Aug 2, 2008

Trolls on the internet! Oh my!

I suppose I better mention it, since people will be wondering why I didn't if I don't.

Yes, I have read the New York Times article on internet trolling. And firstly, is it just me, or is really fucking embarassing when you have someone writing an article when:

a) they really don't have a clue what they are talking about, and
b) the topic is removed entirely from its natural environment and dissected in the sterile lab of the mainstream media?

Its not just me, I hope.

So anyway, yes, I was alerted to this article by a compatriot troll, Ten Ton Mantis. And now I have finally read through it. The above quibbles above, I'd just like to make some minor points:

  • Trolls existed before /b/. The first paragraph implies otherwise.
  • /b/ is not the be all and end all of trolling. In fact, in the last couple of years, it has been downright embarassing.
  • At least you mentioned Usenet. Thank fucking god. However, the naive-noob tactic was just one of many used back in the day, and really only an entry level tactic. alt.syntax.tactical, for example, favour the longer term, infiltration and sockpuppet approach.
  • Lulz is not how trolls "keep score". Its an abstract concept, and a massively overused word, when considered against actual instances of lulz. It can be excuse, justification or result, as well.
  • The troll got it dead on. Article over, amirite?
  • Um...Anonymous and the trolls were one and the same, at least originally. I understand there was a something of a split between the /i/nsurgents and moralfags, but lets be honest, for the most part, its the same people who took part in both.
  • The fact that anonymous communications allow for people to be more sociopathic is not new nor interesting. Learn2sociology, plz.
  • Jason Fortuny is a fun guy, but he doesn't speak for me.
  • You probably got suckered by one troll or another in the course of your research. Live with it son.
  • Not all trolls are emotional fuckups. Some of the most extreme ones probably are, but I wouldn't generalize, or imply in the way you did.
  • Sometimes trolls are social hackers, its true. And literal ones as well. Anyway, the point is, sometimes they illustrate things people tend to overlook, either in their social interactions online, how they present themselves, the amount of information they give out. Something like that. Better to get burned for it by a jerk with an inappropriate sense of humour than by the next Ted Bundy. Its not always a perfect justification, and sometimes a line should be drawn, yes, but thats a very grey area and another debate.
  • Don't take it all so seriously is pretty much the message I try to relate as well. Sometimes the internet is useful for important stuff, but 99% of it is going to leave a very poor and shallow cultural legacy. I like to think I am doing my bit for people who think "OMFG MY MOM WONT BUY ME A FURSUIT FOR MY BIRTHDAY" or having their "artwork" criticized is a crime against humanity. Twits with no perspective and big mouths are far too numerous.
  • Weev was trolling you dude. He does have a point though, about certain bloggers. Those few suckup artists who the media like to go crawling to in order to pretend that they are keeping up with the new internet culture and soliciting feedback from voices that would normally be excluded. Like Iain Dale for example. Real fucking excluded, isn't he? Lets try a single mother blogger who is working while trying to raise her three kids. Oh, thats right, people like that don't have time to blog. And even when some people in some part of the world where dangerous and interesting things are happening (such as Iraq) people would rather get their views from the likes of Charles fucking Johnson than someone who actually lives there. Because, God forbid, they may contradict the media narrative.
  • I like this Kate chick. She has style. Kate, if you're reading...well, you know how to get in touch, I'm sure.
  • Hatred? I wouldn't go that far...of course, I would expect a MSM hack from somewhere like the NYT to give that line. But I wouldn't try to look too deeply into a troll's motivation. Mine, for example, the above aside, comes from my trickster and showy personality. I like to be the centre of the attention, and yet at the same time, display certain ambiguity. There are also certain people I like to upset, and if you've read this blog for any length of time, you can probably guess what type they are.
  • I would say trolls are the internet. The interesting parts at least. Just as pirates where the ones who innovated much of our modern world, economy and culture (where would commercial radio be without pirate stations? What about the US government, who stole patented technologies throughout the 18th century?) trolls push the boundaries and in doing so create new online realities. The internet may not be so much the Wild West as a number of armed enclaves among a sea of anarchy. Sure, if you stick to places like Myspace or Facebook or your politically chosen network of blogs you'll be mostly safe...aside from the occasional raider. But in other areas, the only things that exist, from your identity upwards, are those you choose to invent. That anarchy, while terrifying to some, is also a lab for inventing, tampering with and altering all number of social events and processes.
  • Those state legislators are idiots. You can't police the net, at least not in the way you hope to. Hell, people cant even stop copyright infringement, and "Spartacus actions" among legally threatened bloggers are frequent. Try it with people who know how to conceal their identity and enjoy games where the roles and characters are not as substansial as they may appear, and you're entering a policing nightmare.
  • Precisely. The law is not your hug-box. I am not responsible for your hurt feelings. I'm sure you could do something more productive with money spent on trying to police jerks on the net, such as nearly catching Bin Laden and then letting him go in order to justify the invasion of Iraq Iran.
  • Fortuny is right. OpenID and similar schemes for multiple site IDs are doomed to failure because so long as you can get more than one account, you are back where you started. So you either charge for everything, and create a gated community (urgh), or you don't take everything so seriously. Pretty simple, really.
  • Fortuny's morals are not everyones. Again, there are different motivations.
  • What a delightfully hopeful note to end your article on. It still doesnt change the 99% of the net which is different, however.

I think that is all I really have to say. I probably shouldn't have had a couple of beers while writing this either, but oh well, too late to worry about that now.

1 comment:

Jorge said...

Hola amigo: quería invitarte que visites el blog que estoy realizando con mis alumnos de segundo año de la secundaria sobre LA DISCRIMINACIÓN.
http://nodiscrimine.blogspot.com
Tema arduo e interesante.
Seguro será de tu agrado.
Te invitamos que leas lo que gustes de él y hagas una opinión sobre el mismo.
Tu aporte será valioso.
En el blog encontrarás un traductor de la página en varias lenguas si lo necesitas.
Un abrazo desde la Argentina.