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While psychologists have determined that the dark triad traits are common among Internet trolls, some observers claim trolls don't actually believe the controversial views they claim.Farhad Manjoo criticises this view, noting that if the person really is trolling, they are more intelligent than their critics would believe.
Others expanded the term to include the practice of playing a seriously misinformed or deluded user, even in newsgroups where one was not a regular; these were often attempts at humor rather than provocation.
Communi Tree was begun in 1978 but was closed in 1982 when accessed by high school teenagers, becoming a ground for trashing and abuse.
According to Tom Postmes, a professor of social and organisational psychology at the universities of Exeter, England, and Groningen, The Netherlands, and the author of Individuality and the Group, who has studied online behavior for 20 years, "Trolls aspire to violence, to the level of trouble they can cause in an environment. They want to promote antipathetic emotions of disgust and outrage, which morbidly gives them a sense of pleasure." The practice of trolling has been documented by a number of academics as early as the 1990s. Trolling is a game about identity deception, albeit one that is played without the consent of most of the players.
There are competing theories of where and when "troll" was first used in Internet slang, with numerous unattested accounts of BBS and Use Net origins in the early 1980s or before.
The English noun "troll" in the standard sense of ugly dwarf or giant dates to 1610 and comes from the Old Norse word "troll" meaning giant or demon.
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For example, the mass media have used "troll" to mean "a person who defaces Internet tribute sites with the aim of causing grief to families".