(paraphrased from a Usenet FAQ)
1 - What is Trolling?
The use of the word
"trolling" comes from the fishing technique where
a baited hook is dragged through the water, in an attempt
to attract and catch a fish. Trolling is the act of posting
an article, or "troll" with the intention
of provoking an emotional
response. The phrase was originally coined as "Trolling
for flames", where the posters intention was to incite
a "flame war", the internet intellectual equivalent
of a bar fight.
The basic idea behind trolling is to post a provocative message and then sit back and watch as newcomers (and some veterans) go nuts. A really simple troll, for example, is to post a message describing "101 Ways to Cook a Cat" in a "I Love My Cats" group. If the troller's lucky, people will rise to his bait, sometimes so vehemently that the area becomes engulfed in a flamewar that completely drowns out all other discussions.
2 - What is a Troll?
two basic troll species. Those with overactive minds constantly
seek out new sources of mental stimuli. And there are those
who are permanently disgruntled, or feel they've been "short
changed" with the hand they've been dealt in life. They seek out ways to compensate
for their shortcomings through vicious personal attacks against
others in order to achieve a Mental Erection.
3 - Why do Trolls
There are as many reasons
as there are trolls. Many trolls are just practical jokers
attempting to amuse themselves and their audience. Some have
genuine animosity toward a particular group or individual
that they believe has done them wrong. Some are just psychotic and disrupt the ordinarily peaceful
exchange of useful information for their own perverted pleasure.
The internet provides a medium to create and express oneself, and
gives the added dimension of anonymity, allowing the troll
to create and express emotions, thoughts and ideas that he/she
might not ordinarily express.