Above the line trolling is a term used to describe a troll who writes articles, unlike most trolls who reside in internet chat rooms and “below the line” on article discussions. ATL trolls often write for leading tabloid newspapers.
How do you spot an article written by an ATL troll?
An article written by an ATL troll can easily be spotted by the uproar in the comments section below the article. Articles will often contain little to no factual content, instead articles are based on prejudice, idle speculation and wilful ignorance. The ATL troll relies on a toolbox of logical fallacies including the straw man, the ad hominem attack and a dependence on anecdotal evidence in order to whip the reader in to a frenzy of consternation. Invariably a host of less critically minded folk will take the article at face value typically ensuing in a flame war “below the line”.
Why do ATL trolls exist?
Online publishers receive revenue through advertising clicks, a clearly misinformed article can attract hundreds of thousands of visits as readers share the article. The phenomenon can be likened to the rubbernecking effect, in which drivers cause a traffic jam as they slow down to view the wreckage of a car crash.
Where did the term originate?
The above the line / below the line terminology is pinched from the ad business, an above the line troll may also be called an ABL troll.
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