Published at in April 2002
Since many readers are often confronted with those phenomena that our ugly master troll (and Kookology professor) calls 'colorful usenet behaviour', this essay will prove quite interesting for all those seekers that need first of all to UNDERSTAND what trolls are and then how -maybe- to counter them :-)

Trollers Digest

By Dr. Flonkenstein (Alcatroll Labs Inc.)

A description of trolling techniques and tactics. 'Troll' is a frequently used word on usenet, but does everyone realize what is hidden behind this word ? I will show that it covers a whole  panoply of colorful usenet behavior. Terms like cross posting, cascades, spanking, netKKopping and others will become clear after reading this essay.

  1. Introduction
For a generally accepted definition of the word troll please refer to the jargon file:
"1. v.,n. [From the Usenet group alt.folklore.urban] To utter a posting on Usenet designed to attract predictable responses or flames; or, the post itself. Derives from the phrase "trolling for newbies" which in turn comes from mainstream "trolling", a style of fishing in which one trails bait through a likely spot hoping for a bite...."
Although there is a vast number of trolls that act on an individual basis, thereby purposely disrupting newsgroups, there is one type that draws attention by its own folklore and jargon it developed in the course of the years : "The Meowers" (and their ilk, the "Nosers", the "Flonkers" [yes, you are right, that's where my nick derives from] and others. These groups are generally called the UPA [Usenet Performance Art] groups). It is my intention to peruse this cybernetic society in the light of their trolling tactics.
Before I go into details about the description of the different figures of speech used, I would like to start with some examples. Many examples that I will use consist of a link to the Google Archive for Usenet messages. If the link is to a thread, like here, then your browser wil open two frames. It is a good exercise to learn to navigate in the left frame in order to select an author. While commenting a thread I will use the number that precedes the author.
  1. Example 1: "Homosezwhat"
Fred Ziffel is one of the meowers that always had a high quality trolling standard. Sit back and enjoy :Homosezwhat:

Fred has probably been lurking for a while in the Howard Stern news group: H.S. is an American comic with a rather fading popularity, so it was not  'that' difficult to "hit a nerve":

One times out of ten a "fish bites". Here the fish is called BoB Barnett. B.B. was (rightly ?) vexed with this, not really openly insulting, but rather harmless remark: Our fish deems it necessary to start name calling (every ng has his bullies, luckily, otherwise the meowers would have no fun anymore).
Follows a typical Fred Ziffel style response: If you are unable to form cogent thoughts upon which to base a follow up, why do you even bother?
Remark the easy-going tone of the reply. Also have a look at the header that shows that the message was crossposted to the alt.idiot.marsrules newsgroup. We will talk about crossposting later on. Will our prey abandon the party ? No: Oh, poor, poor Bob, you've done that one thing  you simply should'nt have done. Fred's reply is the most logical there is, even a child could reply to this. Pay also attention to this witty remark: You probably watch the Home Shopping Network for its entertainment value, too.
Now the message is also crossposted to nose (the "home" newsgroup of the meowers). Bob has obviously been outwitted, will he reply ? What do you guess his reply was ? Yes, you guessed correctly : When Bob was proven to be 'intellectually' spanked, it is plain fun poking at him a little more: The message is also cross posted to the news group. In the following messages ( 8 & 9), we see that some trolls coming from this newsgroup are reacting. But with message 10, a new phenomenon appears : 'The Cascade'. Trolls coming from the 'Nose' ( are attracted by the Barnett event. Look at the result for yourself, the trolls have a real "trollenfest". Here is a snapshot of the party. Also take a look at the sig (signature at the end of the message, carrying additional information about the author [ #d066y-57yl3 in fact reads "doggy-style"]).
  1. Example 2 : Usenet Global Administration Authority and Usenet Local Administration Authority.
Here's another Fred Ziffel special. Sabu424 (mockingly named Scrappy by the trolls) was a plagiarizing wrestling sport journalist. Being debunked many times, he continued to brag about his reporting abilities. Such an over inflated ego is always a thankful object for trolls to poke at. For more than a month his posts rise witty comments, silly parodies and impersonations. Hundred of posts are involved reaching dozens of newsgroups. There is even the successful creation of the news group alt.idiot.sabu424. Sabu is driven to the point where he does not stand it no more, and asks publicly help in order to get some 'hostile' posters 'banned'. Here is one of his posts that will lead to an hilarious trollenfest, thanks to Fred Ziffel. The first message is the one in which he repeats a beg for help. Remark the word 'worstest'. Helpfully, as we know our Fred is, Usenet Global Administration Authority comes at his help in message 23. Also have a look at the previous messages, in which Sabu is made fun at by trolls from alt.romath. In message 25 he thanks for the advice given, but (message 26) Usenet Local Administration Authority points out that Usenet Global Administration Authority does not exist. This fact is immediately denied by Usenet Global Administration Authority (message 27). But Usenet Global Administration Authority takes over (message 30). In Sabu's reply he also complains about some (fictitious) new news groups created to mock him. This is our next example Remark how Scrappy is satisfied with the upcoming result in banning other posters: here and here ( "The clock is ticking ScottZf")
  1. Examle 3 : The Sabu Scrappy saga continues ...
After having been explained that the created newsgroups are created using the cmsg control message, and that they can be removed by issuing rmsg control messages, Scrappy thinks it is sufficient to put this message in the body of the message (while they normally are put in the header of the message, it suffices to read the appropriate RFC).
Blub cooks up a little trap, will Scrappy bite ? Yes, unbelievable but true ! This is really Troll fun at it's highest!
  1. Examle 4 : Flamewars ...
Those are another example where Troll creativiy is omnipresent. In this example 'flaag' has been trolling the alt.religion.asatru newsgroup (where the talking subject is some Nordic religion, but is alledgedly known to be associated with extreme right organisations) and has been netKKKopped (i.e. being threathend to be reported to the authorities, see also : here). This practice of netcopping is heavily frowned upon by the meowers, showing that the complaining party hasn't enough Usenet maturity to just 'Ignore that what upsets you'. The message is crossposted to UPA groups in order to gain the attention of the Trolls there. Here it is clearly shown how it doesn't make sense to try to discuss on a rational base with trolls. A priceless gem is brought here by Mister Usenet Performance Art himself Raoul Xemblinosky. One of the funniest things in this flamewar was the invention of a local slang, that involved the interjection of the consonant 'j' before some vowels, like in 'Bje afrjaid, bje vjery afrjaid.' . Look aat the sig and the nickname of this post,  Robert Gau, after having tried real life threaths, now invokes his 'high profile hacker friend',  and gets wat he deserves. This is the time when the expression  'ljutefisk ' became one of those many  legendary words of the Meow Empire Culture. This flamewar episode is very rich in examples of why the 'DO NOT FEED THE TROLLS' almost always fails. If you want to avoid the trolls, just ignore them, and do not start warning the other posters. While making fun out of religious fanatics can be entertaining for a while, the general troll interest constantly changes focus. Trolling pizza delivery boys, that are constantly complaining for not being tipped, can be a source of great fun too. We even see Trolls can give social advice. Who says troll sare talking nonsensically?  Trolls can be very compassionate and helpfull. But mostly their thankless task was met with disbelief and negative reactions. Like in this thread ( remark: the word used to denote people that don't tip is 'stiffers').

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