As a result, we had to get creative.
Maybe "we" is a strong word.
Our objective as trolls was to go into a community and piss off as many of the locals as possible -- but without breaking any rules, because then you'd get banned and all your brilliant posts would be deleted. So we found loopholes -- for example: I realized the old Cracked forum had no character limit for signatures (the space under every post usually reserved for pimping your Angelfire page) so I put Julio Cortazar's entire short story "Las Babas del Diablo" in mine. The moderators didn't appreciate this, but they couldn't ban me for it, which was endlessly hilarious to my stupid young brain.
Everyone knows the only way to read Cortazar is in Spanish.
Another good technique was the shockingly effective "pretend to be a moderator." Since avatar-picture technology hadn't been perfected back then, many times the only way to distinguish a moderator from a regular user was the phrase "I am a moderator." While trolling the old Marvel Comics message boards in 2002, I noticed that one of the heads of the company at the time, Bill Jemas, would sign his posts with "Best, Bill J." So I started doing the same thing, and people started calling me Mr. Jemas. I was halfway through officially canceling the entire X-Men line when they caught me and gave me a warning.
But Now ...
Today, I could take a photo of my butt and put it online within five seconds, and while this is objectively a good thing (at least in my case, because I have a sweet butt), it comes with the side effect of making trolls lazier. Most raids now involve flooding sites with gore, porn, or various combinations of both. While you can't argue with the effectiveness of this method, there's zero effort there. Where's the love for the craft? What amusing story did you get out of this experience that you'll tell your grandchildren eventually?
Noel Hendrickson/Digital Vision/Getty Images
"One time, I attached a photo of a decapitated woman to a post and hit send. It was most kek."