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Currently owned by Condé Nast, the site was launched in 2005 by Steve Huffman and Alexis Ohanian (later joined by Christopher Slowe and Aaron Swartz) who were funded by a Y Combinator startup grant (Arrington, 2006).

We are warned “do not feed the troll,” as by responding to their frivolous posts we risk adding fuel to the fire — a troll is merely looking for any reaction as validation to continue with their activities.While Coleman (2010) has argued that trolls should really be viewed more akin to “tricksters”, by and large the term troll carries negative connotations within most online communities.In this paper I argue that the application of the label “troll” can also be used to as a justification for punishing those who transgress (or are accused of transgressing) an online community’s norms.Specifically, this paper describes a case study of what some community members defined as trolling on the news aggregate Web site Rather than assuming that the primary goal of “Grandpa Wiggly” (the accused troll) was to cause disruption and conflict in the Reddit community, I will reframe the events using the lens of role–play and shifting community expectations.

In this paper I describe how being labeled as a troll is a way of silencing the transgressor, as well as shutting down debate and self–reflection amongst community members.Ultimately, the goal of this paper is to lay down groundwork for future identity–based studies surrounding policing of norms and expected behaviour within online communities.Introducing is a news aggregate Web site with an estimated one billion page views in January 2011 (Reisinger, 2011).While many online communities have explicit codes of conduct that one must follow in order to participate, there are often many “unwritten rules” or community expectations that users are expected to abide by.In this case study of a news aggregate Web site whose affordances seem to imply a transient and fluid approach to online identity, I outline an example of a community member (known as “Grandpa Wiggly”) who ran afoul of community expectations of authentic representation of one’s “true” off–line self.I also detail how accusations of trolling were used as a justification for shutting down debates about community expectations, as well as justifying actions against Grandpa Wiggly that violated the Reddit terms of service (and his privacy). Epilogue Introduction Based in Norse mythology, trolls were said to be supernatural creatures with less than benevolent intents.