Expert Thoughts

How To Cope With The Shit Trolls Say Behind That Cozy Veil Of Online Anonymity

Ms. Bertliet reading trolls' mean comments in her "Shit Trolls Say" video (Screengrab: YouTube)

In general, I don’t mind dissenting opinions because I understand that aiming or expecting to please everyone would be foolish. Aristotle said: “To avoid criticism, say nothing, do nothing, be nothing.” As a writer whose work is often extremely personal and arguably quite provocative, I would even concede that I invite disapproval and ire to a certain extent. Read More

They See Me Trollin'

Anonymous Group Posts Bomb Threat for Nov. 5, Pisses off Anonymous


A group claiming affiliation with Anonymous posted a bomb threat on its Twitter account Monday, saying it plans to detonate a bomb in a government building on November 5. The threat prompted disavowals from other Anon channels across the web.

The threat was linked from @FawkesSecurity, which posted the following message on several paste-up sites, as well as links to a seemingly typical Anonymous video with a masked and suited figure gesturing as a robotic voice said these words: Read More

They See Me Trollin'

Anti-Jihadist Trolls Wage War on Terrorist Message Boards

(Photo: Wikipedia)

Terrorists: they’re just like us! They use message boards to communicate and organize. Before, these message board were largely free of “first!!!1″ and painstakingly detailed ASCII art, but perhaps no more. Now, according to Wired, participants in the U.S. government’s “Viral Peace” program are prepared to fight for freedom the American way: with trolling, naturally.

Perhaps not since To Catch a Predator has Internet vigilantism seemed so entertaining. Shahed Amanullah, senior technology advisor to the State Department, developed the program to address the world of online terrorism and fill what he recognizes as a void in US counterterrorism strategies. Read More

Once Upon A Time

The Guardian Has Hilariously British Response to Internet Trolls

Gather round for story time. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Like a newsprint Mother Goose, the Guardian knows how to defeat an Internet troll. The secret, dearie, is that trolls were once decent people transformed into loathsome monsters. Thus in the Guardian‘s little fairy tale, once you talk to trolls like humans, they can transform right back:

One minute it’s all “when will you WAKE UP to the fact that your STINKING LIBERAL MANURE has DESTROYED THIS COUNTRY” and the next thing you know, you’ll get a message saying, “Sorry I was testy, I just got stuck in traffic on my way back from the garden centre.”

The key to breaking the spell? Tut-tut them for their appalling bad behavior:

It’s all about humanisation, which is the big conundrum facing this amendment – people behave badly online because they feel liberated, and they feel liberated because it’s virtual. Our standards of courtesy are bound to our corporeal selves; freed from one we’re freed from the other. Calling trolls “trolls” probably doesn’t help. We should call them rude people.

With that their monstrous appearance will fall away and the beast will become, once more, a polite member of society. Or they’ll be revealed as a cranky basement dweller. Whichever.

Just bear in mind that patent trolls are different species and therefore require a different set of magical strategies. But that is a story for another day.

Obama Starts a Tumblr. Asks the Trolls to Please Keep Thing Polite

Be nice to the noob

The President started a Tumblr today, another arrow in the old social media quiver leading into the 2012 campaign.

According to his Hello, World post, “We’d like this Tumblr to be a huge collaborative storytelling effort—a place for people across the country to share what’s going on in our respective corners of it and how we’re getting involved in this campaign to keep making it better.” Read More