Print Story The Death of the Art of Trolling
By TheophileEscargot (Mon Aug 12, 2002 at 04:47:58 AM EST) (all tags)
Well, I'm not exactly the first to comment on this, but I might as well give my angle on it. Let's compare it to another dead art: impressionist painting.

First, of course, in terms of the volume of production, impressionism is very much alive. Pretty much every amateur painter in the developed world likes to knock out the odd impressionist masterpiece. Probably thousands of times as many "impressionist" paintings are being churned out than when the movement was at its height. The thing is that the movement is creatively dead. The form only has so much room to manoeuvre, so many avenues to explore. Eventually all the combinations of subjects and style-variants have been explored, and there's just nothing new to add. No new impressionist master is going to come along: any great new artist will have to find a new form to work in.

The same thing applies to trolling. The great masters of the past have done their thing and gone. Some have moved on to different territory: the best of adequacy is their off-beat satire, not their dreary repetitive wind-ups of Linux evangelists. Some have abandoned all trolling apart from the occasional rant. Some have become semi-respectable members of the community, only subtly working trollish elements into their work. But there are no great trolls still trolling regularly today: those that do bear the same relationship to Oog the Caveman as Mrs Higgins from number twenty-two does to Claude Monet.

Trolling is finished. All the combinations of topics and styles have been exhausted. All that remains is stale reiteration of the great trolls of the past.

It would be nice to think that the volume of derivative trolling would eventually fall, but that's unlikely to happen. It's been said by some that as the net matures, eventually there won't be enough newbies left to troll; but I disagree. For most of the newer arrivals, the sole purpose of internet discussion is trade flames with opponents with ludicrously exaggerated opinions. They're not being trolled because they're ignorant of the existence of trolls; they're being trolled because they enjoy it.

So. Stop trolling, please thanks.