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The Taxonomy of Internet Trolls

Are you a comment troll, one of those mythical creatures that pollute the comments sections of Internet articles and cause normal people to…

The Taxonomy of Internet Trolls


Are you a comment troll, one of those mythical creatures that pollute the comments sections of Internet articles and cause normal people to say “Honestly, who are these weirdos in real life?”

Probably not. After all, you’ve read this far. Likely, you are one of these rarer creatures in the family constructuvus:

commentus reasonablus [Threatened species]
You added something simple, kind or balanced to the discussion. Thank you. Seriously.

commentus perspectivus [Vulnerable]
Your great insight was not covered in the article. Thank you. Seriously.

commentus intelligentus [Endangered]
You should have probably written the article. Thank you for your comment. Seriously, the author should mention your comment in a tweet right now. Thank you.

But in case your commenting does not fall into one of the above, here is a zoological categorization of the family trollus, done in such a profoundly accurate way that no one could have a viscous opinion to go on about…

typous obsessus
Look at you, you found a mispelled word. Rather than noting it quickly in the comments, a great deal of scorn is certainly in order for the author. Not to mention, could you provide a condescending explanation of the rules of grammar? After all, until now, the author had simply gotten lucky the 309,458 times they were faced with the decision between “its” and “it’s.” Oh, and you know what, while we’re here, we’d love to hear why this typo is the harbinger of media’s downfall.

detaila obsessa
The article was 2,000 words but you have found a detail at word 1,293 that you believe is, not incorrect, but just off per your perception of the world. You should really focus on this, and use it as a reason why the other 1,985 words of this article are void of meaning.

argumentus irrelevantus
Even though the article you just read was about crab fishing, we would surely like to hear your thoughts on Obama ruining America. When pulling up to a toll booth, you must surely also lecture the attendant on healthcare costs. Or when you order a smoothie you must teach the person at the register why we should intervene in the Middle East.

quipa redundus
Oh you have an original, profound thought you’d like to share in the comments? I wish the author of the post had thought of that same original, profound thought and written about it right there in paragraphs eight and nine and then referenced it again in paragraph fourteen. Please go on. No, the author didn’t say exactly what you’re saying at all. Seriously. Go on.

juvenilus anoni
Uh oh. Looks like someone left the back gate open at 4chan. Yes, please tell us about the lulz, how you’ll never forget and, of course, casually call people intense homophobic slurs. We’ll wait until you’re done. Go on. Get it all out.

bigotus subtlus
Mmmmmm, yes, we see that you’ve used strategic pronouns, quotation marks and winky smiley faces when speaking about minorities. Did you high-five yourself after you typed these clever things in your cave underneath a collapsed bridge? I hope so.

bigotus overtus
Enjoy hell.

conspiratus theororus
The articles mentions a company, organization or government body with actions that trouble you. No no no, your accusations don’t seem insane or disconnected from real life. Go on.

attackus authora
Seems you are quite the Internet sleuth. You’ve found the author’s LinkedIn profile or a picture of them on the Internet. Now you’ve entwined your detective work with the author’s arguments to reach an unassailable conclusion as to why the author wrote the piece in the first place. The world is so easy.

attackus commenteris
Oh my, you disagree with another random commenter you’ve never met and now you’ve surmised a great deal of information about their life simply based on the 48 words of their comment. You should keep talking. There is no chance you’re way off base. And you have surely moved the discussion forward. No, continue.

dismissis instantus
Ah yes, you read the headline and decided that the mere 500 words that follow were not worth your time. And now you’d like to tell us. The world needs more sensible folks like you.

dismissis tl;drus
Oh dear… the article contained too many words. Next time the author will dumb down the subject. But in the meantime, can you let everyone know you have the focusing ability of a goldfish by leaving “tl;dr” in the comments? Thanks.

dismissis brevus
You did not like this story. And by simply saying “This is dumb” in the comments you’ve not only explained why you hold such a nuanced opinions, but elevated the discussion well past being dumb at all.

articlus scornicus
You just can’t believe this article exists. Considering how much you paid to read it, you should demand a refund. In fact, this article was such a waste of time, you didn’t see the irony in wasting more time by writing in the comments that it was a waste of time.

listiclus dismissicus
Oh no. That random Internet list about the unimportant things didn’t have the one other thing. Well, you’d better sound off about it. Because there’s nothing publications and random bloggers hate more than people generating buzz around their controversial articles and sharing them around the Internet.

(This was originally posted on Garling Files. Follow Caleb at @calebgarling.)