Friday, December 22, 2006

Them Trolls

We have little or no troll behavior over here, but I certainly encounter them commenting on other sites. I am one who tries to reason with them, creating frustration all around.

The name troll does not originally come from the mythical monster, but from the fishing term of dragging a lure on a line behind a moving boat. (Jacques: We cannot go ice-fishing, Pierre. I didn’t bring an auger [pronounced oezher for an added joke]. Pierre: So get on the back of my skidoo- we’ll go trollin’). To go trolling online was to drag bait in the form of controversial statements in comments sections, hoping to get someone upset and start an argument.

A person who is trolling, then, came to be called a troll by back-formation, probably taking that form because troller would be a new word, and troll already existed. Enough computer geeks were also Tolkien fans or D&D players that the unattractive reputation of trolls lent itself to describing stupid and difficult commenters. This is called a folk-etymology, though it doesn’t fit the tightest definition of that term. The rural Maine practice of saying “sparrow grass” for “asparagus” would also be a folk-etymology, as would “bridegroom, adopted when “guma” (man) was no longer recognizable.

I take the bait that trolls drag by. I take people’s intentions mostly at face value, and if they are putting forth an opinion, I assume it is their real opinion, not something they have adopted for entertainment purposes. I don’t see the fun in getting people worked up for no reason, so it doesn’t tend to occur to me that a person might be having me on for that purpose. Being pigheaded and opinionated – that I understand. So I proceed with great hope, trusting that sweet reason will win the day. (More fool thou, my sons recite in unison).

1 comment:

GraniteDad said...

"I don’t see the fun in getting people worked up for no reason"

Really? I've been demonstrating it for 23 years with Ben. I'll have to try harder.