From the Urban Dictionary:
The art of deliberately, cleverly, and secretly pissing people off, usually via the Internet, using dialogue. Trolling does not mean just making rude remarks: Shouting swear words at someone doesn't count as trolling; it's just flaming, and isn't funny. Spam isn't trolling either; it pisses people off, but it's lame.
The most essential part of trolling is convincing your victim that either a) truly believe in what you are saying, no matter how outrageous, or b) give your victim malicious instructions, under the guise of help.
Trolling requires deceiving; any trolling that doesn't involve deceiving someone isn't trolling at all; it's just stupid. As such, your victim must not know that you are trolling; if he does, you are an unsuccessful troll.
According to Tom Postmes, a professor of social and organizational psychology at the universities of Exeter and Groningen, Netherlands, and the author of Individuality and the Group, who has studied online behavior for 20 years, "Trolls aspire to violence, to the level of trouble they can cause in an environment. They want it to kick off. They want to promote antipathetic emotions of disgust and outrage, which morbidly gives them a sense of pleasure."
The word tanking, in terms of sport, would be used to describe a bad performance
Tanking is the act of giving up a match or "throwing it away", losing intentionally or not competing.
FAN A person who has interest or likes something, or somebody. Can refer to many things including sports, movie stars, food/drink and so on. Basically anybody that likes something.
So, what conclusions can we draw from these definitions? A 'Troll' is someone who is a 'fan' of ...what? It's not the team - they hate the players on the team (which kind of defies the definition of "team"). They hate the coach, the front office, the owner, even the denizens of the Bright Side. What do they like? Pissing people off.
Trolls are annoying little things. They come in all shapes and sizes. Based in Norse mythology and children's tales, they are creatures bent on mischief and wickedness. Trolling is also a fishing term, meaning to slowly drag a lure or baited hook from a moving boat.
There are many varieties of trolls.
The most primitive kind, these unhappy denizens are characterized by bad spelling, lots of CAPITL LETERS, extreme punctuation! and a fondness for phrases such as "We suck!" and "Frye sucks" and "DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOooooooooooooooooomed". On most boards, they offer a "Troll rating" tool. Here on the Bright Side, that is not really an option. While flagging is a tool that can be used in the most extreme of circumstances (extreme profanity or name-calling), most of the trolling we see here doesn't rise to that level. No, Bright Side Trolls are more clever than that.
A concern troll is a false flag pseudonym created by a user whose actual point of view is opposed to the one that the user claims to hold. The concern troll posts in Web forums devoted to its declared point of view and attempts to sway the group's actions or opinions while claiming to share their goals, but with professed "concerns". The goal is to sow fear, uncertainty and doubt within the group. (Wikipedia)
These are the trolls who advocate extreme positions in supposed support of ideological purity. Usually used in a political context, for our application this would probably best describe the "tanking" contingent. " None of our players are good enough, we should purge and rebuild from the ground up, blah, blah, blah...". Never mind that this ignores the realities of economics, historical data, available talent, and advanced statistical analysis. It's the ONLY answer, and if you don't agree, then you are naive, stupid, or you secretly strive for mediocrity. Purity trolls are recognizable by spontaneous, frequent, and furious rosterbation in inappropriate places.
Here's an example of purity trolling
There are also such things as Stalker Trolls, Conspiracy Trolls, and the Simple Asshole Troll. The latter is easily recognizable, and probably the most frequently seen.
What will we do??? What...Will...We...(sobbing) Doohoohoo???
The answer is...NOTHING.
That's right. The absolute best way to alleviate Troll infestation is to not feed them. Just as any Suns fan knows that the secret elixer of life is Laker tears, these trolls feast on the anger and outrage directed at them. Much like the amorphous creature in Star Trek who was nourished by anger, totally ignoring them will cause them to wither and die. This is very difficult, but definitely the most effective, although it requires a great amount of group discipline. One response kind of kills the whole concept.
Call them out?
There are many images that can be posted to notify others that this is a Troll. "Don't feed the Trolls!" is a rallying cry, and in some cases, absolutely neccessary. However, this site - correctly, I think - discourages "calling out". This approach is very anti-democratic, and can snare people with legitimate points of view from commenting or getting heard. We are not pursuing ideological conformity, after all. There are legitimate arguments to be made about personnel, talent, approaches, and philosophies. Any comment deserves the benefit of the doubt, and calling out someone with a legitimate concern can easily start a "pie fight" which could escalate into the dreaded "FLAME WAR!!!" (note the excessive use of capitalization and punctuation - do you really want THAT!!!???)
Post a nice recipe?
On some political sites, the appropriate response is to post recipes in response to blatant trollism. If it's a fanpost, this may be an appropriate response. However, since most trolls only comment, this can ruin an otherwise perfectly good story. Remember, this is their goal - to ruin threads by making them unpleasant to be in.
Don't worry - be happy.
If you MUST respond, I find that being nice, or being happy, or both is a good way to deal with pesky trolls. Since they only seem to come out after a loss or when there's something negative to talk about, or when they can lob their slings and arrows of outrageous misfortune from a position of irrefutable impunity, nerves may already be frayed to the breaking point. But refusing to sink into the depths of despair that they are advocating for seems to drive them mad - much as laughing did in the Star Trek episode mentioned earlier. I say, drop your weapons, have a good laugh, even slap them on the back in good fellowship. Trolls tend to view the world in black and white, and speak in terms of absolutes - "we will never be good again", or "this _____ is the WORST ______ in the HISTORY of ______." It's actually funny, and pointing that out will sometimes make them evaporate.
This is a site for Suns fans. I've been a member for almost 2 years as of this writing - not all that long. Some might even call me an "Optimism Troll". I've written extensively on this site about my views on both basketball and optimism, and there are many here that I call "friend". Living in the remote reaches of Vermont is a lonely thing for a Suns fan, and this site is a good portion of my social life, and constitutes my biggest avocation. I take it seriously, following the stellar example of our Fearless Leader, The Overlord Seth (aka TrollStan). His thoughtful commentary and careful consideration of facts, history, and advanced statistical analysis is bolstered by an incredible array of writers who give us so many ways of viewing the complicated world of the Suns. If you've spent any time on other blogs, particularly SBN blogs, you know that the quality of the writing here is second to none, and I salute you - every one. I won't do it by name, for fear of forgetting somebody, but Alex, Ray, Wil, 7', Scott Howard, Eutychus, PHXgap, and waxmonkey - and yes, even Beavis - you know who you are. Most everything I know about basketball and the Suns has come directly from your big, fat brains, and I'm grateful.
With the news that Grant Hill is probably out for the season, I expect the Trolls to enter a new stratosphere of mischievous and malicious activity. Prepare yourself - we are descending into the dark inner realms of tanking, draft picks, trades, rosterbation, and a long off-season of speculation, free-agent sightings, pessimism, and doooooooooooooooooom. Did you know that Steve Nash is OLD!!! He's breaking down!!! He's going to Miami!!! He's going to DALLAS!!! AND WE'LL GET NOTHING!!!! Grant Hill is OLD, too!!! He's breaking down!!! Lost a step!!! Free Agent!!! LEEEEEAAAAVVVVING!!! We have Role Players!!! Trade Lopez!!! We have the worst owner in Sports!!! We have the worst coach in the entire UNIVERSE, to INFINITY, and BEYOND!!! OUR FO SUX!!!! THERE IS NO HOPE - EVAH!!!!!!!!
Oh, dear, I think I broke my exclamation point. THANK GOD I STILL HAVE CAPS LOCK!!! Oh, there it is.
Without devolving too much into the arguments regarding any of the Suns players, reasonable people can disagree about these matters. Do I think Channing Frye is the PF we need to win a championship? Probably not. But I will give the FO credit for signing him long term, and I will give Channing props for working very hard at being the best PF he can be, taking multiple assignments and role changes in stride, and working his ass off on defense. It will make him more valuable if he does get called on to shore up our bench. I can look at this team, and individual players and staff, and acknowledge that while some of these guys aren't the best at their position, they've worked very hard to do the things Gentry has asked them to do - right down to the end of the bench. Hakim Warrick has kept himself ready to play, and has stepped up to contribute when given the opportunity. The much reviled Josh Childress is practicing with the team, travelling with the team, and when given the chance, hustles his ass off.
These guys don't operate in a vacuum. Basketball by nature is co-dependent. Steve can't get assists if people don't make shots. People can't stay tuned up without playing time, or at the very least, practice. These guys can't insert themselves in a line-up, and I have a very hard time blaming Childress or others for being on a team with 13 guys who are all good, and who fall victim to the reality that it's not practical to play more than ten guys in a game - that is a disservice to everyone. I've been watching a lot of teams that we're competing against, and sometimes they are playing bad teams. I've seen some bad basketball this year, and believe me, the Suns are pretty good compared to some of these teams with "talent". What bugs me most about trolls is that they never allow for the possibility that a player can actually play better than they have in the past, or that a certain combination of guys can complement each other, yielding a product that is greater than the sum of its parts. Sometimes a guy just puts it together
To the Trolls - if you don't like anything about the team, go away. This is a site where good, thinking people can discuss the intricacies and subtleties of fielding a good team. If you want to stay and participate, learn to contribute. Post appropriate comments in the proper threads. Some guys who I originally thought were trolls have turned their games around and become valuable additions to BSotS. They learned to play better, just like some of the Suns have, and it's good to see.
Don''t feed, the Trolls, please. Especially after Midnight.