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The Three Levels of Trolldom

I've been frequenting Wizbang for years. One of the things that makes this blog so great is the quality of it's readership. I've learned to appreciate, not only the quality of the pieces published, but, the comments from most of the readers. That being said, I've seen several trolls come and go. Some just disappear over time, others have been hit by "Olaf's Troll Hammer".

Some trolls are just annoying. Others are funny. And some, even though I may not agree with the substance of their posts, can actually provoke thought.

Thus, I will describe what I have come to call the "Three Levels of Trolldom". Let me explain.

  • A Level 1 Troll is one who, no matter what the substance of your column may contain, will always disagree. Since this site is relatively conservative in nature, this Troll can most always be described as liberal or leftist. Even though these Trolls are misguided in their ideology, they are the ones I respect the most. They usually have something intelligent to say, they say it well, and they present it in a manner of thoughtful debate: A case of "I may not agree with you, but I respect your opinion". This is the rarest form of Troll, thus sightings are uncommon.
  • A Level 2 Troll is somewhat similar to a Level 1 in that they disagree with everything you say, but they say it, not in a thoughtful, reasoned manner, but in a combative, abrasive, sarcastic way. No one needs to provoke them. It's just the way they were made. A Level 2 is the most common form of Troll, with some just teetering on the border of a Level 1, but never quite maturing to that point. A shame, indeed.
  • A Level 3 Troll is a mindless, rabid kook. I liken them to the Troll in the old video game "Zork": Lurking around the corner, ready to jump out at you with a "verbal" bloody ax, ready to chop you or fellow commentors with name calling and childish schoolyard comparisons, just because they can. Nothing of substance to offer, no intellect or thought provoking counter ideas. Just ugly creatures with a chip on their shoulder and too much time on thier hands. They usually hi-jack a thread, making the discussion not about the substance of the post, but usually turning the comments section into a self-absorbed flamewar. These Trolls I despise the most.

Trolls are an invaluable part of a blog. The ones who offer counter-opinions can turn a thread into an informative, lively debate about substantive issues. Unfortunately, they are a rare breed, and even when they do turn out, the more reasoned readership usually rips their arguments to tatters, as the mainly leftist ideology is far too lacking of reason and reality.

If you feel I've left out any type of Troll, please feel free to offer up your own addition.

And to all you Trolls out there, I'm sure your responses will only re-enforce the notions set forth above.

But, by all means, keep up the good fight.


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Comments (36)

IMOPeople who offe... (Below threshold)
retired military:


People who offer thoughtful points which disagree with you are not trolls. They simply are having a discussion. Yes their points may not make the best of sense to you but they tend to refrain from the namecalling or bombthrowing unless provoked.

1) Troll is not a proper no... (Below threshold)

1) Troll is not a proper noun--no need to capitalize in the middle of a sentence.

2) What kind of troll points out the misspelling and misuse of the word "their"?

Are you blogging from a Blackberry or some other device that makes it difficult to proofread your work? Do you purposefully butcher your own prose to make the public education system look even worse than it is?

Their is a fourth type of T... (Below threshold)

Their is a fourth type of Troll, but my finely polished sense of decorum and real good upbringin' prohibits further comment.

I wouldn't even classify yo... (Below threshold)

I wouldn't even classify your level I as a troll. To me disagreement isn't a trollish behavior.

All fixed, Hyper!!... (Below threshold)

All fixed, Hyper!!

Thanks a million!!

And since it's my post, I'll capitalize whichever damn word I choose!!

So, what kind of TROLL are you?

Rodney,I would agr... (Below threshold)


I would agree with you, however, I am talking about the ones who will disagree with anything put forth. You could say the sun is a star, and they would disagree. That was my point for a Level 1.


What kind of troll point... (Below threshold)

What kind of troll points out the misspelling and misuse of the word "their"?

Their the kind of Troll of a somewhat nit-picky nature. There sometimes intelligent, but most times annoying.

Their the k... (Below threshold)
Their the kind of Troll of a somewhat nit-picky nature. There sometimes intelligent, but most times annoying.
Which kind was the sarcastic kind? ;)
Long since given up debat... (Below threshold)

Long since given up debating trolls,having gotten EXTREMELY tired of chasing goalposts and topics.

Come on Bruce....Where are ... (Below threshold)

Come on Bruce....Where are you?? I guess he didn't crawl out of his cave yet? I'll beat the other one to the punch...you act like a 13 year old girl, no I mean an eight year old boy.

Bruce and his comrades are ... (Below threshold)

Bruce and his comrades are speechless over the liberal circus in D.C. today.

Clay: taht's only your upin... (Below threshold)

Clay: taht's only your upinnion.

Shawn,I must disag... (Below threshold)


I must disagree with your post - courteously.

Hilarious piece. A... (Below threshold)

Hilarious piece.

A blog is only as good as its trolls, imo. They humorously harass the hosts, and all the like-minded commenters tee off on them generally brilliantly. I won't read a pure echo chamber, no fun.

You crazy war-monging chickenhawk religious nuts. :)

Trolls are baby shit compar... (Below threshold)
Baron Von Ottomatic:

Trolls are baby shit compared to a class five full roaming vapor...

Wait. Which kind of troll ... (Below threshold)
Sheik Yur Bouty:

Wait. Which kind of troll makes obscure movie references?


MPR and "potroast" (never n... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

MPR and "potroast" (never noticed you before. Do I annoy you?):

I'm here, and I feel duly chastised by the ever-insightful Mr Mallow. I promised him I would be real good from now on, on another thread, but apparently he couldn't stop brooding about being verbally bitch-slapped by me and others who read his "posts." Hence, this one.

Oh dear, I've gone too far again....

Seriously, dude, it's just a blog. We all have real lives elsewhere, right? ...Right?

Actually, Mallow, that was a pretty good article, I do feel chastened, and I will try to be a better correspondent in future. I just couldn't resist one last jab.

I would say I'm a level 2 t... (Below threshold)

I would say I'm a level 2 troll. In fairness though, I find myself often responding to Cassy's posts; and let's face it, thoughtful, reasoned, intelligent, responses are impossible when dealing with that level of absurdity.

In fact, I'd say Cassy would qualify as a level 3 herself, if she wasn't a conservative on a conservative blog.

Damnit, there I go again being sarcastic.

"What kind of troll points ... (Below threshold)

"What kind of troll points out the misspelling and misuse of the word "their"?"

The Pedantic Troll - has an overly inflated sense of their self-importance, and not being able to find a way to refute the substance of the issue is reduced to covering it with polka-dotted paint to distract the casual reader.

"Which kind of troll makes obscure movie references?"

The Fanboy troll - who doesn't understand why EVERYONE isn't concerned about the changes in luggage styles on the Hogwarts Express between movies 1 and 2 - because people just don't buy new trunks that often, and it's terribly important in the metaphysical sense to understand just what was being implied by the changes in the latches and hinges, especially when compared to the interior rearrangements of the living quarters between season 3 and 4 of Voyager!!1! (Kate Mulgrew was pretty damn hot, too. Seven of Nine? Man, you could TELL those water balloons were teh fake!)

So, what kind of trolls blo... (Below threshold)

So, what kind of trolls blog on Wizbang Blue?

What kind of trol... (Below threshold)
What kind of troll points out the misspelling and misuse of the word "their"?"

We should be honest here, both sides do that in order get under the skin of their opponent.

"So, what kind of trolls bl... (Below threshold)

"So, what kind of trolls blog on Wizbang Blue?"

Wizbang what?

Actually, the term "troll" ... (Below threshold)

Actually, the term "troll" is already well-defined, and it applies only to your level 3 (and maybe 2.5). However, it is often misused by Wizbang commenters, consistent with this characterization:

The term is often used to discredit an opposing position, or its proponent, by argument fallacy ad hominem.

That's the basis of your level 1 and 2 definitions.

And as long as we're being grammar trolls today:

...the quality of it's readership....

it's: A contraction, short for "it is".
its: A possessive pronoun.

There is also a "Rebuttal T... (Below threshold)

There is also a "Rebuttal Troll". Rebuttal trolls attack even sincere, well reasoned, opposing viewpoints at level 3.

They are easy to identify. There response usually starts with a phrase like "You libtards are all alike."

Rance,No they don'... (Below threshold)
Sheik Yur Bouty:


No they don't, you insufferable jerk!

:-) Sorry...couldn't resist...


So, what kind of t... (Below threshold)
So, what kind of trolls blog on Wizbang Blue?

We don't know; they get banned too quickly.

I can't believe you remembe... (Below threshold)

I can't believe you remember the troll from Zork. I would have never remembered him on my own.

So-called trolls are crucia... (Below threshold)

So-called trolls are crucial in preventing this blog from devolving into an virtual version of a leather bar for men.

The editors should ask themselves two questions:
1) is this blog a specialist's or expert's blog (original reportage)?
2) is this blog a comedic or voyeuristic or literary blog?

If the answers to these questions is No, then this blog is for entertainment purposes only and is, (at best) supplemental for knowledge. Which means Wizbang's audience is of the "trolling" kind; but if the word "troll" is reserved here for only contrarians and iconoclasts, we must dub the Wizbang Orthodox as Wankers, because without Trolls, there would only be a circle jerk left in the comments section.

In conclusion, Wizbang's open comment policy (registration-free) is key to its success. I'll venture that opinion with serene confidence. It's hiccupped down the traffic meter due to past delusions of Odin on the part of former editor and tubby agoraphobe, Jay Tea, from which it has yet to fully recover, though I'd say the prognosis is good, if tampering and tinkering is resisted in future (though I would, if I were Kevin, combine all paged under the main page, a'la Mayor Giuliani's Operation Broken Windows campaign. Pop, Tech, and Sports remind me of the Bates Motel: empty.

Shawn Mallow: very good (and different!) topic. Don't be afraid of open threads, music debates, and head-to-head battles of the Hollywood babes, past and present.

And there's the gay-slingin... (Below threshold)

And there's the gay-slinging insult troll. Wow, what a zoo we're collecting!

"I can't believe you rememb... (Below threshold)

"I can't believe you remember the troll from Zork. I would have never remembered him on my own."

I used to love that game.

"You are standing in a clearing. There is a white house to the east, and to the west..."

The only other thing I can ... (Below threshold)

The only other thing I can remember is a sandwich in a paper bag. Was it something weird, like an onion sandwich?

A few years ago I scored a Commodore 64 and a whole collections of floppy disks (genuine floppies!) on Freecycle. One of the floppies is Zork! Alas, there's some kind of cable missing so we've never hooked it up. Maybe I'll nag the hubby to look into it.

We are comerades in nerddom, Shawn.

There was a clove of garlic... (Below threshold)

There was a clove of garlic in the bag..

it's: A contraction, sho... (Below threshold)

it's: A contraction, short for "it is".
its: A possessive pronoun.

This is one of my biggest pet peeves, as well as having to read "there, their and they're" confused often.

One of the big ones I've been noticing lately is using the spelling "loose" for "lose". To a lesser extent, a lot of people can't spell "ridiculous".

I never bother trying to correct anybody though.

To a lesser extent... (Below threshold)
To a lesser extent, a lot of people can't spell "ridiculous".
Your dethpickable
LOL! rodney, you always ma... (Below threshold)

LOL! rodney, you always make me laugh.

Tom, one of my biggest pet ... (Below threshold)

Tom, one of my biggest pet peeves is people's usage of the word 'an'. For example:

"devolving into an virtual version of a leather bar"






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