Under the "no stupid questions, just stupid answers" theory, what's the definition of Troll as applicable to SOFU?


troll, n.

  1. One who posts questions, answers, or comments intended purely to prompt knee-jerk reactions from others or garner attention for themselves (no actual desire to obtain or share programming knowledge).

  2. Your mama.

  • 2
    I thought it's "yo mama", but then again, I don't speak jive – Rich Seller Aug 28 '09 at 19:41
  • I was expecting an urban dictionary style definition for the first answer. – Troggy Aug 28 '09 at 19:45
  • 5
    @Mehrdad: I take offense to that. I am not a troll. – TheTXI Aug 28 '09 at 20:03
  • 1
    From Detroit, I learned it as "jo mama" – squillman Aug 29 '09 at 0:17

Does this cover The "Accidental Trolls"? It happens...

  • User A: "Just use language Y's aaaa-ability!"
  • User B: "But, language X does not have proper aaaa-ability, unlike language Y"
  • User A: "Why do you hate language X???" (Heating up...)
  • User B: "I don't, it is just that language X is a iiiii language, and language Y is very jjjjj"
  • Troll A: "Arghhhhhh! You are so evil, troll!!! I'm going to complain on MSO"


  • User OP: "{huge-unformatted-stack-trace}"
  • User B: comments "Unless you give us code and a narrative, we can't help you". Three subsequent down votes.
  • User C: comments "Why all the down votes? SO is so mean for newbies"
  • User D: {formats stack-trace}
  • User OP: answers "tx. {another-huge-stack-trace}"
  • Users *: down votes for question and answer of OP, question closed
  • User C: "SO is so uncool for new people...too many trolls"
  • User C: goes to MSO, cites unreferenced example of how mean SOpedias are to newbies
  • MSOpedias: figure out what thread it was, deem it justified

I get confused who the trolls are...

  • The invariant for this discussion is "C != D" :) – xmm0 Aug 28 '09 at 20:06
  • 1
    IMHO, troll implies intent. You don't accidentally troll (though a troll may not identify themselves as a troll). – Shog9 Aug 28 '09 at 20:06
  • I like the SOpedias term! Did you just invent it, or where did you get it from? – Treb Aug 28 '09 at 20:54
  • I invented it and claim elusive copyright! I think. Well, just promise to buy me a beer some day and you can use it :P – Stu Thompson Aug 28 '09 at 20:57
  • @Shog9 & @PonyMaster: Um, ok. Where do I fit into this hierarchy? I wanna be labeled too! Something I can get offended about, and down vote you both until the troll-catcher kicks in. Please. – Stu Thompson Aug 28 '09 at 21:00
  • @Mehrdad: User D is only concerned about a S&W badge. Probably doesn't even know the language in question. – Stu Thompson Aug 28 '09 at 21:03
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    @Stu: i think what you've identified is that troll is a pejorative term, and often used as an insult in situations where it does not apply (or applies to the person using it even...). Spam / spammer / spamming are used similarly: "Joe keeps trolling the site with his VB spam", "Sal will never stop spamming the site with homework questions. What a troll.", etc. – Shog9 Aug 28 '09 at 21:25

I think @Shog9's answer covers a core definition, but I think a troll on S[OFU] can be anyone observed as engaging in the following behaviors:

  1. Posting LMGTFY links (this is my new pet peeve)
  2. People who constantly open polls/etc. which should be wiki, solely for the purpose of rep-mining. (Polls used to be acceptable, to an extent, but when all one user does is open and/or contribute to them ... )
  3. People who engage in petty personal battles on the site
  4. Those who ask the same question over and over again because the first x times were closed as duplicate
  5. Spammers

There are probably about a gazillion more, but that's a decent start for me.

  • 6
    trolling == abuse but abuse != trolling – Shog9 Aug 28 '09 at 19:50
  • 4
    But == is commutative. More like "class troll : public abuse" – Graeme Perrow Aug 28 '09 at 19:57
  • 2
    Troll is implemented in C++ and screwed up the operator overloading... – Shog9 Aug 28 '09 at 20:05
  • LMGTFY? What does that mean? – Michael Kohne Aug 28 '09 at 20:06
  • 11
    @Michael: lmgtfy.com/?q=LMGTFY – Brandon Aug 28 '09 at 20:08
  • 1
    That's hilarious. Thank you. – Michael Kohne Aug 28 '09 at 20:11

One who thinks that randomizing the order of answers with the same score is a good idea.

Alternatively, one who doesn't like waffles. If you don't like waffles, this site can't help you, and you can't help this site. Go away you troll.

  • 3
    (-1) Someone who puts answers to bait other users is a troll. Right now, that's you. – devinb Aug 28 '09 at 19:51
  • 1
    Yes, this is a troll. Thanks for noticing. – belgariontheking Aug 28 '09 at 19:53
  • 9
    @belgariontheking - There appears to be a fish on your line. – Andrew Hare Aug 28 '09 at 19:54
  • 3
    Alright, let me rephrase then. Kidding or not, being a jackass is unacceptable in my book. – devinb Aug 28 '09 at 20:03
  • hands devinb a plate of waffles – Shog9 Aug 28 '09 at 20:07
  • Appreciated. – devinb Aug 28 '09 at 20:21
  • 2
    @Shog9 - You just had to didn't you? – BinaryMisfit Aug 28 '09 at 20:22
  • Is there any problem that waffles can't solve? – Graeme Perrow Aug 28 '09 at 20:22
  • Not if properly made with good yeast and drenched in real butter and maple syrup... A truly wondrous food, waffles. – Shog9 Aug 28 '09 at 20:23
  • What - no ice cream? – Treb Aug 28 '09 at 20:55

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