Re: Pledge To Killfile Andrew Suffield
> "Z rejoices in the flames that his posts
> inspire", which is more or less the factual content of "Z's posts are
> trolls"  ...
Whoops, left out Footnote 1, which is my own take on the same topic as
FWIW, the origin of this usage of "troll" has little to do with the
squat ornery guys who live under bridges in fairy tales of Germanic
origin. "Trolling" is a fishing technique in which a dense lure,
shaped to dive, is dragged behind a moving boat to catch deep-water
fish. As I recall it, in the glory days of FlameNet (Usenet) groups
like sci.physics and talk.religion, some people considered it sport to
drop a carefully crafted post into the waters -- preferably not
crudely inflammatory, but rather a reasonable-sounding comment with a
semi-subtle logical flaw on which the half-sane posters would pounce,
followed by a mass flamewar.
Another variation was to cross-post something inane to two or more
flame-intensive groups and see if you could get the denizens to
declare war on one another. I recall one frequent alt.folklore.urban
(and talk.bizarre) poster, a Ted somebody, who was particularly
skilled at "trolling for net.kooks", and other a.f.u/t.b regulars
would call "troll" when they caught him at it. Thus the verb "troll"
("Ted's trolling again") became a noun ("This was another of Ted's
trolls") and then its referent slipped ("Ted's such a troll!").
So at least as some of us use the term, a "troll" is one who is gaming
the social dynamics of the list in order to warm his miniscule soul at
the flames, not one who believes himself to be debating a point of
significance (however ham-handedly). In my opinion, the term doesn't
really fit Andrew; but YMMV.