April 5th, 2004

Eh? You're still paying attention?

Okay, then. I'm impressed.

How to be a forum troll. Alright.

Well, you're doing it for one of three reasons, generally. Either you A: Are doing it to have fun and fun only, B: Are wanting to cause damage to a person's reputation online, or C: You're trying to start a flamewar to keep a site alive.


Alright. First rule is: You never win. Ever.

You heard me. Your point isn't to win these flamewars.

When you start flamewars, you should, if you're doing it right, not be the only person on your side. That leads to getting banned. No. If you want to do this right, you have to have someone on your side to back you up. Preferably a lot of someones.

"But Banj," you cry, "Trolls are generally despised! Who on earth would support one in a flamewar?"

That's where the first lesson comes in.


"HOW TO GARNER SUPPORT"

First thing is, if you're going to do this, you don't join a forum and start trolling. It's good for a short fix, but you're gonna get banned pretty quickly. Honestly, you're not doing any good, and it's really not worth it for you OR the members. So. Get to know them first.

After all, it's always good to have friends, and life isn't all about trolling, you know. So.

Once you've made a few friends, being generally friendly, you want a few enemies. That's right. Enemies. You want people who will leap up at the first opportunity to counter every last word that comes out of your mouth.

How do you do this? You have to find the right type. Don't go for the Fundamentalist Christian; That will taint your flamewars with religion, and we're not here to offend people by religion or race. There are enough things dumb about people that we don't need to bite their heads off about their skin color or their choice of which god does what. You want to find the guy who's a little outcast. A lesser troll, for instance, is a wonderful target. Hey. It's a dog eat dog world out there.

Once you've gotten a few friends, and a few enemies, you're ready to start your first flamewar, right?

No.

No no no.

This is the mistake most trolls make. Make some inflammatory post, and it's all over in one thread. This leads to the second rule.


KNOW YOUR FORUM.

Remember that introductory period? You should know by now who hates who, and who hates what. This is the hard part, really. Find out where the rivalries are. Ideally, you want to find a post where everything's on the brink.

Gaming threads are always good. But seriously, folks, stay away from the religion threads, no good ever comes of them.

So you've found your thread. Perhaps it looks something like this.


Forumer A: Ha, this game is awesome. GO X-BOX
Forumer B: X-box sucks hahahah
Forumer C: Hey, hey, there's nothing wrong with X-box, or PS2, or Gamecube.
Forumer D: Yeah, PS2's awesome. GTA3 foreva
Forumer A: What the hell, Halo, d00d.
Forumer B: Halo is gay lol

Now. You have an obvious conflict here. The Pro-Halo side, and the Anti-Halo side.

What do you take? *jeopardy theme*

If you said, 'Neither, let's go for the PS2 guy', you are absolutely right! Never attack the actual point of conflict; This conflict itself has been gone over potentially thousands of times, and will even itself out quite quickly. You want a new conflict in an old thread.

You: GTA3? What are you, five? (Gamecube Game) is MUCH better!

Bang. What have you done here?

A: Eluded the Halo conflict (Both sides will now attempt to convert you to their side; Good!)
B: Pissed off the PS2 guy.
C: Promoted your third, unheard of stance.

But. You have called him five, and said that you prefer gamecube. This is a beautiful setup, because everybody says Gamecube is for children! You are practically guaranteed, if you choose the right game, to get...

Forumer D: WTF?!?! Gamecube's for fucking gays, asshole.

Now, you might be tempted to post. Don't. Find some method of alerting your forum's GC enthusiast (They're always there, folks), that someone is attacking your beloved system.

Then you will have a full-fledged console war. Congratulations, you have done your first act of trolling. This wasn't for anything productive, mind you; That comes later.