Saturday, October 11, 2008

Trolls In The Bunker

"Just Before The Dawn Patrol Awakes" by Thomas Kinkade

This whimsical little inside joke of a photoshop pastiche was inspired by this news story about a hotel with rooms that used to be a nuclear bunker.

THE Bunker is the metaphorical retreat for regular readers of the Achenblog to go when the blog comment section (or "the boodle", Achenblog readers don't have much use for standard interweb terminology. See here for more odd terms) is over-run by trolls, flamers, and other drive-by bomb-throwers. Usually the cause is some tongue-in-cheek wry political piece that humor-impaired readers have taken completely out of context. But the hot-topic trolls get easily bored and leave when the topic returns to nuclear physics or needlework.

Trolls are an interesting internet phenomenon in that they explore the boundaries of internet abuse. They aim to, with only words, provoke extreme emotional responses just for their own amusement. They can be psychopathic, sociopathic, or simply mischievous. They exist to prove just how fragile and easily ripped the social contract is. While there are many definitions of troll, this one from a very good internet bestiary gets to the heart of the modern definition.
A troll is basically one who posts messages intended to insult and provoke per fas et nefas. {snip} For each person who responds, the poster (the troll as a person) will consider that person "caught". The troll (the troll as an action) is considered to have been a complete success if it disrupts beyond repair the normal traffic on a newsgroup or on a messageboard. In extreme cases, trolls are posted by groups of trollers and crossposted to unrelated newsgroups in an attempt to destroy those groups by flooding them with flames and off-topic ranting.
As the political season heats up, troll attacks (or RoveStorms in Boodle parlance) have become more common and more virulent.

The Achenblog has a long history of trolls. We adopt them and give them cute names and turn them away with our strongest weapons: surprise, whithering sarcasm, and a fanatical devotion to The Pope Boss. Heck, I was even one once.

Our latest troll flits around several WaPo message boards making personal attacks on individuals. His disdain for us is undercut by his persistence in pronouncing how banal and boring our conversation is several hundred comments into a post where only regualr readers would dare tread. Someone truly bored would have bailed long before. These comments clearly violate the Terms of Service and can and are deleted by the administrators when they get out of hand. In the meantime, while it is never a good idea to feed trolls, some are just so cute you can't resist patting them on the head while you strangle them by the throat.

BlatantCommentWhoring™: Where have you been attacked by trolls?


Anonymous said...

This delights me.


trusty getto said...

The trolls are out more than usual, apparently because the right wingers are scared witless that Obama is ahead and increasing the margin. I've noticed a distinct increase in troll traffic on my blog every time a poll comes out favoring Obama.

Mooselet said...

I'm part of a small X-Files fandom (why yes, I am a geek) that celebrates the Scully/Doggett partnership. When The X-Files was still on the air, we'd be rabidly attacked regularly by Mulder/Scully fans (whom we termed 'Barbieshippers' for their level of maturity, or lack thereof). I had one blog post attract a troll, but nothing else.