A classic right wing maniac troll on Slashdot. The troll claimed that the American continent was completely uninhabited before Columbus arrived, and that every one of the native cultures was invented in the 1960s by radical leftist agitators attempting to instill false guilt in white people. Their motive in doing this was never explained, but a troll operating in top form doesn't need to explain things like that: You have to hit them below their defenses and get them in a blind rage before they've had any chance to think. Once they're angry, the higher cognitive functions are safely disarmed. They get all worked up replying to the substance of the ludicrous claims and once they've gotten locked into the argument, they'll cling to it like grim death.

The more outragous your claims are, the more quickly and completely you have to get the reader's emotions engaged. Here on E2, there's a real risk in that, because sometimes the reader's an editor. If you manage to convince an editor that you really are a malignant imbecile, you may get zapped. That's a natural occupational hazard. Learn to live with it: If you can't take a joke, you shouldn't have joined. Remember, it's all just a game.

There were two or three dozen responses to this troll, and very few of them seemed even to suspect that they were being taken for a ride. Lovely. One of my finest moments.

Hopefully this will to some degree illustrate the difference between real trolls and humorless annoyances.

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