Troll (Internet)

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In Internet slang, a troll is someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking other users into a desired emotional response[1] or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.[2] In addition to the offending poster, the noun troll can also refer to the provocative message itself, as in "that was an excellent troll you posted". While the term troll and its associated action trolling are primarily associated with Internet discourse, media attention in recent years has made such labels highly subjective, with trolling being used to describe intentionally provocative actions outside of an online context. For example, recent media accounts have used the term troll to describe "a person who defaces internet tribute sites with the aim of causing grief to families."[3][4]

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Etymology

The verb troll originates from Old French troller, a hunting term. The noun troll, however, comes from the Old Norse word for a mythological monster.[5]

In modern English usage, the verb form of troll refers to a fishing technique of slowly dragging a lure or baited hook from a moving boat, waiting for fish to strike.[6] The word also evokes the trolls portrayed in Scandinavian folklore and children's tales, where they are often creatures bent on mischief and wickedness.

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