Re: @Arctic Fox
Except for the part where I'm not really worthy of "a special commendation" as regards the comments section, as I spend at least as much of my time in the comments trolling the living piss out of folks as I do actually being helpful and/or useful.
That said, I love me my ignore feature, so I'd have a sad if they took my gold badge away. Personally, I think the solution to Eadon, Richto and so many others (including myself, most likely) is to give the "ignore" option to everyone. (Or get a proper friends and foes system going.)
Trolls wither without attention. I say this as a troll. With the exception of the truly sociopathic, we largely troll because we know we'll get a response. We're bored, angry, frustrated, curious or otherwise looking to vent an emotion in text form such that it provokes a response and allows us to continue an emotional conversation rather than a carefully logical and rational one.
In fact, I think the internet – and websites like El Reg – make it even worse than it used to be. Facts, logic, pedantry, , overwhelming criticism to the smallest failure and so forth mean people must check, re-check and check all over again every single little thing they post, say or do. Humans just aren't built for that. We're not logical by nature. We're instinctual primates that have powerful emotions, urges, desires, "gut reactions," and are steered by loyalty, prejudice, and more.
Some days, we just want to hit something, damn it. Even if it is verbally rather than physically. Other days, we just want to vent our displeasure regarding a company, product, individual or so forth. Our society – especially amongst and amidst the technorati – rejects this. Repress your emotions. Control your feelings. Stop, think, get the opinion of the hivemind and test everything empirically. Under no circumstances hold an opinion on something, because opinions aren't backed by Big Data. Whitepaper, sir, or GTFO.
So these people – more amongst IT than elsewhere, I suspect – turn to trolling folks on the interbutts for release. It is "safe," and we can use the knowledge of the past hundred years worth of psychology and group dynamics that is often used against us to ensure a response from others. Emotional gratification in an environment where that is difficult to obtain. Bonus points if you can get a day job as an astroturfer doing the same thing.
Without attention, there is no gratification. There is no incentive to vent your spleen. Why write the diatribe, or come up with the witty one-liner? Americans will tell you that "speech you don't like should be met with more speech." People from a nation with actual functioning internet access will tell you that this is the single stupidest thing you can ever do.
Don't feed the trolls. Click ignore instead.
Beer, because it's beer thirty-five where I am, and you lot should have one too. Don't forget to downvote! Cheers.