At first I liked it very much. I suppose it’s the same feeling that fills the arsonist’s mind when he watches a forest burn to ashes after he’s set it on fire. I imagine it’s the same drive that keeps the serial murderer, killing victim after victim even as he knows the good coppers are inching closer to him after each crime.
That is what the dopamine rush did to me when with a few of my (seemingly innocuous) words I managed to bring up a flamewar on the forums. Every time I managed to turn two of my fellow netizens against each other and leave, whistling indifferently I felt powerful, I felt good.
I had mastered the art of insulting with words that objectively are far from objectionable. I had been a artist of evading the strictest of community rules by clever wordplay and by leaving at the right point. I had honed my skills at befriending moderators and the unsuspecting bystanders so that it was me that was right in every confrontation. I twisted words, poked at the right time, used DM’s to rail people against each other, often simultaneously.
I was proud of that one incident where I caused the administrator to break down and shut the forum with a blazing post of 5000 words that conveyed the loss of hope in humanity beyond any possibility of recovery. I was happy with myself. I stayed offline for days, thinking that I would stop, that my greatest achievement was done.
It didn’t last very long, I started again. I poisoned more and more communities but it wasn’t enough. I started to get sloppy. Too many words. Too many incendiary actions. Moderators started banning me. For a few days at first, then longer. I tried moving on to different communities go apply my skills elsewhere. “Fuck these suckers”, I mumbled. But my obsession wouldn’t let me. I kept coming back. I kept getting longer bans. If I was permabanned, I registered new accounts. Then my IP was banned too and I had to go to a different cafe each time to do my bidding.
My constant failure drove me to drink. My reactions slowed. My typing deteriorated. I could no longer pose as the righteous one. After being banned again and again, I was desperate. I had to get my fix. I was on facebook. With my friends. MY friends.
I had gotten so sloppy, that not a day later my last friend unfriended me:
Cut it out bigzz, you’re a troll.