Portrait of a Troll: Justin Derrickson

Justin Derrickson is a troll. This does not mean he is a bad person or I don’t like him. I do not know him. I suspect he is a nice person that I will one day meet. He lives in my town and we have written long discussions for hours.
The reason I use his real name and my real name in this real blog is because this is the real world. I will print his insults of me and my replies. I told Justin he was a troll and that I would be quoting him and that he had time to delete whatever he wanted to and choose the time I would ban him and begin the blog about him. He threatened to post more pictures if I didn’t do it before 5pm when he got home, and wrote: “I’ll leave the decision up to you Kent. After all, you are the boss.”

The Urban Dictionary on line has a very good definition of a troll:  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.”  The Wikipedia as on on-line presence is especially sensitive to the issue of trolling and has devoted several pages to what it is and how the Wiki itself handles the problem.

http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/What_is_a_troll%3F#Definition_of_trolling

It is quite possible that Justin himself does not know what a troll is and how such behavior is destructive, but rather thinks it is funny to disrupt like a child in school will disrupt a class. In fact the way Justin trolls is less destructive and less bothersome than some other Torrington trolls like Keith Mutch and Melissa Roy.

Devoting my time and effort to the problem of trolling is only necessary to be sure we all understand what trolling is and how to avoid it.  In Justin’s case the issue can be as simple as this: A news story or web page is presented and read.  I have questions and ask about the sources that are or are not presented in that web page.  Justin then asks “Where are YOUR sources”?

Obviously I don’t have any sources since I did not present anything.  But Justin continues commenting on how I never provide any sources but Justin never mentions which comments of mine specifically need to be supported by sources. It is especially helpful for the reader to become familiar with ad hominem and straw man arguments and how to identify such tactics.  A personal attack has nothing to do with a discussion.  At one point I believed that Justin and his friend Jordan perhaps did not understand the point.  If Hitler says the sky is blue, does that make the sky green?  Any person, no matter how despicable and stupid, can say something true.  Address the idea and not the person.

Straw man arguments are perhaps slightly more difficult to identify especially since lots of people misunderstand and misrepresent what a straw argument is.  When an idea is presented, especially a controversial or emotional idea as internet discussions usually are, a straw argument is to change the discussion and present that idea instead.  For example if I were to say, as I did, the bisexuals have sex with people of both sexes.  A straw argument then would be that I am homophobic, that is to say, the straw man is homophobic and that is very, very wrong.  Too bad I didn’t say anything homophobic, then.

Insults ensue, I am hypocritical or stupid or old or dirty or “a fucking cunt” because I don’t provide sources to support my opinions.  Such is trolling at its simplest.  I would then answer with a dictionary definition of bisexual as if that will help the situation.  Imagine my surprise when the answer to the definition is that bisexuals don’t necessarily have sex, but rather are attracted to both sexes.  So I begin to think I am dealing with a troll and not a person who is interested in ideas.

There are other issues of course, especially when I answer the inane accusations.  If I ask what sources I need to support that is when the insults begin to fly.  But sticking to the point, there are other aspects of trolling that need to be addressed.  They are always of a personal nature, so I will be revealing things of a personal nature about myself.  Obviously these things can be found on the internet and therefore they can be used as ammunition for trolling.

But then any personal information can be used as ammunition for trolling.  Experienced trolls like Justin Derrickson don’t give out any personal information in their internet profiles like pictures or work history, or if they do so the information is false.  In that way they can get an emotional reaction from others without reacting emotionally themselves.  Justin expresses surprise and asserts that he believes what he says is funny and/or clever.

Justin often calls me an old man and insults my business, leaves bad reviews where he can, personal attacks whenever he can elicit a response.  As I said I can think of no other reason for the attacks except that Justin believes these attacks are funny or clever.  If this is true then Justin is a troll by definition.

In 2012 a long time customer became irate with me.  Fine, I have been in business 20 years, some customers I just don’t want.  But trying to not work for her became an ordeal and in the end I called the police but their tactics are such that I asked them to arrest me so that we could sort it out in court.  Of course I was exonerated and of course Lisa Meneguzzo stood up in court and said that I had traumatized her and traumatized her mother who was listening on the phone, and the court did not see the security video and yes, it was a mess.  It is always emotional when you are accused of wrong doing.

In the course of plotting my defense I happened to google Lisa Meneguzzo and the results so surprised me that I wrote several articles about her.  Her accusations mean nothing when we look at her history, but I digress.  I am writing this about how trolls like Justin Derrickson drive emotion without regard to reason.

There is a single news story about my arrest available on the internet and Justin Derrickson uses it frequently to elicit a response from me.  Obviously it doesn’t make me feel good when he calls me Old Man or insults my store either, but we are talking about a Troll here.

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