From the Department of Research That Tells Us What We Already Knew: “Internet Trolls Really Are Horrible People.”
The research, conducted by Erin Buckels of the University of Manitoba and two colleagues, sought to directly investigate whether people who engage in trolling are characterized by personality traits that fall in the so-called Dark Tetrad: Machiavellianism (willingness to manipulate and deceive others), narcissism (egotism and self-obsession), psychopathy (the lack of remorse and empathy), and sadism (pleasure in the suffering of others).
I’m sure it will come as no surprise to anyone that trolls won the Shitty Personality Quadruple Crown. It’s pretty much in the definition of being a troll: you enjoy posting stuff that upsets people.
But I can’t help wondering … these are trolls we’re talking about here. What’s to keep them from trolling the researchers? Trolls are exactly the kind of people who’d think it was funny to game the personality test to make themselves look like psychopaths. Except that to enjoy that, and to know that you were screwing up the research and decide to do it anyway… you’d pretty much have to fit the definition. So, trolls, even if you think you’re just pretending to be assholes, you’re still assholes.