Troll – one who posts a deliberately provocative message to a newsgroup or message board with the intention of causing maximum disruption and argument.
Time was when troll meant something else – a mythical, cave-dwelling being depicted in folklore as either a giant or a dwarf, typically having a very ugly appearance.
Today, it is the name given by a netizen to faceless people assuming false names on social media whose main purpose is to post comments that they won’t post under their real names.
Of course, even that definition is being challenged as troll is now being applied to people simply because they are on the opposite side.
It’s demeaning to be called a troll when you use your real name.
No matter what one thinks of people, or about what they say, people deserve at least elementary courtesy to be allowed to say so because it is a right enjoyed under a democratic society.
Of course, people who were not born yesterday know there is a wide gulf separating theory from reality.
And so we have so many people who consider themselves human rights advocates that resort to trolling just to spite those who hold contrary and opposing views.
Take the case involving Prosecutor Darwin Canete of Caloocan. Canete has been the object of hate posts and threats from a certain Ryan Yap, a troll suspected of at the very least being smitten with Vice President Leni Gerona.
Like most trolls, Yap is most fearless when hiding an assumed identity, threatening not only Canete but also his family of fire and brimstone.
Yap, or whoever he or she is in real life, was so secure in the thought that he or she could never be unmasked. He thought wrong.
Canete is no troll like him, or her. Definitely, he is no pushover.
Contrary to what trolls like Yap think, a troll can in fact be unmasked. And Canete has friends in the right places who can do that.
Now, Canete is on the warpath – and may his or her funders have mercy on Yap.
This sent shivers down the spine of Yap – or whoever he or she is.
Suddenly, the cover behind which trolls have conveniently hid has turned out to be a mere illusion. At most, it provides temporary refuge that can be gone in a flash.
Have we seen the last of the trolls?
It is hard to tell. There are those who are so dense they don’t realize the danger they are in until it is too late.
There are others, however, who persevere perhaps to prevent other trolls from scampering in fear and hiding their tails between their legs.
A strange proposition really because if they are brave as they fancy themselves to be, they should come out in the open and be ready for debate, or whatever instead of cowardly hiding in the dark.
Still, there are those who are now starting to think twice before punching the keys in the name of trolling considering the fact that the fog is slowly lifting – that is if it has not done so yet.
For whom is the bell troll?
It could ring for the next troll any minute.