Why We Need Trolls

(from 4chans old FAQ circa 2001)

Rules of Trolling:

  1. More replies is better.
  2. Long replies is  better.
  3. Direct insults not allowed and stay on topic.

Every good forum owner knows:

  • Trolls encourage conversation.
  • Trolls enhance conversation.
  • Trolls extend conversation.

Internet Trolls give our users something important to discuss.  Political news relies on trolls to pull in and grab viewers, as does anything involving celebrity.  People tune in and that’s the game.  When your business is eyeballs, you get eyeballs.

Every successful online forum owes its success to Trolls.  Without trolls you’d still be posting about your day.

Trolling is a reason to have an opinion.  To be part of a tribe.   A reason to hate.  That same endorphin rush we all get from supporting our favorite football teams and wars.

It’s time we stopped looking down on trolling and realized it’s incredibly useful to our success.  The linguistic dynamics involved in “getting a reaction” are incredible.  It’s hard, but once you get a good troll on your forum you’ll see participation skyrocket.

Trolling is an art form and should be protected.  Now I’m not saying we should bow down to 4chan or anything, but let’s give these guys a little respect, because at the end of the day, we site owners need them more than they need us.

…and it hurts no one.

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2 Responses to Why We Need Trolls

  1. Not all trolls are the same. I’ve personally found Reddit trolls to be a pleasant surprise compared to 4Chan for example.

  2. I think the problem here is the definition of troll being to vague. Many people who we’d refer to as trolls DO devolve into direct insults.