A great deal of terminology and slang have evolved over not only chat interfaces from the internet and text messaging, but very much so within our MMORPG community out there. Some of these terms are explicitly obvious in their meaning, while others can beguile and more often than not end up being poorly if not overall misrepresented. One of these terms, that has become fairly popular in use over the last year or so, is the use of the word ‘troll’ or ‘trolling’.
Wikipedia (general) defines the troll as an old Norse & Scandinavian creature of folklore, quoting one from the Prose Edda book Skáldskaparmá in translation as saying;
‘They call me a troll, moon of the earth-Hrungnir, wealth sucker of the giant, destroyer of the storm-sun, beloved follower of the seerees, guardian of the “nafjord” swallower of the wheel of heaven. What’s a troll if not that?’ -John Lindow translation
Wikipedia (Internet) defines troll as the following: In Internet slang, a troll is someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as a forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.
For several of the MMORPG community, this word and its use are nothing new, per findings on the internet its actually been in use since the early 1990’s, but was not initially a negative remark. In fact one of the most famous ‘trolls’ out there David Mikkelson went on to create the folklore site Snopes.com.
Today, most uses of this word in MMORPG’s are out of upset from the victim of having been ‘trolled’, though occasionally it is possible to catch one troll giving props to another for a successful ‘trolling’ or reaction there from. Most troll-related conversations, usually are driven with the intent to infuriate if not overall detract from the message of those victimized. However not unlike any other mechanism out there, it’s the squeaky wheel that gets the oil. That philosophy in mind, it is definitely within reason to recognize that our MMORPG ‘trolls’ may very well be a window to potential resolutions even if/when they are unable to be seen as such.
There are a great deal of MMORPG players out there that never peruse the forums available for/from their MMO of choice, but have strong concerns, stances, and even ideas. Of this great deal of players, there are likely one or more that would be termed ‘trolls’ having taken part in discussions within their game regarding lacking elements or items needing improvements. Certainly not all of those that would endeavor to ‘troll’ within such discussions will have potentially positive agendas when partaking. However like most things it isn’t what is said but really how it is said, and beyond that perceived, that can actually contain the clues of resolution.
Stepping back to over a couple of centuries ago there were some very prestigious and famous ‘trolls’ that had a hand in delivering us a new nation. Disgruntled ‘players’ within a game to which they had no real hand in the controlling thereof, that ultimately banded together and broke free from the hierarchy they were suffering beneath to re-forge as their own nation. This all started over shared ‘trolling sessions’, most likely in private, slowly working across and through those that shared in the stance until finally organizing and ultimately founding the United States of America. Maybe it is some of this very essence that makes for so many ‘trolls’ from within the gaming industry today. Granted the closest to similar example of this situation, would be from player-run versions of MMORPG’s built and maintained by unsatisfied players. However perhaps if King George had listened to the trolling taking place amongst the colonists and addressed it properly, the 4th of July would not be what it is today.
Just like the colonists of that era, there are often shared upsets that once properly organized new ages can evolve there from within MMORPG’s. Still most ‘trolls’ out there are more often raising the rage and rarely the bar. For those that may dub themselves as a troll, something to definitely keep in perspective is that we can all complain of problems, the solutions however are what need to be heard. For others that may find themselves as an escalating rage victim from troll assaults, keep in mind more often than not this is the objective of the troll, to unload their own upset and rage in whatever fashion until it is morphed into a pleasure of sorts. Remembering this when your buttons are exposed and a troll is readily pushing away, is the key to overcoming the assault. Allowing their rage to become your own, relieves them of it, but resolves nothing in truth.
Just like the upset colonists that complained to one another under their breath, it was not until they truly began to organize under the shared stance that any relief was to be had. As each new generation proves gradually more cynical than the last, it is inevitable that the troll population will increase as well.
We can’t all have magic acorns or pecks to throw them on our behalf and freeze the trolls dead in their tracks, but with the right perspective when dealing, whether as or with a troll it is definitely possible to remain positive while still unloading the upset incited.