‘The Maltese Troll’ is a unique species in many ways, found most commonly on the comments sections of the mainstream newspapers where they run amok, spreading misinformed, poorly spelt, and downright offensive gibberish, regardless of the context or the subject of the article.
They move in packs, and alone and can usually be found spreading fake news, misinformation, or just insulting anyone and everyone with whom they come into contact. Attempts to engage them in any kind of sensible or meaningful interaction are futile, as The Maltese Troll is only capable of retorting with the insults, and copied and pasted responses.
While engaging with such individuals is tempting and even necessary at times, we advise against all but essential contact due to the risks of stroke, aneurysm, heightened blood pressure and fits of uncontrollable rage.
These are some of The Maltese Troll’s key defining features.
The Maltese Troll can assume many identities, and these change on a regular basis due to the fact that their profiles get shut down by Facebook for being fake or offensive, or they are simply blocked by too many people after they suffered the symptoms of an encounter with the troll.
The female troll, not to be outdone by the Male Troll, often goes by names such as Rita/ Ritianne/ Doris/ Doreen/ Josianne/ Josephine or the common name of Maria. Male Maltese Trolls tend to favour similarly old fashioned names such as Alfred/ Mario/ Twanny/ Charles or Malcolm with the occasional Joseph thrown in for good measure.
Maltese Trolls can generally fit into two categories – those that use a realistic profile picture, and those that choose a profile picture that somehow reflects their disposition or so-called ‘patriotism’.
The Lesser Spotted Maltese Trolls
These flit between profiles so often that even they are not sure of their true identity any more. When trying to identify a female troll, look for profile pictures that include religious symbolism, the Madonna, flowers, inspirational quotes, or a Maltese flag. Male Trolls tend to favour the Maltese Flag above all else, but can sometimes be spotted using an image of a politician, usually their ‘Leader’… or Celine Dion’s song lyrics with a twist.
The Common Maltese Trolls
Then there are those that proudly display their true identity. Female Trolls tend to have short hair, clipped and layered with a slight wave, but never below the ears. The colour of choice is some shade of red, believed to be chosen to reflect the favourite colour of their ‘Dear Leader’. Short in stature and prone to moving in packs when in public, they favour heavy eyeliner, and nightwear as dresses, complete with slip on shoes.
The Male Troll is quite unique in appearance, typically having little to no hair whatsoever. The glare from the shine of their heads is usually combatted with wrap around sunglasses featuring a metallic or holographic tint to blind the enemy. Some do have hair, but this is largely restricted to the younger generation, and it does not usually last past the age of 35. If spotted in public, these specimens favour stonewashed denim/ knee-length denim cargo pants or shorts, Armani T-shirts in a size or two too small, and a protruding pot belly.
Tone of Voice
The way in which a Maltese Troll communicates is instantly distinguishable from those that comment around him or her. First, for as of yet unknown reason, they like to randomly capitalise words with no apparent benefit to what is being said (‘if you don’t LIKE IT then you CAN go back TO YOUR country’).
Sometimes they opt to write all of the text in capitals, as if they are shouting at you although some believe that this could be due to the fact that they would have accidentally hit the CAPS LOCK button and didn’t know how to turn it off.
In addition, they exhibit a flagrant disregard for spelling, grammar, syntax and any other linguistic rules, regardless of what language they are using. Sometimes, both Maltese and English is used, sometimes they will opt for Minglish (a sort of creole combination of the two), and sometimes they choose a totally illegible language that may be a way for them to signal other trolls without being discovered.
The overuse of exclamation marks is usually a give-away, found in multiples of five at the end of sentences, in the middle of sentences, at the beginning of sentences, and anywhere else the troll sees fit.
So next time you come across Marvin il-King Borg or Reuben tal-Bully parroting propaganda, insulting others or screaming in CAPS, know that engaging in a debate can have serious consequences on your health and sanity.
In Part Two, we will delve deeper into the language and tactics, and personality traits of The Maltese Troll.