Media Trolls


One who posts a deliberately provocative message to a newsgroup or message board with the intention of causing maximum disruption and argument


I had forgotten all about trolls when I ventured onto a MSM site the other day to view an article about Cameron’s Charity boxing match against Jesse. I am so used to our well moderated, polite and respectful site now that I expect the same standard on the so called professional sites of the Main Steam Media. Other Blogs I realise often have poor or no moderation but I naively thought that verbal abuse and wishing people to die horribly would be removed by moderators. I made a few comments, mainly correcting lies told about Cameron and the Trolls went nuts. I soon left and stopped replying. That made them go even more nuts. One Troll said something horrible to try to prod me into a response and when they were ignored they tried again posting a second reply to my original comment. Others joined in and soon they were having a conversation about me even though I was no longer participating. It was crazy. The next day I had a look and they were still going.


They seemed to be getting off on the possibility of upsetting me and kept saying more and more outrageous stuff in the hope that it would make me act like them.


The trolls seemed to know each other and seemed to have nothing else to do all day. Point III in the above image seemed to be what drove them.

I googled to learn more about Internet Trolls and found the below categories. I wonder if you will recognise any of the types that you yourselves have encountered online?










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  • pisces8284 .

    I don’t even go there now, leads to a much calmer life

    • Hedgehog

      Yep, I used to leave what I thought were sane comments on the MSM sites. I no longer bother, there are about a dozen or so regulars that drown out any constructive commenting with pain nastiness. What’s worse is the MSM sites seem to encourage them, especially the anti JK rants.

      • Huia

        I don’t bother with the MSM sites anymore, probably because I’m anti media these days dosent help, so every time I post something not agreeing with them it disappears.

  • Very good profiling. I seem to find ‘skeptical jerks’ around every corner, these days.

    • Sally

      Lots of ‘skeptical jerks’ who don’t believe we actually exist here on WO. We are all Cam or bots.

      • Je Suis Charlie – Respect!!

        Could be a tshirt slogan there.

        Im a Cambot!

  • Salacious Crumb

    Comments sections are an good insight in to the mindset of others. Take a look at the comments on the Guardian or Independent. If you ever needed reason as to why the UK is so stuffed it’s all there. At least they are moderated to remove abuse however.
    I agree with pisces8284, not reading the bile in our news sites is better for your blood pressure.

  • Sally

    Yes there is a ‘skeptical jerk’ posting regularly on a blog.
    Also know of a ‘pompous jerk’.
    in fact probably could put a name or a avatar to most of these types of trolls. They form a pattern with their comments.

  • JustanObserver

    My Guesses
    #1. Andrea Vance
    #2. Gareth Morgan
    #3. Colin Craig
    #4. Winnie
    #5. Laila
    #6. The Screaming Skull
    #7. Wussell
    #8. Most Previous, current & future Labour leaders

    • El Diablo

      lol very good!

    • ex-JAFA

      Minto is hardly libertarian! He demands the right to be offended (which I didn’t know he had been denied), not the right to offend (which we cannot have, because offence is received, not given).

      • Just a thought …

        Absolutely right – offence cannot be given – only taken …… Hmmm come to think of it is my wife and kids constantly offended as the just continue to take …….

      • JustanObserver

        Good point, I just felt the picture suited him more than Richard McGrath

  • El Diablo

    I’m not sure I agree with the characterisation of those feral commenters at the MSM site as trolls. I’ve always thought of internet trolls as people who are deliberately saying provocative things just to get a reaction. They don’t necessarily even need to believe what they are saying. To the troll, it’s all about getting that frisson of delight by annoying, upsetting or enraging the victim.

    The feral commenters on the other hand are posting their fervent, deeply held beliefs and their purpose is to browbeat you into accepting their point of view or else bully and intimidate you or anyone else who dares hold an opposing view from speaking up.

    An important difference I think.

    • lyall

      then there are the new wave trolls that accuse people of being a middle class white male if they dare to point out any double standards- plenty on stuff

  • oldmanNZ

    we all know by now, comments on MSM are done mostly by people who do nothing all day but comment on comments sections…..

    pretty much what Im doing now??

    • Just a thought …

      yeah – me too , bugga.

      • Huia

        Me too although Im going to have to go and make some scones for lunch as Mr Huia is coming home for lunch today and I don’t want him to think I spend all day on here.

        • 1951

          Has the bed been made? ;) Scones for lunch sounds like a good idea.

  • Huia

    Got into a ‘discussion’ about dot crim awhile back on another site and immediately the boards lit up, (I am not a fan of his).
    One joker kept calling me names and calling me a Whaleoil troll. He was trying to shoot me down in flames but the way his sentences were formed made me slowly realize the three who were the most viscious about Whaleoil, were probably the same person posting under different names. The wording was the same. I came to the conclusion I was actually talking to the man himself as he was so anti Whaleoil, I asked “is that you Kim”? and it all went quiet so I left.
    Better not to feed the trolls but I do think other boards should be better moderated and introduce some standards.
    And they call this site a hate site, what a joke, its the best site around.

    • Cadwallader

      I recall trying to discuss the issues surrounding the City of Detroit on another blog a year or so ago. In retrospect I was unwise to infer that trade unionism had contributed to the difficulties in the city. That was my sole comment. I received immediate queries about my “Tea Party Membership” whether I knew who my father was, whether I had escaped from a sheltered workshop and other personalised garbage. The degree of filth I received was staggering but not intimidating. I think that over and above “trollism” some sites appear to exist for the primary purpose of abuse, destruction and irrationality. I was not intimidated by this carry on because I could see that was the entire contents of their arsenal.

      • HR

        Funny thing is Cadwallader, if you were in a room with those very same people I could almost guarantee that they would not hold the same level of enthusiasm about calling you out. Funny thing, the internet, very different from actually having to speak in person to somebody.
        Same thing with Facebook; I see many people on Facebook who seem to be living amazing lives, doing incredible things. Yet I know these people and their lives are nothing like what is portrayed on Facebook.

        • pisces8284 .

          I don’t know anyone yet who has the perfect life….

    • Christie

      Yes – I got called a Whaleoil troll a while ago for pointing out that MPs don’t drive stretch limos (article about new Parliamentary vehicles in the Herald.) I replied, saying it was the nicest thing anyone had said to me all day!! But I had to remove all my comments later, because they became very personal and threatening, and my real name was on there. I can’t understand how anyone thinks it is OK to abuse and threaten people like that for merely having an opinion. I steer clear of most of them now – present site excepted, of course.

  • Nige.

    I think you can tell a lot about a web site by the quality of the commenters

    There’s sometging to be said about a good leader inspiring followers.

    • Just a thought …

      or you could follow the Labour party mantra and have ” so many leaders” that you have got to be following someone that works for you …….

  • caochladh

    Talking Face Book, I started a page up for the dog a bunch of years ago that has attracted some friends, including the “glitterati”. Amazing how many post photo’s of themselves 3,4,5,6 times a day expecting everyone to respond with a bunch of superlatives that make them feel good. Then there are those who eat out every day and post pictures of their meals – oh, look at me, I’m at the French Cafe or whatever.
    If FB is about anything, I think its about insecurity. For gods sake, who the hell has the time to sort through the pages of absolute drivel every day – I don’t, that’s why I leave it to the dog.

    • Just a thought …

      I’m starting up a “facebook” page to rescue dogs from people that are living their lives vicariously through them …. go get your own friends and stop putting the pressure on your mutt to give you some social interaction …… hehehe

      • caochladh

        Come around to my place and call my three WHWT’s mutts and you will certainly get some social interaction! ;-)

        • Just a thought …

          Hmmm – good argument ……

    • Cadwallader

      Photographing your lunch has to be the best definition of boredom in the universe. Then there are the young girlies with lip-gloss etc.. snapping themsleves at each social event they go to. As Sean Connery wrote a year or so ago…”they’re all stars now awaiting to be the next “Bond Girl!” The age of the selfie is sad and revelatory of unprecedented self-absorption.

  • happychappy

    I see that Stuff allowed bad comments on this story and bans comments when you tell the blogger what a a/h he is for his hateful comment

  • R&BAvenger

    As a few have posted below and I think I have posted a few times here on WOBH, I gave up posting on Stuff and other MSM websites last year, post-election.
    Here is a breath of fresh air. Well moderated(Thank you Pete) and run (Thank you team) which is why I came back here most days.
    Please let us be FEED from the MSM soon!!

    • mike

      You want to eat the MSM? Well I suppose that’s a fairly accurate view of what will happen when a real journalistic media starts up

  • In Vino Veritas

    Go to TV3 website, quite remarkable. They are all there!

    • Fairnz

      A few keyboard warriors there for sure.

    • jude

      It is about 10 people who comment on that site.
      I do not think they work because they are there all day and well into the night.
      It would not surprise me if some of them have some sort of personality disorder
      It is not a site to leave comment on ,if you are not in total agreement with their left wing ideology.
      Best to steer clear. .

  • corporate refugee

    MSM message boards are mainly used by the people that can’t get on talkback radio.

  • Karma

    The trouble with internet trolls is that most of them think they’re hilaaarious, but comedy is most definitely not their strong point – or grammar, spelling and reasoned argument for that matter.

    I think this description of Trolls from Wikipedia sums them up pretty well too, – “In
    Old Norse sources, beings described as trolls dwell in isolated rocks, mountains, or caves, live together in small family units, and are rarely helpful to human beings.”

  • Andrew Gibson

    One view might be that all media are trolls: where the objective of publishing is to stimulate discussion if not argument; the test being whether the posts are rational and coherent.

    I wonder how long it might be before MSM and media like this one swap places: Whaleoil is seen as mainstream and outlets like NZ Herald are the “fringe” operators.

  • Jas

    The biggest issue I have with so called trolling is when you get called a troll because you have an opinion which doesn’t fit in because of the ‘If you are not for us your must be against us’ situation which means you get called a troll