Crazy Stuff Stumpy Thinks About #40: Stumpy Nubs: Troll Hunter (They taste like chicken)

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Blog entry by StumpyNubs posted 04-15-2013 11:03 PM 6817 reads 0 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 39: What Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant taught me about dust collection... Part 40 of Crazy Stuff Stumpy Thinks About series Part 41: Will woodworking become the next TV dinner? »

I am not just an somewhat overrated woodworker with an endless supply of bad jokes and a troubling affinity for blue denim shirts. I am also a naturalist, a man who spends his weekends in the wild observing exotic creatures and documenting their strange habits. My expeditions take me all over the worldwide web, to the lurking places of the most despicable of predators: the Woodworking Trolls. I’ve spent years among their kind, frequenting their natural habitat on woodworking message boards, blogs, chat rooms; any place where they can slip in through the comment threads to infect the community with their deadly venom.

It’s true that no troll has never been photographed in the wild. They are elusive creatures who carefully conceal their true identities with clever avatars and tough-guy sounding knick names. They present themselves as experts in the craft with decades of experience and all the knowledge that you don’t have. But I believe I know the truth. For one thing, the reason they are so seldom photographed is because they are among nature’s ugliest mistakes of creation. We know this because they are never able to achieve meaningful lives. Men laugh at them, women refuse to mate with them. So they withdraw into their Cheetos littered nests deep within their parents basements where they lay in ambush, hunched over their keyboards waiting for a chance to strike.

Woodworking trolls have big appetites which are only satisfied by the misery of others. They hunt at all hours of the day or night and their strategy has been carefully developed over evenings in chat rooms where they argue among themselves, honing their techniques so as to be ever sharp at any opportunity. When they are on the hunt, they frequent their favorite places, the woodworking message boards where they’ve found past success. Their reputations have not gone unnoticed, so they must strike quickly and then disappear into the night before a proper defense can be made against them. Typically they roam on the outskirts of the forum, watching and reading. When they spy a herd of woodworkers peacefully frolicking around some interesting subject, the troll slips in among them, sometimes disguised as one of the herd. From this vantage point they can carefully size up the group and choose their victim.

The woodworking troll rarely goes for weakest of the herd because trolls have enormous egoes. The troll believes he can take anyone on, and they often launch themselves headlong into the fray with total abandon. The first strike may be to disagree with something that appears to be the consensus of the herd, even if they have to make a great leap to do so. Facts are not in their bag of tricks, they strive only to be contrary, to make a member of the herd look foolish. Many times this will elicit a reaction from their victim, which plays right into their plan. The troll now launches his most stinging weapon, the unprovoked insult. This is one of their most curious tactics since it makes them appear small and immature. But it inevitably leads to more discord, the entire herd may even be taken aback and adopt a defensive posture.

It is at this point that the troll feels the most confident. He’s already achieved his primary goal, to disrupt a peaceful herd of woodworkers and make himself the center of attention. Now he pulls out all the stops, he launches into a long tirade against his target, twisting the victim’s words to make himself appear the innocent victim. If he’s lucky he can manipulate the conversation so much that he confuses the herd, causing them to begin attacking each other. The original target may now become frustrated and lash out in a way he may never have done before, perhaps hurling his own insult at the troll. This is when the troll employs his master stroke. He reacts to the victim’s words as if he’s been stabbed to the heart, mortally wounded by an entirely uncalled for attack. He refers to himself in the most innocent of terms, he’s just a kindly old woodworker trying to share his knowledge and this mean old “so-and-so” not only rejected his help, but lashed out at him in the most unreasonable of ways! If the troll plays his hand perfectly, he can convince the rest of the herd to abandon the original victim, even cast him out. The woodworking troll, having fed on the misery he’s created then disappears, leaving chaos behind on the message board. He slinks back to his lair to pat himself on the back and await his next opportunity to feed.

We’ve all seen the attacks of trolls in our favorite online woodworking communities. Maybe we were chatting with friends about dovetails and the attack come in the form of the old “you should cut pins first unless you’re a moron… is that what you are, a moron?” type of comment. Or we were talking table saws and someone launched into a “you’re an idiot because you don’t own a Sawstop and you want children to lose their hands because you’re evil” tirade. I know people who have perhaps never made a woodworking project in their lives. Yet they are top commenters on the woodworking forums. They like to argue about politics, they like to tell you you’re wrong, they love to act like they know more than everyone else. But they almost never offer any sincere woodworking based thought to the community. They are constantly negative; if they have anything to say, it’s that you didn’t do this right, or you should have done that differently. They won’t compliment your work because they say that’s “not helpful”, as if their constant nit picking is. Trolls are not always solitary creatures, they will occasionally team up to strike in tandem or come to one another’s defense if an attack goes awry. If you look at the profile of a troll, you are likely to see other trolls make up his “buddies list”.

My time among the woodworking herd has taught me something. I have bad days. I get cranky. I may even get mean once in a while. One morning I answered the door with a kick at groin level that still gives my mailman nightmares. I hate those occasions, they make me feel all dirty. But a troll lives that way, spends every day wallowing in the mud and pulling others in with him. I don’t believe they realize how sad they seem to the rest of us. I think they are entirely unaware that we all know who they are and what they stand for. They believe they are doing a service for the woodworking community, not “taking any crap” and “calling people out”. But in reality, and this is something they will never understand, woodworking trolls have robbed the communities they inhabit of the best and brightest. True craftsman, professionals who work long hours creating woodworking greatness and possess loads of knowledge to share, don’t have time to deal with the trolls. So they leave the forums, message boards and chat rooms, taking their treasures elsewhere. I know of some top woodworkers who have entirely abandoned the online communities for just that reason. And the saddest part is, the trolls will never change because it is who they are.

I’m not exactly a celebrity woodworker, but I do deal with trolls every day. They leave their comments on, on my YouTube pages, on my Facebook wall. The little success I have achieved makes them angry and they feel like they have to put me down or find fault in something I do. Nothing is ever good enough for a troll. They have no comprehension of the work that others do, the time and effort that is freely given by their fellow woodworkers. They don’t understand that while they’re searching the internet looking for things to criticize, there are woodworkers trying to improve their skills, building projects and overcome challenges so they can share their solutions with the community. It’s easy to comment on message boards, it’s hard to actually be a woodworker.

But their demented plan for putting their fellow woodworkers in their place has backfired. Because instead of feeling bad, or changing to suit their preferences, woodworkers I know apply the lessons they teach in a different way. We take note of how arrogant they appear, how silly they look when they find fault in the work of others that took far more effort than they’ve ever done themselves. And when we see a guy who didn’t cut his dovetails right, or who posted a video with poor editing and no sound, we ask ourselves “what would a troll do”. Then we do the opposite.

Wanna laugh about woodworking? Read more of Stumpy's blogs or watch the greatest woodworking show since the invention of wood at

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-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' most unique publications:

15 comments so far

View Bob Kassmeyer's profile

Bob Kassmeyer

225 posts in 2977 days

#1 posted 04-16-2013 12:17 AM

Great post, I’m pretty much just a lurker but I see a few of these Trolls on the couple of sites I visit.

-- Bob Kassmeyer, Nebraska

View Sandra's profile


7207 posts in 2127 days

#2 posted 04-16-2013 12:43 AM

Well said, Stumpy my man. Well said.

I can hear the tune from The Good, The Bad and the Ugly whistling in the background….

-- No, I don't want to buy the pink hammer.

View ShaneA's profile


6966 posts in 2650 days

#3 posted 04-16-2013 12:48 AM

They are everywhere Stumpy. Hopefully, in your research and observations you can come up with a way to rid the interwebz of them.

View smithy's profile


95 posts in 2381 days

#4 posted 04-16-2013 12:49 AM

Bravo, my friend!

-- Kevin, Indiana

View chrisstef's profile (online now)


17478 posts in 3058 days

#5 posted 04-16-2013 01:20 AM

What if we all got together and built a giant wooden bridge? That way we could corral them and disable all wifi access in the vicinity.

Solid write up Stumpage.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View DIYaholic's profile


19623 posts in 2727 days

#6 posted 04-16-2013 01:32 AM

I went trolling once….
Didn’t catch a single fish!!!

You got it ALL wrong, ya wanna know why? Where do you get off telling….....

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View Milo's profile


869 posts in 3371 days

#7 posted 04-16-2013 01:37 AM

WOW. Quite the manifesto. Very well said. I’ve had to bar a couple trolls myself, and over the stupidest things!

Keep up the stellar work!

-- Beer, Beer, Thank God for Beer. It's my way of keeping my mind fresh and clear...

View boxcarmarty's profile


16365 posts in 2412 days

#8 posted 04-16-2013 02:18 AM

I had a troll living outside my shop door. I had to deal with his insults and name calling everytime I went to the shop. He was an ugly cuss…..

-- My mind is like lighting, one brilliant flash, then its gone.....

View scotsman9's profile


134 posts in 1941 days

#9 posted 04-16-2013 04:09 AM

You give me pause with the dichotomy of your presentation on the internet medium; then your recoil from the same internet culture you mean to attract.

Which is it?

Would you like to be revered as an Entertainer or as a Woodworker?

You have to make that choice.

Since you publicly profess to be neither, you enter a medium with no clear agenda and then you chastise the negative responses.

Troll, contrarian, critic or observer; embrace all responses at face value, until you define your agenda. Once you have that, you can dismiss “trolls” as unenlightened to your ultimate purpose.

Please don’t stop doing what you’re doing; personally I enjoy your talent. However, don’t engage rhetoric from sources that do not define you.

-- Just a man and his opinion.

View Roger's profile


20929 posts in 2856 days

#10 posted 04-16-2013 11:37 AM

You are the very wise man people hear about. Carry on. Don’t ever stop

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View JoeinGa's profile


7739 posts in 2059 days

#11 posted 04-16-2013 11:48 AM

(troll mode <on> )
As I read this diatribe my first thought was “Why isn’t Stumpy RECORDING this in one of his videos?”
It would have been much better if I could have listened to you say it, rather than have to read it.
(troll mode <off> )

NEAT JOB STUMPS! You musta been reading some of the other blog posting sites I visit to do your research. There’s plenty of trolls there :-)

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View StumpyNubs's profile


7609 posts in 2853 days

#12 posted 04-16-2013 12:23 PM

Scotsman- I don’t recoil from internet culture, I exist on the internet. I recoil from the few who choose to tear down what others try to build up. Being a woodworker who likes to entertain does not mean I have to sit around and absorb any and all beatings.

However, like most of my blogs, this is for the purpose of woodworking “info-tainment” and nothing more. If I really wanted to call out the trolls, I would name names. But that would be pointless because, as the article says, trolls will never understand that they are trolls, they are what they are. So to engage them is to fall into their trap and to help them cause chaos within the community.

Just enjoy the article, have a laugh and a cold one, and next time you see a troll at work, remember my sage words.

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' most unique publications:

View Ken90712's profile


17563 posts in 3241 days

#13 posted 04-16-2013 03:20 PM

So true and well said! I thought about printing it and putting it up on the wall in my shop. But tape won’t stick to the sawdust! LOL As always a pleasure to read your posts.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View luv2learn's profile


2780 posts in 2355 days

#14 posted 04-16-2013 03:47 PM

Well said my friend, well said!!

-- Lee - Northern idaho~"If the women don't find you handsome, at least they ought to find you handy"~ Red Green

View DS's profile


2929 posts in 2472 days

#15 posted 04-16-2013 03:59 PM

So, what I hear you saying is that you FREELY ADMIT that you cut TAILS FIRST! (What a MORON!)
Just kidding – I couldn’t resist trying on the troll hat for a minute.
You can have it back now. hahahah

Oh, BTW, I won’t be knocking on your front door until I get a new cup. :-)

Give’em hell Stumpy!

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

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