One definition of troll is A person who cannot be persuaded to consider the idea that it's their behavior, not their opinions, that gets them into trouble. Disclaiming their own rudeness and/or bad behavior and/or moral agency is one of the most basic trollish behaviors.

  • I'm not responsible for our difficulties; you are.
You seem to be taking this rather personally.
I'm sorry that you found that offensive.
I thought we were supposed to be adults here.
This is a very emotional issue for me.
This is a real hot-button issue for me.
Why are you all so defensive?
I don't understand what I've done to earn this hostility.
I'm not rude, just honest.
I love how everyone feels the need to put words into my mouth.
If you look at the strict dictionary definition of the words I used, ignoring the common connotations that are familiar to any native speaker, I didn't say anything insulting.

  • I wasn't trolling, I was just --
I came here expecting a civil and thoughtful exchange. (see below)
I was just playing the Devil's advocate.
I thought I would stir a more lively debate. (In this context, the word "debate" is always misused.)
I was very disappointed in his reaction to a mere crumb of dissent. (Said about @LollardFish, on Twitter.)
I know this theory about women, society, and evolution is non-falsifiable, but I find it intriguing. It's a useful stimulant to thought.
Nobody debates anything anymore. How does anybody know when they're right?
I enjoy a lively discussion with people who have different views.
You believed me? I just wanted to see what would happen if I {advocated horrible thing/argued in favor of some deliberate lie}.
Sometimes it's boring being smart, and you have to find a way to exercise it.
Seems to me all you care about is winning. All right, you win. I'll leave. All I wanted was some kind of constructive discussion. {See also: the Flounce}

  • You can't take a joke.
Gee, did I hit a nerve?

I was only making a joke.

I was only poking fun.

You can't take a joke.

You're too sensitive.

You have no sense of humor.

Get the stick out of your bum.

Don't get your knickers in a twist.

Some folks need to relax.

Lighten up!

It's just electrons. Don't take it seriously.

This is the internet, not real life.


LOL Fckng sshls! LOL

Anyone who takes themselves that seriously has it coming.

  • Denial of Agency:
A transactional model asserted by many trolls and sub-trolls, in which the speaker represents himself as not having initiated any exchanges, made any decisions, behaved aggressively, used rude language, made unwarrantedly harsh or judgemental assumptions, unduly personalized an exchange, or otherwise acted in ways almost certain to give offense. Instead, he describes himself at all points as reacting to inexplicable and gratuitously hostile behavior by others. (Note: This is related to what EMTs call "Some Dude Syndrome," where a person injured in a fight will explain that "I don't know what happened; I was just standing there, minding my own business, when all of a sudden Some Dude starts wailing on me.") It's a denial of responsibility that doesn't require that the person argue that what he did was right. Instead, it argues that everything he did was purely reactive, and that none of it had any effect on others. See, for example, "Dave," comment #128, in the Making Light thread on Boing Boing commenters party like it’s October 2001:
"Abi, if I were shouting at someone in the street, maybe your harsh critique would be justified, but as I am simply typing words, then I believe I am entitled to a robust viewpoint, which, as I said, is not directed towards causing offence to anyone."
Notice that he describes Abi Sutherland's typed remarks as "harsh," but exculpates his own remarks on the grounds that they were typed rather than shouted. He momentarily restores agency to his speech when he describes it as "robust" (see: Self-Valorization), but then resumes his denial of agency with his claim that they were not intended to cause offense.
His odd use of "cause offense" rather than "give offense" fits this analysis. The phrase "to give offense" describes the effect words had, without reference to the speaker's intent. It belongs to a world in which speakers are responsible for their speech. His substitution of "to cause offense" denies that he's responsible for any consequences of his actions which he didn't consciously intend.
Caution: Think twice before dating persons who use this mode to describe the breakup of their previous relationships.

  • Back-forming benevolent intentions:
See also under Linguistic markers. One common version consists of claiming that objectionable behavior was meant to be funny, and therefore any negative reactions to it were mistaken, humorless, hostile, and generally unjustified. A further maneuver is to blame this unfriendly reception of his remarks for the speaker's subsequent bad behavior, viz.: "What started as a friendly joke that met with uncalled-for hostile response led me to..."
Statements that the speaker came to the site expecting a civil and reasonable interaction, or began the exchange hoping to have a constructive discussion, usually occur when the speaker has been as aggressively argumentative as anyone else, but has clearly lost the argument. It's an attempt to recast the scenario as one in which they didn't intend to fight at all, but were maliciously bushwhacked by their opponents.
Bill Posey: a specimen collected in the wild
An example of this of this occurred in March and April of 2009, when Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL), a far-right Republican freshman from Florida, introduced a bill that would require presidential candidates to present a valid birth certificate before they could run. This was of course motivated by the right's groundless attacks on Barack Obama's status as a US citizen. Posey was widely mocked for this by the center and left, and received no support from his conservative colleagues. Among those mocking Posey was political analyst and comedian Stephen Colbert, who said:
"To quell the persistent rumors about Posey himself, I am demanding DNA tests to determine whether Florida congressmen are part alligator. I have had enough with the reckless whispering. ... This is just something I've heard: Bill Posey's grandma, allegedly, [had relations with] an alligator."
The Orlando Sentinel quoted Posey's huffy reply:
"I expected there would be some civil debate about it, but it wasn't civil," Posey said. "Just a bunch of name-calling and personal denigration. ... There is no reason to say that I'm the illegitimate grandson of an alligator."
That is: Posey's introduction of the bill wasn't an attempt to perpetuate and extend the right's non-reality-based attacks on Obama's citizenship; it was an invitation to civil debate on a serious issue, and Stephen Colbert had no business suggesting that it had no more basis in fact than the story about Posey's grandmother getting it on with an alligator.
(Note: when the Onlinesmanship wiki gets big enough to have an entry about the tactic of making an outrageous assertion about your opponent, in hopes of getting him to publicly deny that (for instance) he has intimate relations with barnyard animals, that entry should cross-reference this story.)

Note: This entry needs to be moved up the hierarchy to become a supercategory, and its subsections broken out as separate entries.
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