Many people think that trolling means abusing others for no logical reason. If they think there is no logical reason, then it is simply because they don’t have the logical ability to understand trolling. We all have an opinion on something and presenting it through trolling can sometimes be funny for people to read, and at other times more persuasive.
Take a look at the same of reviews for the Barrettine Methylared Spirit taken from Amazon.co.uk in the image below.
In the following parts of this article are a number of tips for things you can include in your review in order to be more humourous or persuasive in what you write.
What might your friends think of it?
In online interactions there is this thing called ‘social proof,’ which is that if my friends think it is good then it must be. In this type of trolling you must create an ‘us and them’ scenario, where you and the reader are one of them, and those who are not you and the reader with a different point of view are one of them. An effective means of achieving this is ‘argumentum ad populum.’ So you might say about ‘At Your Inconvenience, ‘ which is a music CD by Professor Green: “It is alright if that is your sort of thing, but my friends think it is awful and a lot of them are really into rap music. If you ask me they are probably right, and I suspect most people who like rap music would agree. Those who don’t are probably out of touch with their music anyway.”
More positively you might want to take the same argument to support a product that you like, such as Eminem’s ‘Nevermind‘ album. You could say; “If we allow the FCC to stop Eminem producing rap music, then we would show at the end of the day it is grey haired men that rule over us, and if enough of us buy it, we can show them they can’t control us. What is the alternative to Eminem? Professor Green? Are you serious? Apart from the short hair, the self-important attitude, and him always complaining about his family, my money is on Eminem. You can’t compare them.”
How does it make you feel physically?
People might fear buying something if they think it could hurt them. One way to convince someone of this is the accident argument which is best told by Concern trolls, who support something, but with ‘reservations.’ For instance, lets say you were reviewing a holiday tent. You might say, “This was the right shape and size for my family, but we were always afraid that the stems could catch one of the kids’ eyes with the point on them.”
Using the same argument, you might want to use it to support a competing line of products against one you don’t like. So if, for example, you wanted to promote this replica Volkeswagon Camper Van you might say on the competing product page; “I always liked going on tent holidays when I was a child, but this product spoiled it for me. It did nothing to stop the rain coming and I could barely move enough to get my fiancée’s knickers off. The next holiday I go on, I am going to get the replica camper van tent instead. It reminds me of the days when I would holiday with my third wife, and she never complained about the regular choking we had to do. We could have torn through the sides if we had used this tent, then our holiday would be ruined.”
How does it make you feel emotionally?
With this type of trolling, based on ‘emotional appeals,’ you don’t even have needed to buy the product you are reviewing. So an author who you can’t stand, such as Owen Jones, the author of ‘Chavs: The demonization of the working class,” you might say about his book, “There is no way in a million years I’d buy this book. Jones is a champagne socialist and has probably never met a chav in his whole life. He can stick his middle class goody-two-shoes as I’m not going to be fooled by him. He even wrote the title with the American spelling – some might think he is better off there!” You can see that this review questions Jones’s credentials on the topic by inferring that you can’t study geology unless you are a rock.
Equally you could use the argument to support a product. So say you wanted to support Polly Toynbee’s book, ‘Hard Work: Life in low-pay Britain,‘ you might say; “Polly Toynbee speaks from the heart, and she does it well. Anyone who has had to live in a low wage or impoverished situation should read this book. She shows how society can respond naturally to some of the biggest challenges in the lives of those on the breadline, like me. Let’s be reasonable about this; what is the alternative? It is either Polly Toynbee’s vision of a society where we can all be equals, or Owen Jones’s viewpoint that the working class should stay the way we are. Anything but this book is a complete no-brainer.” You can see that this shows a warm and caring side of Polly Toynbee’s approach, where as it suggests that Owen Jones is happy for people to stay working class and thus in poverty.
How does it make you feel mentally, such as in terms of your beliefs?
Many products written by certain people or about certain people may evoke strong beliefs. It could be that the person is obnoxious to your for not believing the same things as them – they may have blocked you on Twitter – or their viewpoint is in general completely antithetical to yours.
This type of position is best achieved through argumentum ad hominem, or in other words rather than attack the person’s opinions, attack them as a person. Take this book which reviewed the conduct of Diane Abbott, who is so outspoken there probably isn’t anyone she has not offended. If Diane Abbott is not your cup of tea, you might want to make reference to this book in a way she might find unfavourable. “This inquiry says that Diane Abbott’s failure to register her work in television was completely inadvertent, but I am not convinced myself. It was written by the same people who walk the corridors of power with her every day, rather than someone independent I wouldn’t trust a word of it, and don’t think others should either.”
The argument can also be used to support a product you want to support. For instance, say you preferred Will Hutton’s ‘Them and Us: Changing Britain: Why we need a fair society‘ to Owen Jones’s book. You might say, “This book by Will Hutton is one of the most enlightening I have ever read. You can easily see why Owen Jones says he looks like a 12-year old after reading this – he probably has the mind of one! At least Will Hutton is honest to his class, whereas Owen Jones seems to want to be working whilst living the life of a middle class champagne socialist. Will Hutton admits that the whole system needs to change, where as Owen Jones wants more of the same. Will Hutton is an inspiration He knows everyone needs a fair share of the cake so we can all prosper in life. Owen Jones on the other hand seems to want to keep us working class, so at least them he is not ‘as bad off’ as we working class people are!“