Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston

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Sunday, March 30, 2014

Internet trolls: Sadists and psychopaths.




Progressive Eruptions has had its share of sadists and psychopaths, otherwise known as internet trolls, who have commented here.  As a result of one very persistent troll, P.E. is now on comment moderation, which I actually prefer, because the trolls have left and gone to plague other blogs.  Good riddance.

But the crazies are still out there, and when they infect conservative blogs, it is assumed that liberals are behind the infestation--this assumption is made because apparently the conservative bloggers believe only liberal bloggers are capable of this behavior.

In addition to the above, we have the phenomenon of unhappy and vengeful trolls who are so eaten up with envy and rage that they waste their precious time on this earth by making up parody blogs.  Progressive Eruptions had, at one time, five parody blogs, but one psychopath closed down his/her parody, so P.E. now has only four malcontents obsessed with what is written here.  

Here is a report on the mentality of the people who live their lives as internet trolls (and I believe the same applies to parody bloggers.):



Anyone who’s been on a website that welcomes readers’s opinions will agree that way too many comments seem to come from people simply looking for an excuse to spit on someone’s feelings or beliefs — people more commonly known as Internet Trolls. And now a new study has explained exactly why these people feel the need to be so mean: it turns out that most Internet trolls are actually sadists and psychopaths. 

 According to Time, Canadian psychologists Erin Buckels, Paul Trapnell and Delroy Paulhus set up a survey to match personality inventories with specific styles of Internet commenting. They found that people who like to troll are also the most likely to show signs of “sadism, psychopathy and Machiavellianism.” 

 “These three traits make up the ‘Dark Tetrad of Personality,’” the study reads. Sadism means finding happiness in the harm of others, psychopathy means being unable to socialize without hostility and Machiavellianism is defined as the tendency to be unemotional yet deceitful. 

Virtually every troll comment displays at least one of these character flaws. The Internet itself, however, is also partially to be blame for turning people into trolls. The study found that because of the Internet’s anonymous contact, users tend to fall victim to the “online disinhibition effect,” leading us to treat the people we interact with online as less than human. If we can’t see their faces or emotions, we treat their words as if they came from machines. 

This doesn’t mean you’re going to turn into a sadist from excessive commenting, the psychologists noted, as continuous commenting from those who didn’t display the Dart Tetrad did not increase their chances of becoming trolls. But not all Internet commenters are sadists and psychopaths. 

Thankfully, the study concludes, “Enjoyment of other online activities, such as chatting and debating, was unrelated to sadism.”

8 comments:

Rational Nation USA said...

No liberal asshats of course are EVER guilty of the above. It is those damn useless troglodyte conserbative that are always guilty.

Yeppers, fer sure

okjimm said...

aw, trolls aren't so bad...... they make everyone else seem much more intelligent.

I kind of think of trolls as folks who forgot how to masturbate but still have the hankering to whackoff. Boy, was that unkind.....at least to masturbationists

Shaw Kenawe said...


RN: "No liberal asshats of course are EVER guilty of the above. It is those damn useless troglodyte conserbative that are always guilty."

Well, of course I didn't say that in this post. Trolls are an annoyance from both camps.

Dave Miller said...

RN... one of the behaviors we frequently see on some of the conservative blogs we both visit are frequent cut and paste diatribes that have nothing to do at all with the current post.

Many times, the people doing this, are voicing a point of view that is agreed with by the blog "owner."

I do not frequently see much of that here from the more liberal side of the aisle.

Do you?

As best as I can tell, the majority of commenters here are regular people who are known folks.

Am I missing something?

Rational Nation USA said...

Something about implication and omission, intentional no doubt, says it all.

Rational Nation USA said...

Guess you are Dave, but whatever.

Dervish Sanders said...

I'm in agreement with what RN said... mostly. Seems like it is mostly conservatives. BTW, aren't sadism and Machiavellianism virtues according to Ayn Rand?

Rational Nation USA said...

Nope.