Trolls taunt online community

IN folklore, trolls were ugly, small mythical creatures that usually frightened children.

Now internet trolls, although generally anonymous, are still just as ugly and scaring more than just children.

A troll has become the slang term used for someone who posts inflammatory or off-topic messages in an online community, such as Facebook, forums or blogs, with the primary intent of provoking readers.

Back in July 2010, The Chronicle reported on a Facebook tribute site for house fire victim Nikki Streek that was attacked by trolls.

The controversy created heartache for family members and loved ones.

Unfortunately, trolling continues to this day.

A self-confessed Toowoomba troll, who wished to remain anonymous, said he enjoyed the reaction he got from provoking people online.

An avid online gamer, he said he usually replied with fiery comments on game forums to see how upset he could make people.

"I do it to stir people up," he said.

"It's pretty easy to fire them up."

Although he said he enjoyed the "harmless" taunts, he condemned those who took it too far.

"There can be some very sick stuff go on though, which I'd never do, like the people that doctor images."

Recent severe trolling has gained worldwide exposure.

Last month in Scotland, Sean Duffy made headlines when he was sentenced to more than four months prison after he doctored an image of a young female shotgun victim and posted it on a tribute Facebook page set up for the girl.

Mr Duffy admitted to posting the image of the girl and also pleaded guilty to posting abusive comments online about a young girl who had committed suicide.