CNN did a story on Internet trolls and whether or not they are psychopaths. The story looked at what is behind the trolling and if there is pleasure gained in such activity.
From the article
— If you’ve ever complained that the trolls junking up online comment sections are a bunch of sadistic psychopaths, you might be onto something.
An online survey by a group of Canadian researchers suggests that Internet trolls are more likely than others to show signs of sadism, psychopathy and “Machiavellianism”: a disregard for morality and tendency to manipulate or exploit others.
“It was sadism, however, that had the most robust associations with trolling of any of the personality measures,” says an article by psychologists from the University of Manitoba, University of Winnipeg and University of British Columbia. “In fact, the associations between sadism and … scores were so strong that it might be said that online trolls are prototypical everyday sadists.”
Commenters who said they enjoy trolling other users more than other options (which included debating topics and making new friends) consistently scored higher on the “tetrad” and displayed a tendency to enjoy trolling because it is pleasurable, the authors wrote.
The questions asked to determine sadistic tendencies included ”I enjoy physically hurting people,” “I enjoy making jokes at the expense of others” and “I enjoy playing the villain in games and torturing other characters.”
To be clear, the article is not based on a random sampling of respondents.
Needless to say the story has close to 2700 comments. Read the full story here