Another academic study of online communities August 14, 2011 7:14 AM   Subscribe

For those interested in academic studies of online communities, here's a new one: “Don’t feed the troll”: Shutting down debate about community expectations on Reddit.com.

This is a study of "a community member (known as “Grandpa Wiggly”) who ran afoul of community expectations of authentic representation of one’s “true” off–line self."

It is interesting to me to see how a scholar approaches these issues and how they often differ from how the community deals with it.
posted by k8t to MetaFilter-Related at 7:14 AM (81 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

Shouldn't this be an FPP or something if it's that noteworthy? It really has nothing to do with MetaFilter.
posted by hippybear at 7:20 AM on August 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is fascinating. And I get why k8t posted it here: any discussion will inevitably result in comparisons with MetaFilter policies, standards & practises.

Look at this, for example:
In the summer of 2009 a new sub–Reddit was created, “I am a… Ask me anything” (IAmA). In the title of their post (and sometimes elaborated in the body of the post, depending on how much explanation their situation required) a Redditor offers themselves up to the community to answer any questions about the subject they are posting about. This provided a forum to share information about one’s area of expertise and answer questions from curious Redditors. While initial posts seemed to focus on career experiences, the submissions quickly took a turn for the personal with users offering up their experiences surrounding intimate (and sometimes traumatic) events such as abortion, sexual assault, and drug abuse. To protect their off–line identities, some submitters create “throw–away accounts” which are one–off accounts not linked to their usual profiles. While providing privacy, this also strips away the karma indicator and readers were left to judge the veracity of the post solely based on the submitters’ comments. As word spread, traffic to the sub–Reddit increased (as did the number of posts). Submitters were now frequently accused of faking their stories. It was finally one poster’s claim of being a gynecologist that was “exposed” as being entirely fabricated that moderators began to step in and seek verification of the poster’s identity (and in turn, verify the experiences they offered up for scrutiny by the Reddit community). This verification is now only required for posters claiming to be someone famous, but there is an expectation that all posters are being honest about their experiences.
posted by likeso at 7:44 AM on August 14, 2011


Yeah, MetaTalk is often full of policy discussion. Seeing as this author took a Reddit incident (that could have happened here just as easily) and took it apart, I thought that some would find it interesting.

It also seems like there is a group of MeFites that are interested in academic studies of this nature.
posted by k8t at 7:51 AM on August 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think it belongs here at least as much as on the Blue, since it's so "meta," and is likely to involve policy discussions that don't really belong on the front page.

On to the uninformed speculation. Knowing nothing more than what I read in the paper (and, therefore, being an "internet expert" well-qualified to comment on the situation), I don't really buy Wordsauce's explanation that it was an exercise in fiction. Otherwise he wouldn't have begun by trying to cover it up. I expect, like a lot of internet "hoaxes" like these (e.g. the A Gay Girl in Damascus story) it started off as perhaps a literary experiment or a way to express an idea that could not be easily expressed in Wordsauce's "authentic voice" but, as the "assumed voice" gained popularity, acclaim, etc, the attraction to maintaining the higher profile "hoax" became too attractive to turn down. "It was a literary experiment" sounds like a salve for the less highbrow explanation "people liked/respected/embraced my persona better than me, so I kept lying to them."

I like to think that there is not much of this kind of behavior on this site -- that, although we all have posting personas that are not exactly "us" in some kind of absolute sense, we are mostly speaking from some kind of "authentic self." But what do I know? I could be a dog.
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:14 AM on August 14, 2011


Yeah, the sort of web-community navalgazing aspect of it feels a lot like a Metatalk thing to me, too, though in what I grant is a pretty hazy "I know it when I see it" sort of way. It could also have gone on the blue probably, but this is fine.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:17 AM on August 14, 2011


k8t: " Seeing as this author took a Reddit incident (that could have happened here just as easily)"

I don't know, has Metafilter ever had an incident with that much bandwagon-jumping, pitchfork-totin' witch-huntery, with subsequent exposure of personal information? While I understand people being irritated at being misled, the inordinate indignance and jumping to conclusions I sometimes see on Reddit is ridiculous. I've not seen anything like that here, but maybe I've missed it.
posted by Red Loop at 8:20 AM on August 14, 2011


I don't know, has Metafilter ever had an incident with that much bandwagon-jumping, pitchfork-totin' witch-huntery, with subsequent exposure of personal information?

No doubt some oldster will wander sagely along and school me on this, but I imagine that the ever-active mods keep a lot of this stuff under control in a way that doesn't happen on many other sites. People complain (unfairly, I think) about the level of moderation here from time to time, but I imagine it cuts down on a lot of the visible abuse -- things get stopped, deleted, taken to MeTa, and so on rather than allowed to fester or erupt into villager attacks on the castle.
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:26 AM on August 14, 2011


Mm, and the requirement for an active email address and the (official) stance on sock puppets = automatic bit of screening?
posted by likeso at 8:31 AM on August 14, 2011


I don't know, has Metafilter ever had an incident with that much bandwagon-jumping, pitchfork-totin' witch-huntery, with subsequent exposure of personal information?

I'm not busy, whatcha wanna do?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:37 AM on August 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


Yeah, I think there's probably a distinction between the reddit and mefi there to the degree that we're more likely to step in as soon as we see something starting to get weird and tell people to cool it and, where it's available and makes sense to share, provide some information one way or the other about whatever the point of speculation is.

There have definitely been instances of something stinking enough that people in a thread will start to get out the pitchforks, but being able to have a recognizable presence nix anything really over-the-line and say "hey, let's not do that so much, thank you" does seriously mitigate the ability for that stuff to keep its momentum up let alone snowball. It helps that a lot of folks here will try to sort of put the brakes on themselves if they see trouble brewing, or flag the problematic stuff, or drop us a line so we know something is up.

So it's not so much a "can't happen here" thing—people are people, wherever you go—but a thing where in most cases it's going to be pretty short-lived because of a mix of active moderator intervention and a degree of community expectation that that sort of thing, all else aside, probably shouldn't happen here.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:13 AM on August 14, 2011


I don't know, has Metafilter ever had an incident with that much bandwagon-jumping, pitchfork-totin' witch-huntery, with subsequent exposure of personal information?

No doubt some oldster will wander sagely along and school me on this,


*hobbles in, waggles cane*

The Givewell Incident had some fiery pitchforkin.
posted by carsonb at 9:37 AM on August 14, 2011


The problem is the pitchfork store is down the road and none of us can drive.
posted by The Whelk at 9:49 AM on August 14, 2011


Yeah, I think there's probably a distinction between the reddit and mefi there to the degree that we're more likely to step in as soon as we see something starting to get weird and tell people to cool it...

The same could be said for various subreddits. Reddit is a big place.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 9:49 AM on August 14, 2011


Metafilter is like a tightly controlled and regulated maritime city-state and Reddit is more like Germania with a thousand kingdoms princedoms dukedoms and bishoprics.
posted by The Whelk at 9:52 AM on August 14, 2011 [11 favorites]


Well I for one find this very interesting, worthy of a fpp. Thanks k8t!

As for the article itself, I hate how scientific search has embraced the newspaper style of writing. Seriously, I just want the results without reading so much padding:
Based on the events described in this paper, is Grandpa Wiggly a troll? Despite claims from other Redditors of his being so, I have a difficult time painting Grandpa Wiggly/Wordsauce’s behaviour as being “trolling”. While his underlying motivations may never be known, his creator has maintained the consistent explanation that Grandpa Wiggly was intended to be a character or a novelty account, rather than the “real deal”. In his creator’s mind, he had done no wrong. To some members of the larger Reddit community, his creator had crossed the line and taken advantage of those who believed (or wanted to believe) that Grandpa Wiggly was really who he said he was. Grandpa Wiggly does not fit the profile of a troll, yet when his discretions were uncovered, that was what he was immediately labeled as — perhaps for simply lack of a better word.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 9:55 AM on August 14, 2011


Metafilter is like a tightly controlled and regulated maritime city-state and Reddit is more like Germania with a thousand kingdoms princedoms dukedoms and bishoprics.

I thought of us more as something postapocalyptic like Bartertown.
posted by jonmc at 9:59 AM on August 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


That is 4Chan.
posted by The Whelk at 10:01 AM on August 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


4Chan is the bandit- and monster-filled forest near the town.
posted by overeducated_alligator at 10:05 AM on August 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


It's also where the dragons hid their gold.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 10:17 AM on August 14, 2011


The same could be said for various subreddits. Reddit is a big place.

Absolutely; I'm drawing a distinction specifically between mefi-as-whole and reddit-as-whole. The way an individual subreddit is moderated may be much more attentive than the default for the whole site, but for all but specific readers of a given subreddit, "Reddit" is the big pile of site, not that small subsection they spend their time on.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:19 AM on August 14, 2011


I have strong feelings that certain mefites are fictional. They don't seem to be scamming or hurting anyone with their personae--just using the community to write from the POV of a character they enjoy, so it doesn't bother me personally.

(no I'm not talking about the so-called "Brandon Blatcher" character...after the Facebook incident everyone knew that was a fake.)
posted by Potomac Avenue at 10:21 AM on August 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I am a postmodern experiment in polyvocality/No I'm not!
posted by anotherpanacea at 10:32 AM on August 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


"I am the very model of a modern Major-General,
I've information vegetable, animal, and mineral,
I know the kings of England, and I quote the fights historical..."
posted by tomswift at 10:53 AM on August 14, 2011


Over on reddit some guy is trying to tell me a New York style hotdog has chutney on it. That guy is obviously a troll.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:06 AM on August 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


(psst, Potomac Avenue, don't spill the beans about Watson or HAL, k?)
posted by likeso at 11:09 AM on August 14, 2011


For the record, I have always suspected that The Whelk is an 80-something year old mayonnaise entrepreneur.
posted by Dr. Zira at 11:10 AM on August 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


For the record, I imagine that some mefites are entirely notional, and their comments just percolate out of the Ether.
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:14 AM on August 14, 2011


Anyway, /r/IAmA has become a joke. The moderators kept getting tricked into verifying fake posts, and real posters went unverified. Now it is a subreddit of joke AMA requests. The top one right now is a request for an AMA from someone who has eaten human flesh. It is ok for lulz but kind of useless for it's actual stated purpose.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:14 AM on August 14, 2011


I have strong feelings that certain mefites are fictional.

“Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.”
(Oscar Wilde)
posted by philip-random at 11:21 AM on August 14, 2011 [17 favorites]


This is the first time that I have come across "First Monday - A Peer Reviewed Journal on the Internet" and the first thing that came to mind after reading the article was : weak sauce. The article, although at first blush written somewhat in the style of an academic journal, proved nothing, proposed no hypothesis and drew no discernible conclusion. The article was little more than an episode of "CSI: Reddit", a restatement of events which contributed nothing to knowledge of any academic field that I can discern and as such it was little more than what I will now term edutainment.

My first encounter with "First Monday" leads me to believe that is merely another internet curiosity indicative of nothing.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 11:23 AM on August 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


First Monday exists so that people that are doing research on something that is very "new" (or at least they want to scream "FIRST!!!") can get things out in a peer-reviewed way without waiting YEARS for it to come out in a traditional academic journal.

It is also pretty interdisciplinary - which is rare in academia.

There are certainly some pretty serious quant and qual studies in FM - if you wander around a bit you'll find some.

But, I've been discouraged from submitting there.

(FWIW, Poet_Lariat, an academic studies doesn't have to have hypotheses if it is qualitative and ethnographic. :))
posted by k8t at 11:33 AM on August 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


As an example, some of the authors of this piece are among the biggest names in Communication. That study seems to me to be of the "FIRST!1!!" variety.

(Is multiple linear regression "serious" enough for you?)
posted by k8t at 11:35 AM on August 14, 2011


One more thing, the article's academic merits aside, I think that the Wiggly incident could have been used to help give credence to at least one hypothesis that: stupid people hate to be proven stupid, which is something that any good con-man or politician instinctively knows.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 11:36 AM on August 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


The article, although at first blush written somewhat in the style of an academic journal, proved nothing, proposed no hypothesis and drew no discernible conclusion.

It's a case study, it's not meant to make an argument.
posted by oneirodynia at 11:37 AM on August 14, 2011


the inordinate indignance and jumping to conclusions I sometimes see on Reddit is ridiculous.

Another good example on reddit is the user I_rape_cats, he went from the most famous redditor evar, he still has something like 78k link karma, to the most hated person on reddit. He was selected to pick a video of an April fools prank, he picked a video created by a friend of his so they could share the revenue from the hits. It has been over a year and people still talk about it.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:39 AM on August 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


4Chan is the bandit- and monster-filled forest near the town.

It's also where the dragons hid their gold.


Into the Chans to find the thing that makes it worth the journeying

The traps are set the grar is loud into the Chans I don't know how

but I must click further, Into the Chans to get the thing that makes it worth the journeying

Into The Chans to pirate the song
to read the leak
to make the meme
to find the troll
to all of the things

Into the Chans!

Into the Chans!

Into the Chans for the Lulz!
posted by The Whelk at 11:43 AM on August 14, 2011 [7 favorites]


I got that it was a case study and was considering including a reference to that i my comment . But what was it a case study of exactly? Was it a psychological case study of the inner workings of deception? Was it a sociological case study of crowd dynamics on the internet? Was it a case study on the ethics of lying as a form of entertainment. We don't know because the author does not say. I propose that the author does not say because the author does not know. Weak sauce. What can be academically ascertained by the supposed study and to what field could it apply? Was the article interesting? Surely. Was it an actual academic article that will further a given field and be reliably cited? Absolutely not. Wrapping up this story in the guise of a "peer reviewed journal" reeks of pretentiousness.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 11:44 AM on August 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


@Poet_Lauret, a hypothesis is a directional prediction. (ex. H: Greater wealth leads to more Internet use.)
posted by k8t at 11:49 AM on August 14, 2011


I think that what you're trying to say @Poet_lariat (correct me if I'm wrong) is that this study doesn't do much for advancing theoretical understandings of online communities or communities generally.

Looks like the author is in Education.

Folks I know that study online communities (or the Internet generally) from an Ed perspective often look at this stuff from a media/digital literacy perspective. I don't know what his/her theoretical perspective is though. You're right - it wasn't clear. (And I doubt that this study would have gotten into a print journal.)


"Kelly Bergstrom is a Ph.D. student at York University in the Faculty of Education. Her research explores sociality and gender in online spaces, frequently focusing on the shared collaborative environments of massively multiplayer online games.
E–mail: Kelly_Bergstrom [at] edu [dot] yorku [dot] ca"
posted by k8t at 11:52 AM on August 14, 2011


After reading the article (that read like a very wordy blog post to me), and having read similar articles in the past, I wondered if there is an academic discipline that studies academics who do this kind of "research". That would actually be interesting I think.
posted by davar at 11:54 AM on August 14, 2011


k8t: That is not what a hypothesis is at all. It is one form that a hypothesis might take but it is not by any means a definition. As someone else pointed out the article was a case study. A case study in what remains to be determined.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 11:54 AM on August 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Her webpage was a little bit more helpful:

"My dissertation examines the ways in which online communities are dominated by particular groups of users and not necessarily open to all potential participants.

A secondary trajectory of my research focuses on the sociality of online spaces with a particular interest in subversive behaviours (i.e. trolling and extreme forms of identity play)."

So my guess is that this Reddit case is used in her research as an example of subversive behaviors and a community's reaction to them.

But I'm still not seeing a major theoretical perspective.
posted by k8t at 11:55 AM on August 14, 2011


@Poet_Lariat. I am a social scientist. Trust me, a hypothesis in social scientific research is a relationship between 2 variables with a sense of directionality. [cite]
posted by k8t at 11:57 AM on August 14, 2011 [5 favorites]


Based in Norse mythology, trolls were said to be supernatural creatures with less than benevolent intents.

Goddamit NO. How many times does this need saying? The use of "troll" in the internet sense is NOT based on the Norse mythology meaning of the word. It refers to a way of FISHING. You troll when you drag bait through fish-laden waters, looking for bites. It has nothing to do with large, ugly Scandinavian troglodytes.

Why do people still struggle with this?
posted by Decani at 11:59 AM on August 14, 2011 [21 favorites]


What about a merely cause-effect relationship k8t? Newtons first law proposes no sense of mathematical directionality or degree at all yet is a perfectly valid hypothesis.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 12:02 PM on August 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


@Poet_Lariat, your hypothesis would be: "Greater stupidity leads to greater hatred of being shown to be stupid" :)
posted by k8t at 12:03 PM on August 14, 2011


K8T - See? Now I could have got behind that if it was proposed as such ;)
posted by Poet_Lariat at 12:06 PM on August 14, 2011


@Poet_lariat, okay, there are occasionally non-directional hypotheses, but they are pretty much unheard of in social science. But scientific laws aren't hypotheses. [cite]
posted by k8t at 12:06 PM on August 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Before Newton's First Law was a scientific law it was (a perfectly valid) hypothesis.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 12:08 PM on August 14, 2011


Why do people still struggle with this?

Because based in Norse mythology, trolls were said to be supernatural creatures with less than benevolent intents.
posted by philip-random at 12:24 PM on August 14, 2011


Because based in Norse mythology, trolls were said to be supernatural creatures with less than benevolent intents.

Trolls also generally fear sunlight.

(Although I think the trolls and giants got a bad rap in Norse folklore. History, as they say, is written by the AEsir."
posted by GenjiandProust at 12:30 PM on August 14, 2011


I dunno, maybe trolls troglodytes like to troll fish?
posted by deborah at 12:45 PM on August 14, 2011


Gollum liked fish. Raw. But then he wasn't a troll, was he? No, he was a Stoor Hobbit[1] of the River-folk, who lived near the Gladden Fields.[2]
posted by philip-random at 12:56 PM on August 14, 2011


'Redditor'. snicker...
posted by Splunge at 12:56 PM on August 14, 2011


Trawling is nasty stuff, y'all.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 1:23 PM on August 14, 2011


Trawling is using large nets dragged behind the boat.

That's different from trolling, which is using a line of baited hooks.

Trolling is a much better metaphor for the internet activity than trawling, and that's why the term is used.
posted by hippybear at 3:32 PM on August 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


I know, that was my passive aggressive way of telling people to not eat shrimp.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 4:20 PM on August 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


OK, I'll come clean; I don't actually have flippers. Not so much as a webbed toe.
posted by arcticseal at 5:15 PM on August 14, 2011



OK, I'll come clean; I don't actually have flippers. Not so much as a webbed toe.


GET OUT
posted by curious nu at 5:31 PM on August 14, 2011


Guysguysguys, look at this.
posted by likeso at 5:32 PM on August 14, 2011


What can be academically ascertained by the supposed study and to what field could it apply? Was the article interesting? Surely. Was it an actual academic article that will further a given field and be reliably cited? Absolutely not.

Actually, I may very well cite this in an upcoming paper. I think the study, while not necessarily earth-shattering, does add to our understanding of the ways in which norms of behavior emerge in online communities. I also thought it added interesting food for thought regarding the notion of authenticity and identity online, and how these concepts shift based on context.

Because her the article was in First Monday, rather than, say, the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, it was written in a slightly less formally academic style. Nevertheless, as an ethnographic study I think it does add an interesting perspective to the literature, and I might very well add it to the readings for one of my classes, because my students don't generally have a lot of experience with online communities.

Also, k8t is correct about the way social science hypotheses work. And generally hypotheses are found in experimental, not ethnographic studies. The author here didn't set out to prove anything, she set out to describe and analyze a situation.
posted by DiscourseMarker at 5:35 PM on August 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Or you could read how metafilter dealt with this same issue.

No one's linked to that yet? Weird.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:29 PM on August 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


cjorgensen that was the first time I have seen the grandpawigly hijinks so thank you for linking to that.

I know of one regular poster here in their 70's. They seem pretty with it. There was internets in 1980 so you could have been sort of young and hip then and been born in 1940 and be in your 70's now. The internet was small then so there weren't that many of them but they are out there.

Now dealing with the noise-to-signal ratio at reddit is an entirely different matter. I cannot browse there; and I only click over there when I have some familiarity with who is linking. If a reddit page comes to the top of a google search I will nearly always just pass.
posted by bukvich at 7:07 PM on August 14, 2011


I was on the internet before the web. I used to leave the modem on overnight downloading stuff from the Umich archives. Then I would run it. Decide it was crap and throw it away. Occasionally I'd get something I thought was way cool.

I hosted a book length fiction at ftp.maths.tcd.ie in pub/music/stories. I had one of the first websites that Iowa State had (for student sites). I was tasked with learning html to teach to staff. There weren't style sheets in those days.

I remember postal mailing a website owner my photo because he wanted to put it on his website of alt.gothic Usenet users. I mailed a photo to the UK because I didn't have access to a scanner that did color.

I put my book online as soon as I got a website. Years later some author came out with a book that was the "first original book length fiction available on the internet." I had that guy beat by years, but when I pointed this out to his dead tree publisher they didn't stop promoting it that way. Eh, whatever. i'm old.

I'm 40.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:29 PM on August 14, 2011


"My dissertation examines the ways in which online communities are dominated by particular groups of users and not necessarily open to all potential participants.

What absolute twaddle. The girl should be preemptively banned.
posted by the Cabal at 8:38 PM on August 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Poet_Lariat: "The article, although at first blush written somewhat in the style of an academic journal, proved nothing, proposed no hypothesis and drew no discernible conclusion. "

PoetLariat, listen to k8t. In the social sciences, a hypothesis is defined as a testable statement of a specific relationship between or among variables.

The definition differs from that used in the natural sciences because there are no absolute laws in the social sciences. You can't test anything in a controlled laboratory environment; observational studies using methodical research and data sampling are the preferred methods.

So, in the social sciences you end up with correlations, but rarely cause/effect relationships. If the woman authoring this paper had drawn any definite conclusions, that would have been bad science.

In other words, it's not weak sauce because she didn't prove A = B.

It's weak sauce because she writes poorly.
posted by misha at 10:02 PM on August 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


BUT I'M FUCKING HUNGRY
posted by troll at 11:19 PM on August 14, 2011 [5 favorites]


Reddit is great, it is like that seriously awkward friend you are a bit embarrassed by but gets all your SG1 references. Right nowfrozen soap is a full blown meme, it has spawned at least 4 of the front page posts.
posted by Ad hominem at 1:00 AM on August 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


A secondary trajectory of my research focuses on the sociality of online spaces with a particular interest in subversive behaviours (i.e. trolling and extreme forms of identity scat play)."

Adapted for metafilter.
posted by hal_c_on at 2:32 AM on August 15, 2011


k8t: “I am a social scientist. Trust me, a hypothesis in social scientific research is a relationship between 2 variables with a sense of directionality.”

And that, kids, is why "social science" and "actual science" are two very, very different things.
posted by koeselitz at 2:36 AM on August 15, 2011


Well I guess all the people trying to study how communities work should just pack up and go home then. If you haven't got a lab and a definite predictive hypothesis, there's no point trying to learn anything.
posted by harriet vane at 5:34 AM on August 15, 2011


I didn't say that. But as someone who did his graduate work in political "science," I have a lot of strong feelings about how much it might help to drop the pretense. Science isn't the only way to attempt to know things. You don't have to pretend to be doing science to explore the world.
posted by koeselitz at 7:08 AM on August 15, 2011


> Goddamit NO. How many times does this need saying? The use of "troll" in the internet
> sense is NOT based on the Norse mythology meaning of the word. It refers to a way of
> FISHING. You troll when you drag bait through fish-laden waters, looking for bites.
> It has nothing to do with large, ugly Scandinavian troglodytes.
>
> Why do people still struggle with this?

Well, now we know how to troll decani.
posted by jfuller at 10:07 AM on August 15, 2011


jfuller, you can't verb a mythological creature like that. "I'm gonna unicorn these pancakes"? "Don't make me chimera you"? No.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:13 AM on August 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


I feel like there should be some way to frankenstein a joke out of that, but I'm coming up blank. The effort required dwarfs my meager writing abilities.

I know I used frankenstein wrong
posted by mrgoat at 12:13 PM on August 15, 2011


Somebody wants to be sphinxed.
posted by likeso at 12:17 PM on August 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Auto-erotic asphinxiation is dangerous stuff to play around with.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 12:32 PM on August 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Gryphoning, on the other hand, is perfectly safe. Unless one is intoxicated.
posted by likeso at 12:46 PM on August 15, 2011


You're talking jaws of life territory there if you misalign that gryphon.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 12:48 PM on August 15, 2011


jfuller, you can't verb a mythological creature like that. "I'm gonna unicorn these pancakes"? "Don't make me chimera you"? No.

My son will totally chimera you in Resistance II.
posted by misha at 9:02 PM on August 15, 2011


$5 is not much money to sign up but I think that's a big part of what screens the trolls out of this site.

Although metafilter wouldn't share your personal info with other users, trolls could figure the admins know their true identities, making them feel uncomfortable about trolling on a site like this.

So many people pick the lamest arguments on sites like Reddit. for example someone had a little internet temper tantrum just because one of my submissions didn't quite follow all of the rules. He was the only one so bitter about my post (of all the people who left comments.)
posted by Hi Dan at 9:21 PM on August 15, 2011


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