Usually when we think of trolls, we think about people being overt assholes: insulting, flaming, baiting, derailing. But there is a some subtle troll behavior you should watch out for: commenting on something you haven’t read. There are several major indicators of this kind of troll:
- It actually has the gall to begin comments with “Without having actually read the article, I can say…” wank wank wank.
- It says things like “…because I sense the article will be full of X, Y and Z…” wank wank wank.
- It demands clarification of points that were spelled out carefully in the article.
- It discredits the writer for having failed to make points that are also spelled out carefully in the article.
- It argues passionately against things the article never, ever said.
Your initial thought may be that this person read but did not understand the original article. The vast majority of the time, you would be mistaken. Usually, these are simply trolls who can’t be bothered to read, because they’re much too anxious to start wanking, wanking, wanking their own comments.
Instead of trying to explain anything to these people, or to draw them out on their reasoning, I advise you to just ignore them, report them, or if you have the power, delete them.