Graphicons and Tactics in Satirical Trolling on

Pnina Fichman, Ashley R. Dainas



Internet trolling is inherently multimodal, relying on both textual and graphical means of communication (or “graphicons”). We examined how satire and ideological trolls who use graphicons on the microblogging site, use knowledge of local culture as part of their trolling tactics. Based on a qualitative thematic analysis of 172 trolling posts (that include 284 graphicons), we identified 7 Tumblr satire troll tactics: the lying tactic, the derailment tactic, the parodic exaggeration tactic, the misappropriation of jargon tactic, the straight man (or “comical seriousness”) tactic, the troll reveal tactic, and the politeness tactic. We also found that ideologically extremizing language was the most commonly used outrage tactic and that trolls used graphicons frequently as flame baiting prompts and for tone modification.


trolling, graphicons, trolling tactics, Tumblr, satire

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