Words take on different meanings over time.Â One such word is the word ‘troll’.
The Oxford Dictionary gives two definitions for it:
â€¢ verb 1 fish by trailing a baited line along behind a boat. 2 chiefly Brit. walk; stroll.
â€¢ noun 1 an act or instance of trolling. 2 a line or bait used in trolling.
In the advent of the internet and forums, the meaning of troll and trolling has taken on a whole new definition.Â One which doesn’t have neutral connotations to it.Â According to Urban Dictionary, a troll is:
One who purposely and deliberately (that purpose usually being self-amusement) starts an argument in a manner which attacks others on a forum without in any way listening to the arguments proposed by his or her peers. He will spark of such an argument via the use of ad hominem attacks (i.e. ‘you’re nothing but a fanboy’ is a popular phrase) with no substance or relevance to back them up as well as straw man arguments, which he uses to simply avoid addressing the essence of the issue.
Common usage of the term trolling fits more into the contemporary definition provided by the Urban Dictionary than that found in the Oxford Dictionary.Â At least when it comes to usage on the internet.Â One is often careful in throwing that word around.Â No one wants to be accused of “being a troll”.Â Which brings up the next interesting point, why would journalist opt to use the term “troll the internet” in an article?Â An article, which is, ironically, published on the internet.
Makhniashvili followed up on bizarre tips, and continues to troll the Internet, scrutinizing websites, blogs and news reports. Any morsel of useful information, he passes on to investigators.
Given its connotations, it seems rather out of place.Â A better phrase would have been to “trawl the internet”.Â It doesn’t run the risk of double entendre the way troll does.Â Before this morning, the extent to which I understood “to troll” was rather limited.Â My definition was on par with that in Urban Dictionary, and mythology.Â I had to do my research.Â Something the Star journalist should have done.