See it frequently: What exactly is a "troll"?

I've seen forum posters here and in other audio forums accused of being "trolls" by other members. In fact, I was once accused of being a "troll". I know that it has something to do with being disingenuous and having a hidden agenda. What exactly is it?
that would be me
Like trolling for fish.
You put out the bait: your inflammatory/obnoxious post..
And wait to see how many folks answer.
All those folks are "caught" with your "bait".
Just like me answering this post, IF you are trolling,
IF YOU do not really KNOW what trolling is, then this post was not trolling, and my answer is a legitimate response, and not just 'troll food"
Seems some folks enjoy trolling, and some enjoy being trolled..
Takes all sorts.
v. trolled, trollĀ·ing, trolls
a. To fish for by trailing a baited line from behind a slowly moving boat.
b. To fish in by trailing a baited line: troll the lake for bass.
c. To trail (a baited line) in fishing.
2. Slang To patrol (an area) in search for someone or something: "[Criminals] troll bus stations for young runaways" Pete Axthelm.
3. Music
a. To sing in succession the parts of (a round, for example).
b. To sing heartily: troll a carol.
4. To roll or revolve.
1. To fish by trailing a line, as from a moving boat.
a. To wander about; ramble.
b. Slang To patrol an area in search for someone or something.
3. Music To sing heartily or gaily.
4. To roll or spin around.
a. The act of trolling for fish.
b. A lure, such as a spoon or spinner, that is used for trolling.
2. Music A vocal composition in successive parts; a round.

in chat rooms such as this, "trolling" is generally a term for starting a thread in order to promote (surreptiously, if sucessful) one's products/preferences/self, i.e. attempting to lure by stealth little fishies to your bait.
A troll is a mischievous supernatural creature that lives under bridges in Scandanavia or is an act of fishing from a boat where in you pull a line with bait hoping a fish will bite. I think the latter fits very well with an audio "troll". These folks seem to enjoy posting a very controversal statement which they know will just rile up a lot of responses from the unwary. They don't care if the responses are favorable or negative, they just live off watching folks argue endlessly.

If the trollers are really bored they will even join in the controversy to stir things up.

Some trolls are very subtle and draw lots of responses. Some are not and everyone ignores them, occasionally, to the detriment of some innocent who really doesn't known the answer.

A stereotypical troll would look like "I just listened to some Bose speakers and compared them to some Quads. Boy do the Quads suck. What am I doing wrong?"
One goal of a troll is to incite a 'riot', to stir up a hornets' next. Apparently they aren't much interested in learning anything or helping anyone--they just want to make trouble.
"In the context of the Internet, a troll refers to a person who makes inflammatory or hostile comments, which by effect or design cause disruptions in discourse... The contemporary use of the term first appeared on Usenet groups in the early 1990s. It is widely thought to be a diminutive of the phrase "trolling for suckers," itself derived from the sports-fishing technique of trolling."
michael jackson
This topic and all the above answers are stupid!

I.E. Something like that :).
I tend to like trolls. It seems to me that whenever one appears on any of the forums I have frequented they seem to stir things up. Perhaps that is viewed as not good, and perhaps it isnt. However, it also seems that the majority of contributors to these forums tend to be in agreement, ultimately, and tend to stand together when all is said and done, and the evidence of this in place for all to see. Whenever a conflicting point of view arrives to shake things up it also tends to affirm that which is agreed upon and may be true. Even in those instances when there is no resolve, I have seen many wonderful examples of debate where those involved managed to be generous, patient and respectful.All this, and time and time again when trouble might have been expected outcome. So, trolling may be born out of selfish motives, or the desire to provoke people or cause confusion, but it rarely has the power to compromise the truth as it is understood, or to compromise those who value respectful discourse. The evidence of this is easy enough to find if anyone doubts it.
All of you are wrong, here is an accurate description of a Toll:

Bay Bridge to expand FasTrak
Wednesday, June 8, 2005

Three more lanes at the Bay Bridge toll plaza will be reserved for FasTrak users later this month, giving Interstate 880 drivers the chance to pay their tolls electronically but threatening to create gridlock if too many commuters insist on paying with cash.

Officials with Caltrans and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission said Tuesday that the three northernmost lanes at the 21-lane Bay Bridge toll plaza -- known to commuters as the mini plaza -- will be converted to dedicated FasTrak lanes on June 27.

"We have heard your demand for more FasTrak lanes at the Bay Bridge,'' Bijan Sartipi, Caltrans district director, said at a news conference at FasTrak's new customer service center in San Francisco.

OH, you said TROLL, (never mind).
I dont know what any of this has to do with the fact that cds SUCK and anolog is GOD and tubes RULE and zip cord is as good as ANY CABLE and my 1982 Sansui Receiver BLOWS AWAY Levinson seperates...and oh yeh, Krell SUCKS!?
This might not make it through but I've also wondered what a troll is and it seems to mean different things to different people. One that comes to mind is on DK amps. There were alot of posters who would post saying how this amp beat out such and such an amp, a killer. But those posters by checking their threads had only posted once or twice and all on the same subject. They had no history on Audiogon but they were making to some an inflammatory thread. They were called trolls. From what I saw it didn't benefit the manufacturer by posting the thread and for the most part didn't do any good for the community. For me the real problem is what if the DK amp is very good for it's price range and the trollers are actually causing harm to the sales of the designer. Being a troll doesn't seem to be good but as Elizabeth said, it really is the true intentions of the poster that is important to decide if they are trolling or not. This is actually a very good question to see what people think a troll is on this site, not just a dictionary description of what trolling is. ( After reading the last sentence I wish I had spell check on this site:-) )

But it's still a fact that transistors will never sound as good as tubes...

any "fish" going to bite :-)
Thanks, I feel better. I was more or less called one yesterday. I thought maybe the guy called me an SOB or something...Given the definition of the term by the posts above, I did not deserve the name calling.

Another one I don't care for is, "Take a picture of yourself and your audio system and stick it in the freezer and.....". I'd like to tell the guy that made that one up where to stick it. And yes I do know now what the meaning is. Didn't when it was first thrown in my face though.

Jeff, go visit AA for awhile. Then tell us how stupid the above posts are.
I don't believe any of you. Your making it all up.
Jeff, gotcha...
Nice one, Blkadr! That one covers almost all the troll bases!
Blkadr is right about everything he said...