Edited & excerpted from aprilhamilton.blogspot.com -
The Internet Troll (webicus infuriatum) is a hardy, highly adaptable family of parasites with established populations all over the web. Most leading Techno-Naturalists classify it as a viral organism due the fact that it reproduces by infecting members of targeted populations.
Once exposed to webicus, susceptible individuals soon display the aggression, vitriol and boorishness which are the identifying hallmarks of all Trolls.
Hiding behind a pseudonym, webicus will quickly become the dominant element in any online ecosystem which provides it with a steady supply of attention and argument. In fact, webicus is so skilled in monopolizing these resources that it frequently drives off larger, but more peaceable, local populations.
Some particularly troublesome troll species include:
The Queen Bee/King Drone (lordicus cliqueium)
Behavior: Lordicus begins by befriending charter members and site owner/administrators alike with its initial friendliness and offers of assistance. With favors banked and loyalties established, lordicus reveals its true nature when another community member voices a dissenting view, or becomes as well-liked as lordicus. In either case, lordicus and its followers close ranks to attack or freeze out the other member, claiming to speak on behalf of the entire community.
Control: The only effective method of lordicus control is a strongly-worded email from the site owner or administrator. Lordicus' response is invariably a dramatic, martyred leave-taking from the site, after which it will continue to lurk and foment dissention among other members via off-site communications.
Identifying Call: A shrill, "Who do you think you are?", sometimes followed by a low-pitched, "Nobody cares what you think, anyway."
The Puffed Pedant (self-importantia verbosia)
Behavior: Self-importantia is known for its lengthy, patronizing deconstructions of other members' postings. One might expect community members to routinely disregard its remarks, however, s.i. posts with such smug conviction that it effects a sort of Jedi Mind Trick on the least experienced and most gullible members of the community.
Control: Since s.i. doesn't technically overstep a site's Terms of Service, there's little the site owner/admin can do to put a stop to its antics. Depriving s.i. of the attention, argument, and response it craves usually proves more effective.
Identifying Call: A repetitive, clucking, "Do your homework."
The Prickly Recluse (hypersensitivium rex)
Behavior: This species is known for its uncanny ability to incorrectly interpret the tone or meaning of any other member posts, regardless of how innocuous those posts may be, invariably choosing the most negative or insulting meaning possible and taking that meaning entirely personally. From there, hypersensitivium will repeat and repost its incorrect interpretation in an effort to rally support and sympathy for itself.
Control: First-time victims generally interpret the Recluse's behavior as innocent misunderstanding, and will usually attempt to resolve the matter with an apologetic, clarifying post. However, since hypersensitivium will misinterpret the palliative post as well, such efforts are destined to fail. A warning post or email from the site administrator will generate one last, self-pitying post from the Recluse, followed by several weeks of absence from the site. It is from this latter behavior that the Recluse gets its name.
Identifying Call: A sharp, striking, "How dare you!"
The Equalizer (evenus stevenus)
Behavior: Evenus is the self-appointed score keeper and referee of any community it inhabits. Evenus keeps constant track of who has shared good or bad news, who has posted congratulations or sympathy, and whether or not such congratulations or sympathies are adequately effusive and timely. Anyone failing to pass the Equalizer's test is subjected to the same kind of freeze-out favored by the Queen Bee / King Drone, but unlike that species, the Equalizer keeps the impetus behind its attack secret for as long as possible. Often, Evenus deprives its victims of this information for so long that another member of Evenus' circle is ultimately the one to reveal it.
Control: As with the Puffed Pedant, since Evenus doesn't technically break any site's Terms of Service, little can be done to discourage it. One can either ignore Evenus or strive to steer clear of it.
Identifying Call: frosty silence.
The Sock Puppet Master (bittera duplicator)
Behavior: Perhaps the most pathetic of all the Troll species, bittera creates its own support network by setting up multiple user accounts. It uses these accounts to create negative or attacking posts about the opinions of others, then uses its other accounts to second its own opinions in a masturbatory fashion.
Control: No specific action is necessary. Bittera will eventually reveal itself as a fraud by losing track of its various aliases, posting in the tone or style of one persona while logged in as another. Once exposed, this Troll will immediately delete all of its past posts, close its many accounts and move on to a new site. It may reappear months later to set up a new collection of accounts and aliases, but only when it's sure its past activities have been forgotten.
Identifying Call: mockingbird-like repetition of, and agreement with, anything posted under any of its many aliases.
The Fake Friendly (condescendiosa passive-aggressivium)
Behavior: This Troll openly attacks and insults members and their posts, and when called to account for its unacceptable behavior, claims its remarks have been misinterpreted and it meant no offense.
Condescendiosa can keep this back-and-forth dance of insults and re-interpretation going indefinitely, but its most maddening behavior is its penchant for claiming the moral high ground by recasting its abuse as simple, well-meaning honesty, which it says others can't tolerate on account of being overly sensitive.
Control: Much like the Sock Puppet Master, this type of Troll is always the cause of its own undoing. As it slashes and burns its way through the community, systematically training its disingenuous focus on member after member, condescendiosa eventually finds it has more enemies than cohorts and vacates the premises.
Identifying Call: "I don't know what you're so upset about."