Throughout 2018, I tried to privately engage a few local trolls. For some insight on why. Just, Why did you say it?

Some do it to get a rise, sure, but largely it boiled down to people not seeing their comments as atrocious. They think most people share their view. That their view is informed. They feel certain that those who oppose their view, oppose it because they’re an idiot, or a snowflake, or not woke.

It also became clear that many of these people simply didn’t have access to the education or information they needed to have a well-informed opinion on things like immigration, equity issues, or environmental concerns. Which speaks to an alarmingly poor flow of information in the supposed age of information.

“Tina” Says People Are More Reactive Online Than In Person (So She Provokes Them Online)

“I find in real life, I could stand in the middle of the mall and scream my thoughts, and virtually no one will engage with me. In real life, confrontations scare us because we might be physically hurt, so we cower from them. Online though, people have more courage. It’s like social media gives people pack mentality. So I say contentious things, to get a rise out of people, and prompt comment threads that will go on all day. It’s just something to be at to get me through the workday. Also, I like to upset people and steal their time away. I don’t mean half the crap I say. I’m just sick of being made to feel small by this world because I am different, and by making people feel so desperate to be heard, or have their counter-arguments understood, I am making them feel small and unheard like me. So yes, it is a malicious intent, and I guess I fit your bill as a troll.

“Tyler” Faked an Account To Win Over A Co-Worker

“Dude, I bleed social justice. I am 100% left winged. But I have a humongous crush on a co-worker. She is so pretty, so fashionable, so smart and silly, I just can’t take it. We bonded at work over raging about trolls. We had that in common. She thought it was brave of me, and great of me, to call out a certain troll one day. So, I created a fake Facebook account. With that fake account, I left a few nasty, poorly informed comments on a CBC article, so that I could then log in as myself, and counter those comments, in a way that would make my crush feel like we have so much in common. Totally disingenuous, sure, and in the end didn’t work out. She’s dating a different co-worker now. But yeah, I did this, and that’s why.”

“John” Just Thinks He’s Right And Others Agree, So He’s Not A Troll

“Look. You’re implying I’m a troll because you’re some leftist crybaby who thinks everything is offensive. I say what I do about Muslims because I know others feel the same way. Ergo, I am not a troll. I’m just brave enough to speak the truth. We ARE flying people here from terrorist countries and giving them our children’s jobs. I’m not going to read this stupid Immigration Strategy you sent me. We don’t need immigrants to fill jobs, or diversify our culture, or to just be “good to our fellow man,” and all this bullshit your paper gets on with. We need JOBS. Not people to take these jobs out from under us. Wake up. And no, I don’t think it’s great there’s Indian food or falafels in town now. I am CANADIAN.”