Tell 'em what I took, man!

Reflections of a repatriated ex-patriot

Monday, December 05, 2011

They see me trollin’, they hatin’

I’m sure it wouldn’t take but a few clicks from a google search to be off to the races finding a whole hell of a lot more than I ever needed to know about the psychology of trolling. The more I see it though, the more fascinating it becomes. I mean really what would compel someone to spend so much time and energy just for the single purpose of pissing people off? Is it really just the ability to bring out the negativity in others that would cause a person, like a junkie, to return again and again spewing vitriol to raise the ire of a group of people they probably don’t even really dislike that much? Is there some endorphin rush that happens in the brain when you see a bunch of pissed off replies to a post? Why are so many people so intent on being assholes?

I can’t speak for other types of forums, but I spend a good deal of time on college football message boards trying to get as much information as I can on my beloved University of Houston Cougars. They had a pretty incredible year—12 and 0, in fact, and even prior to their jaw-dropping, mind numbing loss for the conference championship that cost them not only the trophy but a shot at a BCS game, the trolls were out in full force. All year long, win after win I came across post after post of the most vile, terrible, wretched crap imaginable-- I mean seriously, an unhealthy amount of hate--and not just on one site, mind you. Some of these folks would look for every single scrap of internet news or conversation piece they could find, and feel a mad rush to foment their hatred:

Your team sucks. If they ever even play anyone halfway decent, they’ll get blown out. They shouldn’t even have a team. The only reason your quarterback has broken so many records is because he’s been at the school for 12 years, and plays against high school teams. Hahaha, you don’t have a chance of winning this next game.

The one phrase that came up over and over again, which I found interesting and a bit counter-intuitive, though, was ‘no one cares.’ No one cares about your crappy high-school stadium or your shitty high school team. If the troll didn’t care so much, then why in the hell would he take the time to comment or reply to every single mention of the team he can possibly find on the fucking internet? And what type of rhetorical sway would he expect have, really? Would he expect a few denigrating lines would be a compelling enough argument for a true die hard fan just to say, 'you know what, you're right our team does suck, and I've been wasting all of my time and energy buying tickets, going to games, giving money back to the school, and generally hoping they do well. I think I'll just get a new hobby or just be one of those front-runner assholes. Thanks dude. Now I see the light.'

If there’s one particular nefarious skid mark in the underpants of humanity that any UH person thinks about it when he hears the word ‘troll’—it would have to be the incomparable MDAstro. This guy is the Heisman Trophy Winner of Trolls. A self-proclaimed fan of LSU (speaking of front-runner assholes), I have seen this guy on every single article or conversation ESPN has put out about the UH. You would think, since LSU has a pretty good shot at winning the MNC (that’s mythical national championship for those of you who don't watch NCAA football—coined since there is no playoff in college) all MDAstro’s time would have been spent lauding and defending his team. Certainly there was no shortage of news and conversation he could have picked up on if he really even were a fan of anything.

Yet somehow, during game time, especially earlier in the season before UH was even ranked or talked about-- when the game conversation posts were mostly gamblers asking if they should take the over, taking about their parlays for the weekend, and posting up websites that had worked for them in making their picks the week before-- one person was always there to dissuade any uncertain bettor from calling his bookie to put some money on UH: MD Astro. Ah, don’t take the over, it’s a sucker bet. Everyone knows Cougar High is gonna’ lose. Hahaha!

Not only that, but he seemed to make it a habit to try and be the first one to post some derogatory tripe on every single game conversation about the school as soon as the forum was posted. I noticed that towards the end of the season though, when the cougars started receiving a lot of national attention due to their winning ways, the trolls were out in flocks. A lot of them, unbelievably, were Boise State fans! You'd think, for a team that took so much abuse for so long as being the most consistent BCS busting team, that they would have had our back a bit. Maybe trolling is like zombie-ism. You get exposed to it too much, and you become one of them!