I Fed the Trolls

Don't Feed the TrollsI know not to feed the trolls, but sometimes I just can’t help myself. Yesterday, over on a Jonathan Chait article, there were a number of really outrageous conservative commenters. And I wanted to share with you an exchange that I got involved with. It wasn’t about politics; it was about grammar and rudeness. Despite what you may think, I do manage to calm people down from time to time. This was not the case here.

Admittedly, my purpose was not to calm this person down but to just shut her up. There had been a flame war going on between quite a piece of work HarryWinstonLights and a fairly reasonable liberal beihai. After a fair amount of back and forth, beihai wrote, “I got better things to do with my time stumpy.” This provoked the following amazing response from Jenny1989:

@beihai – “I got better things to do with my time stumpy”

I got? I GOT??? Seriously? Do you mean “I have?” or “I’ve got?” You claim you’re a professor, an academic. How is that possible? Who in their right minds would hire someone as obviously dim as you?

Really?! She’s not only going after grammar, but in the lamest of ways. I also didn’t like the use of “who” as a plural there, but I guess that was acceptable. Anyway, I responded:

@Jenny1989 – I really like grammar. I love curling up with Fowler and a nice cup of tea. But what beihai wrote was not an error, it was a colloquialism. It’s like, “It don’t mean nothing to me.” It’s colorful. It doesn’t show a lack of understanding of grammar; in fact, it shows that one knows grammar well enough to play with it.

I assume you and beihai have a history and I don’t really care about that. But pointing out grammar errors and typos in web comments is just rude. And it makes you look stupid–especially when you make grammar errors yourself. I count at least two grammar errors in your comment. But I don’t think that says anything about you. You probably dashed off your comment, just like beihai and I did.

Admittedly, that wasn’t very nice. But it wasn’t terrible either. And compared to the level of discourse in that comment thread, it was downright gracious. I figured that it would just shut up Jenny1989, but oh how wrong I was. This one is a classic:

@FranklyCurious – Really? What were my grammar errors, cumdrinker?

This is amusing!

And as regards your defense of Behai, and as improbable as it may be, you are just as fuckingstupid as he.

Now you can get back to pleasuring your cat.

I couldn’t let that stand. She asked what her errors were. So:

@Jenny1989 – The question marks should not be inside the quotation marks, to begin with. You have shown yourself to be a truly vile person, however. So there will be no more communication between us.

That actually did shut her up—at least on that thread. But one of the other members of this conservative “group” responded, “you call people vile and stupid and you worry about THEM beeing rude? Get lost.” Now that’s very interested. I never called Jenny1989 stupid; I simply said that correcting other people’s grammar like that made one look stupid. And I only called her vile after she called me a “cum drinker” and “fucking stupid.” It strikes me that my characterization of her as vile was pretty restrained.

What I would like to know is if liberals go to conservative websites and do this. I don’t mean the general trolling. I know there are liberal trolls—I’ve even been one a couple of times myself. I mean the constant vulgarities and vaguely racist comments. Here is one from HarryWinstonLights:

@beihai – I’ll decide when and where I’m wasting my time, shitforbrains. But I will tell you this – you getting into a battle of wits with someone of my intellectual ability is a waste of your time. You’re an idiot. Truly. Why don’t you get off the computer, and go play Chinese Checkers with the three half-wits in the other room?

I actually responded to this:

@HarryWinstonLights – You got a problem with Chinese Checkers?

Actually, this comment sounds a lot like the French guard in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, “I don’t want to talk to you no more, you empty headed animal food trough wiper. I fart in your general direction. Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries.”

So it’s parody, right?

There was no response to this because I think that HarryWinstonLights had turned into Jenny1989 by that time. I think that explains what at first seemed like an inexplicable comment:

The Pumpkin does not know it’s The Pumpkin. aka Jenny1989. aka HarryWinstonLights. aka NikkiManaj. aka poptart. aka ShaniquaObama. akaOlPurpleLips. aka MarcosAnderson. So much hatred, racism and ignorance requires many names.

So at least it is thought that all these accounts are the same person. One can only hope. But even if this particular collection of accounts are all one person, I know from comments I get here that this kind of behavior from conservative trolls is still quite common.

And what does that say about conservatives in a general sense? I’ve noted before that the main thing that holds the conservative movement together is racism. Another related part is this odd rage that doesn’t seem to be based upon anything. They are just angry and so they lash out. It’s interesting that in my experience, mentally ill people tend to be conservative. That’s probably because mental illness tends to make people very self-focused. And the essence of liberalism is empathy—understanding what others are going through. If I were a non-crazy conservative, that fact would really bother me.

0 thoughts on “I Fed the Trolls

  1. Has to be the same guy. It befuddled me why a "Jenny" would use "cumdrinker" as an insult. That’s pretty much a guy type of slur. Women can hate gays, of course, but they tend to say things about how God disapproves or their children need to be protected, not intimate that the person they’re flaming might, you know, be a Queer.

    I’ve mentioned before; I don’t get trolls. I can understand being mad at something and leaving a comment. I can understand thinking other commenters are misguided and trying to steer them in the right direction. Trolls feed on making others angry. Maybe it’s because Rush does it, and dittoheads want to feel as powerful and potent as their guru.

    What’s weird is where they hang out. I don’t read a lot of political sites; just this, Taibbi, The Nation, and pieces the above link me to. (Oh, and CommonDreams, which I’ll mention in a sec.) Taibbi and The Nation are rife with trolls. I get it with Taibbi; he’s a popular writer, and every post by him receives hundreds of comments. Fun, I guess, to get your troll fix on in that atmosphere. But The Nation? An article with over five comments is rare. And even among the five, three of them will be trolls. Why? What’s the point?

    I don’t know if liberals troll conservative websites. I don’t read conservative websites. (I read the daily paper, which has enough conservative opinion on the editorial page that I don’t feel like I’m missing out. I know what Will/Douthat/Friedman/Brooks are thinking. Or, "thinking.")

    CommonDreams might be a good example of how liberals troll. Stop by sometime; read an article by somebody you like. (They post a lot of Reich and Baker, for instance.) Then read the comments.

    You’ll find some well-defined categories of commenting. There’s the "kill the capitalist pigs, these apologists just get in the way of the revolution" variety. There’s the "none of this means anything because the planet is dead unless we convert to a sustenance-level farm economy tomorrow" variety. And, natch, the "it’s all a sham, Bush masterminded 9/11" variety, still alive and apparently well.

    (For the record, I halfway agree with the first two viewpoints, although I happen to believe that the enemy of my enemy is my friend, and if the likes of Baker or Reich aren’t as radical as myself, I still appreciate their work and think it has important value.)

    I may be wrong, but that’s my guess of how liberals troll; they troll on other liberals. Nor is this a new phenomenon; go ask Robespierre. In a sense, old-school conservatives (of the James Madison or Edmund Burke variety) had some good arguments. When liberals get into power, they can go crazy. When ANY ideology gets absolute power, it can go crazy.

    But I think Paine won the flame war with Burke, all the same!

  2. @JMF – I understand trolling in a general sense. It can be fun to enter the lion’s den and try to teach the people something. See:

    [url=http://franklycurious.com/index.php?itemid=255]Flame War![/url]

    I don’t understand when people just want to rant. I think you might be right about Rush.

    There are conservative trolls I don’t mind, but I don’t understand. These are people who hang out at opposing websites. I may have mentioned a guy who has hung out at FAIR for years. Of course, although he started out making reasonable arguments he now pretty much just rants.

    There is something very different between reading the opposition and getting involved in the comments. If you do that, you’re looking for a fight. But if you are just going to call people names, I don’t see the point.

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