In Internet terminology, a Troll is someone who intentionally posts derogatory or otherwise inflammatory messages about sensitive topics in an established online community such as an online discussion forum to bait users into responding. They may also plant images and data on networks that others may find disturbing (usually indirectly relating to the individual in person) in order to cause confrontation.

SFI will not tolerate trolls. There is no "three strikes" rule here. If you troll, you will be banned. Trolling attacks against users, moderators and SFI will not be tolerated.

A Troll's Modus Operandi

Trolls are individuals who want to start a flamewar on a discussion forum. Some do it for attention; some need to feel a sense of power that they can direct a community's thinking or manipulate them into fighting one another. Some are self-important and have an unhealthy need to draw attention towards themselves and to be respected as an authority. Trolls can be self-blind to their own flaws and inaccurate information. Some feel obligated to always respond argumentatively, incriminating those who disagree with them.

The following is adapted for SFI from text by W. Beaty of

Invariably a Troll will start a flamewar. First the Troll attacks another forumite unexpectedly. It happens because the Troll felt insulted (exquisite sensitivity to insults), but usually this insult was entirely in his/her own mind. But the Troll never considers that perhaps he made a mistake while interpreting the insult (no self-doubt), and he also sees a NEED to answer every insult with insults (vengeful, narcissistic.)

Having created a fight while blaming others for starting it, the Troll then lays into his victim amoraly and combatively, while seeing his own actions as a righteous battle against an evil enemy. If the victim seems hurt, the Troll will be disgusted by such weakness (amoral.) But if the victim responds in kind, the Troll will immediately complain bitterly about this, while steadfastly denying that the type of attacks he so hates are identical to the ones he's using himself (hypocrisy, self-serving bias.) If other subscribers object, the Troll ignores them as beneath contempt (egotistical), or because he KNOWS they must be wrong without even listening to their reasoning (no self-doubt.) Or perhaps he ignores them because he is certain that they have hidden agendas, and their complaints could only be false constructs meant to mislead. (denial/projection.)

The Troll typically ignores a moderator and refuses to alter his behavior, and can only be stopped by ejection from the forum. Sometimes Trolls attack the moderator in order to get ejected (and therefore feel smug righteousness at being "censored" or "martyred.") so that he can go to another website and use the ejection against that website and manipulate public opinion in his favor. A Troll will occasionally be shocked by being banned from a forum, and actually reconsider his behavior. But this is rare. Usually they're too far gone for this to penetrate their immense psychological defenses. They will refuse all responsibility for the problem (deceit, denial), blame it on the moderator or on the group for conspiring against them in private (paranoia), and totally refuse to look at their own mistakes in an honest light (denial, deceit, self-blind.)