"Troll shielding" is the act of attempting to evade being trolled by becoming a member of a trolling organization. Typically, those who manage to obtain shielding spend their second lives as trolls contributing nothing to the cause, and continue to do what they did before convincing their new buddies that they've "changed their ways".
Those who see themselves as potential targets (Herein referred to as "potentials") recognize that what they choose to do with their lives is warranting of mockery, but instead of stopping, find a smug satisfaction in using the trolls who despise their kind so very much as their own bodyguards. It's similar to the way tartlets will join "harsh critique" groups within the DeviantART website or Encyclopedia Dramatica Forums, putting them in a position where other artists might be too intimidated to critique them for the fear the whole group might tear their own work to shreds.
It's easy enough to spot potentials, as most of them still cling to their love of anime or talk a decidedly uncomfortable amount about furries (Whom, unbeknownst to their new troll brethren, they actually prefer to associate with). Alternatively, overuse of memes and the plastering of profile pages with 4chan paraphernalia can indicate someone who is trying too hard to fit in.
Over time, dear old ED has become one of the larger treehouses for people avoiding the trolls. It's a truth many refuse to accept, and an even smaller amount choose to do anything about. Of course, it's been happening for years; be it YouTube, LiveJournal, or even TOW drama, it usually results in one or many in a group trying to find a place to call home. Or be even bigger faggots, it's not really known WHAT some people are thinking when they come to ED for anything other than the prime directive. Due to recent financial troubles, ED has laxed a large number of its policies, in the vain hope that riff-raff that would have typically been banned on sight years ago might stick around long enough to donate. With the introduction of the new forums, it's easier than ever for potentials to disguise themselves as EDiots, now that they don't even have to make a single contribution to the wiki in order to be accepted. The situation has become so dire in ED that the majority of EDiots are either Weeaboos, Furfags, Pedos, or simply faggots that take the internet far too seriously.
Better yet for potentials, ED loathes internal drama, and will typically punish the instigator in cases where one user is caught trolling another. This means that "true" trolls who serve a higher cause are actually frowned upon for calling out potentials, while said potentials can continue to live a happy e-life posting shit nobody cares about on ED IRC. Even still, some potentials may try to get really buddy-buddy with the staff, trying to either make their presence known as a "trolling authority" or to promote themselves as if they were true patriots for the lulz. This kind of faggotry IS frowned upon by the majority of ED, but some Admins are easily swayed (more like WERE easily swayed) by a certain amount of lip-service and fan-retardation. The irony of the previous being that some of the individuals mentioned created this very article.
Unfortunately for ED, an old dog can't be taught new tricks, and the theory that sticking around trolls long enough will turn a weeaboo or furry into a troll themselves is preposterous. Furthermore, the idea that a potential would ever go so far as to financially support ED (Or any trolling organization for that matter) is ridiculous, as they are still sickened by the thought of making other netizens miserable.
On Other Websites
YouTube's "Group" system has lead to the creation of many so-called "YouTube Trolling Organizations", all purporting themselves to be the next FCTC or YTYC. In reality, a large number of these groups don't have a single trolling credit to their name, or exclusively troll popular targets so that their impact is as minimal as the attention they seek to avoid.
Time for a random sample: This group, titled "United Trolls". At first glance, it appears to be a group that's guilty only of trying too hard, but perhaps has it's heart in the right place. But, dig even a single post into any of their discussion topics, and you'll find that they're actually trying their scout's best to not have to do any real trolling. Their operations end as soon as their "targets" block them, which is typically where most true trolling operations begin full-force. Further proof lies in the channels of the group's members; over half of whom are recolor artists and / or furries. Because, nothing shouts "hardcore troll" louder than . Am I right, guys?
At the turn of the decade, /b/ had become little more than a hangout for Gaia Online users and Diggers. Beginning as early as 4chan's first expose on Fox News, the imageboard became the easiest trolling organization to pretend to be a part of. Since posts are temporary and tripcodes are for faggots, it's easy enough to pretend that you post regularly, so long as you know one or two recent memes and can repeat them over and over again. Easier yet, use a picture of Anonymous as your avatar, and you're as good as gold! Nevermind the inherent irony of using the term "Anonymous" to identify yourself as being Anonymous: Not even regular posters on /b/ will recognize it. Which, when you think about it, is pretty ironic in itself.
Professional Troll Shieldiers
In recent years, Gamergate had convinced many a sad sack that they could peel off a bit of the ol epic win and maybe turn a tidy profit at the same time. From the moment Kotaku posted their first articles about the vidya influenced harassment squads, entrepreneurial individuals made quick work of attempting to position themselves neatly on the side of the chans and against what they wanted perceived as the "comon threat", trying to sell themselves as the Based and Redpilled! alternative to a cucked mainstream. Because of the wildfire spread of the consumer revolt, most of them would find substantial followings among the brave gamer rise up. Though turning a substantial profit from their endeavors, these versions of the Troll Shielder too found their relevancy temporary and their fanbase cannibalistic.
The ease of monetization at the expense of "The Cringe" found online made it more attractive than ever to earn an income with a fanbase too young to own credit cards. The rise of online liberal activists gave any would-be current event vlogger an always agitated, faceless heard of potential fodder in which to church out repetitive vlogs designed specifically to hit YouTubes ten minute preferred run time.
The Art of the Shield
Your friends at Encyclopedia Dramatica don't think it's fair for you, dear reader, to be denied those sweet sweet YouTube dollars in this veritable gold rush! Presenting; The Easy 1-2-3's of Troll Shielding for Profit!;
Step 1: Identify
The easiest of the steps, simply click the trending feed of any social media platforms. Twitter and their associated (((blue checkmark))) users are generally the easiest sources of information on the kind of information that will earn your content the maximum attention. SJWs and any random bit of "geek culture" media are historically the best bets.
Step 2: Shill
This is the tricky part! Now is time for you to show the world what your got, and provide your own hot take on these hilarious occurrences! Most generally opt for the easiest route; reading news articles verbatum from their sources, and staring intensely at their cameras as they give their hot take on the thing they've just read. Alternatively, like Chris Ray Gun here, opt for a more creative route; musical comedy! By opting to attack easy targets with a built in audience of "lulz enthusiasts", Mr Gun has brilliantly found a niche to be a comedic musician that requires no comedy or musical talent!
Step 3: Profit!
Now, just sit back and reap your earnings! You've done it!
"But wait, ED...", you might be saying to yourself. "Ray Gun here doesn't appear to be doing anything wrong, why are you busting his balls for catering to a niche?!". The answer lays in the disingenuous nature of the approach. While Ray Gun and his plethora of boring rock operas may on their face appear as little more than opportunistic, his actual feelings towards the audience he attempts to present himself a member of quickly become apparent. All troll shielders run the risk of the inevitable and humiliating call out; when a more seasoned participant in the subculture sees through the facade and directly challenges their credibility. Generally with embarrassing results.
The following gallery feature similar troll shielders who have also found their gimmick exposed in some context.
Notable Pro Shieldiers
Troll Shielding is part of a series on
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