A term of abuse. Mostly used in forums where there is a fairly well-defined orthodoxy, usually political (it could be conservatism, feminism or nearly anything else) that all members are assumed to agree with by default, "concern troll" can refer to nearly anyone who expresses disagreement or skepticism about some aspect of that orthodoxy, while agreeing with other parts of it.
Supposedly, the idea is that the "concern troll" is actually an adherent of some other, opposing orthodoxy, disingenuously pretending to be sympathetic to the goals of the forum in order to disrupt it or sow dissent. Perhaps this actually happens (this longtime forum user is skeptical, having NEVER seen a clear example), but usually, the accusation comes from someone who can't imagine honest disagreement with his or her favored ideology, and thus says more about the accuser than the accused. Basically it's a bludgeon used by people with very black-and-white views on some topic, against anyone more nuanced than themselves.
Accusing someone of being a concern troll is generally a bad idea. Even if you're right about the "troll"'s motives, which you probably aren't, that doesn't make the "troll"'s arguments wrong; in other words, calling someone a concern troll is a basic ad hominem fallacy. The term is used to shut down, rather than to advance, discussion.
I tried to tell them their statistics were discredited decades ago, but they just shouted me down and called me a concern troll.
word of the day: January 27, 2011
A person who posts on a blog thread, in the guise of "concern," to disrupt dialogue or undermine morale by pointing out that posters and/or the site may be getting themselves in trouble, usually with an authority or power. They point out problems that don't really exist. The intent is to derail, stifle, control, the dialogue. It is viewed as insincere and condescending.
A concern troll on a progressive blog might write, "I don't think it's wise to say things like that because you might get in trouble with the government." Or, "This controversy is making your side look disorganized."
In an argument (usually a political debate), a concern troll is someone who is on one side of the discussion, but pretends to be a supporter of the other side with "concerns". The idea behind this is that your opponents will take your arguments more seriously if they think you're an ally. Concern trolls who use fake identities are sometimes known as sockpuppets.
In the 2006 election, an aide to Congressman Charlie Bass (R-NH) was caught concern trolling the opposition on local blogs. While pretending to support Bass's opponent, Paul Hodes, the aide argued that Hodes couldn't win because Bass was an unbeatable candidate. Hodes won the election.
A person who lurks, then posts, on a site or blog, expressing concern for policies, comments, attitudes of others on the site. It is viewed as insincere, manipulative, condescending.
A concern troll commented, "You should be careful about what you write because you might get in trouble with the government." Another concern troll wrote, "This debate makes our side look disorganized."
In a situation where there exists mutually exclusive positions A and B, a concern troll is someone who supports A but professes to support B around genuine supporters of B. However, they express their "concerns" about aspects of position B in order to sow doubt and uncertainty amongst genuine supporters of B.
Whilst this does genuinely happen, the term is used by some paranoid people to effectively mean "anyone who does not agree entirely with the standard dogma of position B, thus must actually covertly support position A", when said person does actually support B, just only 99%.
Thus: disagreeing *at all* with the standard dogma of B will get you branded by such people as The Enemy, and you will get generally treated with hostility and suspicion and, at worst, forcibly ejected from the B-supporter group. Result: everyone stops thinking about the issues, and discussion descends into not arriving at logical and interesting places but who can most furiously support B.
1: "All Democrats should be hanged, drawn and quartered! Grrgrrrgrrrgr!"
2: "Uh.. that's a bit excessive. I mean, I don't agree with the Democrats, but maybe we shouldn't actually, like, KILL them.."
1: "CONCERN TROLL! CLEARLY YOU ARE 100% DEMOCRAT! BEGONE, SINNER!"
(everyone flings rotten fruit at 2 until he leaves)
Someone who raises a false question as a means of injecting a totally unsupported allegation into the public discourse. When challenged on the barely-veiled insinuation, they claim that they were "only asking a question."
A concern troll would say, "I'm not saying Congressman Smith engages in oral sex with farmyard animals, but isn't it awfully coincidental that he has a picture of a sheep in his office and always carries a handkerchief? The public has a right to know!"
A phrase used by the progressive netroots whenever someone questions the effectiveness of their activism, or notices that they are acting like fools, and discrediting their causes by incredibly silly gestures.
(Noting that facebook isn't a good vehicle for protest makes one a "concern troll.)