Trolling is when people go on usenet and say really stupid argumentative things in order to get into an argument. After the first message, they like to sit back and watch the fireworks. A successful troll will only take one message to start a fight that will go on for months and cause many people do get disgusted with the newsgroup and quit forever.

In general, it's not the approved way of behaving, but there are circumstances when it can be useful, such as in order to demonstrate that a group of people are just too concerned about something unimportant. If alt.buttons becomes a wastland when you suggest that men's and women's shirts should have buttons on the same side, it suggests that they're a little too concerned.

A fishing technique involving casting out a weighted lure, and keeping the lure moving and the line at an angle. Usually accomplished by moving the boat slowly with an electric trolling motor.

Usenet usage is similar. One posts flame bait hoping someone will bite whilst moving from group to group.
going from female to female in a chat room, throwing out rapid-fire pick-up lines in hopes of snagging a girl that is horny or on the rebound. Some guys dont learn quickly enough that this doesn't work cuz women compare notes.
See also : icicle's node on pick-up lines. but remember, I love that gal.
"Classic" or "Aristotelian" trolling is a form of full-contact satire. People object to it because it's annoying, but then again that's the point. The object of trolling is to generate amusing and (hopefully) intelligent chaos.

There's more than one kind of troll.
  1. Political trolls. Political trolls are all about bad logic and cognitive dissonance. Ideally, parts of the troll should grind against each other so badly that readers are faced with a serious ontological clusterfuck. In practice that's not always easy, and it's always a fun consolation prize if some third party starts defending the troll out of sincere convictions. You meet some really scary people that way -- or are they just co-trolling? It's all part of the fun!

    1. The Right Wing Maniac (RWM), with whom we may be familiar; these can be blatant or relatively plausible. The relatively plausible ones are often hard to differentiate from sincere people why may or may not have issues.

    2. The Left Wing Maniac (LWM) is, for some reason, less common. Successful LWM riffs on Slashdot include: The radical notion that women are people (always a winner!); any suggestion in favor of "big government" -- or any attack on any adolescent libertarian shibboleth; anti-Americanism. These ideas strike me as less maniacal than common-sensical, but on Slashdot they're viewed as full-bore insanity, so how can I complain?

  2. Perl

  3. Surrealism: The original Natalie Portman troll is a classic and frequently brilliant surrealist troll; the cheap imitations are boring.

  4. Social Commentary: At the risk of nodevertising, may I offer my own Nodevertising Metanode as a handy (albeit poor) example. MEEPT!!ian social commentary is, like, social commentary but much funnier.

  5. Cretinism: In the last few months, Slashdot has been plagued with idiots who post obscene one-liners and copy'n'paste crap. For some reason, these critters get called trolls. It's depressing. (update 4/16/00: We've seen a few of them here recently, too. Just ignore them, like sensei says.)
Trolling is also a term that sometimes refers to what is also known as "candyflipping". Candyflipping is when a person combines the drugs MDMA (ecstasy) and LSD (acid). Although there are many different ways of doing this, some people think it is best to take a small dose of each drug at the same time; this usually causes the peak of the LSD to immediately follow that of the ecstasy.
The term "trolling" is a combination of "tripping" and "rolling". Trolling is often done at raves.
trolling is also used in gayspeak to mean something somewhat similar to the fishing term. essentially, it's what you call it when an ugly, fat, and/or old gay man is out cruising or trying to lure some unsuspecting gay male into some sexual encounter. in other words, trying to hook but often failing miserably due to physical or aesthetic shortcomings.

granted, it's not a very nice term.. as it requires that one must be a troll (usually a subjective term, but often means fat, ugly or old gay man) in order to be trolling. i suspect this term was developed by the oh-so-precious and flippant bitchy, vain gay men who complain about getting hit on by men 20 years older than they are. but there's a word to describe what they do, as well..

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