Games journalism has come a long way since the widest of all the webs began, and with it, internet trolling has evolved too. Just as a species evolves to fit its surroundings, trolls have altered their strategies, inventing new and improved ways to make journalists blow their tops.
But what about those of us who haven't quite managed to keep up with the crowd, and are still using old insults taken straight from the average Youtube video?
Never fear: this crash course in trolling will have you up to speed in no time, giving some deserving Eurogamer or IGN writer a much needed kick up the arse.
Here are the top ten trolling tips for 2010:
1. Call the writer unprofessional
This really gets them going, as you are essentially telling them that they don't care and don't know enough about their own job. Adding something along the lines of 'I can't believe someone actually pays you for this crap' gets bonus points.
2. Quote a segment of the post, then tell the writer that he or she is an idiot
Quoting part of the post or review is another surefire way to get the writer's blood boiling. Every writer remembers putting each separate sentence down on paper, so by picking at what they've written, you're taking them back to the moment they wrote it, and forever linking your comment with that moment in their head. Good job!
3. When the writer responds to you, say 'Oh, so I'm not allowed an opinion?'
This is a modern day troll's favourite. Who does this writer think he or she is? How can they tell me that I am wrong? Of course, let's skim over the irony of it all - you know, the fact that the original post or review was the writer's opinion in the first place, and we're actually being hypocrites.
4. Look at the score on a review, then comment 'Reads like an X', where X is a different score to what is actually given
The fantastic element to this point is that you don't even need to read the review! Simply skim straight to the score at the end then, depending on whatever number is given, say that the actual text of the review reads as a completely different score. Telling the writer that they can't even interpret their own thoughts is fun!
5. If you spot a grammar or spelling mistake, come down like a ton of bricks
In this day and age, there is absolutely no excuse for spelling mistakes or grammar issues at all. If a writer has commited either sin, you should make sure that they receive fire and fury for it. Feel free to combine this point with points 1 and 2. Of course, you could always politely let the writer know that they've made a slight mistake, but really, where's the fun in that?
6. If the writer gets his or her facts wrong, don't let them off the hook for it
Let's say the writer, god forbid, relays an incorrect piece of information - however small or big that error is, they must be held accountable for it. Instead of simply informing them that they have made an error, tell them that it is their job to bring correct info to their readers, and finish off by telling them to do their research properly next time.
7. Say 'This site used to be great, but it's posts like this that make it crap'.
This really twists the dagger, hopefully making the writer question whether they should be writing for the site at all. Of course, as an added extra, you can mention that it is posts like this that are bringing down gaming journalism as a whole.
8. Say the writer's name, then say this particular writer is bringing the site down
Naming the writer is a quick and easy way to get their attention. Once you have that, you can easily give them sleepless nights. A great tip is to try trolling a particular writer on other posts that aren't even their own! Make sure to add that you're never going to read the site ever again, and it is all their fault.
9. When a writer calls something 'unique', call them on it
Now and again, a writer will say that a particular game mechanic is unique. This is your cue to scour the internet finding obscure games that have the same mechanic, then letting the writer publicly know that they are talking crap, whilst listing your findings. Of course, this can be combined with point 6 for great effect.
10. Tell the writer that this post is pointless or boring, and you don't care about the content
The coup de grâce. Letting a writer know that the info they have relayed to their readers is utter drivel, and no-one in their right mind would want to read it, will really get their goat. For the greatest effect, use it in the midst of comments from other users who are saying how useful the post was - that way, you can simultaneously troll the site's reader base too!
So there you have it - follow this handy guide, and you'll be a trolling extraordinaire in no time! As your first assignment, why not try this troll this very post in the comments below? Go on - release the troll inside of you.
[This has been a completely serious escapade into the world of trolling from Michael Rose, who admittedly may react quite badly to trolls every now and again.]