To me, a troll is someone who shows up solely to stir things up and piss people off. There’s zero interest in the conversation, zero interest in listening. It’s a game for the troll’s amusement, to poke buttons and see who s/he can piss off.
To me, clueless =/= troll. Angry =/= troll. Even blatant violation of Wheaton’s Law doesn’t necessarily equate to trolling. We all act like jerks sometimes. (I might still ban you for repeated offenses, but I wouldn’t automatically assume you were a troll.)
A Norman Rockwell painting from 1995: You can almost hear the modem connecting over the course of 90 screeching, howling seconds. A man’s back is framed by a desk chair—because he’s at a desk, the only place he can use his computer, a 16-pound beige rectangular desktop model with a loud fan that has three plugs connecting it to various electronic conduits. The person is alternately posting on a message board and trolling a chat room under an assumed name, and probably an assumed age, sex, and/or location. There is safety in the scenery of this painting: the basset hound curled under the desk, the tapping of fingers on keys, the fantasy of being Petunia, 18 years old, from Princeton, N.J., when in fact the person at the desk is really Robert, 49, from North Hollywood.
And off the three go toward the highway — and the suburbs — complete strangers, with not the least concern for personal safety, trying to shave 20 or 30 minutes, maybe more, off their afternoon trip home. “People are cooperating … to commute?” says Marc Oliphant, underscoring the novelty of what is going on here. “It’s like the opposite of road rage!”
I fiddled with the Dreamwidth bookmarklets some more, in response to this comment by facetofcathy. Now there are some view=flat bookmarklets (and they should work on LJ, too).