From Wikipedia, so take it with a grain of salt!
In slang, a troll is a person who posts or makes inflammatory, insincere, digressive, extraneous, or off-topic messages online (such as in social media, a newsgroup, a forum, a chat room, an online video game), or in real life, with the intent of provoking others into displaying emotional responses, or manipulating others’ perception. The behavior is typically for the troll’s amusement, or to achieve a specific result such as disrupting a rival’s online activities or purposefully causing confusion or harm to other users online.
In this context, both the noun and the verb forms of “troll” are frequently associated with Internet discourse. Media attention in recent years has equated trolling with online harassment. The Courier-Mail and The Today Show have used “troll” to mean “a person who defaces Internet tribute sites with the aim of causing grief to families”. In addition, depictions of trolling have been included in popular fictional works, such as the HBO television program The Newsroom, in which a main character encounters harassing persons online and tries to infiltrate their circles by posting negative sexual comments.
Cyberbullying laws vary by state, as trolling is not a crime under U.S. federal law.
Trolling itself has become its own form of Internet subculture and has developed its own set of rituals, rules, specialized language, and dedicated spaces of practice. The appeal of trolling primarily comes from the thrill of how long one can keep the ruse going before getting caught, and exposed as a troll. When understood this way, Internet trolls are less like vulgar, indiscriminate bullies, and closer to countercultural respondents to a (so called) overly sensitive public.
The main elements of why people troll are interactions; trolling exists in the interactive communications between Internet users, influencing people’s views both from objective and emotional standpoints. Further, trolling does not target a single individual, but rather targets multiple members of a discussion. Ways to identify trolling include the situation to utilizing the Internet as a platform, offensive and emotional content, and an intended reaction from an audience.
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Very Serious Business
A few funny, but unproductive examples of trolling:
Apparently nobody ran the standard airport announcement troll test. I remember that it used to be a ‘sport’ amongst youngsters to grab the airport courtesy phone and ask to have an announcement made for a foreign visitor, with the name carefully spelled out, to see if they could sucker the announcer into reading something which transliterated hilariously into English when sounded out.
San Francisco television station KTVU fell victim to a prank in which then-news anchor Tori Campbell reported a quartet of phonetic double entendres as the actual names of the flight crew. The names included Sum Ting Wong, (“something[‘s] wrong”) Wi Tu Lo (“we[‘re] too low”) Ho Lee Fuk (“holy fuck”) and Bang Ding Ow.
Since 2015, Hyde was frequently misreported as the perpetrator of numerous mass shootings and terrorist attacks by internet trolls on websites such as 4chan and Twitter. The hoaxes, which typically included photos of Hyde brandishing an AK-47, reappeared so often on social media that The New York Times characterized “Sam Hyde is the shooter” as “an identifiable meme.” The first instance of the prank was the Umpqua Community College shooting. CNN mistakenly included Hyde’s image on their coverage of the shooting. Hyde was also erroneously blamed for many other shootings. Hyde expressed his concerns regarding the negative attention indiscriminately directed towards him by the falsifications, calling it a “weird adjustment phase”.
A few funny and/or productive examples of trolling:
Bill Maher NPC Billboard in West Hollywood.
A street artist reportedly climbed up nearly six stories to “alter” a billboard that featured ‘Real Time’ host Bill Maher in West Hollywood, CA.