It is a lazy Saturday afternoon. You just finished watching your favorite episode of your favorite TV show. You enjoy this show, more than any human should enjoy anything. But just enjoying it isn't enough.
You have to talk about it.
The bad news is that all your friends live in different states and countries. That doesn't stop you, though. You plug in your magical webcam and fire up the ol' youtube. Pretty soon, you got a good five minutes of you talking about the finer points of this show, what they could do to make it better, and also what you had for lunch. You share this with your friends, and they agree with everything you said. You do consider yourself their leader, even if you have never met them face to face.
A few days of nothing goes by, then you notice a new comment on your video; a comment from a name you have never seen. It looks like "HowIsBabbyFormed219" really needed to call you a "wirthloss peece of shit foggit" multiple times. It bothers you, but you brush it off and go the the weekly tender festival for a few hours.
When you get home, you video has thousands of views. And thousands of comments. And not a single one of them was telling you how nice your sweater looked. Quite the opposite actually. It seems like everyone had a pressing urge to tell you how homosexual you look, how you should never be allowed on the internet again, and some even told you to kill yourself.
To be honest, you were asking for it when you put this on.
This is what a very mild trolling is like.
As soon as two people were on the internet, one was calling the other a fag. I am not saying that there wasn't trolling before the internet came around. It was done in the form of dog poo in flaming bags, or molotov cocktails. But when people discovered that they could bother other people from their own chair, thats when things went downhill fast.
Feces related pranks may be a bit barbaric, so you would think that adding high-tech stuff into the equation would make it more sophisticated. It didn't, for the most part. Where people would use to yell "homo" at someone, it now can be posted on a person's facebook.
But what happens in cases like the hypothetical one above? Can that many people really be opposed to unicorns, and sweaters made of them? Probably not. Then what happens? A bunch of bored kids is what happens. One person finds it, shares it with his friends, they share it their friends, and so on. Most just laugh and move on, but one bright snowflake ("HowIsBabbyFormed219", in this case) posts his feelings on the matter. Then an online mob mentality happens, and before too long you have death threats on your youtube inbox.
Sometimes it goes farther. One of these guys decides that they REALLY hate unicorns. So much so that they hack the uploader's youtube, facebook, myspace, and bank account. Yeah, it happens sometimes. And then they post as much gay scat porn as they can, and spend all your money on dog dildos. Yeah, they exist. And god help the uploader if the hacker gets his real address. He will then be signed up for every porno mailing list available, and have large amounts of pizza delivered to his house for days. And gets a hold of his phone number? He is going to be asked if he has Battletoads for quite some time.
The world's most sought after game.
The internet is a battlefield, and everything is a land mine. Do you want to browse the web, and not get trolled? Tough shit. The only way to ensure that you don't get bothered online is to not go online. But don't take it personal, they don't hate you. But you really do look like a fag in that sweater, seriously, what were you thinking?