Once again, I, the library-bred, overprotected product of Catholic education, got another crack on my colored glasses. I grew up thinking that it was impossible for anyone to be evil or malicious by nature. I always assumed, “That twisted creep is intent on inducing hemorrhoids in everyone because he can’t get over the fact that he got teased as a kid for fancying pink tutus.”
Imagine my surprise when I met some trolls online. The more proper term for these demented online rejects from hell is flamebaiters. An online guru, several years my junior but with the white beard of an online hermit, told me that flamebaiters/trolls have no reason or dark driving force that compels them to do what they do. They simply derive satisfaction in entering forums to foment dissent, insult people and make everyone miserable.
One forum I joined is currently in the ICU and is on artificial life support after many of its top participants decided to leave or make a silent protest. Who can blame them? The battle with the trolls left a devastating trail of blood, bile and entrails that has leaked beyond the borders of the online world through dirty sneak attacks in the real world.
The forum is a highly formal one. Many of its members are top executives from multinational companies who had no idea they had more than giant lice in their hair. After the disappearance of its high profile members, all I can hear now is the beeping of the respirator.
I just can’t believe that there are bad people who were born trolls.
*Illustration by JNL