Multidimensionality of online trolling behaviors

Madelyn R. Sanfilippo, Pnina Fichman, Shengnan Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article bringings greater conceptual clarity to research on trolling, with a study that maps college students' perceptions of trolling behaviors and compares them to the media and scholarly interpretations. It identifies 4 behavioral types–serious trolling (not funny and ideologically motivated), humorous trolling, serious non-trolling behaviors, and humorous non-trolling–and 7 behavioral dimensions–meaningfulness, representativeness, pseudo-sincerity, intentionality, provocativeness, repetition, and satire. Employing Formal Concept Analysis it charts relationships between behavioral types and dimensions and develops a typology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)27-39
Number of pages13
JournalInformation Society
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • focus groups
  • motivations
  • online behavior
  • Online trolls
  • social informatics
  • social perception

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management Information Systems
  • Cultural Studies
  • Information Systems
  • Political Science and International Relations


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