Bullying is defined in psychology and law as “influencing, crushing, and intimidating the other person who is in a superior position or stronger”.  This can occur directly in the form of verbal or physical abuse, or more subtly in the form of coercing a reluctant person, threatening or manipulating them to do what they want. According to a study, bullying has four basic characteristics: It is aggressive and negative, it repeats, it is seen when there is a power imbalance between the parties, and it is aimed at a specific goal. Due to the progress of communication technologies, society’s behavior in the real world has been moved to the virtual environment. One of the most serious consequences is that people project their real-life bullying behavior into virtual environments. Bullying has been described in various ways in different researches. Bullying is defined in a study as putting physical and psychological pressure on others and engaging in behavior that offends them. Bullying is an antisocial behavior that results in negative effects; and if it occurs online, it is referred to as cyberbullying or virtual bullying. Cyberbullying is a form of bullying that appears over the internet and through mobile phones. In general, nine types of cyberbullying have been identified: “stonking, faking attitude, incitement, harassment, threats, slander-humiliation, disclosure, exclusion, trolling”.
TROLLING AS A CONCEPT AND METHOD OF HARM
People who enjoy causing disagreement on the Internet, attempting to start discussions, and upsetting people are called “trolls”, and their behavior is called “trolling”. Trolls engage in trolling behaviors to “annoy, humiliate, disturb, tease, provoke, or provoke people to react emotionally to those they target” for fun. Trolling actions on social media, online newspapers, news commentary, or other online media can be consciously dissenting or aggressive, abusive, provocative, sexist, or racist rhetoric. Trolls see online communication spaces as convenient places for their bizarre sense of humor and are unaware that they are harming real people. To them, other internet users are not exactly human, but a form of digital abstraction. Accordingly, they feel no sadness for the pain they have caused on the other side. In fact, the more suffering they cause, the more successful they are. Trolls are completely closed to any constructive or disruptive criticism. You can’t negotiate with them, you can’t make them feel shame or mercy, and you can’t reason with them and make them feel sorry. But since trolls, for some reason, do not feel bound by the rules of kindness or social responsibility.
There are so many trolling methods that can be used in various ways. Ad hominem attacks, which try to discredit an idea by saying negative things about the person who supports it, gathering emotional responses by sharing content that provokes others and consciously opposing or showing aggression, and sharing in abusive, provocative, sexist, racist, incendiary, deceptive ways are some common trolling techniques. Trolls can purposefully post “false facts”. Distracting the topic and engaging in meaningless discussions, questioning spelling errors in texts rather than their content is what trolls also love to do, especially on some social communication platforms.[13,14]
TROLLING TYPES AND CLASSIFICATION OF TROLLS
Troll behavior can be seen in the comment sections of forum or blog pages, or on various online platforms. It is important to know the ways in which trolling occurs to understand whether a behavior is trolling. Hardaker has identified several types of trolling pathways, according to her study. Digress is a way in which people are drawn into pointless discussions that are disconnected from context. “Hypo’’ criticism is a method of hostile criticism in which posts are focused on spelling and grammatical errors rather than on themselves. Antipathise is a way of creating an alarming environment in society by making repulsive posts and manipulating emotions, sharing provocative content, or deliberately sharing erroneous and incomplete information. Endanger is a method of pretending to be an expert and making suggestions that put people in difficult situations and encourage risky behavior. Shock is a method of displaying insensitivity in sensitive situations and making fun of issues such as religion and death. Aggress is a method of using vulgar, abusive, and teasing phrases, as well as reputation-damaging and derogatory comments.
Trolls use their online behavior for a range of purposes. For these purposes, they have been classified in various ways. Veszelszki examined trolls as two species based on their interactions with those with whom they communicated: Aggressive and Provocative. Aggressive trolls are trolls who insult specific users, intentionally misinterpret words, and engage in behavior such as sending personal messages to them. On the other hand, provocative trolls try to get people’s attention or disrupt the flow of conversation by posting a comment meant to enrage them. Bishop classified the trolls into four groups: haters, lolcows, bzzzters, eyeballs, and examined them with a total of 12 subcategories . According to this classification, haters provoke people to act vengefully and make mistakes. “Vindictive trolls“ are those who oppose or commit attacks on stereotyped thought, tradition, or institutions. This group is one of the most active in terms of data sharing. They have a high risk of causing harm to audiences by sharing provocative content. There are three types of lolcows: “Big man“ wants to create order and posts about other people’s worldviews. “Ripper“ constantly focuses on negative issues, such as death and illness, and exhibits depressive behavior toward individuals. “Chatroom Bob“ tries to use individuals to their advantage by sharing and drawing attention to a variety of joke content. Bzzzters constantly talk about meaningless topics, thereby avoiding the main point of debate. Eyeballs utilize other people’s instant mistakes and distractions to send provocative content. They then observe the reactions to themselves and enjoy the situations they encounter.
THE PSYCHOLOGICAL EQUIVALENT OF TROLLING: DARK TETRAD, THE CONCEPT OF SCHADENFREUDE, AND THE ONLINE DISINHIBITION EFFECT
Motivation, according to psychological science, is what affects human behavior Trolls also need the necessary motivation to engage in trolling behavior.
According to various opinions, these motivational sources are; boredom or attraction,[19,20] being a phenomenon, having fun, creating conflict, gaining reputation, discrediting others, experiencing psychological fulfillment, taking revenge, loneliness, curiosity, malevolence. It has also been stated that political motives can be a good reason to troll. Individuals have fun doing these trolling behaviors for whatever reason or enjoy the devastating consequences of the behavior.[24,19]
Trolls have been referred to as personality traits known as the Dark Triad and Dark Tetrad as a result of research about the causes of trolling.[25-27] The Dark Triad: Psychopathy, Narcissism, Machiavellism.
● Psychopathy: A lack of regret and empathy
● Narcissism: Selfishness and self-obsession
● Machiavellianism: A willingness to manipulate and deceive others
With the addition of “sadism” to the dark triad, the term dark tetrad has also emerged.
● Sadism: Enjoying the suffering of others
Psychopathy characteristics include belittling, ridiculing, remorse, acting impulsively, staying shallow in human relationships, and being unable to maintain long-term relationships. People with narcissism exhibit behaviors such as believing they are privileged and making claims, as well as exploitative, arrogant and selfish attitudes. Machiavellianism, on the other hand, is a communication strategy in which manipulation is used for personal gain. Machiavellianism, also known as the philosophy of “ the ends justify the means,” is known to share some characteristics with narcissism. Sadism is another psychological condition in which people are treated cruelly and enjoy dominating them by harming them. Sadists can showcase these tendencies in all aspects of daily life.
Canadian research examined the Dark Four’s trolling behavior. Researchers conducted two online studies with over 1200 “internet users. Users were first subjected to a personality test. Then they were asked to complete a survey about their online commenting habits. According to the study’s results, people who said their favorite internet activity was trolling were also the people with the highest Dark Tetrad scores. Overall, the researchers concluded that the relationship between sadism and trolling was the strongest and stated about the findings:
“...In fact, the associations between sadism and GAIT scores were so strong that it might be said that online trolls are prototypical everyday sadists.”
“Both trolls and sadists feel sadistic glee at the distress of others.”
“Sadists just want to have fun ... and the Internet is their playground!”
Another study examined the personality traits and social motivations of people who engaged in trolling behavior on social media, specifically Facebook. The study looked at the relationship between individuals’ Dark Tetrad personality traits and social pleasure, as well as the impact on trolling behavior on Facebook. According to the findings, people with psychopathy and sadism traits are more prone to trolling behavior, and negative social power is the most common trigger for trolling. Although the effects of dark personality traits are significant, it has been stated that negative social rewards can better explain trolling behavior. The psychological harms inflicted on people by trolls online and the psychological harms inflicted by bullying in everyday life have similar effects.
In a study at Brigham Young University, the concept of schadenfreude was mentioned alongside dark personality types. Schadenfreude is a German term that means “enjoying another person’s plight or misfortune” and it can sometimes imply “wishing for that bad outcomes”. Schadenfreude people enjoy watching others suffer because, according to Nietzsche, “schadenfreude is a pleasure gained by passively observing others suffering rather than actively inflicting suffering on others”. There is a link between schadenfreude and self-esteem as well. Individuals with low self-esteem experience schadenfreude more frequently and intensely. The aim of this research was to look into the motivations of people with antisocial behavior disorder who maliciously observe others online. In this study, researchers edited an online survey of nearly 400 Reddit (global social news and discussion site) users by using the survey results to conduct personality analysis. According to survey results, the majority of online trolls were seen to exhibit schadenfreude traits and Dark Triad personality traits such as narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy. According to the study, schadenfreude people believe that trolling is a form of communication that enriches rather than inhibits online discussion, and as a result, they are unaware of how their words or actions affect the other side. Trolling is viewed as a tool for establishing dialogue rather than a disruptive thing by people with such personality traits.
Another factor that has a direct impact on users’ online behavior is their ability to be anonymous. This phenomenon is so common that it has been termed the Online Disinhibition Effect in the literature. Anonymous communication triggers online disinhibition because when a person sends a message over the internet, they can log off without receiving an immediate response. Therefore, it is not required to think about what is being said.[39,40] Online disinhibition effect is a sense of freedom when communicating online as compared to face-to-face communication, as well as a lack of restraint. People feel safer saying things online that they can’t say in real life because they can remain completely anonymous and invisible behind a computer screen. In the real world, people evaluate the behavior of those around them subconsciously and adjust their own behavior accordingly. However, there is no such feedback mechanism online. According to some, the consequences of such an effect can be both positive and negative. Antisocial behavior caused by toxic disinhibition can manifest itself in a variety of ways, including cyberbullying, trolling, and social idleness on multiple online platforms such as blogs, hate sites, and comment sections.[42,43]
A study that looked at the effect of anonymity on social behavior tested the hypothesis that “group membership facilitates antisocial behavior, group membership causes a sense of anonymity, and anonymity facilitates antisocial behavior”. In the study, participants are divided into four groups: disguised or not disguised alone and disguised or not disguised in a group. Participants were given banners that read “Masturbation is fun” and asked to walk around campus with them to simulate antisocial behavior. As a result, when engaging in antisocial behavior, participants stated that they would rather be disguised, but also in a group, than alone. When the results were found to be statistically significant, the hypotheses were concluded to be correct.
TROLL MIND: A SOCIOLOGICAL AND BIOLOGICAL REVIEW OF BULLYING
There are so many studies that focus on victim behavior or the consequences of bullying after attacks for people who have been bullied.[45-48] However, the state of bullying for individuals who are perpetrators of bullying behavior has rarely been examined to date. Although there is a wealth of literature on attackers and aggression, there are few studies that examine bullying while taking into account power imbalance, frequency of repetition, and variables that distinguish bullying from other forms of peer aggression. One factor that makes reviews about bullying difficult is the complicated relationship between acceptance, and rejection. The reason for this complexity is a stereotypical view about bullying people. Based on this stereotype, people who bully should have high psychopathologies, low social skills, and less value and competence than their peers. While there are some studies that support this viewpoint,[51-53] unlike traditional bullies, cyberbullies can now be of any position or age, removing the balance of power required to become more physically dominant thanks to anonymous accounts.
When the social status is examined in relation to the emergence of bullying, a different profile emerges than expected. According to studies, the majority of bullied children and young people wield significant power within peer dynamics, and bullies with high status are viewed as popular, socially talented, and leaders by their peers.[54-58] High-status bullies have also been found to rank high on competencies and assets valued by their peers, such as being attractive or being good athletes.[58,59] They were also discovered to have the lowest psychopathology scores and to use aggression as a tool to gain and maintain dominance.[60,61] For example, a study in Argentina examined several emotional issues among cyberbullies. Differences have been compared between traditional bullies, cyberbullies, and other peers who are not involved in them. According to the research results, 8% of people were identified as cyberbullies, while only 4% were identified as both traditional and cyberbullies. Interestingly, cyberbullies have reported lower levels of depression or anxiety than traditional bullies. The study also concluded that cyberbullies are less neurotic and more acceptable than traditional bullies. While the mental consequences of cyberbullying are well documented, research on issues such as brain development and the impact of neurobiological factors is very limited. Although brain studies investigate neural mechanisms associated with behavioral disorders, personality types, antisocial behaviors, and aggression, there are few studies that specifically examine these factors in relation to cyberbullying and investigate how cyberbullying affects the brain using techniques such as MRI.
The development of “social brain” regions during adolescence (prefrontal cortex, temporoparietal junction, posterior superior temporal sulcus, and anterior temporal cortex) is thought to be critical for social understanding and communication and thus plays an important role in social issues such as cyberbullying.[63,64] This development is especially important because white matter pathways play a critical role in cognitive, behavioral, emotional, and motor development during childhood and adolescence, explaining why adolescents frequently exhibit less psychosocial maturity than adults. So white matter development during adolescence plays an important role in cyberbullying. Numerous studies show that white matter density increases and gray matter density decrease in the frontal and parietal cortexes throughout adolescence.[66-72] The volume of white matter increases between the ages of 10 and 15, then decreases until the early twenties and finally stabilizes. These changes are said to be able to identify key neurobiological traits associated with the onset of mental illness or personality disorders.[74-77]
Due to the multiple changes that occur in their brains as adolescents mature, they are extremely vulnerable to problems affecting their mood and behavior. So they are more prone to risk-taking, recklessness, and emotional problems.[78,79] Depression and anxiety levels rise during the transition from childhood to adolescence, and this is a time when many important mental disorders for young people are at their peak.[80,81] When experiencing such a transition, young people’s mental health can become seriously unstable. In adolescence, there is also a tendency for getting away from parents but towards peers. This is especially important because, if they are rejected by their peers during this period, adolescents may experience a significant increase in stress which can result in certain mood disorders.[83,84] Based on their emotional sensitivity to such an event, adolescents with increased activity in the subgenual anterior cingulate cortex in response to peer rejection were found to be more likely to develop depressive symptoms and experience greater distress. Given these major transitions in adolescence, there are thought to be links between significant brain changes and problems socializing and bullying.[86,78]
A study investigated the connection between cortisol levels and cyberbullying discovered that cortisol release and perceived stress in 11-18-year-olds were associated with cyberbullying roles, as well as that cyber victims perceived more stress and had higher cortisol levels than cyberbullies. Also, the lowest cortisol secretion has been seen in extreme cyberbullies. Similarly in another study, cortisol was found to regulate the relationship between childhood traditional bullying victimization and adolescent ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (vlPFC) structure, which is linked to sex. According to researchers, this could be due to a stress sensitivity that affects brain development, particularly in boys, and victimization could be one of the factors that trigger bullying in the brain. While both of these studies indicate that different biological variables are associated with cyberbullying roles and that cortisol levels may be especially important in terms of brain development, more research is needed to understand how adolescent brain development may be affected over time.
A study that used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to measure how online participants respond to cyberbullying stimuli discovered that exposure to such stimuli activated many areas of the brain related to social and emotional processing, as well as those who had no previous experience with cyberbullying caused a larger response in the field of the brain responsible for feeling self-conscious. However, this is a pilot study. It has not addressed how age influences how the brain responds to cyberbullying and has focused on cyber victimization rather than cyberbullying. Even so, because the fMRI technique is used, it is a pioneer in this field and vital for future research. While the aforementioned studies shed light on how bullying victims perceive bullying, more research, specifically on cyberbullying and its mechanisms, is needed. Repeated MRI scans of adolescents are needed to fully understand how cyberbullying experiences affect brain development at various stages of adolescence. While it is acknowledged that age and gender differences may play a major role in brain responses to cyberbullying, there has been little research to date that specifically addresses this.[87-96]
Some factors that may influence cyberbullying behavior have been identified as a result of these studies. Adolescence is a time when full consciousness is increased, mind development is reorganized, and there are changes in self-assessment and self-emotional regulation. These changes in the development of a self-governing and regulated mind also affect improvements in judgment and decision-making. Meanwhile, the brain can experience social pain in the same way that it does physical pain. There is also an increased risk of low empathy (especially in males) in cyberbullies, as well as an increased risk of mental illness in victims of bullying. Some executive function weaknesses, combined with an adolescent vulnerability, result in increased rates of depression and anxiety as children enter puberty. [104-106] As a result, there may be problems in adolescence such as excitement-seeking, reward orientation, high sensitivity to taking risks, and difficulty regulating behaviors. However, because factors such as age and gender are so important in adolescence, more research is needed to explain the causes of cyberbullying.
WAYS TO AVOID TROLLS: DON’T FEED THE TROLLS!
Trolling isn’t the only way to harass and bully people online. Flaming, cyberbullying, cyber vandalism, and trolling are all terms that are frequently misunderstood by internet users. Thus, explaining the differences between these concepts would be useful for having awareness against trolls.
● Flaming is the use of offensive or insulting statements in online communication against others. Text elements that contain hostile language, swearing, sarcastic or defamatory names, negative comments, threats, and sexually inappropriate statements are commonly used in such situations. 
● Cyber vandalism is defined as online community behavior that deletes or deconstructs digital content, artifacts, and products.
● Trolling, on the other hand, is an act committed by the troll individual by throwing or instigating fodder at other group members, attracting them to unproductive arguments, and distracting them from their original purpose.
It is extremely important to respond appropriately when confronted with a troll attack. The slogan “Don’t feed the troll” has recently been used persistently in an attempt to keep trolls from becoming the center of attention. Since the reactions to it are a troll’s main food source. Getting into an argument with a troll, responding to it, or attempting to help it will always result in failure. In this case, the best way to deal with a troll is to ignore it. That’s why, being unresponsive to troll messages, words, and similar posts have become a popular strategy for dealing with troll behavior. [112,19] Depriving trolls of the attention they seek has a similar effect to the rapid extinguishment of a fire deprived of oxygen.[113,114] It is critical to raise awareness about such persons. While it is true that cyberbullying and trolling have corrosive and devastating consequences for those who are victims, the consequences are not always mild and superficial, such as demoralization or boredom. The following are some of the events that have received a lot of attention in the media due to cyberbullying and trolling. These are tragic incidents that demonstrate how cyberbullying and playing with people’s emotions under the guise of trolling can have serious consequences.
Megan Meier, a 13-year-old girl, committed suicide in 2006 in the United States after being cyberbullied, in a case that made headlines at the time.
August Ames, a pornographic film actor, faced heavy criticism and cyberbullying after her statement in 2017. As a result, she took her own life. 
Amanda Todd, a 15-year-old high school student, killed herself after posting a video on YouTube. In her video, she only showed the texts she had written on the papers without speaking; that the photos she showed of her breasts were spread across the internet by a man; and, on top of that, she told about horrific cyberbullying, physical and emotional abuse, and violence both online and offline.
Rebecca Ann Sedwick committed suicide when she was just 12 because of the peer bullying and cyberbullying she experienced. Rebecca, who struggles with depression and anxiety, has been haunted by harassing messages she has received over platforms like Kik, Voxer, and Ask.fm, such as “No one cares about you.” “You seriously deserve to die.” and “Drink bleach and die.” On September 9, 2013, in her last message to her friend, she said, “I’m jumping. I can’t take it anymore…” and she ended her life by jumping from a concrete silo tower.
To prevent cyberbullying, the Cyberbullying Act, also known as the Megan Meier Act in the United States, was enacted in the United Kingdom under the Malicious Communications Act, and many countries reorganized their laws to include cyberbullying, troll awareness activities increased such as SpotTheTroll, and platforms such as Twitter and Youtube changed their policies over time. Despite all these, mass measures against trolls are extremely limited because of a variety of reasons, including the difficulty of defining the legal boundaries of trolling, the lack of a psychologically recognized illness or personality disorder, and thus no definitive cure. So, taking individual action against trolls and gaining awareness is necessary.
There are technical measures that can be taken to protect against negative social behavior online, such as preventing people who engage in negative behavior from contacting them online, changing passwords, usernames, and email addresses registered to the system when faced with a negative situation, and deleting anonymous incoming messages without reading them.[120,108] Proposed anti-trolling strategies can differ depending on the purpose and complexity of the online space in which trolls exist. Topics relating to combating online trolling include how to identify trolls, how to respond to trolling, and where to report those who exhibit these behaviors. Taking screenshots or printing offensive web pages while dealing with trolls can provide evidence of trolling or incitement. Where there is a security-threatening situation, trolls should be reported to the legal authorities. Complaining to competent units in cases of defamation and insult can also be a solution. The victim in such a situation should be patient and prefer to remain silent. Or the victim can act with anger and become a criminal. It would be helpful to understand the scope of crime in that state’s laws if it was somehow involved in the act of trolling. When users break the law, they are punished according to the terms of these laws.
Following are the recommendations from Hertfordshire Police UK, what needs to be done to prevent online trolling and bullying.
● Ignoring: Don’t respond to nasty, immature, or offensive comments. Giving the trolls the importance they want only makes them stronger.
● Blocking: Blocking trolls deprives them of their power. You can block them again if they create a new account.
● Report: Trolls should be reported to the site’s administrators. If they keep appearing with different names, you can report them to the police for further assistance.
● Talk/Share: If you get upset by trolls, please share your feelings with your family and friends. Since the problem in this situation isn’t you; it’s them.
● Helping Victims: You must protect not only yourself but also your friends, from trolls. If trolls irritate a friend, advise him to ignore them, block them, and file a complaint. Encourage your friends to get support.
CYBER VICTIMIZATION SCALE
Anyone online can be attacked by a troll. Moreover, some people may blame themselves for this without realizing what they are going through. Therefore, measuring exposure to trolling behavior is very important in overcoming trolls. The Cyber Victimization Scale is presented in Figure 1 to raise the reader’s awareness.
Bergson had described the man as a "laughing animal" and said, "likewise, an animal that makes people laugh." Trolls are people who remain on the other side of the definition. They do it all for laughs and fun, but they don't care about the devastation and damage they cause to other people. According to Freud, every joke requires its own audience. Even though trolls are consistent within their own audience, they need people who aren't like them to get fed. The currency of trolls and bullies is exploitability, and the biggest mistake when dealing with such people is taking everything seriously. Unfortunately, the system we live in has become more prone to producing trolls and cyberbullies as internet culture amplifies corruption in society and people's daily stress levels rise. Research has shown that trolls' mindsets, common traits, and harms are partially uncovered. But the seriousness of social "trolling" is poorly understood. That is why it is extremely crucial to be well-informed about trolls because people may suffer serious effects as a result of trolling. It is important to remember that the main source of a troll's motivation is the reactions it receives. So, while indifference and recklessness are unwelcome traits in daily life, they are the most effective ways of defending against trolls. Trolling, the online behavior of people who use other people for their own entertainment and have the purpose of showing social dissonance, is, as Phillips puts it, the "latrinalia" of popular culture: that is, the writing on the toilet wall…
In conclusion, why should scientists be interested in trolls and conduct more research on the subject? The Broken Windows theory could be the answer to that question. Let's consider a building with several broken windows. Crime-prone people will want to break a few more windows if their windows are not repaired. After a while, all of the windows in the building could be broken, causing potential fires if the building was abandoned. Or let's think of a sidewalk. On this pavement, some trash may accumulate over time. If this continues, the garbages will mount up even more. So much so that people passing by and restaurants in the area eventually could start dumping their garbage here. People can even bring their garbage bags and dispose of them here. In short, a broken window, according to this theory, can spark a wave of rebellion, just as nasty comments can invite worse. If antisocial behavior becomes the norm, society can perpetuate it, even if it is unwanted behavior. That is why trolling behaviors and troll people should be examined more thoroughly, and their motivations should be uncovered. Are antisocial people or ordinary people more likely to engage in trolling behavior? Is trolling congenital, or does it vary from person to person? What circumstances influence a person's decision to engage in such behavior? And, if trolls can influence people, can trolling spread from one person to the next? If we understand what causes trolling and how it spreads in communities, we can reduce unwanted behavior and design stronger social systems.