Free speech, trolls, and sissies

Some interesting discussion over at e-Claire’s and Dog Snot Diaries today (and crap elsewhere).

I for one, feel freedom of speech comes with a load of responsibility.

It’s like having a driver’s license. While it enables you to drive a vehicle anywhere you want…

…riding on the sidewalk and mowing down pedestrians is usually frowned upon by the police department.

I’m once again reminded of a few sites that I typically avoid like the plague. Usually they want to talk, but they don’t want to listen. They have a link that says “Comments”, and some people get the silly impression that, as loyal readers they are welcome to, uhm, well, comment.

How stupid can you be? Comment means “Shower me with praise and adulation, and nurse my insecure, neurotic ass by telling me what I want to hear.” Like, duh, get a clue.

And it’s usually the same crap too. High on emotion, low on the logic. Lots of tough talk, and you watch the comments either get deleted, or their loyal staff of attack dogs rip the poor fool to shreds. They’re called names, they get labels hung on them. An otherwise decent discussion degrades to shit.

Again, before I hear the worn out “If you don’t like what I say, don’t come here.”, I repeat, these are sites I avoid like the plague. These sites (much like their authors) have no redeeming qualities whatsoever.

See, here at EricBrooks.Com – This isn’t my “house”. It’s a club, where all are welcome to come and party. I’m not only the owner, and the DJ, but I’m the bouncer as well.

By default, my MT comments are “off”. Not everything I write here warrants comments. It’s not that I don’t value what people have to say. If someone feels that strongly about what I wrote, they can either address it on their sites, or they’re welcome to email me (either to share their view, or to ask me to turn the comments on).

Sometimes I want to direct you elsewhere; Sometimes I want to get something off my chest. It’s not the vicious remarks I fear, but it’s the attempts to try and cheer me up, {{{hugs}}}, and the “but you’re wonderful” remarks that I dread. I’m a complicated person that way. What part of “-=e=- the merciless™” gave you the impression that I was a nice guy?

You think your “trolls” are so bad? Try the living hell that Kathy & her family just endured.

Oh, and who is the imbecile that decided to redefine “trolls” as “someone who disagrees with the author”, anyway?

troll /v.,n./ [From the Usenet group alt.folklore.urban] To utter a posting on Usenet designed to attract predictable responses or flames. Derives from the phrase “trolling for newbies” which in turn comes from mainstream “trolling”, a style of fishing in which one trails bait through a likely spot hoping for a bite. The well-constructed troll is a post that induces lots of newbies and flamers to make themselves look even more clueless than they already do, while subtly conveying to the more savvy and experienced that it is in fact a deliberate troll. If you don’t fall for the joke, you get to be in on it.

Hmmmm: “designed to attract predictable responses or flames”.
Sure as hell sounds more like the morons posting the drivel on thier blogs, if you ask me.

Eric Brooks

Musician, Programmer, Graphic Designer, Evil Clown - A thorn in the Internet's side since 1997 with no intention of stopping any time soon.

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33 thoughts on “Free speech, trolls, and sissies

  1. you know, I’ve been blogging for two years now, and I’ve never understood the term “trolling” till now…so spanks, blanks.

    and you’re wonderful. {{{{hugs}}}} everybody knows what a nice guy you are.
    (are you annoyed yet? *chuckle*)

  2. Blog wars are like a sunday service compared to usenet and irc (Have had my share of those there)

    And E you are a nice guy 🙂

  3. Oh man, you’re telling me, Sara?
    I’ve seen flamewars on newsgroups where the recipient had their sites hacked while while he was kept busy reading all the flames about him! (Most bloggers can’t even set up an MT template, so I’m not too particularly worried.)

    I remember another one where I and a few others were run off by this NASTY dude. Flames and e-mails day and night. To this day, I still think he was a Fed and he was trying to get certain people out of the line of fire, as there was a crackdown a few months later. (Don’t even ask what that newsgroup was about).

    Oh, and all of you… stop with the “nice guy” bashing here!!! I will not tolerate it!!! I’ll ban, I’ll close my page down!!!! grrr. argh. PH3AR M3!!!!!

  4. “What part of “-=e=- the merciless™” gave you the impression that I was a nice guy?”

    Uh, the “-=e=-” part?:)

  5. Smartass.

    You know I’m re-reading the part about “driving on the sidewalk”, and I’m remembering some fond childhood memories, like when we caught some dude that owed my friend money.

    Nothing says “FEAR” more than the look on a guy’s face when he’s pinned against a brick wall by a Mercedes with tinted windows. LOL! :0)

    (In case anyone wonders about my policy of “off-topic” comments, I hope you’ve found your answer in this one.)

  6. OOh…IRC is definitely a vicious battleground (I don’t bother with IRC anymore since the time I was in the lesbian chat room and told that I was a man because I called myself queer and then getting kicked off the channel.)

    Personally, trolls are good for a laugh. I’ve made it a hobby to pull out the really stupid ones and post them in the blog for all to see. But most I just ignore. It’s just easier that way…

  7. I don’t recall having told you you’re a nice guy. In fact, I think you’re an obnoxious, sarcastic, pain in the ass. Plus, I think I mentioned something along the lines of possible alien possession.

    But then again, what guy wants to be told that he’s “nice”? Everyone knows that’s the kiss of death!

    So don’t worry Eric – on my list of nice people I know, you don’t even troll along in the dregs! 😉

  8. 1)totally dead on point about responsibility..too many people, especially on the net think they are not responsible for what they say…while i too, have little use for the whiney children who claim to invite open debate or discussion then pout when disagreed with…i have even less for the cowards who set out with the sole intent of causing as much hurt possible to anyone they can….bringing me to
    2)thank you for posting the troll definition (pardon me while i smack myself upside the head for forgetting it..which ends with
    3)as a net user going back to bbs, who was forced to basically give up usenet, because the twits trolling flamewars and the spammers took all the fun out of things (once upon a time alt.tasteless.jokes was funny, then the pc trolls ruined it) and then spent many happy years on efnet until it too went to trolls and flamers, and i got fed up with spending half my time fending off hack, floods and other stupidity, or researching potential problems in the hacker/security sites, i gave it up too, for over a year became completely antisocail, no chat in any form no discussion, then forums were ok, no longer, seems that they will follow and anooy where ever net peeps gather, but i do as you do, and avoid the waste of bandwidth blogs, and while i hope to get regular visitors and lively open debate, will tromp on those who come only to pesonally attack…sorry for running on…this has become (as if it weren’t obvious) pet peeves…some one needs to write a good troll blocker

  9. Eh… you’re not a nice guy. You’re a merciless prick. Evil. Nasty. Patooey!

    (However, I still kinda like ya. Deal with it, man. Deal with it.)

  10. “I don’t recall having told you you’re a nice guy. In fact, I think you’re an obnoxious, sarcastic, pain in the ass. ”

    “you’re not a nice guy. You’re a merciless prick. Evil. Nasty. Patooey!”

    *squeals in delight*
    It’s like Lambchop and Ren have known me my whole life!!! Thanks, guys… I was ready to pull down this page forever, but you restored my trust in people again.

    Angstman, you pretty much nailed it on the head (Gina and Sara too). I think that’s what bothered me about the whole “free speech/censorship” issue. The problem with IRC/BBS/UseNet was that they were impossible to moderate. The fact of the matter is, I don’t think your average person can be *trusted* with being able to post freely. I’m all for free exchanges of thoughts and ideas…

    …but people are assholes. And they feel too safe in the comfort of their offices or bedrooms to be assholes. They need a moderator to keep them from going out of control.

  11. that’s why any email list I run is a dictatorship…:) it’s just easier to deal with people that way than to open it up to total chaos….

  12. I always wondered why some people call anyone who posts a disagreeing comment a “troll”. Trolls were traditionally people who would join e-mail discussion lists or newsgroups, and DELIBERATELY break the ALREADY SET RULES of the list. Like it had nothing to do with arguments or disagreements. It was like if the rule said “no swearing”, the person would deliberately post to the list and swear. THAT is what a troll does. Nowadays it seems like on blogs, anyone who doesn’t read a site regularly but posts a comment, is defined as a troll. Well, what do these morons expect? Do they REALLY think everyone has the time to read their site constantly? And besides, if someone disagrees and gets flamed for it, who in their right mind would want to visit that site regularly?

  13. “anyone who doesn’t read a site regularly but posts a comment, is defined as a troll”

    I actually thought thats what a troll was…because I saw so many people get flamed for posting a single comment here and there…silly, really. its kept me from posting quite often.

  14. Chloe said: “Do they REALLY think everyone has the time to read their site constantly?”

    Ren says: “What the hell ELSE are they supposed to be doing with their time? Eh? Having a life? Not on my shift!”

  15. Ren: HAH! Having “a life” is highly overrated. (Or so I’ve heard… I have no idea.)

    Dr. D: Ah yes, thank you for the reminder! Remember kiddies, “A tug a day, will keep the oncologist away!” :0)

  16. I was always under the impression that trolls were people who came onto messageboards, blog comments, etc., and deliberately caused trouble, like you said. When did I miss the announcement that this all changed?

    I was never on Usenet or IRC, but I remember some pretty heated messageboard flame wars that got very ugly. Then the Mod would step in and tell everyone to shut up or they’d get kicked out.

    Ah, the good old days…

  17. what is this “A Life” thing you are talking about….i think i had one of those once upon a time, but if so it was so far back, it is lost in the mists of time…oh, well it’s probably overated, even more than sleep

  18. Liz: So what are you saying exactly… ? That anyone who doesn’t visit a site regularly, and happens to post a comment, is just there looking for trouble?
    I’m sorry, I just don’t have the time (or the patience) to visit all kinds of sites on a regular basis. Doesn’t mean I don’t have a valid opinion…
    Because yeah, I DO have “a life”. And let me tell you, after 4 months of not having one due to illness, I can tell you, having one, for me, is not over rated!!
    Anyway, another thing that gets people tabbed as a troll is being light-hearted with humour among people who are super-sensative and looking for a fight. That’ll get you all the time. Don’t dare be silly around people who only get enjoyment from nastiness!!

  19. I’m sorry, I just don’t have the time (or the patience) to visit all kinds of sites on a regular basis.
    You mean you don’t have every word I’ve ever written and stored on your hard drive and ready to throw in my face when I contradict myself three years later?

    *GASP* that hurt!!! :0)

  20. I have a very good memory, I could quote you anyway.
    That’s if I actually read the original statement. Which it’s quite possible I haven’t.
    C’est la vie. You can’t please all the people all the time. 😉

  21. {{{{hugs}}}}


    I delete only really stupid comments by people I don’t know or comments where someone personally trashes someone else. If someone just disagrees with me… oh, well. I used to leave up all my comments, but really, I don’t need random strangers posting about random junk that has nothing to do with the entry they’re commenting on.

  22. An addendum: friends, acquaintances, and family can post all the random junk they want.

  23. Disagreement is cool. It sparks discussion.

    I think so too, but I’ve found a few sites that are so self-important that you’re likely to be flamed if you disagree. I saw my first case of one blogger trashing another just for the pleasure of it, and their minions carried the message to other blogs. The original blog had no links to these people, no mention of them. It was just a personal post that they felt was fair game. It can be a really nasty world sometimes. Thanks for the enlightening info about trolls.

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