The Economics of Trolling

Trolls, I believe, were initially identified on Usenet. They are users who say often outrageous, emotional, polemical, and irrational things. They will say anything to garner a response. All they really want is attention, and no matter what your response - be it angry, peaceful, reasonable, unreasonable, it just feeds "the energy monster".

Trolling has become an economic phenomena. It used to be called "sensationalism" but, by my own anecdotal evidence, it's becoming extremely common. A couple of years ago I recognized Ann Coultre as a mainstream media troll. Indeed, much of the "talking head" culture consists of trolling to some degree. (It totally sucks even mentioning her name, but hopefully this energy monster doesn't get too much out of me!)

Why is it a growing phenomena, what is the problem with it, and how can the problem be corrected?

The bottom line is that companies are hungry for traffic, because traffic equals eyes, and eyes equals clicks, and clicks equals monetizable actions, which equals money.

Psychologically we humans are designed to see the things that are out of place - it may only be a few degrees error, but we can see that out-of-whack picture frame. We have an instinct to respond especially strongly to false statements - and this works well in the real world when we have the (ever decreasing luxury) of face-to-face communication with the person making the statement.

So I click on the Google News item "Put Dumbledore Back in the Closet" from, and I notice the new Anne Coulter book titled "If Democrats had any brains they'd be Republicans" and I know that many people out there will be tempted to care in a way that is sadly

What inspired this post is the incredibly hypocritical, ill thought out, and entirely blameworthy fluff put out by about harry potter:
Put Dumbledore Back in the Closet - TIME

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