The Online Guide To Internet Trolls For Psychologists


They’ve been a disruptive force on the internet, spewing hatred through monitor screens for more than a decade.

Primarily known as “internet trolls” — although I like to call them ‘scum bags’ — they originated from ancient-old online community websites such as 4chan.

By definition, an internet troll is a user who deliberately attacks, offends or causes trouble to others, whether it be through comments, photos, videos or gifs.

In the past, research has shown that trolls carry personality traits synonymous with Machiavellianism, psychopathy, sadism, and narcissism, also known as the “Dark Tetrad”, Psychology Today reported.

Although this research data doesn’t necessarily apply to every single person who trolls on the internet, it does raise some questions on why this behavior occurs.

In this online guide, you will learn about the origin and the different types of trolls that you will one day come across on the internet.

The History of Trolls

The word troll is believed to have originated in the late 1980s before it became one of the most popular internet slangs.

Troll has several meanings, including ugly dwarf and demon, based on the Old Norse language.

In the early stages of the internet, trolling masqueraded itself as a form of ‘flaming’ right before the mainstream media put a lid on this theory.

As the internet grew, thanks to social networking giants like Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter, celebrities were soon faced with new wrinkles to online celebrity drama.

Reports of fake deaths became the norm for just about any type of celebrity, no matter the age.

This kind of immoral behavior is common even today, because of the notion that trolls have full passes to online anonymity.

Today, online trolling continues, but the only difference is millions of users are engaging in such behavior from all age groups, ethnicities, and genders.

No matter if it came from a ‘gringo,’ ‘lazy Mexican,’ or even a ‘dark-skinned Asian,’ below are the five types of trolls that roam the cyber world.

The Five Types of Internet Trolls


The Grammar Troll: You’ve probably seen these grammar “Nazis” in YouTube comments. They’re always on a massive hunt for reckless spelling errors, usually leaving behind an asterisk symbol to mark their territory.

Grammar trolls are likely in desperate need of ‘an excuse’ to spread hate and insults, that’s their motive.

The Exaggerated Troll: These trolls tend to make overemphasized statements for laughs and giggles, often triggering a long night of debates.

Generally, trolls who exaggerate have sarcastic personalities; their goal is to initiate a ‘funny response’ from others to fill a hole of emptiness and despair.

The Know It All Troll: You will likely see them like fleas where topics on politics, science or religion are present.

Out of thin air, these trolls become experts and doctors in many fields, including rocket science. So watch out, or you might get outsmarted by a possible narcissist.

The Spammer Troll: Here’s the reality: spammer trolls are on a dire mission to make money, whether it be white hat or black hat techniques.

Recently, media reports have surfaced linking government and corporate agencies to spammer trolls as a way to influence the public’s opinion.

The Evil, Hate Troll: This type of troll is the most offensive of all — oh, and dangerous too. Most times, the hate troll will convert to severe cyberbullying, itching for a negative response.

These sinister trolls are more likely to have a sadistic, psychopathic and narcissistic personality. Interestingly enough, a handful of them may even carry serial killer traits, as many researchers have suggested.

So, now that you learned all the different types of annoying people on the internet, stay safe. Oh, and please, don’t feed the trolls!

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Jose Florez is the founder and editor of Mental Daily. His work has appeared in Psychology Today, Glamour, The Huffington Post, Elite Daily, among others. He is currently studying Applied Clinical Psychology at Florida Tech.


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