The internet has played a huge role in the fan base of Clay. There are numerous Clay boards that attract many fans and some have even been around since Clay performed on American Idol – season II.
Through the years, fans have found the board community where they feel most at home and usually spend most of their computer time there. However, many fans post at multiple boards and enjoy many different points of view.
The many conversations and discussions about Clay and his career have produced many good friendships. But occasionally, the boards are visited by trolls who sometimes stop conversations and interrupt the fun.
An internet troll is someone who posts offensive, controversial, or divisive material on an Internet community. The troll posts a message, often in response to an honest question, that is intended to upset, disrupt or simply insult the group.
The evolution of the Internet troll was a slow process which began as computer users started to more widely adopt the Internet. At first, the term referred merely to someone who was “trolling” for a response or opinion, in the same way that fishing boats cast out large nets to troll for a catch. Over time, trolls grew more aggressive, and the term began to be used specifically to refer to someone irritating or hurtful. In this sense, a troll could be compared to the nasty creatures of Scandinavian mythology which are also known as trolls.
There are a number of different types of trolls. In the most classic case, a troll harasses an Internet community for a few weeks, posting contradictory opinions or statements on bulletin boards in an attempt to stimulate a response. Internet trolls are differentiated from people who genuinely wish to present a different viewpoint by their attitudes and aggressiveness; their goal is not to discuss a situation, but to frustrate the members of a discussion boards. They often use fallacious arguments or attack the users of a site when they attempt to defend themselves from the troll’s activities.
In some cases, a troll becomes a recurring figure who is well known by long-term members of a bulletin board. The board members often tell newcomers to the community to ignore the troll, who may use various tactics to get a rise from newbies. In more serious cases, an Internet troll may try to drive a wedge through a community, often with the assistance of sock puppet accounts. A sock puppet is a fake identity which is used by someone who does not want to post under his or her regular name; some trolls have multitudes of sock puppets to make their side of an argument look like it has a large number of supporters.
The one thing that trolls all have in common is that they want attention. They want people to like them, fear them, revere them, and post to them. They want to monopolize a group. You’ll often find when their regular posts don’t get that much attention, they keep upping their stories, make the drama more dramatic so people will pay attention to them. Sometimes they just resort to getting mean and attacking. They will do anything to get a rise.
That said, the key phrase and absolute best advice is, “Don’t feed the trolls.” The thing that a troll hates the most is to be ignored. They have to create conflict and get attention in order to fill that psychological need. If they are ignored, if they can’t cause trouble, if they do not get attention, it’s no fun for them and they usually move on elsewhere.
Who are trolls and don’t they have a life? This is a question that is not easily answered. Their reasons for trolling are as vast and different as in any other field of harassment. Most experts in the field believe the following about trolls:
- They are lonely people who live their lives vicariously through strong people.
- When they disrupt, they have the illusion that they are powerful and strong.
- Recognition is important. They are unable to distinguish between irritation and admiration. Their ego grows with more responses.
Clay Aiken fans have seen many trolls try to invade their fan boards. By this time, most are already identified and often, fans already know their agenda. However, there are still new people who come in for a quick attack and then leave immediately.
Trolls can be very frustrating. They are especially aggravating when they attack individual posters. According to the experts, the most positive way to handle them is to pretend they are not even there. Talk over them and never respond to their posts. This will ultimately drive the Internet troll into moving on in search of fresh prey.