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Some people simply troll because they enjoy it, it doesn't need any higher or more complicated goal than that. And as long as they can find people they can successfully troll they will continue that, there is ALWAYS bound to be one or another sucker who falls for it.
Hell, even I do troll sometimes. It gives this nice feeling of fulfillment when you see your prey fall into trap, and that again twists your mouth into this self-satisfied grin just like can be seen on every photo of Steve Jobs.
Frankly I don't think trolls are the problem, i really don't. Obvious trolls are obvious and easy enough to spot and simply ignore. i'd say the bigger problem which seems to be spreading like a cancer is the "treat corporations like ballclubs" disease and the perception bubbles that come along with it.
We've all seen it, its the same disease that will make an otherwise rational person believe that apple can't gets viruses and "thinks different' or that Google really goes around saying "Do no evil" and is made up of nothing but nerds dedicated to making the world a better place.
this to me is the bigger problem because like religious zealots anything that threatens their perception bubbles will be attacked repeatedly and en masse. with any topic that has fanbois in attendance basically you end up with either karma whoring, where groupthink is the order of the day, or you get discussions quickly breaking down into giant flamewars. a good example of this is Slashdot which once was a geek paradise but now is losing members rapidly because the fanbois have taken over and its groupthink city there.
So I don't think the big problem is your average troll but the fanbois because ultimately trolls are usually solitary creatures or at most small groups whereas the fanbois can be legion and descend like a plague to turn anything involving "their" company into a giant press release. It kills flow, ruins actual discussion and makes any sort of comparisons right out. I give OSNews credit for not having this cancer spreading like slashdot and many of the other geekier sites but its something i'm sure the mods have to deal with daily and i wish them luck.
Because once the fanbois take over its really hard to get a site back from that, again look at /. which has users making hundreds of accounts so they can modbomb and once the fanbois decide you are "the enemy' they perception bubbles twist everything they see. Hell I was once accused of being a "M$ Ninja" and shilling for MSFT for saying IE sucks. I still haven't figured out how saying a product was lousy equaled an endorsement of the company that made a lousy product but I'm sure to that fanboi and his followers that made some kind of twisted logical sense.
Sorry about the length but I just wanted to say how nice it is that OSNews still seems to allow opposing viewpoints and discussions without rampant fanboism destroying the flow and i hope they are able to keep it up. at least here one can have a 30 post discussion about file systems or OSes without a dozen 'I hope you die!' 'Go choke you shill!' posts ruining everything.