For the six of you who don’t know, here is the definition of a troll from Wikipedia:
In Internet slang, a troll is someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, chat room or blog, with the primary intent of provoking other users into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.
And from Urban Dictionary:
One who posts a deliberately provocative message to a newsgroup or message board with the intention of causing maximum disruption and argument Essentially, a troll is someone who jumps into discussions to generate a flurry of responses – usually aggrevated – and seems to feed off the responses, often interjecting additional comments to try to stimulate further aggrevation. They consider the responses recognition and affirmation, so the more responses they get, the happier they are, even if those responses are scathing.
Anyone who frequents online fora has come across such behaviour. But it is not always clear whether we are dealing with a troll, per se, or just an idiot. The first question is, must a troll be intentionally trolling? If a person (or person-like organism) behaves like a troll and performs troll-like actions because of some firm, intrinsic belief or a genuine desire to try to convert others to their point of view, are they a troll? Can one be an inadvertant troll?
To answer that, I suggest putting it through the Duck Test. If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, well, for all intents an purposes it is a duck. Or a merganser, which is close enough.
The second question is, must a troll necessarily be a commenter, or can trolling be generated in a post itself? Typically, trolls toss inflammatory comments into an otherwise normal discussion. However, if someone takes the time to generate a full-blown post that accomplishes the same result – aggrevation and a flurry of responses – then the result is the same. An ambitious troll, but a troll nonetheless.
And so, with these criteria considered, I think it is perfectly fair to say that Dawkinswatch fits the definition of a troll.
Consider: He has little imagination, mostly just rehashing the twaddle of others. His posts are often inflammatory, accusing celebrities of devil worship, and accusing those who don’t share his particular brand of YEC fundamentalism of ignorance, stupidity, insanity, and immorality. He repeats himself despite contrary evidence, and asks for information just provided. He misses the point of most counter arguments. The more his arguments are shown to be baseless, the more he writes. And best of all, he frequently responds to legitimate arguments with non-sequiters of epic proportion.
Dawkinswatch, whether intentional or not, is a troll.
And there is really only one response.
Do Not Feed the Troll (DNFTT).