The Secret Playbook of Internet Trolls: What’s Confusing You Is the Nature of their Game

Pleased to meet you
Hope you guess my name
What’s confusing you
Is the nature of my game

– The Rolling Stones

If We Understand Their Game, We Can Stop Their Shenanigans

The reason that Internet trolls are effective is that people still don’t understand their game.

There are 15 commonly-used trolling tactics to disrupt, misdirect and control internet discussions.

As one interesting example, trolls start flame wars because – according to two professors – swearing and name-calling shut down our ability to think and focus.

And trolls will often spew divisive attacks so that people argue against each other, instead of bad actions and policies of the powers-that-be.   For example, trolls will: Propaganda Edward Bernays Best Price: $6.42 Buy New $9.66 (as of 07:40 EST - Details)

Start a religious war whenever possible using stereotypes like “all Jews are selfish”, “all Christians are crazy” or “all Muslims are terrorists”.

Yesterday, the alternative news site Common Dreams caught a troll using scores of different user names to spew anti-Semitic bile. (Common Dreams discovered that the same troll was behind the multiple user names by tracking their IP addresses. And the troll confessed to Common Dreams.)

The troll is a “a Jewish Harvard graduate in his thirties who was irritated by the website’s discussion of issues involving Israel”.

He would posted anti-Semitic diatribes – such as Hitler should have finished the job and killed all Jews – using one alias.  Then – a couple of minutes later – he’d post an attack on the first poster using a differentalias, claiming that criticism of Israel is the same thing as anti-Semitism.  (Note: Holocaust survivors and Israeli ministers say it’s not.)

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