I know what an astrotroll/astrotroller is (and it hasn't even got an Urban Dictionary definition, which makes me feel very in-the-know). It's a commenter engaged in astroturfing.
Astroturfing in American English is a neologism for formal public relations campaigns in politics and advertising which seek to create the impression of being spontaneous "grassroots" behavior, hence the reference to the artificial grass, AstroTurf.Does anyone really think that some of the commenters here are paid representatives of any political campaign or cause? It seems to me that there are many self-appointed boosters of one candidate or another, willing to put in a lot of effort for no pay. I've seen the comments of the particular individual who was accused of astrotrolling, but I can't believe a campaign would pay someone just to post numerous boring/abusive comments. Wouldn't the campaign hire someone competent who would blend in with the style of the blog comments section, seem like a real person, and slip in strong pithy arguments?
The goal of such a campaign is to disguise the efforts of a political or commercial entity as an independent public reaction to some political entity—a politician, political group, product, service or event.
The real AstroTurf™ is green, not orange. The real Althouse astrotroll should be offbeat, funny, and smart -- with a memorable pseudonym and some personal details. Up your game if you're getting paid.
IN THE COMMENTS: Paddy O. quotes my questions -- "Wouldn't the campaign hire someone competent who would blend in with the style of the blog comments section, seem like a real person, and slip in strong pithy arguments?" -- and says "You miss Titus, don't you?" Well, let me ask you people: