For whom the gamer trolls: A study of trolling interactions in the online gaming context

Chrissy Cook (Corresponding author), Rianne Conijn, Marjolijn Antheunis, Juliette Schaafsma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


The present study aimed to expand our understanding of trolling interactions by examining 10,025 community-reported trolling incidents in the online game League of Legends to determine what characterizes messages sent by trolls, their teammates, and their opponents. To do this, we used a novel method blending content analysis and topic modelling. Contrary to extant literature, our study of complete trolling interactions found striking similarities between teammates’ and trolls’ chats, with both displaying the negative traits (e.g., exclusionary language) typically attributed to trolls. Findings also suggest that the transition from victim to perpetrator can occur extremely rapidly. This has important implications for the labelling of actors in trolling interactions, for future studies into the trolling cycle, and for theories of computer-mediated communication.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)293-318
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Computer Mediated Communication
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Content Analysis
  • Machine Learning
  • Multimethod
  • Online Games
  • Trolling Interactions


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