Metafilter Wins! February 20, 2014 11:41 AM   Subscribe

Nice MF shoutout from Mark Morford in his latest post about trolls...

For the record and for what it’s worth, I never read the anonymous comments below my own columns, never have and never will. The toxicity level is far too high, and any honest discussion-making by intelligent or otherwise articulate parties is shouted down and poisoned by various insta-haters and right-wing trolls. They deserve exactly zero of my energy or time. I’m usually good for maybe 90 seconds of skimming comments on other news sites I frequent before I read something that makes my heart recoil (exception: the smart, lightly moderated conversations over at Metafilter, which rarely devolve into nastiness or outright trolling, and which are often tremendously informative and engaging).
posted by grateful to MetaFilter-Related at 11:41 AM (142 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

Ironically, I stopped reading Mark Morford because he seemed mean-spirited. Of course, YMMV.
posted by lukemeister at 11:46 AM on February 20, 2014 [4 favorites]


link to full article
posted by mochapickle at 11:49 AM on February 20, 2014 [4 favorites]


Oh thanks mochapickle - I forgot to do that...
posted by grateful at 11:51 AM on February 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


Obviously we're not trying hard enough.
posted by blue_beetle at 12:13 PM on February 20, 2014 [4 favorites]


LIES ALL LIES
posted by klangklangston at 12:51 PM on February 20, 2014


When I was your age, we were allowed to feed the trolls. Now, it is just too dangerous.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 12:55 PM on February 20, 2014 [8 favorites]


Well yeah I think one of the distinctions sites are struggling to make is that when the internet was more exclusive and harder to get access to, someone trolling was probably someone actually smart just fucking around with people. Whereas with increased access, a "troll" may be a genuine asshole who genuinely believes the terrible drivel spewing out of his mouth.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 12:57 PM on February 20, 2014 [11 favorites]


which rarely devolve into nastiness or outright trolling

To the contrary, the mods here are just outstanding at cleaning up the place and taking out the garbage posts. To quote Cosby, I've seen the boss's job, and I don't want it. The sheer amount of reading and context-deciphering and then calm responding would kill me dead where I sit. Thanks to all the moderators here for making this place a good spot to be.
posted by cashman at 1:01 PM on February 20, 2014 [96 favorites]


The sheer amount of reading and context-deciphering and then calm responding would kill me dead where I sit.

Not to mention how quickly the mods perform these tasks, which seems nothing short of superhuman.
posted by ogooglebar at 1:13 PM on February 20, 2014 [7 favorites]


Very cool, though my first fear is someone will read it and say "Oh, so this site thinks they have solved the troll problem, well I'll show them..."
posted by mathowie (staff) at 1:16 PM on February 20, 2014 [79 favorites]


One does not simply walk into Morford... (no wait that's not right)
posted by zarq at 1:16 PM on February 20, 2014 [8 favorites]


He hasn't been to MeTa, huh?
posted by maryr at 1:21 PM on February 20, 2014 [4 favorites]


You can pretty much slap a Metafilter: in front of anything in this thread. Chrome extension idea
posted by michaelh at 1:26 PM on February 20, 2014


Metafilter: You can pretty much slap a Metafilter:

oh come on someone was going to do it
posted by ook at 1:31 PM on February 20, 2014 [10 favorites]


Metafilter: oh come on someone was going to do it
posted by hal_c_on at 1:35 PM on February 20, 2014 [10 favorites]


Metafilter: Metafilter
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 1:36 PM on February 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


Metafilter: LIES ALL LIES
posted by zarq at 1:39 PM on February 20, 2014 [8 favorites]


The three places I "get" most of my content from, for a while now, are MetaFilter, Flickr and Vimeo. I thought for a long while because of the quality of the material on this trio, but did occur recently that the comments on all three are relatively positive, rarely negative, antagonistic or troll-like. So, maybe there's a bit of that as well. Or maybe high quality content and positive commenters attract each other. Or, something.

IANA internet scientist
posted by Wordshore at 1:40 PM on February 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


So the first comment on the article right now -- the one that begins "Methinks thou dost protest too much!" and ends "I will not cease to educate even the most recalcitrant of bloggers." -- is that super-sly satire or just an utterly complete lack of self-awareness? Because whichever it is it's a crystalline perfect encapsulation of that flavor of troll, suitable for cross-stitch and framing.

(I subdivide the genus into two species, the "doing it for the lulz" type and what I will from now on refer to as the "I will not cease to educate" type.)
posted by ook at 1:44 PM on February 20, 2014 [5 favorites]


actually if it's super-sly satire then I guess it qualifies as both types, dunnit. sweet
posted by ook at 1:47 PM on February 20, 2014


Very cool, though my first fear is someone will read it and say "Oh, so this site thinks they have solved the troll problem, well I'll show them..."

Mr. Haughey, what you do have are a very particular set of skills; skills you have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make you a nightmare for people like them. If they leave Metafilter alone now, that'll be the end of it. You will not look for them, you will not pursue them. But if they don't, you will look for them, you will find them, and you will ban them.
posted by leotrotsky at 1:49 PM on February 20, 2014 [12 favorites]


cashman To the contrary, the mods here are just outstanding at cleaning up the place and taking out the garbage posts. To quote Cosby, I've seen the boss's job, and I don't want it.

It's like pulling bouncer duty at Jesse Pinkman's party house.
posted by mlis at 2:22 PM on February 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


"Very cool, though my first fear is someone will read it and say "Oh, so this site thinks they have solved the troll problem, well I'll show them...""

im in ur site trollin ur dudes
posted by klangklangston at 2:22 PM on February 20, 2014 [7 favorites]


i hope you have ten five bucks
posted by entropicamericana at 2:38 PM on February 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


Oh, if I had commented simply from being a troll! Heavens, how I should have respected myself, then. I should have respected myself because I should at least have been capable of being a troll; there would at least have been one quality, as it were, positive in me, in which I could have believed myself. Question: What is he? Answer: A troll; how very pleasant it would have been to hear that of oneself! It would mean that I was positively defined, it would mean that there was something to say about me. "Troll"--why, it is a calling and vocation, it is a career.
-Excerpt from Dostoevsky's Trolling from Underground
posted by perhapses at 3:05 PM on February 20, 2014 [4 favorites]


I will not cease to educate even the most recalcitrant of bloggers.
I will not cease to educate even the most recalcitrant of bloggers.
I will not cease to educate even the most recalcitrant of bloggers.
I will not cease to educate even the most recalcitrant of bloggers.
I will not cease to educate even the most recalcitrant of bloggers.
I will not cease to educte even the most recalcitrant of bloggers.
I will not cease to educate even the most recalcitrant of bloggers.
I will not cease to educate even the most recalcitrant of bloggers.
I will not cease to educate even the most recalcitrant of bloggers.
I will not cease to educate even the most recalcitrant of bloggers.
I will not cease to educate een the most recalcitrant of bloggers.
I will not cease to educate even the most recalcitrant of bloggers.
I will not cease to educate even the most recalcitrant of bloggers.
I will not cease to educate even the most recalcitrant of bloggers.
I will not cease to educate even the most recalcitrant of blogers.
I will not cease to educate even the most recalcitrant of bloggers...
posted by maryr at 3:08 PM on February 20, 2014 [5 favorites]


The term "troll" is losing its original meaning (someone who disingenuously puts forward opinions so as to trap unwary interlocutors into outraged responses or unwinnable, endlessly goalpost-shifting arguments) and just coming to mean "internet shithead" isn't it? I think it's a pity, because the troll is a genuinely distinct thing from just an obnoxious loudmouth, and something that's not unique to internet culture but which really found its ideal habitat on the internet. I think it's useful to keep a distinct label for trolls and for trolling behavior as opposed to just generalized obnoxiousness--but it looks like a fight I'm going to lose.
posted by yoink at 3:18 PM on February 20, 2014 [30 favorites]


I will not cease to porofread my comments....
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:10 PM on February 20, 2014 [4 favorites]


"The term "troll" is losing its original meaning (someone who disingenuously puts forward opinions so as to trap unwary interlocutors into outraged responses or unwinnable, endlessly goalpost-shifting arguments) and just coming to mean "internet shithead" isn't it? "

No, a troll is anyone who doesn't believe in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, and you can't prove otherwise.
posted by klangklangston at 4:16 PM on February 20, 2014 [16 favorites]


Trolls attack with two clawed hands and their bite, and they can attack at multiple opponents. In the rare case that a troll wields a weapon, it attacks with a +8 damage bonus. Trolls regenerate at an amazing rate. Starting three rounds after first blood, the creatures recovers 3 hit points per round until healed. Trolls reduced to 0 or fewer hit points fall to the ground, incapacitated but not slain. Incapacitated trolls continue to regenerate and stand up to fight as soon as they have a positive number of hit points.

When using an edged weapon, it is possible to sever the thin limbs of a troll (a natural 20 with an edged weapon is needed). Severed limbs continue to fight after separation from the body (hands squeeze, heads bite if stepped on, etc.). Attacks by severed limbs are at normal chances to hit. Separated limbs fight for the remainder of the battle, then scuttle back and rebind with the body once the battle is over. Limbs unable to reach the body to die within 24 hours, but this is of little consequence since trolls regenerate lost body parts (including the head) within a week. If a troll is dismembered and scattered, the largest surviving piece regenerates. The others die within one day if they cannot rejoin that piece. Only fire and acid cause permanent damage to trolls. These forms of attack destroy its regenerative ability. A troll reduced to 0 or fewer hit points and immersed in acid or burned with fire is killed.

Trolls have no fear of death, and launch themselves into combat, flailing wildly at their opponents and biting whoever comes closest. They occasionally (25%) throw stones before closing with their victims. Thrown stones have a maximum range of 20 yards, weigh 10 to 20 pounds, and inflict 1d8 points of damage. If confronted by a large natural or magical fire, trolls try to find some way around the flames. Trolls combine a ravenous appetite with limited intelligence, so they are frequently distracted and break off pursuit 50% of the time to pick up food dropped by fleeing prey.
posted by Sticherbeast at 4:25 PM on February 20, 2014 [27 favorites]


Metafilter: It's like pulling bouncer duty at Jesse Pinkman's party house.
posted by tzikeh at 4:29 PM on February 20, 2014 [3 favorites]


I think the right response to a compliment is to say thank you and move on.

pb, we will need a thank you flag added stat
posted by davejay at 4:34 PM on February 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


Holy crap, ook, that comment is difficult to read. I got a few sentences in and my empathetic embarrassment kicked into overdrive.
posted by brundlefly at 4:37 PM on February 20, 2014


I think that people frequently underestimate how much the $5 door fee has to do with reducing trolling around here. Most trolls are opportunists; they are looking for easy targets and a quick payoff, and are generally not willing to pay $5 to troll when there are so many lulz to be had elsewhere for free.

Also, discussions here are more difficult to derail than in most places. With the exception of a handful of axe-grindy topics (which both moderators and users generally keep a close eye on) people almost always actively work to keep threads on topic and productive, and people who are being ridiculous are often ignored rather than responded to.

Even when people do respond, the level of payoff is generally pretty low compared to other places; even when folks here are really angry, the community expectation is that arguments will be civil and calm and will not be perpetuated to the point of hijacking a thread. Flamewars here tend to sputter out naturally. I can't count the number of times I've seen a user in a thread say something like "hey guys, do you think we could calm down a bit and get back on topic?" and then seen the combatants actually apologize, calm down, and get back on topic. Brings a tear to my eye, it does.

The moderation itself is also a really interesting thing. MeFi likes to say that it's lightly moderated, and I would agree with that to the extent that the mod team is small relative to the userbase and only a small percentage of threads and comments (something like low single digits, right?) see moderator action. However that's probably true of lots of places, including YouTube and your local newspaper's comment section.

I would say that MeFi is very heavily moderated, but in non-traditional ways. Moderators here are known personalities, are highly communicative, and are tireless about calmly explaining their rationale for doing the things they do. I really get the sense that they are a part of the community, not just cops who are waiting to stamp out whatever narrowly-defined behaviors Matt has decreed as "unacceptable". I never feel like they're enforcing policies as much as they're trying to promote guidelines. The guidelines are broad and require judgement and reason to enforce, and it's clear that they spend a lot of time thinking about their actions.

Almost always their reasoning makes sense too; even if one disagrees with the specific positions, it's hard to say that the mods are being capricious or irrational. They tread softly, but they're a definite presence – a presence that I always feel is on the same side as the users, even when I don't personally agree with them. That's a crucial factor that is often not the case; in many forums, the dynamic between moderators and users is definitely oppositional.

So MetaFilter works because we have a community of committed users ($5 worth of commitment, anyway) who genuinely share a common goal (looking at and having interesting conversations about cool stuff on the web) and who are assisted in that goal by a dedicated team of moderators who use a handful of broad yet transparently-defined guidelines to help guide community behavior, mostly by talking about it rather than enforcing it. It's a pretty cool little society, a community of shared purpose that operates on principles rather than laws. It would be interesting to see if something like that could be extended to real life.
posted by Scientist at 4:46 PM on February 20, 2014 [60 favorites]


> Also, discussions here are more difficult to derail than in most places.

One of the things I eventually learned from metafilter was that trying to take posts in good faith is not so much about being willingly suckered as it is about maintaining a level of discourse in the long run. I mean, it's much more complex then that, but yeah, useful way to think.
posted by postcommunism at 5:08 PM on February 20, 2014 [3 favorites]


Whereas with increased access, a "troll" may be a genuine asshole

Oh there were plenty of genuine assholes back on USENET.
posted by spitbull at 5:21 PM on February 20, 2014 [6 favorites]


I will not cease to educate een the most recalcitrant of bloggers.

I am so proud of you for actually typing that instead of copy-pasting. Like the flaws in a handmade garment, the typos prove it genuine
posted by ook at 5:32 PM on February 20, 2014 [10 favorites]


I thought they spelled out a hidden message, but no go.
posted by postcommunism at 5:37 PM on February 20, 2014


Go home klang, you're saved.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:39 PM on February 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


Surprised he reads us - we weren't that receptive to his spot-on 2002 column It's an angry, violent, warmongering world out there right now. You just live in it when it appeared here.
posted by madamjujujive at 5:40 PM on February 20, 2014 [3 favorites]


Even when people do respond, the level of payoff is generally pretty low compared to other places

I'm not sure that's true. The flip side of the five-dollar bar, which I agree is generally effective, is that on the rare occasions when MetaFilter does get trolled, it gets trolled hard. The person years back who was operating multiple identites? That was a big deal for a long while. Scott Adams made headlines when he trolled us. Maybe that's skewed because duh, Scott Adams, but the suicide hoax wasn't anybody famous and that made headlines, too.
posted by cribcage at 5:42 PM on February 20, 2014 [5 favorites]


I will not cease to porofread my comments....

I read that as "poofread", which might be a fun thing to do.
posted by Melismata at 6:01 PM on February 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


Metafilter and the one other place I love hanging out on the internet (a Ravelry group) have a couple of things in common: a real sense of community--people sort of feel like they "know" other users even though many users on both sites do not use their real names! This is why I'm unconvinced that forcing people to use their real identities necessarily is key to cutting down on internet chicanery. Also, the whole tone of the site/group is one of respect. There's disagreement; neither place is a great big echo chamber, but people are expected to behave in a respectful manner to each other, and if they don't, a moderator intervenes.

I think the role of moderation can't be overlooked. The thing about the mods here and at Ravelry is that they also are respectful in their interactions with the users. This probably seems like a no-brainer, but I have definitely participated in forums where the moderators were downright rude to participants. Often the participants were tiresome and being horrible on purpose, but sometimes it seemed like the moderators were just, well, in a bad mood and spraying mod-bullets all over everyone in the thread. I never, ever have that feeling here, or at Ravelry. Never. In fact, I mostly marvel at the patience they display.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 6:31 PM on February 20, 2014 [4 favorites]


Metafilter: a genuinely distinct thing from just an obnoxious loudmouth
posted by ersatz at 7:23 PM on February 20, 2014


Troll sat alone on his seat of stone,
And munched and mumbled a bare old bone;

For many a year he had gnawed it near,

For meat was hard to come by.

Done by! Gum by!

In a cave in the hills he dwelt alone,

And meat was hard to come by.

Up came Tom with his big boots on.
Said he to Troll: 'Pray, what is yon?

For it looks like the shin o' my nuncle Tim,

As should be a-lyin' in graveyard.

Caveyard! Paveyard!

This many a year has Tim been gone,

And I thought he were lyin' in graveyard.'

'My lad,' said Troll, 'this bone I stole.
But what be bones that lie in hole?

Thy nuncle was dead as a lump o' lead,

Afore I found his shinbone.

Tinbone! Thinbone!

He can spare a share for a poor old troll,

For he don't need his shinbone.'

Said Tom, 'I don't see why the likes o' thee
Without axin' leave should go makin' free

With the shank or the shin o' my father's kin;

So hand the old bone over!

Rover! Trover!

Though dead he be, it belongs to he;

So hand the old bone over!'

'For a couple of pins,' says Troll, and grins,
'I'll eat thee too, and gnaw thy shins.

A bit o' fresh meat will go down sweet!

I'll try my teeth on thee now.

Hee now! See now!

I'm tired o' gnawing old bones and skins;

I've a mind to dine on thee now.'

But just as he thought his dinner was caught,
He found his hands had hold of naught.

Before he could mind, Tom slipped behind

And gave him the boot to larn him.

Warn him! Darn him!

A bump o' the boot on the seat, Tom thought,

Would be the way to larn him.

But harder than stone is the flesh and bone
Of a troll that sits in the hills alone.

As well set your boot to the mountain's root,

For the seat of a troll don't feel it.

Peel it! Heal it!

Old Troll laughed, when he heard Tom groan,

And he knew his toes could feel it.

Tom's leg is game, since home he came,
And his bootless foot is lasting lame;

But Troll don't care, and he's still there

With the bone he boned from its owner.

Doner! Boner!

Troll's old sear its still the same,

And the bone he boned from its owner!

posted by drjimmy11 at 7:26 PM on February 20, 2014 [9 favorites]


But yeah, Metafilter surely isn't perfect, but it's one of the few sites where I come for the discussion. A hefty percentage of my bookmarks are comments I'd like to revisit.
posted by ersatz at 7:28 PM on February 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


Metafilter surely isn't perfect, but it's one of the few sites where I come for the discussion.

Metafilter is becoming the only site I come to for the discussion. Site by site, I've given up on even casually scrolling down to the comments section, much less participating. Morford seems to be in the same boat; here is the full quote from the article where he talks about how little he reads the comments and then mentions Metafilter:

I’m usually good for maybe 90 seconds of skimming comments on other news sites I frequent before I read something that makes my heart recoil (exception: the smart, lightly moderated conversations over at Metafilter, which rarely devolve into nastiness or outright trolling, and which are often tremendously informative and engaging).
posted by BlueTongueLizard at 8:02 PM on February 20, 2014


Decent video interview of him on KPIX.

Oh come on... its still a little funny
posted by Nanukthedog at 9:52 PM on February 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


I always read comments sections of sites with a little mental banner scrolling across my view. It says, "opinions are like arseholes. Everyone's got one."

I can't really understand the mental lives of the unselfconscious and obnoxious commenters - I just assume they are the same damaged people that tear through offline life making sure the majority of other people can't have nice things.

Proper old school trolls - the ones who delight in casting out the line and fishing for outrage - are easy to understand. They just want attention and are desperate enough to seek it in unflattering form from people they don't know. I find it easier to picture them hugging their teddy bears as they type.

Like yoink, I think the application of the word troll to the people behind all sorts of disagreeable behaviour is a shame. It confers a mindfulness to an awful lot of mindless bullying, dickheadery and stupidity whose authors could be more accurately described as twats.
posted by MuffinMan at 1:31 AM on February 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


Pretty disgusting that the age-old anti-troll bias is once again getting a raised platform on MeFi to pirouette, twirl and show off its form-fitting dress in a colourful new design.

Trolls are, actually, an important part of efficient bridge administration in many kingdoms - both those far, far away, and also some much closer. By collecting taxes for bridge-crossing activities, trolls help to recoup the otherwise-unmanagable cost of bridge construction, adding certainty for investors and helping the infrastructure economy. Sure, those "taxes" are collected by way of eating the people and/or billy-goats-gruff who wish to cross said bridges - but the fact is, trolls don't write those laws: they are public servants who are bound by the regulations that the legislature has imposed, just as we all are.

In that context, I think MeFi should apologise for years of anti-troll hatred, which I can only imagine is a consequence of the rampant pro-billy goat prejudice of this website.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 3:04 AM on February 21, 2014 [41 favorites]


Maybe I'm just being overly-cynical but this whole piece reads like weak liberal-media shilling for troll votes right before election season, and someone needs to shine some light on it.

At least the quidnunc kid didn't stamp that propaganda piece with a "vote #1" button. I know Metafilter is supposed to be progressive and all that but I don't think we are anywhere near ready to elect a troll into a position of authority.

I get it, they've paid their $5 just like everyone else, and they're valuable members of the community, but we have to have limits somewhere you know? What next troll moderators? What would you do if it loses control and decides to bite the head off a member for a double post? What if that double post was you?
posted by xqwzts at 3:26 AM on February 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


we're under ur bridge eatin ur billie goats
posted by drlith at 3:41 AM on February 21, 2014 [11 favorites]


What would you do if it loses control and decides to bite the head off a member for a double post?

Sheesh, you bite off one lousy head, and everyone's a kvetch.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 3:53 AM on February 21, 2014 [3 favorites]


"I would say that MeFi is very heavily moderated, but in non-traditional ways. Moderators here are known personalities, are highly communicative, and are tireless about calmly explaining their rationale for doing the things they do. I really get the sense that they are a part of the community, not just cops who are waiting to stamp out whatever narrowly-defined behaviors Matt has decreed as "unacceptable". I never feel like they're enforcing policies as much as they're trying to promote guidelines. The guidelines are broad and require judgement and reason to enforce, and it's clear that they spend a lot of time thinking about their actions."

You make it sound Talmudic.
posted by marienbad at 4:41 AM on February 21, 2014


We need a Troll 101.
posted by spitbull at 4:43 AM on February 21, 2014


I only troll RL, I do my best to avoid trolling online. Seriously, I care what you people *might* think of me someday - this is permanent. There is a record in a database that could potentially outlive all of us. But in RL? I know what those people think of me now, and they'll forget.
posted by Nanukthedog at 4:43 AM on February 21, 2014 [3 favorites]


Oh, so this site thinks they have solved the troll problem? Well, I'll show...

...just kidding.
posted by Decani at 5:33 AM on February 21, 2014


You can be derailed with kitten pictures.
posted by winna at 5:39 AM on February 21, 2014 [3 favorites]


Also, what yoink said. I think we've lost a useful term since "troll" came to mean "abusive jerk". That was not the original meaning, which ought to be clear from the definition of the verb, "troll".

I've noticed that there is a disturbing trend for blurring and merging the meanings of distinct words which seems, in some cases, to be political in intent. Umm... sorry, sorry, don't mind me, I'm rambling. I'll go have a lie down.
posted by Decani at 5:44 AM on February 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


It's easy to see how the term gets blurred between one group that's acting like a jerk for fun, and the other group that is just genuine jerks. To distinguish between them requires knowledge of their intent, not just their words. I still don't know which category that comment I quoted above falls into.
posted by ook at 5:50 AM on February 21, 2014


Is traditional trolling mostly limited to nerdy cultures, or do you also see it in (for example) sports fandoms? And what does that even look like?
posted by postcommunism at 6:00 AM on February 21, 2014


Skip Bayless
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:04 AM on February 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


Is traditional trolling mostly limited to nerdy cultures, or do you also see it in (for example) sports fandoms? And what does that even look like?

Yankees Suck.

Edit: This is a sample of what sports trolling looks like
posted by Nanukthedog at 6:26 AM on February 21, 2014


And is that bait because an established fan would know it's not a serious appraisal of ability, but a neophyte fan would engage you believing it's a genuine misunderstanding of their talent?
posted by postcommunism at 6:40 AM on February 21, 2014


Would you prefer a civil discussion on Bill Buckner's influence on Red Sox culture? What about a discussion on whether Pete Rose should be inducted into the Hall of Fame? How many rings should A-Rod have?
posted by Nanukthedog at 6:49 AM on February 21, 2014


I dunno man. I'm sincerely clueless here.
posted by postcommunism at 6:52 AM on February 21, 2014


With the Yankees, it goes a little further than that. Some players been accused over the years of poor sportsmanship. Jeter in particular, of sliding cleats first into second basemen, and there was an incident a few years ago where he faked being hit by a pitch in order to get to first base.

There have also been complaints that they use money to gain advantages over other teams -- as if other teams would do any less given the opportunity.
posted by zarq at 6:52 AM on February 21, 2014


Yankees Suck.
Edit: This is a sample of what sports trolling looks like


I dunno, seems pretty accurate to me.
posted by wenestvedt at 8:00 AM on February 21, 2014 [5 favorites]


Then there's the time that a director of the Red Sox was in charge of the big MLB steroids investigation, but luckily nobody on the Red Sox was implicated. (Of course, their biggest stars in Manny and Ortiz were both caught later, and their coaches were accused of pushing steroids. Weird, that.)
posted by inigo2 at 8:04 AM on February 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


You folks want sports trolling? Your wish has just been granted: Frank Luntz Is Going To Be A Sports Analyst Now.
posted by benito.strauss at 8:10 AM on February 21, 2014


Trolling is unfairly maligned, I think. People often don't consider that its the most sustainable method of harvesting vitriol from comment threads. Alternatives like longlining, purse seining and gillnetting all have way higher bycatch.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 8:20 AM on February 21, 2014 [3 favorites]




benito.strauss: "Frank Luntz Is Going To Be A Sports Analyst Now."

I look forward to watching him flub calls, fail to predict the outcome of plays and refuse to speak on the record about A-Rod and Miguel Tejada.
posted by zarq at 8:31 AM on February 21, 2014


"Is traditional trolling mostly limited to nerdy cultures, or do you also see it in (for example) sports fandoms? And what does that even look like?"

All of talk radio.

"With the Yankees, it goes a little further than that. Some players been accused over the years of poor sportsmanship. Jeter in particular, of sliding cleats first into second basemen, and there was an incident a few years ago where he faked being hit by a pitch in order to get to first base.

There have also been complaints that they use money to gain advantages over other teams -- as if other teams would do any less given the opportunity.
"

1) The majority of Yankees fans are insufferable douchebags, especially the further from New York you are.

2) Until pretty recently, A-Rod was lauded well above his ability. The PED thing finally let New Yorkers see him the was the rest of us do.

3) In fact, most of the Yankees were lauded well above their ability — there's pretty much zero years in a rational universe where Jeter wins a Golden Glove.

4) For a long time, the Yankees did use their wealth as a weapon, poaching free agents in a way that small-market teams just couldn't compete with.

5) Steinbrenner was a total asshole too.

6) Baseball, on the whole, lionizes prolonged suffering in fans (e.g. Cubs fans, Mets fans), and the Yankees fans never really seem to suffer.

7) To the rest of the country, Yankees fans look like how Red Sox fans look in New York.

8) With Mets fans in New York, there's even a justified local resentment of Yankees.

Rooting for the Yankees is like rooting for the Empire. It's understandable if you grew up there, but if you didn't, you're probably an asshole (whereas if you're a Mets fan, someone's likely to buy you a beer to commiserate).
posted by klangklangston at 8:33 AM on February 21, 2014 [7 favorites]


The subtlest trolls are the best. Any idiot can go "[blank] sucks;" that's not trolling, that's... driftnetting, I don't know.

The word "troll" began to expand to meaningless no later than Slashdot, when common (albeit hilarious) spamming began identified as trolling.
posted by entropicamericana at 8:38 AM on February 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


The subtlest trolls are the best.

I don't know about best, but Metafilter definitely has one or two sockpuppets who are doing some Level 9 Zen trolling.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:53 AM on February 21, 2014 [4 favorites]


It's easy to see how the term gets blurred between one group that's acting like a jerk for fun, and the other group that is just genuine jerks. To distinguish between them requires knowledge of their intent, not just their words.

The thing is, though, that real trolls aren't necessarily outwardly "jerkish." That is, it's not typical of trolls, under the original meaning of the term, to escalate rapidly to full out, caps-lock, wishing cancer on your mother name-calling. Trolls aren't usually bullies; in fact, a classic sign of the troll is that they maintain all the outward appearances of civility while deliberately provoking the people they've "caught" to get madder and madder.

I think one of the weird ways in which the meaning of the term got diluted was the way it shifted from being a verb (people were "trolling" for "bites"--which makes it very clear that it's about a certain kind of rhetorical duplicity) to a noun ("don't feed the troll!"; which makes it seem it's about a certain kind of ogrish individual). There was a long period where that whole "don't feed the troll" thing was an obvious joke--"ha ha, I am treating what is clearly a verb related to a fishing practice as if it were an unrelated noun describing a mythical demon/imp/thingy." But eventually the punning nature of that move just wore away. There's no point railing against it, of course. Language does what language does. But it does feel like we lost a good solid descriptor for a particular kind of rhetorical practice.
posted by yoink at 9:10 AM on February 21, 2014 [9 favorites]


Oh, and yeah, sports discussion boards--like any discussion board where you can be sure people hold impassioned opinions (politics, sports, music etc.; skepticism boards are just full of trolls peddling various kinds of woo and seeing who'll bite) are troll-heaven. But the real trolls aren't the "Yankees suck!" folk--those people are probably genuine fans of other teams who genuinely believe that the Yankees suck. The troll will be the person who tries to hook someone into some kind of long running argument about how the Yankees have historically underperformed with respect to the talent that they've managed to hire, or how some beloved Yankee icon actually doesn't merit a tenth of the fame that he has etc. Then if they get a "bite" from a Yankee's fan they'll merrily keep going by cherry picking evidence, putting forward ridiculous premises, shifting the basis of their argument whenever their victim has marshaled too many facts and eventually circling back around to their original claim. The point is to make the other guy hopping mad because, damn it, he's demonstrated just how obviously wrong you are and you just won't ever admit any part of his argument. And, of course, it's easy for the troll because they just don't give a damn; their pleasure is just in seeing their victims get worked up over what they know to be a BS argument. It's actually closer to crank-calling than anything.
posted by yoink at 9:19 AM on February 21, 2014 [3 favorites]


I don't know about best, but Metafilter definitely has one or two sockpuppets who are doing some Level 9 Zen trolling.

Even after watching the video, I haven't been able to make it past level 7.
posted by Bonerman26 at 9:20 AM on February 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


Interesting factoid: in troll culture, the practice of annoying people with outlandish, controversial theories in order to provoke an angry reaction is called "humaning".

Anyway, I'm off to the pub now to "human" a few people - have a good weekend, everyone!
posted by the quidnunc kid at 9:33 AM on February 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


I'm also a little sad that "troll" has come, generally, to mean "jerk" or "asshole" (or indeed "vocal racist/misogynist/homophobe"), not least because "troll" was a useful term to distinguish the one from the other. People are jerks and assholes, often without knowing it, whereas the classic, according-to-Hoyle troll is indulging in a behavior.

The external effect may be the same, but the causes are different, and lend themselves to different responses. Classic trolls tending to be young or emotionally halted people, often although not always men, who are suffering from some sort of emotional neglect and are looking for any kind of attention, positive or negative.

Of course, there's an overlap between motivations, often, and people may either be trolling without knowing it or believe that they are trolling for the lulz when they have deeper and more Chthonic motivations. People starved of affection or recognition in their formative years often develop behaviors that also make them not very fun to be around. J Smooth made a very good point about the harassment of Anita Sarkeesian - that the people who claimed not to hate women, but to be doing it for lulz were already in a place where persistent and violent harassment of a woman counted as lulz-y...
posted by running order squabble fest at 9:52 AM on February 21, 2014 [4 favorites]


I comment on facebook, not to change the mind of the troll, but to affect the other people reading, some of whom are likely reasonable. Of course, I'm probably deluded, but it's not the worst delusion to have.
posted by theora55 at 10:11 AM on February 21, 2014 [3 favorites]


I just wish trolls would truly own their identities and signal it with their user names, and only interact like a troll might:

While I feel there is some merit in the Benghazi story, I live in a cave alone but for my misshapen daughter.
posted by Giant's Wealth Sucker at 12:08 PM on February 21

Is this something you would need a tv to watch? Because I spend my nights racing across the Scandes and dining on reindeer brains.
posted by swallower of heaven-wheel at 12:11 PM on February 21

I guess I am just concerned about the tone of your argument, because my elephantine ears can only hear very low tones, like the sounding of the pilot whales off the coast of Tromsø.
posted by guardian of corpse-fiord at 12:13 PM on February 21
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 10:14 AM on February 21, 2014 [21 favorites]


pb, we will need a thank you flag added stat. Davejay, that's aterrific idea, esp. if the member could see it.
posted by theora55 at 10:23 AM on February 21, 2014


I tend to conflate troll, as in 'under the bridge, relentlessly attacking the weak and/ or unwary' with trolling as a means of harvesting, and it is a form of, but not a synonym for, assholery. Can they be fed xanax or anything?
posted by theora55 at 10:45 AM on February 21, 2014


madamjujujive: "Surprised he reads us - we weren't that receptive to his spot-on 2002 column It's an angry, violent, warmongering world out there right now. You just live in it when it appeared here."

I don't think that's surprising at all. Mefites who didn't like his column commented negatively, but didn't engage in any of the loutish, spiteful, or trolling behaviors he's condemning. He's not ranting about people who merely disagree with him and say so.
posted by desuetude at 10:57 AM on February 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


We need a Troll 101.

Do we get any credit for having a troll? I'm not sure the model number, and it's actually a rather nice troll. That should be worth something.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:20 AM on February 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


Frank Luntz Is Going To Be A Sports Analyst Now.

Look for The Patriots to morph into The Patriotics.
posted by Room 641-A at 11:28 AM on February 21, 2014


Previously: Does Mark Morford read AskMe?
posted by homunculus at 12:41 PM on February 21, 2014


"The subtlest trolls are the best. Any idiot can go "[blank] sucks;" that's not trolling, that's... driftnetting, I don't know."

Yeah, a good troll isn't, "Yankees suck," it's "If the Yankees want to win, they have to extend A-Rod now!"
posted by klangklangston at 12:50 PM on February 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


Then, if you disagree, it's, "Well, any real Yankees fan knows that. Why don't you want them to win? You're a BoSoxer in disguise!"
posted by klangklangston at 12:53 PM on February 21, 2014


Frank Luntz Is Going To Be A Sports Analyst Now.

Since there is nothing Fox won't soil, they should give Michelle Malkin her own travel show. Send her to strange and exciting places and let viewers watch Malkin berate and insult the natives. She could be the Red State Samantha Brown.
posted by octobersurprise at 12:54 PM on February 21, 2014 [3 favorites]


I don't know about best, but Metafilter definitely has one or two sockpuppets who are doing some Level 9 Zen trolling.

How would this be possible? It's readily obvious to the mods which accounts are related. (Right? I seem to recall seeing a conversation where something was making a complaint in Meta about not getting a prompt mod response, and Jessamyn said something like, we already sent you an email about this to your main account, you are on a sockpuppet now.)

Even if it's not readily readily obvious, if someone is up to trolling so advanced that it can be described as "Level 9 Zen Trolling," I'm under the impression that the mods kind of have an eye on those folks, and would notice if they were operating two accounts. Of course, I could be wrong though.
posted by cairdeas at 5:58 PM on February 21, 2014


Yes, for the most part, we can see which accounts are connected. But not always. If people think that someone is getting up to no good with what they think is a sock, they're welcome to drop us a line about it -- it's conceivable it has gone under our radar. (Of course, if someone just acts in a way that is annoying and gets under one's skin, but isn't actionable, we may just say "yes, I join you in being annoyed." But folks are very welcome to raise this kind of thing with us.)
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 6:06 PM on February 21, 2014


95
posted by grateful at 6:17 PM on February 21, 2014


96
posted by grateful at 6:17 PM on February 21, 2014


97
posted by grateful at 6:17 PM on February 21, 2014


98
posted by grateful at 6:18 PM on February 21, 2014


99
posted by grateful at 6:18 PM on February 21, 2014


100!!!
posted by grateful at 6:18 PM on February 21, 2014


Yes, for the most part, we can see which accounts are connected. But not always.

MUST> RESISTS> URGE>> TO TAKE. AS CHALLENGE. SEVEN! PROXIES!

Seriuously, I definitely believe at least one or two v. popular characters on this site are primarily fictional. THey may be single accounts, not socks. I don't even have specific individuals in mind, I just have a group of individual potentials in mind and I figure statistically it's probably true for a couple... Some people are just too spot-on for the place, though we must account for the ability of the Internet to summon those pre-existing individuals who are exactly spot-on to the site.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 8:23 PM on February 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


Did we get from "this guy said how great MetaFilter was" to "Metafilter: home of sockpuppets, trolls and fiction suits" in just over 100 posts?

People. Take a compliment.
posted by running order squabble fest at 8:32 PM on February 21, 2014 [4 favorites]


summon those pre-existing individuals who are exactly spot-on to the site.

Typically I chant "should I eat this?" three times into a mirror whilst wearing no pants.
posted by arcticseal at 8:53 PM on February 21, 2014 [5 favorites]


No offense, but is there anything you do _while_ wearing pants?
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 11:11 PM on February 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


"Seriuously, I definitely believe at least one or two v. popular characters on this site are primarily fictional. THey may be single accounts, not socks. I don't even have specific individuals in mind, I just have a group of individual potentials in mind and I figure statistically it's probably true for a couple... Some people are just too spot-on for the place, though we must account for the ability of the Internet to summon those pre-existing individuals who are exactly spot-on to the site."

Most people who get kinda prolific on this site have met at least one other member.

But yeah, the George Clooney account probably isn't him.
posted by klangklangston at 11:34 PM on February 21, 2014 [3 favorites]


would notice if they were operating two accounts

I'm not talking about two account users, but the sockpuppets who are accounts that come back under a different name. (At least, that's how the site wiki appears to define it.) I suspect we have a couple of those who fly under the radar by doing so and still acting in bad faith (albeit in a sneaky and subtle enough way that they manage to slip under the mods' radar) which probably hurts the site just as much as open trolling. Maybe more so.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:08 AM on February 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


Hmmmmm. *Steeples fingers* All I'm authorized to say... is... that... there are known knowns and there are unknown unknowns –things we do not know we don't know. *furrows brow, glances over shoulder*

But really and truly, it's mostly a whole lot more boring and mundane than that, with fewer diabolical Machiavellis than one might imagine. As LobsterMitten says, if you think someone is playing games, you can always just contact us.
posted by taz (staff) at 3:22 AM on February 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


No offense, but is there anything you do _while_ wearing pants?

Appear in court for not wearing pants.
posted by arcticseal at 5:49 AM on February 22, 2014 [3 favorites]


taz: be wary of unknown knowns!
posted by the man of twists and turns at 6:04 AM on February 22, 2014


The way mods can see whether two accounts are likely to be run by the same person are by seeing whether or not they were bought by the same paypal user and/or are accessing MeFi from the same IP. So the way to do a secret sockpuppet would be to buy it with an unrelated paypal account (or through the mail? can you still mail in your user fee around here?) and access MeFi through a VPN when using the sock. You'd probably also want to use a different browser so that both accounts could be logged in simultaneously. And of course you'd need to do the usual charade of trying to make your accounts behave and write as though they were being controlled by two totally unconnected people.

That's not exactly rocket science, but it's also a lot more of a pain in the ass than most anyone would be willing to bother with -- especially since the allowable usages of sock puppets cover a great deal of the desired use cases, and need no such dissembling. I can think of almost no reasons why someone would want to sock-troll MeFi badly enough to be willing to jump through those hoops, modest though they are. I'm sure it happens, but I'm confident that it's quite rare even compared to regular trolling.

And anyway, if you're sock-trolling then of course you're intentionally sowing discord, which is going to attract additional scrutiny and may get your sock unmasked or at least just banned for recalcitrant bad behavior. At the end of the day the main problem isn't that you're using a sock per se, but rather that you're using a sock to make trouble. If nobody is ever bothered by the sockpuppetry and it therefore attracts no attention, then it's kind of a victimless crime. I mean, it's still crappy that you're lying to the rest of the community but it's not really causing significant harm.
posted by Scientist at 6:27 AM on February 22, 2014 [3 favorites]


I understand you're not advocating this, Scientist, but I want to be clear on the site view of this. It is Not Okay to have two accounts that act like they are separate people. If we find out, we'll ask you to stop. Whether it looks like significant harm or not, it is a bannable offense.

Members expect, and we expect, separate names to represent separate people. There are a few exceptions to this (privacy sock used only for clearly-privacy-requiring stuff, jokey accounts that are used just for that joking), but overall this very basic identity stuff is one of the core expectations that allow a big, largely-pseudonymous community to work over time.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 7:51 AM on February 22, 2014 [3 favorites]


> whereas if you're a Mets fan, someone's likely to buy you a beer to commiserate

WHERE IS MY BEER?

Also, bring back Pot and Kettle!
posted by languagehat at 9:31 AM on February 22, 2014 [2 favorites]


I can think of almost no reasons why someone would want to sock-troll MeFi badly enough

For eventual hoax or profit. Take any longstanding member: whether or not I enjoy their contributions, I don't question they are real, individual people. Notwithstanding a few exceptions, I think that's how most of us feel about most longstanding accounts. That trust is fertile ground. Most of us could pretty easily stage a faked tragedy, or some longer roller-coaster of a yarn. It could be for laughs or it could come with a PayPal address.

I've never met anyone from this site. I know people who also have accounts here, but I've never met anyone from here. Anyway, if you're already investing the effort to build a character here for a couple years before turning catfish, it's not much more trouble to show up to a couple meetups. Have lunch with a dozen strangers you'll never see again and earn ironclad trust that you are real before contracting your fake cancer.
posted by cribcage at 9:59 AM on February 22, 2014


"WHERE IS MY BEER?"

When are you in LA?

(I'll at least be in DC in March, but you're still up in Puritan lobstah country, right?)
posted by klangklangston at 10:15 AM on February 22, 2014


Oh, yeah, definitely not advocating. There are permissible uses for sockpuppets that of course require no sneaking around (I think that anonymous AskMes and occasional username-themed joke comments are the two main ones) and anything else is definitely bannable.

As it should be; those kind of uses involve lying to the community and taking advantage of the presumption of good faith that is a critical component of why this place works so well. If participating under false pretenses became anything other than an extremely rare and shocking thing, that presumption would cease to be viable and it would be very very difficult to rebuild. It's very important that the mods come down hard on things like illegal sockpuppets.

All I was saying was that it would probably be possible to run an illegal sockpuppet if one was thorough and fastidious about keeping them separated from one's main account. Aside from some kind of long-game trolling or spamming effort though (which is not unheard of, but quite rare; the extra effort is not really worth the extra payoff) I can't imagine anyone bothering. And while the methods for keeping the accounts separate are not particularly difficult, they do require an ongoing meticulousness; even one slip-up could potentially lead to both accounts being unmasked and banned.

But it's probably impossible to have a system that is 100% sockpuppet-proof. The reasonable thing to do is to channel acceptable sockpuppets into a legitmate role, erect inconvenient barriers to make running unacceptable sockpuppets not worthwhile, and to then stomp hard on anybody who tries to do it anyway and gets caught. That's what MeFi has done, and it makes good sense.
posted by Scientist at 10:18 AM on February 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


For eventual hoax or profit.

In a spirit of keeping it off the streets, I would pretty soundly endorse a scam strategy that involved spending years building one long con to try on a group of people who were youngish, inpecunious and Internet-savvy (the ideal 419 victim being retired with equity in their home), and whose moderators had a cultural memory of scams from Kaycee Nicole onwards.
posted by running order squabble fest at 10:36 AM on February 22, 2014 [2 favorites]


The linked article was based on a published study which reported that *ALL* people who spend lots of time commenting online have an increased relationship with several of the "Dark Tetrad traits". Beyond scams and trolls, many participants "benefit" from being able to live-out an alternate identity (maybe a slightly improved version of themselves) and have that persona be validated by reputation/favorites. Even if they are commenting in good faith, high volume participants are likely using online forums to manage this split between who they are and who they claim to be. And honestly, I'm glad online forums can provide that opportunity -- just like I'm glad distressed planes are directed away from high population areas.
posted by 99percentfake at 11:03 AM on February 22, 2014


Metafilter: there are known knowns and there are unknown unknowns –things we do not know we don't know.
posted by Melismata at 11:52 AM on February 22, 2014


All I was saying was that it would probably be possible to run an illegal sockpuppet if one was thorough and fastidious about keeping them separated from one's main account.

Well duh.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:06 PM on February 22, 2014


> you're still up in Puritan lobstah country, right?

For my sins, yes. (Don't like Puritans, don't like lobstah, don't like the Red Sox but must like the Red Sox because of my grandsons... *slaps self repeatedly*)
posted by languagehat at 12:31 PM on February 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


In all fairness, not too many lobster where languagehat lives.
posted by maryr at 1:27 PM on February 22, 2014


> The linked article was based on a published study which reported that *ALL* people who spend lots of time commenting online have an increased relationship with several of the "Dark Tetrad traits".

No it didn't. For some types of activity, the association was neutral or negative. The original article is paywalled, but there's a summary of the results here.
posted by nangar at 1:34 PM on February 22, 2014


Wait, the $5 is for a trolling permit?

Okay, fine.

Now, let's see, where'd I put that silly little syllogism....ah, there it is: Not all asshats are trolls but all trolls are asshats.
posted by mule98J at 2:39 PM on February 22, 2014


The Economist has a piece about how an obscure blog site deals with comments; they've also included a screenshot from it. And they spoke to the blog's "Director of Operations", which sounds v important.
posted by Wordshore at 2:48 PM on February 22, 2014 [5 favorites]


I have seen very little actual trolling on Metafilter. I have seen quite a lot of people accusing others of being trolls because they happen to disagree on a serious issue. But that's life I guess.
posted by Justinian at 3:05 PM on February 22, 2014 [2 favorites]


I always figured the peaks in anger are owing to the holiday break when potential grades are being posted and the June/July when the semester/quarter/trimester when final grades are posted. People being pissed off for not getting the recognition their genius work seems a more accurate assesment to me. The recurring report card is the new eternal September.
posted by vapidave at 3:14 PM on February 22, 2014


The quote from that January 30th 'Comment section conundrums' Economist piece:

MetaFilter, a group blog begun in 1999, has transformed its comment system in tune with shifts in online behaviour. It is currently recognized as having a well maintained forum for feedback. MetaFilter’s main line of defense is simple but often overlooked: employ people, not just computers, to keep constant tabs on comments.

According to the blog’s director of operations, the company employs a team of seven moderators who monitor comments all day, every day. It is apparently simple for people to get around computer-programed rules, but a lot more difficult when they are up against other humans: a thesaurus can ensure strong sentiments are communicated even without using banned language.

Admittedly, MetaFilter only has about 70,000 registered users, so its system will not work for every website

posted by mediareport at 5:12 PM on February 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


I think we've lost a useful term since "troll" came to mean "abusive jerk". That was not the original meaning, which ought to be clear from the definition of the verb, "troll".

The earliest usage of the word I am aware of was in alt.folklore.urban (maybe 1995?) and the point of trolling was to make an obvious mistake (an error that was obviously intentional) and then tease the newbie pedants who couldn't resist correcting you and who didn't know the community well enough to understand what was going on. For instance:

"I love Ayn Rand's vampire novels."

It was a sort of antibody system for preventing unnecessary and tedious posts. The point is to teach you to think twice before following up to say, "Uh, I think you mean Anne Rice," which is a totally unnecessary correction that nobody wants to read.
posted by straight at 6:48 PM on February 22, 2014 [3 favorites]


Well, shucks, turns out wikipedia has a better-researched etymology than me.
posted by straight at 6:52 PM on February 22, 2014


This is how you deal with trolls.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 7:56 PM on February 22, 2014


Most people who get kinda prolific on this site have met at least one other member.

I met Metafilter users twice. Once when I was just on the site back in the day and attended a non-Metafilter event posted here, and I believe he was only a reader. The second time was intentional. The Metafilter user did not tip in a restaurant, with certain weak excuses, and I had to cover it.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 3:25 AM on February 23, 2014


So when do we have Sock Puppet Thunderdome?
posted by Nanukthedog at 11:00 AM on February 23, 2014


On what Scientist was saying up above, and I guess this all will fall under the we don't know and can't tell you stuff, but what with the current day panopticon and all and stuff like the multi sockpuppet accounts that the defense industry had an RFP out for, who is to say that there aren't users who aren't spoopy?

surprised he reads us - we weren't that receptive to his spot-on 2002 column

we are frightening. our memories are long and knowledge wide and varied. we can answer "which book was that" in 6 seconds flat.

ps. The Economist is just jealous
posted by infini at 11:03 AM on February 23, 2014


running order squabble fest would like to contribute to the conversation.
posted by maryr at 12:23 PM on February 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


YHBT. YHL. HAND.
posted by double block and bleed at 12:53 PM on February 23, 2014


Creating a MeTa post announcing that you're a troll isn't your best plan.
posted by double block and bleed at 1:02 PM on February 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


running order squabble fest would like to contribute to the conversation.

It's kind of you, but the "Ayn Rand vampire squid novels, more like" misposted gag has already been deleted. We race against the efficiency of the moderators at our peril.

Still, more like Ayn Rand vampire squid novels, amirite?
posted by running order squabble fest at 1:36 PM on February 23, 2014


Note that Ayn Rand, vampire's "quid novels" are so named because, in her post-mortal period, each of her blood-soaked yarns was worth ten dime novels easy.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:41 PM on February 23, 2014 [2 favorites]


Who is John Galt? A giant squid, it turns out. (spoiler)
posted by maryr at 10:19 PM on February 23, 2014 [2 favorites]


nanger: No it didn't. For some types of activity, the association was neutral or negative. The original article is paywalled, but there's a summary of the results here.

Yes, I realize the headline was "hey, the trolls are sadists!" but there were other findings as well.

As I said, I was reading the actual six page article. E.E. Buckels et al. paper, section 2.2.1: Commenting time was associated with lower conscientiousness scores [p] and higher scores on all Dark Tetrad Measures for except narcissism: direct sadism [p]. vicarious sadism [p], psychopathy [p], and Machiavellianism [p]. [...] In contrast, extraversion, agreeableness, neuroticism, and narcissism were all non-significant predictors of commenting frequency [p]. And from the last two paragraphs of the Conclusions, here's one sentence: "Our findings add to accumulating evidence linking excessive technology use to antisociality."
posted by 99percentfake at 11:48 PM on February 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


Yes, I realize the headline was "hey, the trolls are sadists!" but there were other findings as well.

As I said, I was reading the actual six page article. E.E. Buckels et al. paper, section 2.2.1: Commenting time was associated with lower conscientiousness scores [p] and higher scores on all Dark Tetrad Measures for except narcissism: direct sadism [p]. vicarious sadism [p], psychopathy [p], and Machiavellianism [p]. [...] In contrast, extraversion, agreeableness, neuroticism, and narcissism were all non-significant predictors of commenting frequency [p]. And from the last two paragraphs of the Conclusions, here's one sentence: "Our findings add to accumulating evidence linking excessive technology use to antisociality."


Of course you tell us this now.
posted by Nanukthedog at 5:56 AM on February 24, 2014


Interesting method of kinda sorta threading comments without destroying the flow of the overall conversation on their site. It looks like you can 'reply' to a specific comment, but your comment still appears in the comment stream in date/time order, but with a reference saying who you're replying to. I'm generally a big hater of threaded comments, but that's an interesting take on it.
posted by dg at 1:04 PM on February 25, 2014


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