The Troll Catalogue

Internet TrollsI would have reblogged this website if it were possible, but since I can’t, a link will have to do. The Troll Catalogue is exactly what it says on the tin, a list of the more common trolls you find infesting forums and blogs, along with an illustration and an apt description.

It’s brilliantly done and very more-ish, like a box of assorted chocolates. I started with one small troll, intending to move on to the other things I really needed to do that day. Several hours later I was still there, sprawled and bloated, having gobbled down the whole lot in one sitting.

Seeing all the little buggers assembled in one place had a curious effect, rather like reading a book of medical symptons. Not only could I recognise trolls from Comment Is Free, the Guardian’s online forum, I could also see myself in some of the descriptions. Quite disconcerting.

Trolls can be destroyed, as Classics professor Mary Beard demonstrated in a recent infestation. She had the audacity to question whether a member of a BBC Question Time audience had all the facts at her fingertips regarding the effect of immigration on social services in Boston, Lincolnshire. Beard, who had actually read the council report on the issue, was subjected to vile, mysogynistic online abuse, emanating from Twitter and one website in particular – Don’t Start Me Off! You can read her blog post about it here. Beard’s followers and colleagues responded by spamming Don’t Start Me Off! with Latin poetry. Amazingly, this worked, and the website has been shut down. This is not so much destroying trolls as destroying the mothership.

So let’s hear it for Latin poetry – who knew a Latin attack could be so effective – and for Mary Beard who stood up to the bigots and ignorami(?)! If you haven’t heard of her, here’s the first episode of her BBC documentary, Meet the Romans.