Trollus internauticus

Internet trolls (aka Trollus internauticus) have been around since people first allowed comments sections on their websites.

Trolls originally were beings in Scandinavian mythology: strong, nasty and relatively slow-witted. Not much has changed in the ensuing millenia.  In fact, you would probably still recognize many of the original Norse ancestors in today’s more wired progeny.

I’d like to start the day by listing and describe some of the more common species of trolls found in the digital age.

Internet troll via Shutterstock

Internet troll via Shutterstock

Trollus indignatio

Hyper-enraged troll. This troll may be enraged over just one thing, or a number of things that are often somewhat related (e.g., economy, jobs, immigration, Social Security), or at least are related in his mind.


His mission is to keep posting, IN CAPS, to make sure that he is not ignored, which ironically causes everyone to ignore him.

There are numerous subspecies of Trollus indignatio. These can often be identified by the topics or groups of topics over which they spew their anger.

Trollus indignato var conservatus

Angry posts directed at Democrats regarding Benghazi, ACORN, the Clintons, the IRS, liberals, Benghazi, Obamacare, contraceptive rights, Benghazi, George Soros, Jesse Jackson (seriously, they still bring up Jesse Jackson), the Second Amendment, climate change, immigrants, Benghazi, socialism, and other issues that aren’t linked to Benghazi, but could be if we just search hard enough.

Trollus indignatio var christianistus

Hate-filled posts directed against gays, the poor, immigrants (who, like many troll villains, are multi-category offenders), maintaining “churches” as tax-free entities, shielding pederast priests, and writing only about specific carefully hand-picked Biblical verses while ignoring other more inconvenient ones.

Often Trollus indignatio var christianistus takes the position that the rest of us are doomed, buy if we embrace God (Christ, not Buddha, Allah, Freya, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster — well, okay, some versions of Christ, such aren’t recognized either, be it Catholics or Mormons) we might be saved. But only if we give the evil practices that initially annoyed this troll in the first place.

Trollus indignatio var tehgayus

This troll is often a sub-variant of one of the above. This one is primarily enraged over homosexual acts, and displays an obsessive interest in, and knownledge of. Rick “Man-dog” Santorum and Antonin “No sodomy for you, but no word about me” Scalia come to mind.

There are many other Trollus indignatio variants and sub-variants. Those concerned with women/women’s rights (that is, suppressing them), immigrants (deporting them), global warming (denying it) and dozens more. The common thread seems to be intense anger, pugnaciousness, being poorly informed and a strong sense of self-righteousness and moral superiority.

Other troll-types include:

Trollus affirmatus and Trollus negatus

These two are considered together. These trolls take opposite viewpoints — one affirms the topic and all of the replies, the other negates all of them. They add little or nothing to the discussion itself. They are known to post things like: Agree. Nope. Thanks, Obama. Yeah. Benghazi. [Note: There are crossover trolls that do not neatly fit into one classification. That is a Trollus indignatio var conservatus may have elements of a Trollus negatus, and vice versa.

Trollus scrutator

Also known as the stalker troll. This one takes a dislike to one or many of those on the blog. He makes it his mission to dig up ancient posts and follows his victim to other blogs where he ports strings of previous comments made by the poster elsewhere. He then reposts the same content over and over again. In the more vicious species of this troll (Trollus scrutator var malignus), he will uncover the victim’s name, address, phone number and other personal data and post that online, as well.

Trollus pseudomensa

A particularly obnoxious troll who feels he is the world’s foremost authority on everything: science (ALL of science), the arts, languages, economics, politics, defense and other fields. From astrophysics to zoology, he’s got it covered. And he’s always right.

Trollus acneiformus (aka Trollus pubertus)

The juvenile of the species is often in the 10-15 year age-range. He frequently posts scatalogical comments. Other comments show that he has no true grasp of anything other than Bieber’s newest release. Often posts things like “That’s soooo gay!” “Ewwww!” Frequently, these posts are scrubbed the next day by one of this troll’s parental units. Unless the parental unit is also a troll (there is recent science to suggest some genetic causation). In that case, often the parental unit posts an equally vapid comment.

Trollus grammarius nazius var English

This troll only posts to correct the use of English by other posters, even if the mistakes are obvious typographical errors common to people writing quickly online. NOTE: These trolls seem to exist for all languages, not just English. Sometimes these trolls are so extreme they’ll even question as to how the poster PRONOUNCES a term he’s used (“Did you say that as PO-TAY-TO or PO-TAH-TO?”)

Trollus repeto velox

This troll has a component of Obsessive-Compulsive disorder. He gets onto a site and immediately, and quickly, floods it with replies to multiple posts, all within the same few minutes.

Trollus throwbackus

Throwbacks is found on many sites. His posts often call for a return to the “good old days,” which, to him, are all about ice cream, picnics and sports. When throwbackus hears words like: McCarthysim, Nixon, Vietnam, Watergate, segregation and other triggers, he either vanishes or goes into a rage blaming others for these bad memories.

Trollus obfuscatus

This variety can be quite annoying. He posts frequently trying to derail or hijack the thread by posting unrelated information, introducing new topics, or posting incorrect information. He want’s to bring the thread to a screeching halt because He does not care for the topic, those posting or the site itself.

Trollus aggressus

He is somewhat like Mikey in the “Life cereal” commercial — he hates everyone. Those on the site, the thread, the posters and possibly other, unnamed parties (such as the government). He simply attacks everything: he attacks poster’s views, the poster’s avatars, the poster’s parents, intelligence, patriotism, the topic, the site, the owner of the site, etc. Sometimes he is a var. of the acnieformus/pubertus or may be one of those who has matured in physical stature, but not in emotional or cerebral stature.

Trollus perplexa

This is the confused troll. He doesn’t seem to be able to read or comprehend the thread topic or the posts. He often posts rambling sentences that do not focus on any one thing, and is expert at accusing the author of the post, or a fellow commenter, of writing something they never wrote.

Trollus catapultus

The fanatic-troll believes that the Second Amendment guarantees him and any of his kin to own ANY numbers of ANY weapons, and as much ammunition as money can buy. Catapultus insists that he be allowed to carry loaded automatic weapons into churches, while drunk, to honor God, because the Constitution, or something.

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Mark Thoma, MD, is a physician who did his residency in internal medicine. Mark has a long history of social activism, and was an early technogeek, and science junkie, after evolving through his nerd phase. Favorite quote: “The most exciting phrase to hear in science... is not 'Eureka!' (I found it!) but 'That's funny.'” - Isaac Asimov

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