A troll’s guide to the internet

by Janelle Hanchett

The trolls of the internet got together  (in my head) and wrote a helpful handy guide. If you are unclear what a “troll” is, I give you this definition: The most annoying commenters in the world; people who make it their mission to enrage and insult while simultaneously ignoring the point. They appear on every comment thread. Anywhere. No matter what. You can run, but you can’t hide.

Luckily though they are easy to spot because THEY ALL THINK THE SAME WAY.

Anyway, I can’t imagine why anyone would ever want a list such as the one below, but Service to Nobody is what being a troll is all about. Plus, I have a fucked-up sense of humor.

So here you go.

A Troll’s Guide to the Internet (Or, How to Get Everyone on the Interwebz to Hate You):

  1. If somebody writes about an experience you haven’t had it’s because they think your life is a lie.
  2. And you, you are A LIAR.
  3. If somebody writes about an experience you have had but feels differently about it it’s because they think your feelings are bad.
  4. If you are not the intended audience it’s because the writer hates you.
  5. Generally speaking, if you can’t relate to something, it is a pointed attack on you, your intelligence, and your life, and the only thing to do is call the writer a cunt.
  6. Or fat. Or a fat cunt. You could also mention beating them with a uterus.* Anywho.
  7. If a writer doesn’t validate, include, speak to and/or make warm and cuddly every type of human on the planet, the writer hates them too, and you should point out each and every type of human the writer has omitted. Unless you don’t like them either. Then it’s okay.
  8. The title alone is sufficient data to formulate an opinion and share it widely.
  9. When in doubt, attack grammar or reference Jesus.
  10. If you read it in a meme, it is true.
  11. If you find one study backing your opinion, even if it was conducted at Burning Man, you are correct. Beat people with this (it’s firmer than uteri).
  12. If somebody is struggling with something you are good at, he or she is a deeply flawed human and needs your guidance.
  13. If somebody is good at something you’re struggling with, he or she is BLATANTLY ATTACKING YOUR WAY OF LIFE.
  14. Along these lines, a single piece of writing is sufficient information to critique, analyze, deconstruct and rebuild a stranger’s life.
  15. You should do that a lot because people like it.
  16. If you suspect however that this person may NOT like your extensive unsolicited unsupported misguided opinions (weird), preface your analysis by explaining your Earnest Desire to be Helpful.
  17. Everybody likes helpful people.
  18. Or say something about “playing devil’s advocate.” People dig that too.
  19. A reader should not be required to engage in the complexities of reading such as comprehending tone, voice, rhetorical cues or even the publication’s tagline that reads: “A satirical news source.” NO! If the writer fails to use “irony punctuation,” which is definitely a thing because I saw it in a meme last July, they are not being clear.
  20. Invent things at random (e.g. “irony punctuation”).
  21. Whenever possible, argue against something by inadvertently being an example of it. This is not easy. You will have to work hard at this. Few people are born with this level of cyclical logic and total lack of self-awareness. One must strive daily.
  22. If the writer is a woman, talk about whether or not you’d like to have sex with her.
  23. If the writer is a person of color, mention “race card” often and how you have black friends, NO MATTER WHAT THE TOPIC.
  24. Lie often.
  25. Steal souls.
  26. Ignore reason. And the topic at hand.
  27. Never use your actual name and never, ever give up on a comment thread. Always come back. Always, always come back and bring your friends from Reddit.

Remember, young troll, above all else:


They are vast, and they’re waiting for you.

Go get em, tiger!


*The uterus thing actually happened. Wish I kept the screenshot. 



Join me for my last writing workshop of 2015. Session 1 is sold out. Session 2 is half full. Get on it. Let’s hang out. Let’s write.

WRITE THE WORDS, non-troll.


  • Tanya

    Hahaha,this made my day!

  • alexandra

    Brilliant. If I wrote a manual mine would say “If you haven’t had any experience with what the author is writing about, then it couldn’t have happened.”

  • Daddy Scratches

    I’d say that about covers it.

  • Feisty Chick

    LOVE THIS! Can I add:

    If ever there is any sign of compassion or understanding, be sure to let the writer know about your “friend” who had this exact same experience and how their life spiraled down into a fiery hell of drugs, prostitution, and STD’s and manic depression. No matter what the situation, it will likely end the same – TELL THEM – they have to know it will never work out well, no matter WHICH way the proceed.

    If you’re selling anything (weight loss products, flipping homes, manuals for becoming the hottest mom on the block, etc.) make SURE to leave at least 10 comments in immediate succession with info on how to get a hold of you.

  • Jenna

    You forgot to accuse those you’re trolling of being trolls.

  • AG

    28. Use big words so you sound superior. Even if you don’t know what the words mean, or how to use them in context, (or even if you’re unsure if they are real words *See #20) continue to throw multi-syllabic garbage into every sentence in an attempt to demean others. People love being talked down to…

    Love your style Janelle! So glad I came across your blog!

    • Trisa

      Oh yes, malapropisms – sprinkle them everywhere!

  • Rose

    Need to share this with my kids! excellent! Thank you

  • Jenn

    I should know better than to eat and read posts like this from you. I even said “ooh, this is gonna be good!” as I clicked the link and STILL forgot to stop eating. Today, I will learn to clean baby carrot bits from between the tiny spaces of my keyboard. #totallyworthit

    • Laura

      Bahahaha!!!!! I love that you just wrote that!

  • Laura

    Ha! You’re awesome.

    As another of my favorite awesome people Tina Fey put so eloquently in her book, “It is an impressively arrogant move to conclude that just because you don’t like something, it is empirically not good. I don’t like Chinese food, but I don’t write articles trying to prove it doesn’t exist.”

    That’s one of my favorite lines and is pretty much in the same vein as what you just said. So, like…the two of you should probably do a collaboration soon. 😉

    • Peggy Miller

      If Janelle and Tina Fey did a collaboration, it would be a sign of the end times, as in God loves us and is coming for us in a good way.

      • Laura

        I’m going to have to agree with you there, my friend! =D

  • Michelle


  • Krystal

    Number 18 cracked me up! After reading this list, I’m seriously convinced that all my facebook friends are trolls.

  • Cath

    My favourite troll: “I’m going to prove my point by correcting your grammar”.

    Why can’t trolls go back to hiding under bridges and scaring goats.

  • Kellt

    Advice for all – NEVER FEED THE TROLLS!!! Acknowledging them in any way, shape, or form gives them power. Calling them stupid, insensitive, or even just pointing out that they are a troll, pleases them to no end. It’s what they live for! Acknowledge their existence, and they win. Don’t give them the satisfaction! Ignore, ignore, ignore!

    • Adeline B

      But sometimes it’s so much fun…..

  • Karyn

    Well stated- I always wonder what these people did with their spare time before the Internet….
    AND I feel like I have to mention this crazy-ass article I read about the rise of super-easily-offended college students and how it’s destroying how and what can be taught in college. They reference something called “micro-aggressions” that are entirely unconcious but still mean to offend if the offendee is made upset. Like if you say, “hey- cool dog! Is he an Eskimo?” Because it’s not ok to say Eskimo anymore since they’re native Americans but the dog breed is still Eskimo but you should come up with some way of making it clear that you respect native Americans and their heritage while just trying to make conversation about the damn doc. That’s being micro-aggressive. WTF! Build up some tougher skin folks. We need a new school of hard knocks.

  • Maria

    I’ve noticed the decided lack of trolls in this comment section, you may have found the cure!

  • Mary

    I love everything about this!!!! You are a fucking genius.

  • Sherry

    The sad thing is…they won’t get it, won’t realize it’s directed to them and might actually try to publish it! In a meme!

  • Anita Dayoff

    Why you pick on Troll? We no mean harm. We just misunderstood. Do not judge troll until you walk mile in his Croks. And Me tell you, you walk mile in cheap plastic thing no self respecting surf would wear, you understand us better.

    First, most troll, live under bridge. This part of problem. WiFi not so good under bridge; still use dial up, and AOL Make us touchy. Also, infrastructure in this country not like under Eisenhower; concrete keep falling, rain leak through. Only way to keep hair dry is to put head up ass.

    Have body image issue too. No one ever say, “Hey, that one hot Troll!” This hurt. Sometimes act out. Use inappropriate words; maybe have Trollette’s Syndrome

    Also good reason we lack social skill. You have breath can knock fly off shit wagon at 20 paces, few people willing to engage in social intercourse. Only people we talk to regular are Billy Goat. They gruff! Make you want to bite head off; if we had ketchup maybe not so bad.

    Other little known fact; most trolls Bridge Schooled. Like Home School, only no have encyclopedia. Taught by mother to make up own facts. Habit hard to break. Some trolls lucky to have compendium of William Safire column; tend to make us grammar snob.

    Maybe next time you encounter troll you be more understanding. Maybe you try reply with following:

    “Maybe it rain when you write this; understand you may have head up ass right now. ”

    “Your ability to make up fact very impressive. Mother would be proud.”

    “Astute observation; Me no believe penises very bright either.”

    “Good Grammar point; from now on me think colon, me think of you”

    Of if these not appropriate, try: “Fantastic Use Capricious Knowledge. Your Obfuscation Unique” or if pressed for time, just use acronym.

    One last thing …

    “My sister made $53/hr working from home …… “

    • Agata

      Just laugh-snorted and it hurt. Your fault.

  • Mel

    Gold! I have a colleague who does the ‘devil’s advocate’ thing in meetings and professional conversations all the time. She thinks she’s such a brave free-thinker but also manages to react really badly, and nastily, to any opinion that doesn’t align with hers. So, you know a hypocrite and a bully. Oh shit, I think I work with a troll irl. And Janelle, that uterus thing is vile and bizarre.

  • Terri

    Love this post — and all your posts!

  • NOT Servando

    A lot of grammatical errors…. You misspelled “uterus”…. I remember MY first blog….

    • renegademama

      I know who you are, Servando. You can’t fool me, non troll. I’m kidding. Mac warned me. Thanks for reading my blog. Please use everything you read against Mac at work. Also, the plural of “uterus” is “uteri.” Boom.

      • AG

        So is correcting the grammar/spelling of a troll who’s attempting to correct your grammar/spelling a double negative? Does that reset you both back to being non-trolls?

        Just kidding, couldn’t leave it alone. 😉

  • Mommy Mosasaurus

    I was once inadvertently a troll when I got into a big comments fight with a bunch of women who insisted on the existence of “Mommy Brain,” defined as “what happens to women’s–and only women’s!–brains after having children; the biologically-inevitable, hormonally-induced dumbing down to absolute nothingness of women’s–and only women’s!–intellectual capacity of any kind; the reason we should never, ever, ever, ever have a woman president or woman airplane pilot or woman heart surgeon or woman math-doer, because ladybrains + babbies = duhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.”

    I was literally fighting with people over whether and why they were dumb dummies. Sigh.

    The lesson, which I clearly failed to learn: never read the comments.

    (Incidentally, my position was that what we colloquially refer to as “Mommy Brain” could more accurately be described as “Majority Shareholder of Parenting Responsibilities Brain,” and is most likely an intense combination of sleep deprivation, extreme physical stress and discomfort, mental and emotional task saturation, and plain old societal prejudice.)

  • Hope Irwin

    Number 9 is my favorite. You always brighten my day.