We’ve all run into right-wing trolls on the Internet. Heck, here at AATTP, they’re as common as flies in a barn.
That’s right… we’re talking about those right-wing trolls who toss insulting comments into comment threads just to get a reaction. The ones who get a kick out of upsetting others and disrupting the thread. Yeah, you know who I’m talking about.
Internet trolls are nasty in general.
In general, the people who troll have some nasty psychological traits, according to a study published in the September issue of Personality and Individual Differences. What these two online studies found is both disturbing and validating.
Both studies revealed similar patterns of relations between trolling and the Dark Tetrad of personality: trolling correlated positively with sadism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism, using both enjoyment ratings and identity scores. Of all personality measures, sadism showed the most robust associations with trolling and, importantly, the relationship was specific to trolling behavior. Enjoyment of other online activities, such as chatting and debating, was unrelated to sadism. Thus cyber-trolling appears to be an Internet manifestation of everyday sadism.
The study involved 1,200 people who took personality tests and a survey about their Internet behavior. The researchers were looking for a link between the “Dark Tetrad” and respondents who said that trolling was their favorite activity. The chart below shows how prevalent these “Dark Tetrad” traits are in those people who enjoy commenting.
That’s pretty impressive. The link between Internet trolls and those ugly behaviors is irrefutable. The authors of the study go so far as to say that online trolls are sadists. They get a kick out of upsetting others. They gleefully toss out those disgusting comments to make you angry or hurt you. They have an altogether different idea about fun on the Internet than normal people.
Some right-wing trolls are even nastier because they’re paid.
Then there are the trolls that are paid by Fox News to troll liberal and progressive websites, as noted by Addicting Info. Fox’s PR folks create fake accounts for the trolls to use. They get paid very little — five to ten cents per post — but they really enjoy their work. Their vicious attacks are designed to drive away anyone but right-wingers from a site. Some of these trolls don’t even live in the United States.
“Here’s what I do. I get on Amazon; I type in “Liberal Books”. I go through and I say “one star, one star, one star”. The flipside is you go to a conservative/ libertarian whatever, go to their products and give them five stars. … This is where your kids get information: Rotten Tomatoes, Flixster. These are places where you can rate movies. So when you type in “Movies on Healthcare”, I don’t want Michael Moore’s to come up, so I always give it bad ratings. I spend about 30 minutes a day, just click, click, click, click. … If there’s a place to comment, a place to rate, a place to share information, you have to do it. That’s how you control the online dialogue and give our ideas a fighting chance.”
Watch this trainer teach a room full of future right-wing trolls how to “control Internet dialog.”
And they don’t reserve their vitriol for you and me. They attack any and everyone, especially people whom liberals and progressives hold in high esteem. Their attacks on Maya Angelou after her death were disgusting. Their ugliness after Robin Williams died, drove his daughter Zelda off Twitter. They are remorseless and cruel. Now we know that, though they are being paid, the impulse to be mean is innate. They really are sad, sick little people.
So, the best way to react to a troll? Don’t. They want your attention. Don’t give it to them. Don’t give them the satisfaction of bugging you. Ignoring them is the best way to deal with them. Starve them. They may not go away but you will know that you didn’t feed them.
Right-wingers are more likely to be trolls to begin with.
If we’re seeing more right-wing trolls than left-wing trolls online, that’s because — if the presence of psychopathic “dark tetrad” traits are any indicator — conservatives have more psychopathic traits to begin with. An earlier AATTP article reports on studies that show conservatives (and the CEOs they serve) are more likely to be manipulative, sadistic, self-serving sociopaths to begin with.
That goes a long wage towards explaining why Republicans in Congress refuse to raise the minimum wage while CEOs pay themselves thousands of dollars per hour; why conservatives spew toxic anti-regulation rhetoric while the dirty energy industry spews toxic waste; why Wall Street bankers got away with criminal acts that wrecked our economy but never served any time in jail; and why — when big business hurts people and things — U.S. tax payers always wind up paying the bill.
h/t Psychology Today