5 Ways to Know You’re Being Trolled

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Trolling is the act of trying to get a rise out of someone on the Internet, and the practice is as old as the Internet itself. While types of trolling are varied and many, certain tactics and techniques are common among trolls. If you are the victim of a troll, remember the now-old adage that you should “never feed the trolls,” meaning that if you are being trolled you should not let them get a rise out of you—that’s what they want. You can attempt to delete the troll’s posts and/or block the user, but engaging with a troll is unwise because the best (worst) trolls just don’t stop.

5 Fake Profiles

Many people troll sometimes, but a true troll typically uses a profile specifically for trolling. If the person’s profile on whatever service you’re using is obviously fake or inflammatory, chances are you’re dealing with a troll profile. If the profile is legitimate, perhaps you’re dealing not with a troll but someone who is just feeling a bit troll-ish at the moment.

4 Outrageous Claims

Trolls will often make the most outlandish claims about whatever the topic at hand is and try to defend these claims, even if they don’t believe them. Trolls typically don’t believe the ridiculous things they claim, but the point of trolling is to convince you that they believe it. As an example, if you’re in a forum discussing Mother Teresa and some random user starts claiming she was anti-Semitic and had a secret life as a witch, you’re probably dealing with a troll.

3 Trollspeak

Trolls often use similar linguistic tactics, such as typing in all capital letters, using deliberate misspellings and typos, and just in general trying to use the most inflammatory language possible. Also, the fastest way to rile somebody up is to insult them, and trolls will use this tactic to try to bait you. If the person you’re talking to online starts insulting you for the sake of doing so and/or they’re speaking trollspeak, you’re probably being trolled.

2 They Just Won’t Stop

A troll won’t stop, typically, until they get their victim up in arms and engaging in brutal flame wars. Not engaging is key here; if you don’t reply then you’re not going to give the troll what they want—to laugh at your reactions—and they’ll move on and find someone more gullible and entertaining to troll.

1 Attacking Something You Love

The most obvious type of trolling is someone saying something bad about something you love. For example, a troll might join a community of cat lovers and post a picture of a kitten in a blender. If you’ve never seen someone before and the first time you do see them they’re bashing the main topic of whatever forum or post you’re part of, chances are they’re a troll.

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