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

4 Answers 4


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 Aug 28, 2009 at 19:41
  • I was expecting an urban dictionary style definition for the first answer.
    – Troggy
    Aug 28, 2009 at 19:45
  • 5
    @Mehrdad: I take offense to that. I am not a troll.
    – TheTXI
    Aug 28, 2009 at 20:03
  • 1
    From Detroit, I learned it as "jo mama"
    – squillman
    Aug 29, 2009 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" :)
    – mmx
    Aug 28, 2009 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, 2009 at 20:06
  • I like the SOpedias term! Did you just invent it, or where did you get it from?
    – Treb
    Aug 28, 2009 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 Aug 28, 2009 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. Aug 28, 2009 at 21:00
  • @Mehrdad: User D is only concerned about a S&W badge. Probably doesn't even know the language in question. Aug 28, 2009 at 21:03
  • 1
    @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, 2009 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, 2009 at 19:50
  • 4
    But == is commutative. More like "class troll : public abuse" Aug 28, 2009 at 19:57
  • 2
    Troll is implemented in C++ and screwed up the operator overloading...
    – Shog9
    Aug 28, 2009 at 20:05
  • LMGTFY? What does that mean? Aug 28, 2009 at 20:06
  • 11
    @Michael: lmgtfy.com/?q=LMGTFY
    – Brandon
    Aug 28, 2009 at 20:08
  • 1
    That's hilarious. Thank you. Aug 28, 2009 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, 2009 at 19:51
  • 1
    Yes, this is a troll. Thanks for noticing. Aug 28, 2009 at 19:53
  • 9
    @belgariontheking - There appears to be a fish on your line. Aug 28, 2009 at 19:54
  • 3
    Alright, let me rephrase then. Kidding or not, being a jackass is unacceptable in my book.
    – devinb
    Aug 28, 2009 at 20:03
  • hands devinb a plate of waffles
    – Shog9
    Aug 28, 2009 at 20:07
  • Appreciated.
    – devinb
    Aug 28, 2009 at 20:21
  • 2
    @Shog9 - You just had to didn't you? Aug 28, 2009 at 20:22
  • Is there any problem that waffles can't solve? Aug 28, 2009 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, 2009 at 20:23
  • What - no ice cream?
    – Treb
    Aug 28, 2009 at 20:55

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