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From: "Steve Harris" <>
Newsgroups: sci.astro,sci.physics,alt.sci.physics,,
Subject: Re: The nature of trolls (was: Einstein Was Black!)
Date: Sat, 17 Aug 2002 11:46:37 -0700
Message-ID: <ajm5nk$4r0$>

tadchem wrote in message ...

>An interesting troll...
>I will watch to see how many naive fools take you seriously and how many
>disputes you stir up - that IS the purpose of trolling, isn't it?
>I have never understood what motivates a typical troll, why they are able
>to obtain pleasure (in the absence of money) from agitating others into
>emotional frenzies.

Well, having known some trolls in real life (who create chaos in offices, at
work, etc- and did so long before the days of the internet)-- I'll give you
my theory.

Trolls are anxious people. They worry. It causes them to worry less if they
are in the middle of a group of worriers, for two reasons: 1) They are
getting treated for their worry by all of the talk therapy that other
worried people do for themselves and others. And 2) ANY emotion is easier to
bear if you don't have to bear it alone. Thus the garden-variety- worrier
who has no other purpose in creating worry in others, than to decrease his
or her own worry. Call them Class One Trolls. I've known more than one Drama
Queen who was merely a Class One, operating off the net. Such people have a
problem with emotional feedback-- if they're not seeing evidence in others
of their own level of anxiety, they do whatever they can to try to create

Class Two trolls have an additional element of needing to dominate others.
Testosterone enters here, for more Class I's are female, and Class II's tend
to be male (not a perfect correspondence-- show me any liberal female US
senator and I'll give you a Class II). These, in life are not just worriers,
but are also salesmen and politicians. For of course there are other payoffs
in creating worry in other people which have nothing to do with treating
yourself. Creating worry in other people can be used for power. The simplest
type of this you see is in advertising, wherein you create worry in your
target audience that their teeth are too yellow, their hands will give away
their age, their drinking glasses are so spotted their guests will think
less of them, or even that beautiful strangers in the forest will look down
how noisy your off road vehicle is. Insurance salesmen do not work by
painting you an optimistic picture of the future. And neither do people
peddling ANYTHING. Including their agenda and their religion. There is also
a huge amount of misplaced parental worry (probably deeply embedded in our
genes) which is re-directed and misused by politicians and evangelists.

Connection with organized racism or bigotry in any form is obvious. If you
hate some group, it's pretty hard to get your fellows to band together with
you unless you get them to worry about the future first.

>You remind me of an Evangelical preacher (or maybe he
>was a Pentecostal) I once met in Waco, TX.  He was the role model for the
>character "Brother Love" in the old World Wrestling Federation.

Classic Class Two. Take a showman who wants to get control of the police or
the crowd for purposes of using force, and now you have a politician. Or, at
the extreme end, a would-be lynchmob director or dictator.

I've had some interesting times observing groups of people who have been
self-selected for the worry trait vs. the reverse. If you take a group of
people on a scuba dive-boat, for example, you'll find a group of very self
sufficient, confident non-worriers. The only people creating problems on a
diveboat are the people out for the first or second time, and these are
worried. As for the rest, they resemble skydivers, rock-climbers, and so on.
Psychiatrists would starve if they had to make a living here. "I'm okay,
you're okay" is not the credo of people who are anxious. And many an
advertising exec and politician would have a hell of a time with any
decently self-sufficient group, too.

Take the average waiting room of the average doctor (doesn't necessarily
need to be a shrink) and you'll get an entirely different crowd, with an
entirely different group dynamic. Ditto for your average PTA meeting or city
council meeting, which tend to be dominated by people who would be better
off taking a Valium first.


I welcome email from any being clever enough to fix my address. It's open
book.  A prize to the first spambot that passes my Turing test.

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