This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

← The Trolls Among Us

The Trolls Among Us - Comments

Lev-CapeTown's Avatar Comment 1 by Lev-CapeTown

That was entertaining to read. I can't decide if these guys are really just young adults with serious social issues, mischievious troublemakers in it for the adrenaline and fun or SERIOUSLY deluded individuals that are so out of touch with reality that they will never be able to integrate into society....

Fri, 01 Aug 2008 12:47:00 UTC | #211530

RedPen's Avatar Comment 2 by RedPen

What a large set of assholes.

Fri, 01 Aug 2008 12:51:00 UTC | #211531

He'sAVeryNaughtyBoy's Avatar Comment 3 by He'sAVeryNaughtyBoy

Generaly trolls are arseholes, and this lot sound like the biggest bunch of nobs going. But don't be so quick to disregard what can be learned not only from their behaviour, but also from other peoples.

The advertisement for a male dom which led to someone getting fired - why was someone fired from a job for wanting to take part in a consenting act between adults? Does the guy regret being honest and being "found out". What gives someone the right to fire someone else because you disagree with their style of life. Stuff like that.

Pointing out to the reporter that through his own nievity the troll could get hold of his card number. The epilepsy surfers who don't consider that it is THEIR responsibility to surf safely.

Yes this bunch sound like a load of antisocial rejects, yet while I don't agree with either their methods or their reasoning, I will say that there is a lot that can be learned by having irks like these around to push the buttons.

Fri, 01 Aug 2008 13:15:00 UTC | #211538

HitbLade's Avatar Comment 4 by HitbLade

and they protest against scientology. assholes.

Fri, 01 Aug 2008 13:16:00 UTC | #211539

phil rimmer's Avatar Comment 5 by phil rimmer

Wow, I like Postel's Law. You could build strong systems (and societies) with that.

Fri, 01 Aug 2008 13:25:00 UTC | #211543

DjSouthPaw's Avatar Comment 7 by DjSouthPaw

I've actually been on /b/ once or twice. It's almost a universal, brought up on forums of games and youth

and i consider it some form of Social experiment.. sometimes it's really scary what they come up with, it can be upsetting.. but i've been mocked for remarking on the immorality of some of their jokes, and been de-sensitised to some of it

They are the MAIN inventors of Internet meme's these days

my Favorite one :
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rickroll

they almost consider themselves a Collective by all posting as "Anonymous"

Anyone in to star-trek may draw a good analogy to the Borg

Fri, 01 Aug 2008 13:28:00 UTC | #211546

movingshadow's Avatar Comment 6 by movingshadow

/b/ is the most revolting

the internets number one source at the moment for fucking racist, misogynist, generally unfunny memes

Fri, 01 Aug 2008 13:28:00 UTC | #211545

movingshadow's Avatar Comment 8 by movingshadow

half the jokes on /b/ are failed and fucked versions of dated jokes from somethingawful, anyways

Fri, 01 Aug 2008 13:32:00 UTC | #211548

Border Collie's Avatar Comment 9 by Border Collie

The Internet is a modern day freak show inhabitated by millions of sociopathic dipshits ... who doesn't know that?

Fri, 01 Aug 2008 14:01:00 UTC | #211554

MattusW's Avatar Comment 10 by MattusW

That part where he says he was a victim of abuse, do you think he might have been trolling the reporter?

Fri, 01 Aug 2008 14:13:00 UTC | #211559

pingouin's Avatar Comment 11 by pingouin

and they protest against scientology. assholes. (HitbLade)


If you want to see some REAL protesting against scientology, see www.enturbulation.org

Fri, 01 Aug 2008 14:19:00 UTC | #211562

Gmork's Avatar Comment 12 by Gmork

Summary: abstraction/distance.--In many contexts in life, you can't get anywhere unless you distance yourself from the reality of things, taking a step back and becoming neutral to the situation you were put in, and some people happen take this to uninteresting levels.

Fri, 01 Aug 2008 14:26:00 UTC | #211566

Elles's Avatar Comment 13 by Elles

Pitiless... yet pitiful.

"Never call yourself a humanist," my friend once said to another friend who had exposed herself as a /b/ sympathizer. After repeatedly asking her for justifications of what they do she resorted to "for the lulz!"

I like "lulz", just not at others expense.

I should hope that the RDF will distance themselves from any individuals who sympathize with them... but Anonymous, the protest organization not the hacker organization, I suppose is more deserving of support.

Fri, 01 Aug 2008 14:48:00 UTC | #211570

Telf's Avatar Comment 14 by Telf

That Green Hair/Bad Journalist justification just doesn't hold up. One is an objective description, the other is a subjective judgment. Pretty shoddy reasoning to base, or attempt to excuse, such awful behaviour with.

I know it must be quite hard to admit you are a hate-filled, emotionally damaged, attention craving misanthrope, but come on.

Fri, 01 Aug 2008 15:22:00 UTC | #211579

Ansu's Avatar Comment 15 by Ansu

The question is: how long till it became art?
No sense? Well take a look at what Bansky ( Bansky at the palestinian/israeli wall) has done to graffiti. No more than a vandalism act made by teenagers with issues, graffiti can be made (in the right hands) a more powerful weapon for freedom and equality than all the headlines of all news papers.

It is not hard to see where it could begin. Look at the protests to scientology. Not every where in the world people can speak freely. Will you dare to publicly attack your president´s pet "alternative medicine "company if you were a Venezuelan? Or the Islam honor kills if you were an Iranian ?(or even if you were not...)

This trolls are full of anger, but its misdirected anger. Maybe they can ,for once, get the "lutz" out of the predators instead of the victims and use the power of anonymity not to mock some little fishes and destroy their self esteem but to make public discourse, thus politics, thus art.
Just as, in a way, the protest agaisnt scientology has become.

Fri, 01 Aug 2008 15:33:00 UTC | #211581

HourglassMemory's Avatar Comment 16 by HourglassMemory

4chan is a place of quite a lot of immaturity.
/b/ is also a land of disturbing contributions to the internet world.
From Wikipedia: The "random" board, /b/, follows in the design of Futaba Channel's Nijiura board. It is by far 4chan's most popular board.[14] According to Gawker.com, /b/ is summarised as a board where "people try to shock, entertain, and coax free porn from each other".[10] Certain post numbers, such as 12345678 and 22222222, and every millionth post, are sought after, with a large amount of posting taking place to "GET" them.

It's just a group of very bored (to a disturbing level) individuals.

Fri, 01 Aug 2008 15:41:00 UTC | #211583

He'sAVeryNaughtyBoy's Avatar Comment 17 by He'sAVeryNaughtyBoy

Wow, cool Ansu. The image at 1:30 is brilliant. Now for a bottle of red and some OK computer...

Fri, 01 Aug 2008 15:47:00 UTC | #211584

un-united's Avatar Comment 18 by un-united

the fact of the matter is 4chan [at least used to be] largely populated by a counter culture mindset. the chans have a large population of atheists, gays/bi, social rejects/nerds who are sick of the shit of the gen population. trolling is the revolt, its a game of social darwinianism, and the internet is the only ground these people have not to be taken advantage of. its a game of revenge in a way, anyone is fair game that is deemed too stupid for their own existence. i've seen raids on racists and gays, i've seen every demographic attacked by anonymous, the only objective is to pwn those with a lower intelligence/sensibility and to get lols along the way.

there seems to be two types of sensibility, those that are willing to put aside the rationality and individuality for a sense of security and those that are willing to question everything and decide what is moral for themselves. in the case of the girl who killed herself, she did something stupid, this is called survival of the fittest GET USED TO IT.

Fri, 01 Aug 2008 16:38:00 UTC | #211594

kkelly's Avatar Comment 19 by kkelly

19, troll much?

Fri, 01 Aug 2008 17:01:00 UTC | #211597

Cartomancer's Avatar Comment 20 by Cartomancer

Sounds like a bunch of very impolite individuals indeed. And the ones who deliberately try to ruin innocent strangers' lives for their own selfish satisfaction are just vile. I find it hard to see what the attraction of this sort of thing is.

Well, actually that's not entirely true. In fact I should probably confess to a similar practice myself. There is, it must be admitted, a certain dark pleasure to be had from getting a rise out of people for whom we have little or no respect. Especially when those people are themselves pompous, self-important and odious to the highest degree. Deflating the puff and swagger of these people does bring with it the delicious if somewhat forbidden taste of vindication, and even a sense of one's own smug superiority. I would be lying if I said I did not feel the lure of such things.

In my case the victims are street preachers and vocal religious apologists, and I do my "trolling" face-to-face. I guess I am motivated in doing so by the sense of outrage and irritation I feel at the antics of such people - especially the vilest and most bigoted of them. I have a strong sense that these people should not be allowed to stand up and spout their facile unevidenced nonsense in public unchallenged. Usually I will just argue them down with reasoning, but sometimes I will adopt a dramatic persona calculated to offend or upset the preacher (camping it up to the skies often does the trick with the homophobic ones) and engage in a knowing kind of barbed socratic ridicule. When I don't have time I will simply buy a drink from McDonalds or somewhere and throw it over them to express my displeasure and, by extension, the displeasure of the public at large.

I am led to wonder how my actions are different from those of the internet trolls. Well, in the sense that I am very particular about my victims and only go out of my way to make them look silly then and there. I do not go after people who simply hand out leaflets, unless they are especially vile leaflets, only those who take it upon themselves to violate public places with their preaching. I figure that they make themselves fair game for responses such as mine when they stand up in public and give their spiel. Especially if they bring a megaphone with them (which makes the sport slightly harder, because you have to shout much louder to be heard). It is not so much deception as theatrically-staged disagreement. I suppose it is the deceptive element of trolling that I find most disagreeable and sinister.

There is a blurred line between acceptably robust public discourse and unacceptable harassment, stalking, malice and damage. But even though the line is blurry there are clearly many things outlined in this article which go way beyond it - especially the unwholesome harassment of the families of the deceased, the identity theft, and the driving of people to suicide.

Fri, 01 Aug 2008 18:27:00 UTC | #211618

Cartomancer's Avatar Comment 21 by Cartomancer

Oh, and I utterly despise all these horrible little internet abbreviations. Especially when they get bandied around as real words rather than noisome acronymic place-holders for the terminally unimaginative. I mean "lol"? What's that? What possible communicative purpose does it serve? We already have a perfectly good way of denoting laughter in written discourse - several in fact - we can simply write "hah!" or "tee-hee, that was a good one" or "oh that does make me laugh, you are a frightful wit Sebastian". There isn't a premium on letters on the internet: you don't have to pay more to write more words. If people didn't use such nasty, trite little net-speak tags they would have to find a way to couch their sentiments in more eloquent and varied language. Such could only be a good thing for the communicative efficacy of the world at large.

Fri, 01 Aug 2008 18:44:00 UTC | #211621

DasSquid's Avatar Comment 22 by DasSquid

I gotta say, I've been an Anon for quite a fews years. I've viewed and posted on 4chan's various boards for a while, and believe me when I describe it as 'The Asshole of the Internet.'.

It's where the worst of the worst go to post, it's horrible and sickening, I guess that's why I like it. In /b/ (though /b/ has become over repetitive and boring now) anything goes, except of course Child Pornography. Gore, porn, funny things, politically incorrect things, and of course, cute kitties are all acceptable. I personally know quite a few 'fellow' anons in real life, and most of them are teens who obviously have quite a lot of trouble interacting socially, whether because of /b/ and whatnot or not, I can't be sure, it's likely cyclical. Start socially awkward, visit /b/ become desensitised, and now you're even more socially awkward ad infinitum.

I have trolled, and one of the funniest men that I know trolls a lot himself, he was just recently banned from the Overclockers Australia forums for trolling. In my opinion, and obviously every troll has their own reasons, anyone who is suckered in by a troll almost deservses it.

However in saying that I'm using my own personal definition of trolling. That being, when you say something that incites an emotionally charged response from someone else, be it for good reasons or not. As soon as it steps into the realm of where it can actually cause harm to someone, ie obtaining financial records, addresses and whatnot, it's gone WAY beyond trolling at that point.

For example, an inocuous troll that almost never fails to incite a reaction is to go onto the Video Games board on 4chan and declare that a particularly popular game is in fact a terrible game, point out little flaws or something like that, you can guarantee that after a few F5s (refreshes) you've got about 20 angry nerds on you. Troll away and laugh your ass off at this point, because it's just the trolling of opinions.

Hmm, rereading what I just wrote, I realise that I'm incredibly poor at getting my point across, but I'm hoping that whoever reads my post understands what I mean.

Fri, 01 Aug 2008 18:51:00 UTC | #211622

J Mac's Avatar Comment 23 by J Mac

Such could only be a good thing.


It could only be a good thing for those who are capable of it.

I totally agree. But sadly there is a sub-culture of people, generally preteen/teens, who get their jollies by thinking they are smarter than someone else.

It's a great irony that they use a blatant display of ignorance and in-eloquence as an attempt to display someone else's ignorance.

That being said, I rarely take much of any time to proofread items for internet forums. My posts are likely filled with poor grammar, typos, and barely structured thoughts spilled out on a whim.

Fri, 01 Aug 2008 18:53:00 UTC | #211624

DasSquid's Avatar Comment 24 by DasSquid

Oh, and I utterly despise all these horrible little internet abbreviations. Especially when they get bandied around as real words rather than noisome acronymic place-holders for the terminally unimaginative. I mean "lol"? What's that? What possible communicative purpose does it serve? We already have a perfectly good way of denoting laughter in written discourse - several in fact - we can simply write "hah!" or "tee-hee, that was a good one" or "oh that does make me laugh, you are a frightful wit Sebastian". There isn't a premium on letters on the internet: you don't have to pay more to write more words. If people didn't use such nasty, trite little net-speak tags they would have to find a way to couch their sentiments in more eloquent and varied language. Such could only be a good thing for the communicative efficacy of the world at large.


Oh how I agree with you so whole heartedly there, especially when it comes to text messaging on mobile phones. Although I have to say I have used 'LOL' every now and then, I find that I hate it as soon as I write it. Society's acceptance of the whole 'txt msgin 4 lol' (note: I can't even do it properly) stirs the bile in my stomach, I loathe it and sometimes even refuse to speak/type to people if they continue to use poor English.

Alas, as it's obvious I'm a rather young person, but I see a sadistic upside. If in communications with a say, prospective company, I'm the only one out of a handful of people that can actually spell, I guess I get a leg up!

Fri, 01 Aug 2008 19:02:00 UTC | #211627

Laurie Fraser's Avatar Comment 25 by Laurie Fraser

Carto,
Better still, make up your own, and simply *expect* other netizens (what a particularly odious term) to make sense of them. FITOIHJM.

Fri, 01 Aug 2008 19:22:00 UTC | #211629

Cartomancer's Avatar Comment 26 by Cartomancer

Actually, when I got my first mobile phone at the age of twenty, I made a point not only of texting in full, grammatical sentences but also of using an overly complicated mock-Elizabethan style in protest against the inanities of text speak.

"Art thou yet processing unto this location, brother mine? Pray, at what juncture might I expect thy glorious advent?"

Fri, 01 Aug 2008 19:32:00 UTC | #211631

8teist's Avatar Comment 27 by 8teist

And yet we still get idiots moaning they have been failed because they use txt spk in assignments and exams.

Fri, 01 Aug 2008 19:37:00 UTC | #211633

8teist's Avatar Comment 28 by 8teist

Gday.....sorry...Good day Laurie, no predictions from me today on the big game , learnt my lesson last week .:0
I`m ready for a big night ,fridge full of beer,fresh bottle of JD, roast in the oven and rugby to watch with some mates .Life ain`t gonna get much better than this .;)

Wotcha reckon L?

Speaking of trolls ,how are those wallies going to go tonight?

Fri, 01 Aug 2008 19:44:00 UTC | #211635

DasSquid's Avatar Comment 29 by DasSquid

Cartomancer,

Thine shenanigans doth verily make me pleased.

Alas, if only I could speak Elizabethan style english, but I'm definitely with you, all text messages from me are in full, grammatically correct sentences, spelled correctly etc.

8teist, well at least the schools are doing *something* right.

edit: fixed a spelling error, which given the post, is rather embarrassing.

Fri, 01 Aug 2008 19:46:00 UTC | #211636

Telf's Avatar Comment 30 by Telf

Laurie- that is such a fantastic idea.

However, I often look at that that kind of written language (LOL etc) as a kind of unconscious tip off/warning to the kind of individual you are dealing with. The textual equivalent of a dolphin tattoo, or gold-chain-worn-over-t-shirt ensemble. In a way they are doing us a favor.

Fri, 01 Aug 2008 19:48:00 UTC | #211637