Internet trolls are psychopaths


There’s a very interesting website I found called SociopathWorld. Little if no distinction is made there between sociopaths (more likely to have APD and be impulsive) and psychopaths (NPD and more likely to plan out their actions). Most of the activity on the board is by and for the character-disordered, and includes blog posts by psychopaths and sociopaths, both prose and poetry. It’s interesting because it allows the rest of us to have a peek inside their heads. The experience of “getting inside their heads” seems very surreal to those of us who don’t think the way they do. It’s like a visit to another planet.

But even more interesting is the comments. One of the posts was by a non-psychopath talking about her psychopathic child. She was out of her mind with worry and grief over his actions.

Bad place to make a post like that. Almost all the responses either ignored her and kept on bantering about inconsequential things that were already being discussed, or if they addressed the issue she raised, were snarky “inside jokes” about the post or unsympathetic one-line replies.

That got me thinking about Internet trolls and bullies. Forums in particular are swarming with them (I’m not sure why trolls seem so attracted to forums over blogs), and that’s why moderators are needed, to weed out the worst posts and ban them from the forum.

I used to be very active on a political forum, but after several years the moderator quit and was never replaced, and when I went back recently, the forum was overrun by trolls and bullies. Most of the regular posters had left, and the few that stuck around were attacked left and right by the trolls. It’s sad what happened to that site, because at one time it was filled with intelligent and thoughtful people. Obviously most of them were run off a long time ago.

Some websites have a lot more bullies and trolls than others, and a lot of it has to do with the way the forum or site is moderated, and sometimes the subject matter has a lot to do with it too.

There are a few ways you can identify a troll or Internet bully, and I think almost all of these people are psychopaths:

— They rarely post anything original; mostly they just reply to or about someone else’s.
— Their posts are almost always very short.
— Their posts are snarky and filled with “jokes” meant to put a certain poster or their ideas down, or sometimes inside jokes when there is a swarm of bullies present who are on the same page against the non-troll.
— Trying to reason with them never works.
— If they are banned, they may come back under a different handle.
— Never PM or email them your concerns–they can use this against you and suddenly you may find your private message to them posted publicly elsewhere or being made fun of. This has happened to me.
— If you report them, be sure the moderator or admin is not on the side of the bullies; if they allow the presence of the trolls and bullies, that’s a red flag.
— Just like in real life, they will often gang up on a poster who appears to be vulnerable or have a differing opinion.
— They will take offense easily if you criticize them and usually fire back an insult at you.
— They are huge fans of humorous or snarky memes, gifs and photos, and will use these as a distraction away from the topic supposedly being discussed.
— They often go off topic and discuss irrelevant (and usually trivial) things among themselves.
— They gossip openly about past posters.
— They may respond to your comments with a “reaction gif” or meme instead of a real response.
— Some trolls come out of nowhere and make incendiary comments designed to upset the community or individual posters. These trolls are often banned or leave of their own accord.

All these tactics are meant to put the honest posters down, drive them away, or belittle them. Beware of any website where you see these tactics being used. Most of these people are psychopathic or narcissistic.

“Don’t feed the trolls” is excellent advice, if you must deal with them. Don’t respond to anything they say, or better yet, block them if you have that option.

18 thoughts on “Internet trolls are psychopaths

  1. Well I learned the difference between psychopath and sociopath from this post. I’ve been wondering.

    Somewhat off topic but a little on it:
    I’ve had a couple people on my Facebook friends list that were making some messed up comments to others.

    Both men and both go way back to younger days.

    One guy, an ex boyfriend’s friend, was making these poking comments to a friend of mine. The first I let go and then the second one made it obvious he was looking to do more than banter. My friend was completely ignoring him.

    So I spoke up and told him to knock it off. And that I would not have bullying on my page. He gave me some half ass apology, said he was kidding and then unfriended me. Oh boo-hoo! πŸ˜‰

    The other guy was on someone else’s thread. This guy was responding to another comment insinuating the woman commenting was stupid by using certain words, then writing in parenthesis, (look it up.) He was also saying other things that were personally attacking her rather than having a constructive convo. He was so clearly red hot angry and this woman started reacting too.

    After reading these nasty things, I went to his page and unfriended him.

    I’m not saying either one of these guys falls under any of the “path” dx’s but I could feel that I could possibly react to them so I wasn’t fooling around.

    The first guy I didn’t unfriend myself because I wanted to see if he’d do it as a result of someone standing up to him and calling him on his nonsense. And sure ’nuff.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t go to Facebook anymore, in part because of all the drama. (There are other reasons too, which include my family finding me there). People are so obsessed there with people friending/unfriending them, and get so mad when someone unfriends them. Come on people, you may never have met some of these “friends” or have much in common with them in real life.

      I used to like forums a lot, and always chose them over social media, because i just liked the layout and format a lot more. I liked the fact there were threads of specific topics that you could pick and choose to post in, and there would be a sort of community on a forum. I still like forums, when they’re well run, but it seems like fewer and fewer are these days–and forums seem to be loosing popularity anyway because of Facebook, Twitter, and the blog revolution. I have no idea why trolls seem so attracted to forums, but the forums I used to post on (the ones that still exist) are overrun with them. I guess it’s because the forum format is more open-ended and a trollish poster less likely to have their comment deleted than on a blog, where the blog owner can remove or not approve any offensive comments.

      Just like in real life, a psychopathic troll may “love bomb” the website at first, and then once accepted, start to show their true trollish colors.

      I think social media like Twitter and Facebook are probably full of trolls too, but since you can pick and choose your friends on these sites, you are less likely to have to deal with them–if a troll happens on your page, you can just unfriend them. With forums, it’s a little more difficult to ignore trolls–most have a “block” feature, but you can still read their comments.


  2. Good post.

    I get caught on the other end of that, often banned and attacked for being allegedly being a troll. I like debate, pursuing the truth, sometimes talking about difficult issues. Other people are much more adverse to confrontation or conflict, so that’s okay. The people who get on my nerves are the loud, outspoken, bullies who delete or ban anybody who so much as disagrees with them. They appear all big and bad and confrontational, but the moment you try to point something out to them, they restrict your comments.

    What I really dislike seeing is that kind of internet cruelty, where somebody asks a genuine question or indicates they’re in pain, and everybody either completely ignores them or jumps on them like a pack of vultures to mock and ridicule a carcass. Sheesh people, just because you’re hiding behind a keyboard, that’s no excuse to stop acting like a human.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Getting banned for honest debate doesn’t mean you’re a troll. The moderators or admins on that site could be psychopathic themselves and on the side of the real bullies, who don’t want to hear your side of things. Psychopaths don’t want to debate anything–they KNOW they are right.

      Unwarranted attacks that include personal insults, profanity or namecalling or dismissing your opinion in a nasty way without backing it up with facts–that all points to a troll or bully.

      I probably should have clarified the difference between a bully and a troll. Both are usually psychopathic/sociopathic (I get confused too!), but a bully is usually a regular on a site and part of a group of bullies who give newbies or people with differing opinions than the “acceptable” one on that site a hard time. Bullies may not always be psychopathic; sometimes they are just kids who are trying to fit in and be “cool.” They may not be mature enough yet for honest debate. Some bullies are sycophants of the central bully(ies) and they are probably not psychopathic but just very young or immature. The ringleader(s) are probably psychopathic. Even on the Internet they have the ability to “charm” other people, even if they are 400 pound basement dwellers.

      A troll is more likely to be alone and come out of nowhere and stir up trouble by making incendiary remarks or insulting regular members. They are more likely to be banned or their posts removed than a bully, because they are usually outsiders who like to stir the pot for kicks. They are almost always psychopaths.

      Just because your opinion differs from the prevailing one on a forum or website and you want to debate about it (and get banned because the admins are on the side of the regular posters) doesn’t make you a troll.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I just wanted to comment about a couple of my own experiences with bullies and trolls online. A few years ago, after I read Elaine Aron’s excellent book about HSPs (highly sensitive persons) I decided to join a forum based on her book and populated by other HSPs. It was a great plcae to find people of like mind who had been through similar experiences and tended (because of their high sensitivity) to be the target of bullies and psychopaths all their lives.

    Trolls, like all psychopaths and narcissists, are both attracted to and despise the highly sensitive. They hate vulnerability of any kind because they fear it may expose them. That’s why they attack sensitive people the most. Anyway, some trolls found this forum for HSPs and proceeded to overrun and destroy it. Soon it was shut down because the problem had become too much for the moderators and admins to control. It’s sad this sort of thing had to happen but we live in a society where the characteristics of psychopaths and narcissists are more valued (and considered much cooler) than the characteristics of sensitive people.

    There was an entertainment site that is now defunct (actually there were at least two that were loosely related). One was shut down because the topic matter (basically taking pictures of and making fun of fans) led to lawsuits and criminal charges against the owners. It’s surprising it didn’t happen a lot sooner. The owner of this site was a malignant narcissist and psychopath of the worst kind–and if you had the gall (or stupidity) to post on their site that you disagreed with them , this owner would use your ISP address to stalk you all over the Internet and find you anywhere, not to mention quoting you from other websites where you had posted personal or other information they could post on their site and publicly make fun of. I know several people this happened to. The fact people can do this is extremely creepy and disturbing. You must be very careful what you post where. So eventually karma caught up with the owner and they were forced to shut down the site. Their horrible reputation was out on the open, and many articles were written about the owner and their awful website. A related website was shut down by the owner (a different person) due to fears that they may be sued. Of course the owner just said “it wasn’t fun anymore” and that’s why they were shutting it down.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I am sorry that my ‘trolls’ have followed me here and are, as the first point in spoting one states, reblogging all of your posts to their sites in an attempt to look genuine.
    I hope they don’t cause you any trouble x


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