Be a Troll

We all have experienced that satisfying moment when a prank successfully achieves that desired irritable response. That moment where the person being pranked knows they've been deliberately pranked by a well-thought-out and well-executed plan. Trolling can take almost any form, so it’s important to prepare for each form of trolling independently. That being said, there are a few elements that are relevant to almost all forms of trolling, regardless of the medium that’s being trolled. Pulling a fast one online or in games is often referred to as "trolling" and this article on how to be a “troll” will teach you how to do that! Get started with Step 1 below or find more specific advice by checking out the sections listed above.


Hiding Your Tracks

  1. Don’t get reported. There are good trolls and there are bad trolls. You want to be a good troll. Griefing, flaming and generally being an annoying jerk will only get you reported and eventually banned. If you want to remain in the community, be funny, be clever, and be a troll that people enjoy watching. Know your audience, know what they will expect and tolerate and you will be able to bring smiles and lols to everyone.
    • Making a moral point with your trolls or making a game out of your trolling (for everyone else, not just you) is a good way to make sure your antics are accepted within the community. You will be seen less as a jerk and more as the class clown.
  2. Have lots of email addresses. You’re going to need lots of different accounts on each of the the various sites and games you plan on trolling. Usually a site will not let you start a new account with an email that is registered to a different account, so you’ll need an email for each account that you create on a site.
  3. Avoid connections between your accounts. Don’t use variations on the same screen name, don’t use the same password, and don’t use email addresses which are very similar. Essentially, don’t leave any evidence that your various accounts are connected. This will help keep all of your accounts from getting banned if just one gets reported and caught.
  4. Use a VPN. Let’s be realistic, the things you do on the Internet? You should probably be using a VPN anyway. VPNs, or virtual private networks, feed your internet traffic through a third or fourth party, letting you appear to be somewhere where you are not. How does this help with keeping your troll bridge from getting crashed? Most VPNs will let you change your IP address at will. This means that you can get in trouble on a site with one IP address and they won’t know to ban another account which uses a different IP address.

Learning from Examples

  1. Troll a video game. A classic and highly regarded example of video game trolling is from renowned trollers, Team Roomba. A fan favorite was from Team Fortress 2, where they blocked other people's ability to progress in the game and forced them to answer trivia questions to proceed. Can you name all the oceans on Earth?
  2. Troll a forum. A classic example of forum trolling can be seen with 4chan's (well, anything 4chan, really) Gold Membership prank. Posts were created with titles like “Top 100 Funny Pics From 4chan (NSFW)” but the images were merely messages prompting users to get non-existent Gold Memberships for the site in order to see the pictures.
  3. Troll comment sections. Again, nix the YouTube in favor of Tumblr or blogs. However, YouTube is an excellent example of the kind of comments you'd want to post. For example, going to blogs about body modification and asking why guys with gauges have Oreos in their ears. Classic.
  4. Troll asks. Troll Yahoo Answers and similar "asking" websites for a bit of quick fun. This is a great place to use the Advice Trolling and Snipe Hunting method. If someone comes to the Internet expecting someone to do their homework for them, they deserve everything they get, right?
    • Look out for questions which are trolls, the classic one where the 'mom' is asking why her daughter likes to sit on the dryer. The trolling goes both ways in these places.
  5. Create an epic troll. If you want to make the holy grail of trolls, you're going to have to go a little bigger than a few forum posts. Some of the greatest trolls are entire websites or shows. The best examples of this conform to the "Shock Value" trolling method.
    • The Onion, The Daily Show, and the Colbert Report are three trolls that make fun of modern news outlets and modern American society. The early years are the best examples, where the right-wing politicians and pundits who are so frequently the butt of the joke still weren't in on the joke.
    • Landover Baptist and Objective Ministries are two websites which troll by making fun of fundamentalist Christian churches and beliefs. Many people don't realize that they are, in fact, not real.
  6. Troll real life. You can troll real life too. The Patriot Guard Riders troll the Westboro Baptist church like a boss. Obama's 2013 White House Correspondent's Dinner speech with the video of his birth? Pure win.

Utilizing Memes

  1. Know your memes. The troll face. Yo mama. Please. Derp. Challenge accepted. Haters gonna' hate. Know your memes and know how they should be used. Most have a particular meaning or connotations. Use one incorrectly and everyone is just going to be like “WTF are you doing dude?!” Use one cleverly and everyone will be dying with laughter. Just be warned that using older memes will get you marked as a "Normie."
  2. Keep it reasonable. Don’t use memes too much. Every other response shouldn't be a meme. You should not be a permanent trollface. This give you none of the character and originality that will make you an accepted feature of a community.
  3. Stay fresh with your memes. Memes get old fast. These ones I have presented may be too old by the time you read this. This is a curse of the rapid-changing environment that is the Internet. After awhile, it’s kind like that guy that just goes around quoting Seinfeld or Friends all the time. Like, okay, we get it. It was funny. In the 90s. So, try to lay off the Numa Numa and Peanut Butter Jelly Time.
  4. Balance with some original humor. Memes are all well and good; they’ve got a time and place where they can really add humor to some tense situations or bring someone a badly needed laugh. But try to bring some of your own, original humor into the situation as well. Who knows, maybe you’ll be the next Leeroy Jenkins.

Learning Trolling Styles

Shock Value Trolling

  1. Find a good audience. This is a common trolling method, in which you lead your audience to believe that you honestly think something that you don’t. Pulling off this troll means finding a space where people usually express their opinions. You can shout about how you’re sure Obama is an alien bent on stealing the world’s supply of classic Transformers action figures while you’re in the middle of a grocery store, but you’re unlikely to get very much attention. Unless it’s from police. Tumblr is a great target for trolling because many tumblr-ites are very sensitive. 4chan, especially /b/ is a bad target because of the anti-pc nature of the site.
    • Common targets are political or religious forums. Or anything to do with politics and religion. Man, people really cannot keep it together when it comes to these topics. These are the easiest trolling targets and a great way to cut your teeth.
  2. Another great target is Ifunny. Ifunny has a lot of sensitive people as well as a lot of trolls, so finding targets is easy, as is getting support for your cause.
    • Avoid YouTube comments. YouTube is 100% trolls. You will not stand out and your brilliance will be wasted.
  3. Don’t be obvious. Just going to some religious forum and posting “god is a fag!” really isn’t the best strategy. Mostly everyone can tell you’re a troll. A good troll will spend time carefully constructing the perfect prank. Make them think you’re legit. And then mess with their minds.
    • For example, spend time in that community making comments and posts which seem normal, before slowly going through a “crisis of faith” and eventually going full-blown crazy-pants. Then say that God perhaps intends for everyone to sleep with members of the same sex. People won’t see it coming.
  4. Default to acting confused. You can ask questions about or explanations for the more mainstream view of something, while absolutely standing by your crazy opinion being the only one that makes sense. You can go on for ages about how wonderful your opinion is and express confusion as to why no one agrees with you. And if someone says there’s no way you’re serious, you’ve got to be a troll, just act confused as to why they would think that.

Snipe Hunting and Advice Trolling

  1. Look for noobs. This is trolling in it’s purest form, as the origin of the term stems from the phrase “trolling for noobs”. This meant to make obvious who was new to the community (or internet as a whole) by exposing their ignorance. Now, you’ll want to browse forums and comment sections for people asking for help on really basic things. Things that they really should be Googling to begin with...
  2. Respond with the worst thing you can find. Write a post that is sort of helpful but with advice that is really too general to really work on its own. Cap off the response with a link (use hypertext if you can) to something truly awful and horrifying and put in some comment about “If you’re still confused, go here for more information”. Just give them the impression that it’s legit. People who know better will recognize the link and know you’re joking.
  3. Cultivate a wonderful garden of human depravity. In order to pull this off well, you’re going to have to cultivate a collection of the worst stuff on the internet. Lemonparty-level is a pretty safe bet, although you can go more towards the “Oh god my eyes” variety or a nice “Can wash, can wash, but will never be clean” if you’d rather.
    • Good examples of terrible images include anything where a penis is somewhere a penis really shouldn’t be.

Bait and Switch

  1. Time your posts carefully. This method, also referred to as the Bait and Switch, is usually used to respond to people being way too excited about something. A movie about to release, a video game that’s in development, every time Benedict Cumberbatch steps out his front door (if you’re trolling Tumblr)....these are all great opportunities to take advantage of someone’s excitement. Wait for something big, where people are being really silly and obviously care way too much, then roll out the trolls.
    • Something that people anticipate but that isn’t likely to exist any time soon is another great opportunity for Rickrolling.
  2. Get people excited. They’re waiting on the first images of the new Sailor Moon series? You’ve got exclusive screenshots from your graphic designer friend in Japan! They can’t wait for the next Star Trek movie? Secret location scouting started in your city and you caught some footage on your cell phone! Make people think you’ve definitely got the goods.
    • Really sell the idea by giving a review or general opinion on whatever it is you’re posting: “These Half-Life 3 designs are okay but I preferred the original. What ever happened to good taste?”
  3. Rickroll! Instead of linking to the thing that people are now expecting, creatively link to a YouTube video of Rick Astley’s Wagnerian “Never Gunna Give You Up”, because it is sorely under-appreciated. Of course, linking to anything that makes it obvious you were joking will generally do the trick. Nyan cat is nice.
    • This troll is much more common among friends and is considered less mean than other forms of trolling, since it is usually pointing out a very legitimate fault in the community.

Trolling For Group Memberships

  1. Find groups just like yours. If you find a group just like yours, you can post links to take their members. Instead of posting to newsgroups or the search engines like the rest, just take this shortcut.
  2. Post links to your group on that group. Don't forget to include links on how to get to your group and then when they get there, don't forget to state why your group wins over the other group, so they feel that there is a competition.
  3. Be sure to include a link to your same type of group. Ie: (Join a hat group and post a link to your hat group") This is called "trolling for memberships".


  • The places that can be trolled go far beyond the content of this how to. Be creative in how you troll! Always remember to evaluate and be prepared to deal with the consequences of your actions. Most importantly, make sure you’re having fun! If trolling isn’t fun to you, you definitely should not be doing it. And if someone asks why you're doing it, just reply, "That's how I troll, man!"
  • Don't give your real name, use a fake one, and don't give any other personal information. Stay anonymous.
  • When reeling people in, be aware of spelling and grammar. Try to match their style.


  • Avoid harassment and other illegal activities that also fall under the banner of "trolling".
  • Don't be too annoying or the people you trolled may team up to troll you in return.
  • In forums and account based games, it is common to get banned if a troll is too offensive or against the medium’s policy, so do not use your personal account to perform trolling actions.
  • Avoid trolling about sensitive or easily triggered subjects (e.g. self-harm, suicide, etc.). This is seen as offensive and downright rude.
  • Do not use a personal account for trolling. This is just stupid and an all-around bad idea.

Sources and Citations