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In this question I came across a term I haven't seen before: "edgelord". What does it mean?

I can guess from the context in that question but I am hoping for an explicit explanation.

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closed as off-topic by the dark wanderer, Alex P, David Coffron, mxyzplk Mar 1 '18 at 0:42

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    \$\begingroup\$ recommend migration to english \$\endgroup\$ – the dark wanderer Mar 1 '18 at 0:10
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because edgelord is a term unrelated to RPGs. \$\endgroup\$ – the dark wanderer Mar 1 '18 at 0:11
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    \$\begingroup\$ @thedarkwanderer Personally, I’m of the opinion that questions that reasonably could be seen as appropriate to here—when you don’t already know their answer, that is—should be here. Since it was used here, it’s reasonable to guess it’s an RPG term, even though it isn’t really (though I definitely have heard the term a lot with respect to RPG characters). But more philosophically, it just seems like knowledge of whether or not a question belongs here cannot be dependent on knowledge of the answer to the question. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Mar 1 '18 at 0:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ Sorry, I didn't realize it wasn't an RPG-specific term. As I said, this was the first place I ever saw it, so I assumed it was. \$\endgroup\$ – Serpentine Cougar Mar 1 '18 at 0:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ (This sort of snag is avoidable by doing what the vote buttons say: show research effort in the question. (A google search answers this immediately.) Avoiding weird procedural problems, like whether off topic English vocabulary questions asked in good faith become on topic because they were asked in good faith, is one of the benefits to the site of taking that pre-posting step.) \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Mar 1 '18 at 4:54
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Not really an RPG term, but I suppose if it comes up in the context of an RPG website it’s a reasonable question to ask here. The biggest difficulty is citing the definition, as it’s slang, and recent slang at that, but it turns out that Wiktionary has a definition:

(informal, pejorative, Internet slang) A person whose attitudes or activities make them seem edgy.

where edgy here means

(slang) Cool by virtue of being tough, dark, or badass.

Generally speaking, edginess is widely seen as sort of cliche and overdone, to say nothing of melodramatic, which is why edgelord is noted as a pejorative. Reminiscent of the darker and edgier themes and tones that got kind of played out in the ’90s—see ’90s anti-hero. “Darker and edgier” is supposed to be more “mature” but it’s often seen as a kind of immature idea of maturity.

In an RPG context, an edgelord is a character—or the player of a character, especially if that player regularly plays such characters—that is edgy, especially overly so. Usually it’s a pretty mild pejorative—often admitted and claimed by the player him-or-herself. It’s admitting that the character is kind of melodramatic and fits a certain, somewhat-cliche, archetype.

However, it is not always mild. The question you link, for example, is not being particularly mild about the complaint here. Particularly when applied by others, it can indicate that the character in question is cliche and annoying—and that the player is taking the character seriously and thinks their edginess actually is cooler or more mature, which is even more annoying. This was the problem indicated in the linked question, for example.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ This answer has improved my understanding of this slang in the RPG context, as I had a rough idea of what was meant but also had a few misconceptions. Glad this answer happened before the question got closed. (I see the term a lot at a few other sites ...) \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Mar 1 '18 at 14:16
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An edgelord is Internet-community slang for someone who's cultivated an "edgy" persona, usually with a high degree of nihilistic sentiment and behavior. Contextually, it's often used to imply this edgy persona is so ridiculous that it rings hollow — an act, a front, a form of trolling.

The spirit of the original question was that the characters' over-the-top nihilistic tendencies were bringing down the game.

There's not much else to it, really.

It's not an RPG term.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I would agree with this in the context of an internet forum, but since the context here is RPGs, this isn’t quite how I usually see it applied in this arena? But then, this is still good for the origins of it, and then I am also sure it is still applied in exactly this sense with respect to RPGs, as well. So +1, but maybe address RPG-based usage more? I think there is some. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Mar 1 '18 at 0:24
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan I mean, it's just a character that's literally an expression of that persona? The spirit of the original question was very much that absurd performative nihilism was bringing down the game. -- Added that bit. \$\endgroup\$ – Alex P Mar 1 '18 at 0:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ That’s a good point; I’ve updated my answer to address that more. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Mar 1 '18 at 0:41

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