Thanks to the internet, when you think of a Troll you no longer think of a cutesy, vaguely creepy green-haired figurine - instead you think of a bloated, acne-ridden 17-year-old with uninformed opinions.
The sentence “Don’t Feed the Trolls” has now became as synonymous with comment sections as “first!” and “fake and gay”, and is used to try to prevent civilised discussions descending into all caps rants consisting of Commenter A telling Commenter B to “STFU, FAGGOT”.
But I’ve always valued a good underdog story, and surely there is no greater underdog story than that of the everyday life of an internet troll? Imagine it, being a beacon of ignorance and stupidity in a world trying its very best to progress. It must be difficult and, as someone who appreciates a challenge, I decided that for 24 hours (give or take a few, of course) I would lead my life as one of them.
Armed with nothing but a litre bottle of Mountain Dew and my unwashed bed head, I took the guise of “Anon2815” and swiftly made my way onto YouTube. Perspiring heavily (I had also closed all doors and windows in the room in order to give it an ‘authentic’ smell) I began my ignorant campaign, first taking to YouTube star freddiew’s (pictured, below) latest video, “Gamer Commute”.
Freddie Wong is known for making videos with high-production values and, considering how much time, money and effort must have gone into making Gamer Commute, a 2 minute video which includes Freddie travelling to work in a stylish BMW, I thought that the most appropriate comment to leave would be “lol this video is unrealistic asians cant drive lol”. Rather than being besieged by comments that called me out on my perpetuating of a stereotype, I instead found myself confronted by one particularly enraged guy who, bizarrely, repeatedly told me to “stop crying”, and another much more accepting individual who replied “yah especialy asian woman lol”.
Disheartened by my lack of responses, I decided that the people most likely to be susceptible to my disagreeable alter-ego would be those watching footage of the extremely controversial Mayweather/Ortiz fight. Amongst a deluge of comments concerning Mayweather’s supposed cowardice I left a comment - “Mayweather best boxer he will DESTROYS PACIQWOW” - which garnered this response:
When you make a concerted effort to be the most idiotic commenter and still find yourself being bested, you know it’s time to take your fucking punk pussy ass someplace else.
I continued trollin’ throughout various forums, including a particularly well-run Xbox site which saw my comment of “FIRST!” being instantly met by a moderator’s “BLOCKED!”, until I came to the conclusion that the easiest targets would probably be fans of doe-eyed teen icon Justin Bieber. Don’t judge me – I was still acting on behalf of my alter-ego Anon2815, remember? Or at least I was, until I was found that moderators wouldn’t accept my membership, presumably because of the prefix “Anon” (thanks 4chan).
Eventually I wormed my way in by changing my username to “JonahJustinFan”, a Jewish Belieber from Bangladesh. I promptly clicked on a post titled “How much do you luv justin?” The posters query was “how much do you luv justin from 1-10?” I responded with a reasonable “6”, and found my inbox suddenly fill up with infuriated fans, most of whom were telling me that my answer should have been “11”.
I reminded them that 11 wasn’t actually a number, and that I thought 6 was a good number considering I didn’t know him personally. It was after this retort that one of them sent me a message labelling me “discusting”, which suddenly made me realise that I was arguing with pre-teen girls and, even though I was doing it all in the name of this article, I still felt a little depressed and “discusted” with myself.
To cheer myself up, I trolled my way over to ChatRoulette and made this face for 10 minutes:
Alas, my happiness did not last for long, as I was forced to engage in a staring contest with a man’s erect penis and concluded that it’s probably OK to call it quits on the trolling front when you’re watching a fat guy masturbate. I turned off my computer, walked out of the room and poured myself a cup of tea, contemplating just how much time I had wasted in attempting to goad a negative reaction out of faceless people over the internet.
So consider this the next time you encounter a troll: yes, they may be unintelligent, ignorant and slightly racist, but they’re also bored and lonely... so very, very lonely.
Don’t Feed the Trolls, but it is OK to give them a hug every once in a while.
Photo Credit: Andres Otero/ WENN.com