This is a supplementary response to the article 5 Ways to Stop Trolls From Killing the Internet by David Wong from Cracked.com.
The source alone would be the equivalent of Mark Hamill’s Joker finding that the Batman is just a little boy in a playsuit, crying for mommy and Daddy. “I’d laugh if it weren’t so pathetic!”
It should be more telling than it feels when a humor site is more insightful than most more respectful internet sites out there. Which just comes to show how widespread trolling has spread. You don’t have to look long to find examples of this. You type ‘encyclopedia’ on Google, and the first suggestion (and until recently, the first site on many searches of names including my won) would be the infamous troll site Encyclopedia Dramatica. The Random board on picture site 4chan can totally screw someone over if they can get enough yucks out of it. Just ask the parents of Michael Henderson, Lori Drew, or any Scientologist. The creme da la creme on troll behavior has to deal with Jeneane Garofalo when she called everyone who attended any Tax Protest party people who get their jollies out of putting someone’s scrotum in their mouths. I guess we should thank her for not calling us “Faggots” as well, like she likes calling people when she cruises the net under anonymity.
And the way the left use the label “Racist” all the time, they would probably switch to “fucktard” and probably be just as effective these days.
And you don’t have to use Fifth Grade style vocabulary to show this dynamic. There’s plenty of web comic forums where the users just rag on the artist, rag on the artist, rag on the artist, and eventually by the constant ragging even the thickest of skins just get grounded raw. It’s because of this a plenty of would be web comics lose heart in their projects and even their skills and talents. I think that’s what happened to me with the Decade of Failure I had.
This is one of my choice topics that I watch over, the trend on real life troll activity and how to combat them. Granted, you had dicks before, but their online actions were far worse these days than they were before the WTC attacks. My theory is that the mainstream media and the elitists in Big Government and Business trolled down the reconnectiveness most of us went through after the attacks (the dynamic that the 9-12 project wants to recover) and the tendency to see another person—either across the country or across town or in come cases across the fucking room) and not see him or her as a fellow countryman or even a person for that matter. And they turn on that person with vitriol that could rival anyone with Bush Derangement Syndrome, or can I say that the Shrub would have been gotten off easy in comparison? (Chris-chan. Enough Said.)
“I can’t tell you who I am, but I have to tell you—” [CLICK] [BLOCK]
An actual online conversation I had. (I do not converse with anyone without a working identity, even if it is an alias.)
By far the best thing to do with trolls is not to address them directly; that never ends well for you, but to have your own little corner of the world and keep the trolls away from it. That means using your own web site instead of social networking sites, stomping flames flat the instant they come on your web browser, and never going anywhere where people are acting like total dicks. Go ahead and lurk at forums and comment lines, and all that, but if the comments start reminding you of /b/, bail out like Ba Rock at an Auto Show. (I’m not the only one who says this, Bill O’Riley has a more general—and real life—version of this in “Who’s Looking Out For You?”
(Note: Yeah, yeah, I know you’re not supposed to talk about /b/, but I can’t find of a better yardstick to measure dick activities by.)
Back to the Cracked.com article. David Wong lists a whole lot of actions people can take to deal with Net Assholes. Some would be more effective than others. A true troll will listen to his remarks recited by Microsoft Anna and masturbate to her voice. Filters and real-time bleepers can only go so far. Not everyone has a cadre of moderators at the ready to deal with flames 24-7, but they’re quite effective, and having the forum users police themselves with the Karma system makes a fine alternative. (People do care about those stuff.)
Why do I feel like stripping off a troll’s vowels to make him look totally retarded on the screen is going to end in tears?
By far the best way of keeping the trolls away would be to create an online environment where they’re just not welcome. Most of the time, it’s requiring them to put a screen name with an e-mail address that they’re actually going to use. Like what I said above. If you’re going to talk to me, use an identity I can reference, even if it’s a fake one. If a user comes on with an e-mail that just bounces back to me when I verify it, it’s going straight into my banfile, do not pass Go. This might make me feel like there’s tumbleweeds in my forums, but at least not every response I get to everything I do online would be abrasive. And SomethingAwful really did themselves a service by requiring people to pay to register, although financially putting them out of the reach of trolls who won’t pay for their fapping material would be a bit much.
A lot much, on the other hand, is what was in the bottom of the list, at the Number One way to deal with trolls: Make Anonymous Internet Use illegal by law.
Folks, this is the online world’s version of the Nuclear Option, a real life Superpowers Registration Act.
Oh, sure, they’ll try it. Nothing like Big Government and Big Businesses to get together and show the little guys how to effectively screw somebody. Not only is it going to be trampling on someone’s right to free speech, but this said act will be open for abuse. And the RIAA and MPAA would just love to be able to track down anyone they think is downloading anything. To me it’s just about as difficult, if not more so, for this to go through than bi-partisan Health Care Reform. You’ll see a mass of people in Gothic Lolita outfits and Code Name V masks on the National Mall, it’ll be sizzled over the media and the internet, and you can bet that the real trolls will make it their lives work to make the lives of any proponent of such legislation a living hell. They’ve done it before.
But the thing that got me worried is that, something like that might actually be attempted in today’s congress. Especially if they do pass Health Reform. And there’s no guarantee that having the Republicans take over congress in 2010 is going to keep it at bay. They come for the cigarettes, the cars, the food, and now your right to exist. (You’re on your hands and needs begging for your worthiness and only hearing masturbation noises regardless of it’s an Insurance Company or a Death Panel.) Your right of Anonymous Internet use, something which can be considered a First Amendment issue, might be next.
You’ll know where I’ll be.
“Treat each other with kindness, fairness, and friendliness; because the world outside and life in general has a tendency of not being kind, fair, or friendly. Any person’s lives is hard enough without you adding to it.” Eric Krockett, a future BAM story.
If the people online would consider each other as actual human beings and don’t think of them as less of a person just because you don’t know them, we would never have to think of what I’ve just talked about. The best way to keep both the trolls and the government out of our lives is to be connected to each other. Or at the least, not treat each other like shit. Cracked.com has many an article on this, and if I have my way, so will the 9-12 project.