Online Trolls and Douchebagery

They start fights when no one wants to do battle with them.  They cry out one-sided arguments, only winning with themselves.  Everyone abhors their foul stench, even though they emit no odor.  People can detect their presence immediately.

I speak of trolls—online trolls.

A user of the website UrbanDictionary.com defines “troll” as “[o]ne who posts a deliberately provocative message to a newsgroup or message board with the intention of causing maximum disruption and argument.”

I have encountered many trolls throughout my experience as a video game geek.  Before, I used to post on the GameSpot forums.  Some “troll” topics included the omission of Ryu and Ken from the next “Street Fighter” game, causing an uproar since they have been in the rest of the games.  The posters of the topics received many angry replies, most commonly being called “trolls.”

The most stupid topic posting I have seen on the GameSpot forums is that Rockstar’s “L.A. Noire” is a racist game.  Obviously, the topic poster wanted to cause a row in the GameSpot community, rather than start an intellectual discussion. “L.A. Noire” is not a racist game; it takes place in the late 1940s after World War II, and any racism that is in the story is within a certain context.  The topic poster definitely caused a row within the GameSpot community, with some users comparing “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” to “L.A. Noire” in terms of its use of racism as context.

For humor, I posted Wakka from “Final Fantasy X” as video gaming’s most racist character because of his bigotry toward Al Bheds.  The reply I received from another user said something like, “wtf is a Wakka?”  Only in a Rockstar forum.

There are also the vast wastelands of the YouTube comments boards.  Here, no deity monitors the languages of the users, though the Terms of Agreement say to play nice.  All sorts of words are used: D-words, B-words, S-words, F-words, and really, really derogatory words for certain groups of people.

In the comments for a video for the “Devil May Cry” reboot, there were comments saying the Dante of the original “Devil May Cry” was better than the rebooted one.  To which someone who liked the rebooted Dante said the original white-haired Dante looked like a “Final Fantasy” character and called the fans of the original Dante a hate term for gays.

The First Amendment has given everyone the right to voice his or her opinion.  However, the anonymity of the Internet has made people douchebags.  There’s nothing wrong with being funny, and there’s nothing wrong with being provocative or wanting to start an argument.  But trolls abusing their First Amendment right is a high form of douchebagery.  Yes, users must register with a site to participate in a forum, but frivolous trolling and hate language annoy me.

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