Once upon a time there were some people trying to make a point about a group of people who they felt was taking too much away from their liberties without giving them a chance to represent their ideas. They gathered an enormous group together and disrupted the normal business of the company that had caused their problems... if they succede in their quest we call them Revolutionaries.
I was recently pondering about some of the neat experiences that I have had in my life, including the chance to work on Mormon.org for a while. Among the amazing people that I met I also met a new group of individuals that I had heard of but never encountered. They called themselves trollers and seemed to tie every conversation to Magnets, Top Hats, or Rick Astley...or conversely they would ignore answers and continue to ask questions about why we believe in God and ignoring our answers.
By going to Wikipedia you can get a basic understanding of what a troll is: someone who purposefully tries to post something to get someone to comment on it. Be it an inaccurate statement, or an obviously inflammatory remark, or even a ludicrous question repeated over and over and over.
The ones I typically encountered were jokers. If you got past their punch line, sometimes they would tell you about why they were doing what they were doing. Some talked about how they were disappointed about the church's stance on Proposition 8, some just wanted us to understand how silly religion was, others were mad because of a recent break up with a member of the church...and most were just bored 15 or 16 year olds who had nothing better to do on a Saturday evening than to ask inflammatory or silly questions online. However, every now and again you would not get one or two trollers in a day you would get an organized group of thousands coming on with the intent of keeping us from talking to people who really wanted to use the site for it's own purposes. When they became organized, then they can accomplish things. (like take out entire websites)
But it made me wonder... were there other organized trollers in earlier centuries, or are they merely an internet meme?
December 16, 1773
About 200 people gathered together to dump the modern day equivalent of $1,000,000 worth of tea into the sea to make their opinion known about the monopoly of the East India Trading Company over the colonies. You can imagine what the British Empire thought of these uncivilized individuals, dressing like savages and storming ships for the sake of making a point. (Trollers often will say inflammatory statements to make a point on a bigger issue, typically on the stupidity of talking about that subject...eg religion) Inflammatory? Oh yes. Boorish? Naturally. Trollers organized for a greater cause? Yes indeed.
October 5, 1879
Marie Antoinette said "Let them eat cake" in response to complaints about the cost of bread. Women in france were appalled, and got together in groups to talk about this problem and wondered how to get the problem resolved. (imagine all of the blogger moms on the web and what would happen if something riled them up) In short about 7000 french women stormed Versailles because of the scarcity and cost of bread. Taking weapons from an armory, they ere able to organize into a formidable force and this event is now know as the October March. Disruptive, yes. Effective absolutely.
It makes me wonder what happened to having a good cause for causing trouble. Mobilizing because a single video was taken off You tube.... perhaps not the most effective use of time. Mobilizing against and oppressive government that refuses to listen the the general populace? I think then a great troll force would be effective.
(will be continued as I notice more connections between trollers and influential figures)