Monday, January 23, 2006

A Guide to Trolling

A great New York Times bit on how to troll the Internet. It requires registration, but the NYT is a great site to be able to access. For those too paranoid, here's the best bit:

    THEREFORE let us now post the rules for membership in the Pills of the American Internet Neighborhood Society.

    1. Use the strongest language possible. Calling names is always effective, and four-letter words show that you mean business.

    2. Having a violent opinion of something doesn't require you to actually try it yourself. After all, plenty of people heatedly object to books they haven't read or movies they haven't seen. Heck, you can imagine perfectly well if something is any good.


    6. If you find a sentence early in the article that rubs you the wrong way, you are by no means obligated to finish reading. Stop right where you are--express your anger while it's still good and hot! What are the odds that the writer is going to say anything else relevant to your point later in the piece, anyway?

    7. If the writer responds to your e-mail with evidence that you're wrong (for example, by citing a paragraph that you overlooked), disappear without responding. This is the anonymous Internet; slipping away without consequence or civility is your privilege.

    8. Trolling is making a deliberately inflammatory remark, one that you know perfectly well is baloney, just to get a rise out of other people. Trolling is an art. Trolling works just fine for an audience of one (say, a journalist), but of course the real fun is trolling on public bulletin boards where you can get dozens of people screaming at you simultaneously. Comments on religion, politics or Mac-vs.-Windows are always good bets. The talented troll sits back to enjoy the fireworks with a smirk, and never, ever responds to the responses.
Ah, the age of No Personal Responsibility.

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