From yesterday morning:
This is a perfect example of Internet “trolling.”
@Ladyred133 follows neither myself or my friend @ScottGroller, the conversation had nothing to do with her in any possible way, and it really had nothing to do with Sarah Palin — other than my lame joke about her down home, folksy talkin’. Obviously, she was just a troll looking for a fight.
Which is fine, I suppose. Except that trolls ultimately say nothing about the people or causes they’re defending*. In fact, from my viewpoint, the negativity can do nothing good to help advance your cause. (Unless your cause is to be A Royal Asshole, incite anger, and turn other people into Royal Assholes like yourself. Then you’re on the right track.)
The third cause of trolling is incompetence. If you disagree with something, it’s easier to say “you suck” than to figure out and explain exactly what you disagree with. You’re also safe that way from refutation. In this respect trolling is a lot like graffiti. Graffiti happens at the intersection of ambition and incompetence: people want to make their mark on the world, but have no other way to do it than literally making a mark on the world.
One more time: “It’s easier to say ‘you suck’ than to figure out and explain exactly what you disagree with.”
Nail on the head, Paul.
I’d also like to emphasize the “safe from refutation line.” It’s easier to stir the pot publicly (“public,” in this case, meaning sitting behind your keyboard, eating Cheetos in your underwear and crafting a perfectly mean reply), than it is to deal with a matter privately. Taking an issue public makes you seem, to some, like you are “sticking up for your beliefs.” You are “taking a stand” for some injustice that others are too afraid to stand up and defend. Being in public means you can use pointed language to evoke similar feelings in those also participating in the conversation. You can dodge the context of a situation and force an issue that may or may not be relevant, simply because you want to. And since most trolls insert themselves into something that they’re not directly involved with, they immediately spin it negative, and control the flow of dialogue, therefore keeping it negative.
It’s like you’re hosting a party with friends, and you say, “This cheese is really good.” Then, suddenly, someone you don’t know opens the door and starts chiding you about your ignorance of the corrupt dairy industry.
On the flip side, dealing with a matter privately online (via email, or messaging), offers the person being accused the opportunity to state their case, without putting either party in a position where their pride is on the line publicly.
In this case, you are pulled aside at the party, and asked if you know about the horrid things that are happening in the dairy industry, giving you a chance to respond without looking like an ignoramus.
Of course, I’m only explaining what you already knew; no doubt you’ve seen this kind of thing before, since comments below a video of a cat playing with yarn can quickly turn into a loud argument about the existence of God on YouTube. I’m merely writing to courteously remind all of you, dear readers, and myself, that the Internet might be a great place for discovering and sharing new things, but it is often a horrible place for the kind of dialogue that brings about real change. And there’s not much of a difference between you crashing a conversation you’re not directly involved with on Twitter, and crashing a party. Let’s keep it Real folks.
Not “real,” or real: Real
And, for the record, I really do hope @Ladyred133 had a good day yesterday. Her wishing me a good day back though, though? Not so sure she meant it.
*Normally I would put “defending” in quotes, because I don’t think they’re really defending anything. But, in the case of trolls, I’m convinced that they think they’re doing someone, or something, a major service by scouring the Internet to defend their beliefs.