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In Australia we have a concept of 'tall poppy syndrome' — which comes from a cultural assumption of egalitarianism. If someone puts on airs, or considers themselves more important than others, then it is 'culturally acceptable' to cut them down to size by using a cutting comment or criticism.

When applying the concept of 'trolling' from Internet language in this context — is it 'trolling'...

  1. to make the original comment that puts on airs,
  2. to make the subsequent cutting comment, or
  3. that constitutes both sides, i.e. (1) and (2), just from different perspectives?

As 'tall poppy syndrome' doesn't really have a place in US culture, I'm going to ask a non-US person to answer this one.

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I think the concept of trolling doesn't really fit this context very well, but I like the Urban Dictionary definition: "Being a prick on the internet because you can. Typically unleashing one or more cynical or sarcastic remarks on an innocent by-stander, because it's the internet and, hey, you can."

Being "a prick because you are" is a congenital defect, but being "a prick because you can" is a choice: You can always choose to ignore "someone [who] puts on airs" instead of lowering yourself by being unnecessarily and self-righteously judgmental and punitive.

If you start the confrontation by making the reactive cutting comment, then you are the troll. A "big" person doesn't need to prove anything to anyone else.

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You can easily troll for stuff by posting sarky or political "incorrect" arguments so for sure the first poster can be the troll – mplungjan Mar 30 '13 at 7:11
Thanks for your perspective Bill. Your wisdom and experience is shown. The question makes some cultural assumptions. I'm going to clarify the question to make those cultural assumptions clearer. – hawkeye Mar 31 '13 at 3:25
@BillFranke Great answer, trolling has nothing to do with cutting self righteous people down to size and everything to do with letting out bile in a cowardly, anonymous way. – Mynamite Apr 2 '13 at 1:26

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