Trolling is the act of trying to push someone’s buttons online. A typical troll post specifically targets someone’s emotions in some fashion, sometimes with hilarious or disgusting material. On a site for dog lovers, for example, a perfect troll post could involve Cambodian recipes for dog stew. Trolls are many indeed; anonymous trolls have called themselves “Legion”—but some are more popular than others and five in particular have become a part of Internet lore in recent years.
5 Willy on Wheels
Willy on Wheels, for a time, took advantage of Wikipedia’s anyone-can-edit mantra, and, in doing so, took that website by storm: he and his friends mass-moved and renamed pages, put in odd cross-links and redirects and added “on wheels” to a plethora of titles (including “Braille Music on Wheels”), taking titles from serious to seriously crazy in one fell swoop. Besides trolling around, they also hacked Wikipedia’s home page several times, including putting up a photo of an antique car with the caption “Willy on Wheels!” below it.
Many folks depend on Yahoo! Answers for help from like-minded people if they’re having a tough time with anything from putting an outfit together, to failed relationships. And most people comment quite earnestly on posts, wanting to help. Not RBX, who tended to, um, derail conversations. An example: A poster once wrote a post with the title, “Men do you have an tips [sic] on how to grab a mans attention?” The post was about wanting to reconnect with an old flame, including, “I know you told me to move on but the truth is I can’t until I talk to him. I miss his friendship and really want it back so help me guys…” RBX’s answer (which Yahoo’s readers chose as the best) was: “Getting your **** out is generally a solid attention getting manoeuvre.”
Bloodninja became famous by entering chat rooms with women who wanted to have romantically intimate conversations—and then, in the words of MCLOL’s article on famous trolls: “dissing the pants off of them.” He would start out conversations normally and then start inserting random insults and making bizarre statements that would get the recipients upset and cause them to exit the chat. Bloodninja has been impersonated a great deal but he has himself faded from the Internet.
2 Team Roomba
“Griefing” is a form of trolling in online games. Similar to Anonymous, but with a focus on massive multi-player online role-playing games—in particular “Team Fortress 2″—Team Roomba trolls will follow someone through a game and make their life in-game as hellish as possible. Team Roomba used to post griefing videos on YouTube but hasn’t been active in years, leading many people to believe that key troll, “FLOOR_MASTER,” had died in 2008. Indeed, the main site for Team Roomba would seem to back this up with a single poem dedicated to him.
Weev is the online nickname for self-described Internet troll Anthony Auernheimer, who is currently serving time in prison after hacking AT&T’s servers and exposing the email addresses of thousands of iPad owners. Weev was investigated by the FBI and then tried, found guilty and sentenced to three and a half years in prison for the breach. Weev apparently somehow used the prison’s email system to communicate with the outside world, and after that was cut off, gained access to a cell phone and wound up in solitary confinement after blogging and posting recordings to SoundCloud from his cell.