And Now I Don’t Know

April 12, 2013 § Leave a comment

not sure dog

……because the thing is, upon closer inspection of time frame and tripcodes, the PDF on Wired looks pretty solid. Now I don’t know what to think, maybe it is real. It’s hard to say; these things aren’t easily verifiable, and there’s always a chance of, as the kids in the business say, “ultra-coordinated motherfuckery” in the form of time zone meddling or extensive photoshopping (nearly 4 hours passed between the last post on the now-infamous thread and Wired’s posting of the PDF — plenty of time for shenanigans). For me, the fact that this has happened so many times before, in exactly the same way, on exactly the same platform, every single time, for the last decade, is one hell of a reason for eyebrow raising. Maybe I’m just being paranoid, maybe I’ve spent too much time on the internet. As of press time, I can’t decide.

Anons on 4chan are discussing the story now — many seem similarly incredulous. Some are downright effervescent. Some are trolling other anons by claiming that all the other hoaxes were in fact a hoax, and that they were all true. tl;dr we’re gonna need a bigger boat.


You’re….Trolling, Right?

March 25, 2013 § Leave a comment

Screen shot 2013-03-25 at 5.20.51 PM

Yes, yes they are (click through to final slide of Gawker’s “The 20 Best Trollings in Modern History“).

I do of course vigorously agree that the media is every bit as skilled at trolling as self-identifying trolls, and that trolls and the media are almost identical in their behavioral and rhetorical tactics. But this is an inception-level metatroll masterwork, +1.

Kate Miltner Discusses The Kernel’s “Troll Watch”

January 17, 2013 § 4 Comments

My friend, colleague and Awl co-author Kate Milter was on CBC radio this morning debating the editor of The Kernel, which has kicked off what they’re calling “Troll Watch.” As this Kernel article explains, Troll Watch is a campaign devoted to naming and shaming online trolls (they’ve even hired a private investigator to help them track down the worst offenders). They claim they’ll hunt down any troll, any troll at all, be s/he anonymous, pseudonymous, or trolling under his/her real name.

During the interview (you can listen here), Milo Yiannopolous explains that trolls are, by definition, anonymous abusers, and that that fundamental lack of accountability is, ultimately, the biggest problem related to trolling, implying that the issue is anonymous indecorousness, not indecorousness in itself. Because apparently it’s fine to be nasty as long as you take ownership of your own bile, and only ever post mean-spirited things under your real name. Kate does a nice job complicating the question of what and who qualifies as troll-to-be-watched, and discusses various problems associated with public naming and shaming. She also calls attention to Yiannopolous’ own trollish history (on a related point I just realized I appeared alongside Yiannopolous on Al Jazeera’s The Stream; he was one of the Google+ guests, and expressed his impatience with “protracted academic discussions” on the subject of trolling, which…well that’s apparent). The following is a snippet of their post-show Twitter exchange:

kate troll 1

kate troll 2

These kinds of interviews are so much harder when it’s actually YOU, and this was a particularly tough setup. But Kate held her own, and was especially strong when she challenged Yiannopolous on The Kernel’s (and Yiannopolous’ own) sensationalist tendencies. +1, would listen again.

Also, 2013 is already shaping up to be an interesting year.

#cutforbieber and Why BuzzFeed is Every Bit as Gross

January 8, 2013 § 2 Comments

beiber doll

In today’s trolling news, some friendly neighborhood anons revisited the well-trod path to Bieberville. This time they did not vote to send the teen star to perform in North Korea, but instead started a hashtag threatening to cut themselves in response to the recent and entirely not shocking news that Justin Bieber smokes pot. This has upset some people, and understandably so; the images accompanying these tweets (#cutforbieber) are pretty gruesome.

What’s every bit as gruesome is the sensationalist, re-trolling efforts of listicle assembly-line BuzzFeed, which published –shock!!– a list of the most upsetting images. You know, because…these images are terrible…so let’s make a list of the worst ones…because no one should see them.  The Telegraph’s Tim Stanley sums it up nicely:

…BuzzFeed does us the courtesy of publishing some of those “disturbing photos” on the shady pretext of letting us decide for ourselves how authentic they are. Are they real, are they fake? Who cares? They’re sick and there was absolutely no journalistic value served in printing them. That’s why there’s no BuzzFeed link in my post and probably never will be again.

I had a similar reaction to Buzzfeed’s recent article (and I use the term loosely) “Here’s What James Holmes’ Online Fans Had to Say Before His Hearing Today,” which amounted to little more than classic trollbait. Ironically, and unsurprisingly, there was no mention of the fact that BuzzFeed essentially started –or at the very least, popularized– the “James Holmes Support Group” over which they are now apparently so concerned.

In short, I think it’s time that we need to start mentioning outlets like BuzzFeed –or as it shall henceforth be referred, TrollFeed– in the same breath as we do the trolls who post disturbing images images onto Twitter. Really, what’s the difference? Both groups are engaging in incendiary, deliberately provocative behaviors –which includes posting the most outrageously shocking images– in order to incite the strongest emotional response possible. The difference, of course, is that the trolls aren’t raking in the ad revenue while doing it.

You Wished Me Cancer…and Misspelled “Cancer”

June 8, 2012 § 2 Comments

What I like about this is that its anti-trolling message is itself pretty trollish (although this seems to be more about assholes generally than trolls specifically). I laughed when they called the baby a “cnut.”  To reiterate a sentiment from earlier, internet!

TROLL PATROL, Rupert Murdoch Edition

January 4, 2012 § Leave a comment

I'd listen to the cat if I were you.


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