... my experience has not been anything like yours. Sure, I've run across trolls and bullies, but not that many. There are people who hold grudges forever and who "poke" at you when they see you post. (You is a relative term and not meant to imply you, Lynda.) But that's not close to the same thing, to me.

RE lies ... yah ... it's hard to walk away from someone who is telling lies about you. And while I don't discourage people from standing up to someone, I will say that the people who "count" ... your real friends here ... can spot bullshit a mile away ... those who are easily manipulated into believing the lies are sheep and then it would be up to you to care what they think.

Again, if you decide to face conflict, then seriously be prepared to face it. Or just walk away. Do whatever suits you best, but the latter option usually leads to less stress. I'm not afraid of conflict, but I prefer to avoid it. I have enough stress in my 3D life to have to deal with it at a place I come to have relax and have fun.

I'm socially conscious but not an avid "activist" ... I don't think that's required here.

Uno D. (664)
Thursday March 6, 2014, 5:47 am
I am long-winded. Sorry I cannot be more succinct, but I have difficulties posting from certain computers, so when I'm able, I go for it.

JL A. (272)
Thursday March 6, 2014, 8:55 am
The Wiki article I provided as a reference earlier included a paid political "troll" example.

I suspect some of the challenge people experience comes from when there is a comment with a personal attack, which is a characteristic that is associated with trolls, with bullies and also in response to trolls and bullies.

Which it is more likely to be is somewhat dependent on other comments' context, frequency and/or length of posts, etc. The tool we are provided is flagging an individual comment for review--no tool to ask for a whole set of comments on a thread by an individual or group to be examined (although that could be done via a message or help request with greater effort), Impression of disruption can be a impact seen from both bullies and trolls. Also, results suggest intent may be to mute or silence the voices who disagree; if so, then silence would have given them what they sought and why the advice on how to address bullies is to tell them to stop.


Uno D. (664)
Thursday March 6, 2014, 10:10 am
To be honest, with the exception of the blog that initiated this thread, I didn't read any of the other links provided regarding trolls and/or bullies.

The way I figure it, I've been on various networking sites for years and have had very little trouble with trolls or bullies. Maybe I'm just lucky, but I like to think that I just know how to avoid trouble in most cases.

JL A quoted: Also, results suggest intent may be to mute or silence the voices who disagree; if so, then silence would have given them what they sought and why the advice on how to address bullies is to tell them to stop.
I think I did say that if you want to confront someone, go ahead and do so, if you can handle it. But I try to take a more holistic view ... i.e., it's not just about not giving a bully the satisfaction ... for me, it's more about enjoying my time on social networking sites with as little stress and aggravation as possible. Sometimes, the best way to achieve that state of www.nirvana is to walk away. If a person deemed a bully gets his or her rocks off on that, I'm good with it.

Uno D. (664)
Thursday March 6, 2014, 11:58 am
I am still curious about Lynda's comment regarding individuals paid to intentionally disrupt.

Lynda ... maybe I misunderstood ... I got the impression that you were talking about Care2 specifically, but I could be wrong?

Taken from Linda's post above - I called out the pertinent text by preceding and following with triple asterisks:

But I have encountered far too many who obviously find great pleasure and amusement in hurting other people’s feelings; who lie to manipulate; ridicule and mock; encourage other members to attack others; attack one group of people to ingratiate themselves to another group; pester and harass, and who display grossly over-inflated egos. They are aggressive, rude, argumentative and overpowering, doing their utmost to intimidate and silence people from expressing their honest opinions or suggestions. *** Some of them are paid to do so, *** others are self-righteousness and have a pathological need to control and overpower others. They are not trolls, they are bullies. And since I and my friends have been attacked and bullied by them throughout my 7 year membership in Care2, my perception is that Care2 is unfortunately riddled with bullies.

Lynda H. (96)
Thursday March 6, 2014, 4:07 pm
Good morning, Uno,

Many organizations have found social media a fertile field to spread their message: religious groups, political, animal rights/vegan, GLBT, anti-vaccine, etc., and even business, military and government. Many people promote and publicise issues and ideologies because they believe in them, but some are trained and paid by organizations to do so full time. Forums and comment threads are the perfect place to sway public opinion, because we are more receptive to what appears to be anecdotal information. Training and paying “shills” to influence (or manipulate) as many people as possible is an investment that often increases donations, support, or at the very least a reduction in opposition. They use every social media network, including Care2.

Most ‘shills’ are not bullies: they are trained to avoid conflict, which polarises opinion. They are often a little too friendly and single-minded, and usually try to convince you that “it’s all so simple!” They are not easy to detect, but if you know what to look for you will spot them.

I don’t view trolls and bullies as the same thing. Trolls are a nuisance, and are easy for a moderator to spot and delete. Bullies are a different story: they are far more cunning in their methods of intimidation and domination, and appear to everyone but their victims to be upstanding, good people. They will have a large ‘fan club’ who are either blind to the bullying or rationalise it - “they’re only getting what they deserve”.

I know the bully mindset because I have dealt with them all my life. Protecting disabled children from bullying was a full-time job, but the bullies were the teachers’ pets and were only told to “be nice, OK?” Contrary to the stereotypical opinion, they were usually attractive high achievers with attentive, wealthy parents and a large group of friends, but hurting and destroying the weak was something they were driven to do.

Passion is a good thing, but it doesn’t give anyone the right to bully, intimidate and silence others with a different POV. When they do, they should be warned and the victims should be protected. They are not able to face conflict, and they shouldn’t have to: the correct procedure is to turn to whoever is authorised to protect them. This is where the problem is.

Uno D. (664)
Friday March 7, 2014, 5:15 am
Hi, Lynda ... You're long-winded like me. :D :D :D

But I enjoy reading your comments because I have seen you make vague inferences or point "hidden" fingers, and you manage to state your feelings and opinions calmly ... without adding a lot of outside references. It's a personal thing, but I appreciate it when an individual takes the time to communicate his/her own thoughts and opinions rather than posting links to outside "articles" and "blogs." I know how to use Google if I feel the need to "research" the Internet. Thank you.

Ahh ... now I see what you meant. I was mistakenly thinking that you mean you knew that Care2 was paying people to be shills. I've seen comments by several others making such an inference ...

I SO agree with this ... given recent conflicts, this is one of the most clear and insightful comments I have seen.

... they are far more cunning in their methods of intimidation and domination, and appear to everyone but their victims to be upstanding, good people. They will have a large ‘fan club’ who are either blind to the bullying or rationalise it - “they’re only getting what they deserve”. ...

I can recall a few members and (mostly) former members who align perfectly with that description. It is a problem and, unfortunately, by the time they're called out, it's often too late and the damage they've caused - or rifts they've created, are a done deal. The good thing is that sooner or later, they'll slip up and get called on it ... and, if it's by the right people ... :"handled."


Uno D. (664)
Friday March 7, 2014, 5:38 am
Thought this was spot on as well:

Contrary to the stereotypical opinion, they were usually attractive high achievers with attentive, wealthy parents and a large group of friends, but hurting and destroying the weak was something they were driven to do.

I recently read an article about the relationship between certain personality types (sociopaths and empaths?), and how the "bystanders" are manipulated - and allow themselves to be manipulated - either out of fear of reprisal ... or - for lack of a better word - because they are suckers.

People and the way they act fascinates me. This piece I found interesting because I'm reasonably certain than my grandson is an extremely empathetic person and I want to try to build him up ... to somehow prepare him to deal with the people who will try to bully him or take advantage of him as he encounters more of the world outside of his loving family.

If you're interested, let me know and I'll try to find it.

If not, I won't be offended.

Lynda H. (96)
Friday March 7, 2014, 11:58 pm
Yes, Uno - I have a problem with brevity! Just ask any of my long-suffering friends…

I have also seen several bullies come and go on Care2, but sadly there are more than a few still active. Many appear so sweet and saintly while they plunge the knife into their adversary’s heart; others go on a rampage every time someone has the audacity to disagree with them. If I see them posting often on a thread, I either have to put up with offensive insults or give the thread a miss, and I know a lot of other members who usually choose not to post. It isn’t the ‘safe environment’ we would like it to be.

People today seem to have a hard time coping with a challenge to their opinion or convictions, and label anyone who does so as an ‘enemy’, permitting them to be as ruthless and cruel as they like. I put this down to the propaganda we are subjected to: it encourages the ‘them and us’ attitude. I don’t think it creates internet trolls, but it most certainly creates internet bullies.

I too am fascinated by the way people act. Could the article you are referring be about the book “The Empathy Trap” (retitled “The Sociopath at the Breakfast Table” in the US), by Jane and Tim McGregor? Yes, I am interested in this subject: shall we discuss it through PMs rather than drift off topic on this thread?

I think your desire to empower your grandson is good: self esteem is crucial, along with ‘polite assertiveness’. Give him as much ‘power’ as you can, such as making his own decisions wherever possible, and letting him make his own mistakes, hard as it is to watch. Let him know you make mistakes too, and that it’s OK. Those who are too obedient, have too much need for the approval of others, to be “good”, are the prey of all manipulative people.
Or, log in with your
Facebook account:
Please add your comment: (plain text only please. Allowable HTML: <a>)

Track Comments: Notify me with a personal message when other people comment on this story

Loading Noted By...Please Wait


Content and comments expressed here are the opinions of Care2 users and not necessarily that of or its affiliates.