Statement: The cheetah can stay for eight hours in the same position
Techie: ‘ Njangallku ore positionil 8 alla 16 manikoor vare irikkalo’ (We can sit in the same position for not eight but 16 hours)
This troll by a Kochi-based techie is one among hundreds of posts on Troll Park, a Facebook page for trolls created by techies. Such memes have emerged as a favourite medium to get an overview of the life of IT employees.
“Trolls are an avenue for us to voice our views, protests, concerns, insecurities, apprehensions and so on about our professional and personal lives. They are an outlet for everything bottled up in us,” says Akhil Peediayakkan, one of the admins of Troll Park, launched in 2017. The page is a big hit among the techie community and, employees from Infopark and IT companies in Bengaluru also post trolls on the page.
Though some posts are specific to the techie community, they give an idea of issues pertaining to the IT sector, says Nitin Murali, another admin. “For example, there is always a conflict between the developer, that is the person who develops a particular software, and the tester, the one who checks it to find out if there are any bugs or defects. Many posts on our page are about their fight,” he explains.
Another popular topic is the “drama” surrounding yearly performance appraisal, salary hikes and promotions, with managers usually at the receiving end of the jokes. “We don’t mention the name of the company or the person who made the troll because he or she shouldn’t be targeted by the company,” says one of the admins of Technopark Trolls, who wants to remain anonymous. This is the troll page of TechnoparkToday, an online platform related to Technopark.
There are no dearth of topics and hence the creators have a ball. On-site assignments that are hard to come by, unhygienic food served at restaurants on the campus, long working hours, woes of techies who travel by train, hunt for parking space on the campus, applying for leave, fight for the best chair.... it is an interesting melange of themes.
“One of the celebrated posts was on the security guards on the campus. If you take some time to step out of your car, they immediately get suspicious!” says an admin of Technopark Trolls.
Now that the pages are flooded with trolls, the admins ensure that the posts are original, not derogatory and do not personally attack a person or a company.
In-house troll makers
There are companies that have in-house ‘troll makers’. Rajkumar LS of IBS is one of them. Nicknamed ‘Christopher Trollan’ by his team, he has been making trolls on the birthdays of his team-mates for the past four years.
“Our team has around 40 people, including juniors and senior managers. The trolls, pegged on their mannerisms, mistakes or weaknesses, are circulated among all members of the team, managers and those in senior positions,” he says.
Sample this. When a manager fractured his leg at a football tournament and was undergoing physiotherapy, a troll started doing the rounds among employees that he had fallen for his physiotherapist! Another employee was trolled because she wasn’t tech-savvy and had no clue about Instagram. So there came up an Instagram story to troll her. He also targets company policies that are unpopular among employees, such as dress code and lack of work-life balance. Original photos or movie scenes are used in the trolls, besides fake WhatsApp chats and Facebook walls.
“I haven’t spared the owner of our company and CEO either!” he adds. Akhil points out that they could raise several important issues through trolls.
Buoyed by the response, TechnoparkToday conducted a troll contest earlier this year and may hold another one next year as well. Troll Park also has plans to hold a contest and a troll festival. Now that video trolls are also posted, it’s a laugh riot on these pages. It seems they have taken this particular post on Troll Park seriously: ‘ Ningal oru trollan aakan agrahichittudengil ningal athaayirikum ’ (If you want to be a ‘trollan’, you will become one)
A fortnightly column on life in tech street