A friend of mine is studying psychology. He was talking to me about an assignment where he was supposed to identify a modern manifestation of a classic mental disease process and provide a case history.
I recommended writing the parallels of chronic internet trolls and psychopathic behavior. I had the perfect case to study, too---some guy who goes by 'Eddie1278'. I was first introduced to Eddie on a design/owner builder forum I frequent http://countryplans.com/smf/index.php . I was encouraging someone to take on their own electrical work, and made the point that it was one of the easiest stages of construction. Eddie, who is some sort of electrician, took exception to this and after multiple, very kind (I thought) attempts to turn his expertise into something positive, got himself banned.
This student did an online search and informs me he's been banned from quite a few forums around the 'net. He was able to identify a pattern----first throwing out some point of authority statement, then picking fights with whoever challenges, quickly calls them a troll, then gets banned.
There are personality traits that 'trolls' have in common---but first, we should define 'troll'. This from Wikipedia: " In Internet slang, a troll (//, //) is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a forum, chat room, or blog), either accidentally or with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion"
So back to the personality traits. It was kind of fun to read these then go back to the trolled discussion to see this personality come out--- Machiavellianism (willingness to manipulate and deceive others),
narcissism (egotism and self-obsession), psychopathy (the lack of
remorse and empathy), and sadism (pleasure in the suffering of others).
Here's what I don't know. Does the internet provide an outlet for these people, and it blows off steam for them? Or does it just feed trolls so their self importance manifests in daily living?
If Ted Kaczinski had internet access, would he have had a place to blow off steam from his tiny cabin alone in the woods off the grid so he wouldn't have sent off mail bombs?
I'm guessing internet trolls habitually check search engines for their own names. If so, 'Eddie1278' might read this....Unfortunately trolls are not capable of knowing they are trolls.