Created By: magnum12 on August 30, 2012 Last Edited By: magnum12 on September 10, 2012

Sliding Scale Of Troll Dickery

How cruel is this guy's trolling?

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Trolling seems to mean different things to different people. To some, it means cruel manipulation of people's emotions For the Evulz. To others, trolling is like pulling pranks, yanking people's chains and provoking a reaction for harmless amusement. This scale is about those variations and comes in 5 grades depending on the cruelty of the person in question.

How funny the audience finds the trolling and how cruel the "troll" is are not mutually exclusive, though it should be noted that Type 5's are so cruel and malicious that's very rare for them to be funny in contrast to The Gad Fly, who's almost always funny.

Lack of understanding of this scale is one of the reasons why gadflies are often mistaken for a Troll on the internet, thus Mistakenly Banned for trolling.

Type 1: Harmless Amusement: These characters only seek harmless amusement when they mess with people. Their antics entail minor pranks and good spirited yanking of people's chains to get a reaction. Always either good or solidly neutral at worst.

The defining trope for type 1 is The Gad Fly.


Anime and Manga:
  • Konata Izumi from Lucky Star is fond of messing with Kagami, but its purely to get a reaction from her.
  • Suzumiya Haruhi's Koizumi, mainly to Kyon.

Video Games:
  • Wrex from Mass Effect is fond of asking truly outrageous questions to squad mates just to how how they'll react.
  • Jade Curtiss from Tales of the Abyss. Borderline type 2.

Visual Novel:
  • Mion Sonozaki from Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, especially towards Keiichi. Seems to be how she expresses her affection to him.

Western Animation:

Type 2: Mischevious. The mischevious grade's acts are more annoying than malicious, are motivated by entertainment, and will involve more intense pranks. Unlike a type 3, a type 2 will get upset if their pranks actually hurt people physically. Often the method of action for a benign Trickster Mentor.

Defining tropes are Trickster Mentor. Darker form of The Gadfly. A typical Dead Pan Snarker goes here.


Anime and Manga:
  • Tomo's antics in Azumanga Daioh are more harmful and jerky than a type 1. Some of her pranks can border on type 3.

Video Games:

Visual Novel:
  • Shion Sonozaki's normal personality in Higurashi no Naku Koro ni is essentially a slightly darker version of Mion's gadfly behaviour. However, in arcs where she snaps, she becomes a type 5. Her favorite targets are Mion, Keiichi, and sometimes even Kasai.
    • Also from that series, Satako Houjou, who serves as a prankster version.

Web Comics:
  • God in Sin Fest behaves like a type 2.

Western Animation:
  • King Bomi from Avatar The Last Air Bender loves causing mischief and playing pranks, saying "Messing with people is fun."
  • Pre Flanderization Bart Simpson from The Simpsons played pranks but got upset when people actually got hurt from them. Later incarnations are type 3.

Type 3: Dickish. These trolls don't actually commit outright evil acts, aren't motivated by evil, but by amusement. These people are morally ambiguous and don't care if people get hurt by their pranks and mischief. These characters are usually neutral, tending towards chaos.

Example tropes: Low grade Trolls, It Amused Me. A more abrasive Dead Pan Snarker falls here.


Live-Action Television

Video Games:
  • Etna from the Disgaea series is very capricious, not caring if anyone gets hurt in her amusement.

Visual Novel:
  • Lambadelta from Umineko no Naku Koro ni isn't so much evil, as completely morally ambigous and hates boredom. Is among the least nasty Trolls in a cast that's full to the brim with them, receiving the nick name of "Trolls trolling trolls trolling trolls."

Web Comics:

  • The trolls in Homestuck vary wildly in their posistion on the scale, namely due to many of them being lousy at trolling. None of them are type 5's with the worst being a type 4. Ironically, in their first appearance, they were indeed alien internet trolls.
  • Mal in Head Trip, especially the bit about the book spoilers.

Type 4: Mean Spirited. Type 4 is where the troll in question starts becoming cruel. Their trolling is mean spirited but can still be darkly funny to the audience depending on the delivery. These characters are usually evil.

Example Tropes: Troll, Affably Evil, Laughably Evil. Typical internet trolls are either here or type 5.


Anime and Manga:

Comic Books

Video Games:
  • Fenrich (Disgaea4) is here as opposed to Etna since his manipulation is crueler than her's.

Visual Novel:

Western Animation:

Type 5: Utter malice. These trolls are at maximum grade cruelty, motivated purely by cruelty and malice. Rarely are type 5 trolls ever funny.

Example Tropes: Complete Monster, Faux Affably Evil. For the Evulz


Anime and Manga:

Comic Books:
  • The Joker from Bat Man is one the rare examples of a type 5 that's actually funny.

Tabletop Games:
  • Uber nasty trolling is pretty much a requirement for followers and daemons of Tzeentch in War Hammer
  • Of course the example above also applies to War Hammer 40000.

Video Games:
  • BlazBlue's Terumi Yuuki, who's one of the most iconic trolls in all of gaming.

Visual Novels:
  • Bernkastel (Umineko no Naku Koro ni) is the absolute darkest point in the scale, known infamously for her nick name of "Trollkastel".

Western Animation:
Community Feedback Replies: 8
  • August 30, 2012
    "Funny vs. cruel" seems extremely subjective. Also unclear about what this means by "trolling".
  • August 30, 2012
    How about calling it a Sliding Scale Of Tricksters instead, to build upon the time-honoured Trickster Archetype?

    Funny VS cruel isn't a really appropriate version. More like benevolent VS cruel. A benevolent trickster can still fail to be funny (Dumbledore's lowest points come to mind), a cruel trickster can be amazingly droll (The Joker, for instance, especially that one magic trick).
  • August 31, 2012

    As per How To Write An Example (State the source), in examples you shouldn't Pot Hole the name of the work because it makes it much more difficult for the reader to find it.

    All of the examples in the original post which have this should be edited to have the name of the work clearly stated.
  • September 1, 2012
    Correction: Izaya is from Durarara, not Dura Dura.
  • September 2, 2012
  • September 5, 2012
    and where Mal would be on this scale? =]
  • September 5, 2012
    ^^^^^ I think you mean "benign", not "benevolent". If "benevolent" were included, we'd need to add a Type 0 for tricksters whose trolling is carried out for the purpose of helping or educating its target.
  • September 7, 2012
    Or we could include Type 0 - Benevolent because there are some Tricksters that do go to both extremes.