Trolls: The Town Drunks Of The Internet

from the don't-quit-your-day-job dept

A study conducted by researchers at Northwestern University has reached a conclusion that many of us have entertained but dismissed as "not having a study conducted by researchers at Northwestern University behind it." Namely: trolling is like being sloppy drunk.

According to the science guys:

A new study has found that anonymity gives people the same feeling of abandon as power and alcohol intoxication.

"Although these pathways appear to be unrelated on the surface, they all lead to disinhibited states through a common psychological and neurological mechanism," said Jacob Hirsh of the university’s Kellogg School of Management.

Dr Hirsh’s colleague Professor Adam Galinsky said the loss of inhibition led to "significant behavioural consequences".

Ah, "loss of inhibition!" Is any combination of words sweeter to the ears (and livers) of trolls and drunkards alike? To be a troll is to be transported back to the heady days of frat house "Pre-Saturday Night Party" parties, where the cheap beer flowed like cheap beer and many bad decisions were made, most of them irrevocable.

Much in the same way that alcohol can turn a fertile mind into a karaoke-singing, one-man party bursting with OPINIONS! (and some vomit), trolling can turn a regular, possibly decent person into an apopleptic nightmare full of half-formed rejoinders and circular logic, which often devolves into schoolyard name-calling flameouts (well, a schoolyard full of drunks…) or sudden exits from the conversation, presumably to go "sleep it off" on the bathroom floor.

There’s more from the professor, which explains a lot of what we see here at Techdirt on a daily basis:

When people lose their inhibitions, they often behave in a manner more consistent with their true motives or character. At the same time, they also tend to be more easily influenced by their environment.

"In effect, disinhibition can both reveal and shape the person, as contradictory as that may sound," Professor Galinsky said.

The end result is that power, alcohol and anonymity can all inspire either strong pro- or anti-social sentiments in people.

The study may help explain why anonymous commentators on the web often appear to hold extreme views.

Extreme views? Anti-social sentiments? Random hollering about someone’s day job? It’s all here. And for all the talk about "not feeding the trolls," it’s hard to resist, especially when they’re packing a buzz and getting the conversational munchies. Besides, who wouldn’t want the chance to respond to a non sequitur composed of misspelled words and terrible analogies? We really want to take the high road, but the troll road is like a free ride straight downhill into STFU-ville. (Plus, the troll booths are closed! Bonus!)

Sooner or later, if the subject matter is contentious enough, the Techdirt comment threads are overrun with loudmouth drunks/trolls, not unlike the state of Wisconsin on any given night. (Or afternoon.) Ugly words are exchanged and brash statements made, most of them sorely in need of a citation. Hours later, it becomes a wasted blend of ALL CAPS shouting and any number of logical fallacies, before presumably heading quickly downhill to muted futile sobbing and calls to former sexual acquaintances.

And much like the virtual alcoholics they are, the trolling commenters will rarely let a day go by without a quick pull from the hip flask labelled "Submit," even if they’ve got nothing more than a quick "FUD" to spit out like an accidentally swallowed cigarette butt. Even the worst of hangovers won’t stop the trolloholic from popping in quickly to call someone a liar or misread the byline on a post.

So, keep this valuable information in mind, Techdirt readers, the next time you find yourself trapped in an elliptical argument with an armchair Bukowski (sans the everything-that-made-Bukowski-appealing): they’re just drunk on trolljuice, a potent blend of ignorance, anger and "chicken hawk syndrome."

How else would you explain this AC’s one-man flamewar, in which he paints every disagreeing commenter with a broad paintbrush dipped in self-hatred (often mistaken for "mockery," but the acidic taste of bile gives it away), painting everything the same ugly shade of misanthropy?

Or this one?

Need one more?

Don’t let the Anonymous Coward label fool you, though. Techdirt is filled with thoughtful and humorous AC’s, while also serving as a host for a variety of proudly-named trolls. The real trolls are the commenters who show up for one reason: to insult as many Techdirt readers as possible while simultaneously trying to reframe the debate around their own twisted logic. You’d think it would be harder to type with such an outsized chip on your shoulder, but the internet never ceases to amaze.

Trolls, like the ones singled out above, are like the uncle you purposely uninvited to your wedding. The one who shows up anyway and spends the entire night alternately abusing the open bar and the wedding guests, bitterly decrying organized religion and the institution of marriage to anyone who will listen and others who are actively eyeing the exits. He swaggers around in a state of progressive drunkeness, alienating people left and right, before collapsing anti-climatically in the coat room after making a last-ditch pass at your newly-minted sister-in-law.

As the hangover ebbs, he remains secure in his belief that he "totally ripped those backwaters rubes a new one" when in all reality, all he did was pound home the fact that people hate him for a reason.

Trolls, just remember that your spluttering anger and misplaced indignity is often a source of amusement for us. Other times, it’s just the same old shit, like when dad starts hitting the sauce and pounding out angry letters to the editor decrying the city council’s recent decision to change local street signs to initial caps only. Sure, he seems to be truly perturbed by this now, but by the next day, it’s just another piece of paper that ends up going straight from the Smith-Corona into the nearest wastebasket. The only difference is that, thanks to the miracle of THE INTERNET, the "angry letter" can be submitted instantly, 24/7, requiring nothing more of the brainstem-operating troll than the minute amount of hand-eye coordination needed to push a button.

So, bring on the worn-out cries of "Freetard!" and "Kool-Aid!", you trolling lushes. Just remember, our beverage of choice is booze-free. 

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Comments on “Trolls: The Town Drunks Of The Internet”

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V. I. Lenin says:

What about the professional trolls?

The elderly among us will recognize the whole troll thing from BBS and usenet. It hasn’t changed.

I’m under the impression that a lot of the “Anonymous Cowards” that troll TechDirt are actually not town-drunk-trolls, but rather professional agents provocateur. Do so few of that kind of troll exist that Northwestern can’t categorize them? Or is it just that nobody wants to admit to taking 30 pieces of silver from Wagg-Ed to go act like a foul-mouth Linux fanboy on Paul Therott’s Super Windows Site, and then go to Groklaw, and start a post with “I love Linux as much as the next guy, but…”

txpatriot (profile) says:

Re: What about the professional trolls?

@VI Lenin: my guess is, Cushing and most current TechDirt readers (current company excepted) are too young to remember, let alone use, USENET, and without googling it, will have no idea what it is / was (and no, USENET does not equal google groups to those who may think otherwise).

Nothing like a good flame war to sharpen your debating skills!

Anonymous Coward says:

It’s just really too bad that you are more interested in shouting down opposing opinions rather than considering them. Yelling them down and calling them “town drunk” is on par with the current political debate in the US. Yells of liberal, snob, and all sorts of other things go on, and each side considers the other’s leading speakers as a form of troll.

Trolls aren’t really trolls, they are just people who don’t agree with you, and often see things in ways you don’t. In the same manner they you don’t understand them, they don’t understand your twisted logic either.

Overcast (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Trolls aren’t really trolls, they are just people who don’t agree with you, and often see things in ways you don’t. In the same manner they you don’t understand them, they don’t understand your twisted logic either.

One can debate intelligently or troll with slang, insults, and bigotry. That’s the difference.

Typically; ‘trolls’ get personal, rather than debate the concept or issue, they bash, flame and get personal.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

“One can debate intelligently or troll with slang, insults, and bigotry. That’s the difference.”

By that logic, there are a lot of regular, named “trolls” here on Techdirt.

The “troll” label gets thrown around here, and other forums, very loosely to apply to anyone who disagrees with consensus, regardless of their tone.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

It doesn’t really.

Trolls are generally blatantly obvious.

They misinterpret things that are said so wildly one has to presume they are indeed suffering severe delusions or are deliberately out to annoy people.

Either way debate with them is pointless, it has nothing to do with disagreeing with them, their entire point is to disagree with anything that is said especially anything that is logically or factually based.

Your comparison to some aspects of discourse in the US is accurate although apparently not in the way you think as some aspects are pure trolling, most of Fox News for example, the “debate” about evolution vs “what we made up to disagree with evolution” etc.
9/11 truthers, birthers and so on and so on.

There is no point in arguing with any of these people as facts are irrelevant.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

They misinterpret things that are said so wildly one has to presume they are indeed suffering severe delusions or are deliberately out to annoy people.
Well put. The problem is, for a lot of trolls (I’ve been a member of enough internet communities over the years to actually meet some genuine trolls in person), more than you might think are actually suffering from the former rather than the latter.

With regards to the posts a few tiers up, there is clearly a difference between disagreement/dissent, and trolling. Disagreement states opposition, and if it doesn’t back it up with a reasonable argument it’s at least passive enough not to be taken as hostility. Trolls like out_of_the_blue and others (blue is the only one I can recall by name because, well, most of his/her posts really do seem to come completely out of the blue) are just obviously trolls. Anyone that claims otherwise is either just oblivious to the nature of social constructs, or is indeed suffering severe delusions or are deliberately out to annoy people

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

I don’t know much about “out of the blue,” but I think on sites where there is largely a consensus on the dominant viewpoint, it’s easy for a lot of people to perceive someone’s reasonable disagreement with the dominant viewpoint as blatant BS/hostility/trolling.

For example, if you go to, I’m sure you’ll find some people who think it’s blatantly obvious that Obama is a socialism bent on destroying the American way of life, and anyone who thinks differently is a blind-as-a-bat idiot who is drinking the Dim-O-Crat koolaid.

If you go to, I’m sure you’ll find some people who think its blatantly obvious that Republitards don’t care about individuals other than themselves and their corporate paymasters and are only out to line their own pockets at the expense of the average citizen, and anyone who thinks differently is a brainwashed Fox-News-watching yokel.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

That’s kind of my point though. (Although I admittedly might be missing yours).
There’s a big difference between voicing disagreement (going to dailykos and saying that Obama is of course not a socialist, and here’s why I think so) and taking it to the point of trolling (if you think obama is a socialist then you’re an idiot who is drinking the republican koolaid!)

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

“They misinterpret things that are said so wildly one has to presume they are indeed suffering severe delusions or are deliberately out to annoy people.”

And how does that not apply to several named regulars here?

“Either way debate with them is pointless, it has nothing to do with disagreeing with them, their entire point is to disagree with anything that is said especially anything that is logically or factually based.”

That may be true for some who get the “troll” label, but my point is that the “troll” label is often misapplied, and often not applied to those who might deserve it, depending on whether the labeler agrees with the ultimate viewpoint.

I have no idea what you’re talking about in the rest of your post.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

The “troll” label gets thrown around here, and other forums, very loosely to apply to anyone who disagrees with consensus, regardless of their tone

In a large enough community, there are always going to be *some* people who rush to throw the troll (or, worse, “shill”) label around. It is unfortunate when it happens too often, but I think it’s a bit weak to suggest that everyone here feels that way.

For example, if you’re who I think you are, you normally disagree with most of the stuff I write, and have even accused me of never admitting when I’m wrong, etc. And yet I certainly don’t think of you as a troll. You tend to add valuable commentary, even if I disagree with your interpretations/readings of things.

There are, certainly some others on the site who clearly are here to act like jerks for the fun of it, rather than to have an informed discussion. I think that part of the issue is that because those people are often very vocal (loud drunks!) that unfortunately folks like yourself sometimes, by a few people, get painted with the same label.

I agree that it’s unfortunate, but I don’t see that it does much harm.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

“I think it’s a bit weak to suggest that everyone here feels that way.”

I agree. I certainly did not mean to suggest that.

I think the harm is that people use the “troll” label to close off acceptance of potentially valid viewpoints/statements before really considering them.

Also, I can’t be sure if I am who you think I am, but your description of me sounds about right.

Marcus Carab (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

If you are that guy, then I specifically told someone off for calling you a troll the other day (in repayment for your confirming that I am not, in fact, as stupid as one of the real trolls insists I am)

Thanks for reminding us how valuable dissenting voices are when they come from intellectually honest people πŸ™‚

John Smith says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

Despite my occasional screeds against anonymity, I really don’t think it’s a problem overall. It’s just that some people clearly abuse it to avoid accountability… (and when they couple that with relentlessly insulting aspects of my identity, it can become mildly infuriating)

Yeah, I know what you mean. I’d love to be able to hunt some of those people down and make them “accountable” for what they said.

Killer_Tofu (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

Something like Average Joe?
He had good input, and when people talk about valuable ACs, that is who I think about. Despite a dissenting opinion, he had valuable input and a different take on things. Aside from one or two months in his commenting history, I highly welcomed him here and defended him when people called him a troll, even though the ‘other side’ would say that I am a drinker of the ‘kool-aid’.

Jay (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

His problem comes when he throws his temper tantrums however and makes himself a jackass.

He builds a decent reputation, then begins to go off the deep end when someone throws a monkey wrench in his laid out plans. And woe betide if you say he’s wrong on something. Honestly, I wonder if sometimes he’s bi-polar.

He has a good side, it’s just that the negative side seems to get the better of him and leave a longer lasting impression on my mind.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

Marcus, it is just truly too bad that you are too much in a rush to call names, to label people as trolls because they don’t buy into your view points. You are actually one of the worst people here for causing trolling, because you dismiss others views without consideration.

Other people give your views due consideration, why not consider their views as well?

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

I think the harm is that people use the “troll” label to close off acceptance of potentially valid viewpoints/statements before really considering them.

On that, I absolutely agree. It is thrown around way too frequently. But I also do think that there are some people who come to the site to purposely mess around and say stupid stuff to get a rise out of people.

Though, I actually do think this is one area where having a name (even pseudonym) can help people. If they can see a history of reasoned behavior, even if you disagree, I think they’re less likely to go with the troll label.

There are certainly people like Hugh Mann or Suzanne Lainson who almost always disagrees with me, but I can’t remember anyone ever calling either of them trolls.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

I think we’re pretty much in agreement here (gasp!)

I get annoyed when people use the Anonymous Coward label as an excuse to discount the merits of what I (or others) say.

However, I also post an another site where there is a high incidence of legit trolling (just trying to get a rise out of people) and use of monikers designed to ensure anonymity, and I find that annoying as well.

Gwiz (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

I get annoyed when people use the Anonymous Coward label as an excuse to discount the merits of what I (or others) say.

Why not use a unique name then? You don’t have to make an account, you are still as anonymous as ever and everyone else can distinguish you from the trolling AC’s.

The only reason I can think of that might make one not want to do this is that they want to remain unaccountable for anything they have previously said and that really is cowardice in my opinion.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

There are crazy people on the Internet. A crazy person’s idea of “accountability” might not be worth the benefits of a consistent name. That’s just one reason.

Another reason for me is that, as a professional advocate, I have a duty to advocate for my client’s interests/position regarding legal issues that are often not identical to my personal preference. Although I don’t mind of someone on this site wants to throw something I said previously back in my face (I think I’m pretty consistent, so I’m not too worried about that), I do not want to risk something I say on this site being thrown back at me in a professional context.

That risk might be pretty slim, and maybe having a consistent name wouldn’t change the risk much, but so far I haven’t felt there was much reason to have a consistent name.

In other words, I want to be free to say what I really think here (I generally don’t comment on matters that relate to actual clients).

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:


I, for one, LOVE dissenting opinions that are intelligent. It’s actually what’s so infuriating about Avg. Joe aka Fudbuster, because 90% of the time his comments are decent, informed, and provide a different opinion, but then he goes off the deepend (as do I, occasionally) and there’s no relenting EVER from his stance.

That said, I’m pleased he’s here overall.

And then there’s Angry Dude (used to be, at least), or Daryl, who provide absolutely nothing beyond pure morose entertainment….

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

My rule is I don’t get personal until someone gets personal with me. Call me a prick, I will call you back. Treat me with respect, and I respect you back. Post silly stuff that is easily picked apart, I will pick it apart without mercy.

I think where the real problems come in here is that a small minority of people have very extreme, very entrenched positions and they are unable to accept anything outside of them. Constant bashing of anything done by certain groups, and endless poking just encourages those most narrow minded people to lash out. It’s really too bad, there is much to discuss. But my feeling is that the site owner(s) like it is this way, and they often reward the most narrow minded of the lot with the right to post new articles.

It’s too bad, because much of what made this place interesting 4 or 5 years ago has been lost to this sort of mentality, which brings out the troll in many people.

Marcus Carab (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

There is indeed much to discuss. Shame you never discuss it, instead choosing to ignore what people say and call them pricks. Hate to break it to you, but it’s your attitude that brings out the troll in us (regardless of your attempts to sound reasonable and rational here in this comment – as if 99% of all conversations you’ve ever had on this site didn’t consist of you being an angry, myopic jerk)

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Marcus, I hate to say it, but right now you are trolling. You are attempting to bait me into something. See how it works? I am trying to have a level headed discussion, and you are hauling out the personal insults.

I really think you need to take a little time out and consider your own implications in “creating” a trolling problem. You are a cause, not an effect.

Marcus Carab (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Oh, and you weren’t baiting me with your comment that is very obviously about me (and the two Tims)?

But yes, I am trolling you. Because you have called me a prick some dozen-odd times in the last two days. Because you have been making repeated wildly incorrect accusations about my life and my career, and ignoring my responses entirely. Because you are a fucking hypocritical tool and I will troll you as much as I damn well please.

Your sudden attempt to act all rational and levelheaded on this one thread is not fooling anybody. Anyone who has seen your comments over the last two days knows that, any time now, you will be back to your pigheaded non-logic and creepy stalkeresque behaviour.

You have been hanging around Techdirt for a long time it seems, under a variety of guises, sometimes anonymous sometimes not (and yet it is always so obviously you). You never change, and you never leave for long. And lately you seem to have made me a particular target, to the point of bringing me up in discussions I’m not even involved in. When I try to defend myself, you call me a prick and make feeble attempts to undermine my career. So the way I see it, I have two choices when it comes to dealing with you: put up with you constantly derailing every discussion while making completely pointless attempts to talk to you rationally, or childishly call you names.

At least this way the community gets the occasional laugh.

(once again, this comment was not for your benefit, but for anyone with a brain who wants to understand my motives. If it was for your benefit, I would have just said your skull is so thick the TSA makes you take an MRI before you get on a plane)

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

Marcus, no matter what you say, you are doing what you claim to hate: trolling.

I am only an effect to your cause. Stop causing, and there will be no effect. There is no “fooling” going on here. You start it, and I will take it to the end of the earth (and you will lose every time, because you always get angry). You don’t start it, and it doesn’t happen.

So you can either make the community better, or you can keep making it suck. That is entirely up to you.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

What I don’t understand is this:

“Oh, and you weren’t baiting me with your comment that is very obviously about me (and the two Tims)?”

I don’t see anything in my post that is baiting you. I stated my opinion that the people being rewarded with the right to add new articles here are often the most narrow minded of the lot. I am not trying to get your goat (or either of the Tim’s for that matter), I am stating an observation. I think perhaps you may want to work on growing slightly thicker skin if you think that is baiting.

If you think that is bait, then what you are saying is that I don’t have a right to an opinion, but you do. Is that really fair and honest?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

…brings out the troll in many people.
The problem is, trolls seem to think that it’s the fault of the person who brings out the troll in them, rather than practicing an ounce of self-awareness and finding the fault in themselves for either having that troll in them in the first place, or at the very least not having enough self control to keep a leash on it.

Simple Mind (profile) says:

Re: Re:

At least by using a moniker you can maintain a consistent persona over time. You can establish a point of view or an agenda for the person behind it from postings they have made in the past on the site. While still being anonymous, it is a whole lot less anonymous than just being an AC. As an AC you can come in one day and say you are an exec at ATT (eg.), and the next day as AC make an argument against net neutrality as though you have no self interest in the matter. AC always says to me that the poster is afraid that what they may have said in the past will taint what they are saying now in a negative light. The “coward” part is very appropriate. (Hence I assume when I see AC posting that that person has an agenda and mentally downgrade their comment to adjust.)

Gwiz (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

While I note that you are too cowardly to post your own true identity.

Whoosh. Simple Mind’s point sailed way over your head.

It’s not about true identities. It’s about accountability. I can click on the word “profile” next to Simple Mind’s name and *ta-da* there is every comment he has posted on Techdirt. You, on the other hand, could have said the exact opposite yesterday or on the last story and I would never know, hence, Simple Mind’s comments hold more weight in my mind. Even those who don’t have an account, but always use the same name (Hothmonster comes to mind) hold more weight than an AC in my opinion.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

I posted some elsewhere.

I think the consistent name only really changes the calculation by reducing one step in the chain of connecting an IRL identity to TD posts.

In other words, once you figure out ConsistentName’s IRL identify, you can connect all of that poster’s statements to his/her real identity. On the other hand, even if you somehow figure out the IRL identify of a particular Anonymous Coward in a thread, that doesn’t necessarily mean you know all the other posts in other threads that can be attributed to that IRL identity.

I’m no master in Internet Wizardry, so maybe I’m wrong about that.

william (profile) says:

While trolls/trolling is used to shut down a intelligent conversation/discussion, sometime I see opposite happening and it’s becoming more common.

You shutdown the discussion by calling the other party troll or trolling.

Some people will use the accusation of trolling to basically tell you to STFU and I am going to ignore you, while others may still have valid points.

I guess every sword swings both ways… πŸ™‚

Gwiz (profile) says:

A liberal website that wants everything to be free…

Hmmm. Might be an interesting read. What’s the url to this liberal website that wants everything free?

I know you can’t talking about Techdirt, because what is discussed around here are smart business models. Some of those business models may include giving away the infinite goods as a way to increase profits from the scarce goods though.

Giving away everything for free would be a really, really stupid business model.

Androgynous Cowherd says:

Naughty Tim Cushing, you included a tvtropes link in your post without any warning label or anything so it looked all innocent. That site is the cocaine of the Internet, and tabbed browsers are a now-widespread technology that enables one to freebase it. I wonder how many people will click on that without realizing where it leads and wind up in 12-step programs?? πŸ™‚

darryl says:

"Mutual Mastibation' or "Mindfull mass debating" ??

No not at all, what you are whining about is the fact that there are people who have and express an opinion that is different to what your’s is.

For having a different opinion you find it easiest to label them ‘trolls’ after all, that is simpler than trying to actually ADRESS the issues they have raised.

People who post here, have every right to place any name they like on the top, or change it at any time.

And yes, you should be looking at the issues, and not the person who is stating them.

I guess it is really hard to make your attack against the people who post things you do not agree with if you do not know who they are !

But if you only addressed the issues and not the person you would not have that problem, it is not who said it, it is what they said !

That is why I base my comments on ‘generally’ Mikes posts based on the CONTENT of the post, I do not attack the person, but I am happy to attack the issues.

There are some things that Mike says that I actually agree with !!!. But having a differing opinion that the author of the post does NOT make you a troll.

Or would you rather an endless comments section all stating.

“WOW the person who wrote this post is just f*&^ing perfect, that is exactly how I think…… “

Would that for you be ‘better’ than a lively debate and real discussion of the issues.

Or would you rather come to a “YES” site, and all mutually mastibate each other ?

Anonymous Coward says:

"Mutual Mastibation' or "Mindfull mass debating" ??

Ye gods, you claim you don’t troll whilst actually trolling.
Everyone has gone to great lengths to ensure that it was impossible for someone to genuinely feel that having a different opinion was considered trolling and to define trolling for what it is.
The various definitions fundamentally covering exactly what you just did, complete, I might add, with all the usual accoutrements of trolling, using all caps for magic words, horrendous misspellings, multiple exclamation marks, the lot.

Gosh, maybe I’ve misjudged you and your joke of a comment was actually intended to be a joke comment.

+1 Funny to be on the safe side.

PS. If the all caps words were the most important bits
The highlights apparently are:
Address content not yes.
Which bizarrely makes more sense than the rest of it.

Jay (profile) says:

Not to shabby ...

Nah, sometimes it’s because they have an incentive to obfuscate the issue.

For example:

Hikaricore mentions this nice innocent phrase:

I personally think nothing should be censored on the internet. That’s not to say that I condone kiddy porn in any way shape or form.

Of course, given the GIFT theory we have an anonymous person take that phrase, roll it down the hill, land in sewage, and try to throw it back in the face of others.

“That’s not to say that I condone kiddy porn in any way shape or form. “

Maybe not from your perspective.

But it would be fair to argue that you care more about freedom of speech than you do about preventing the re-victimization of children as the pictures/videos of their abuse are spread online.

When it comes to child abuse, most people do not share your “libertarian” perspective. Particularly not voters, a large percent of whom have had kids themselves.

That is why child pornograpy blacklisting will always be considered appropriate, and guys like Rick will fail in their drive to label all censorship as evil.”

Of course, I speak for no one but myself, and when you read the article, it explains in great detail how those in the copyright industry are using child porn (Buck, you did the exact same thing and wouldn’t stop) to actively allow the internet to be censored.

My response is a little more inflammatory than I really am here, but you’re free to read it however you want. It’s a valid number of points I brought up. And yet, seeing a comment derail an entire page just to drop knowledge on a fool is pretty wearing.

The point is, I’m pretty sure he might work for certain organizations. After reading that article, it’s amazing that people can use such a tact. But it’s definitely worth paying attention to when someone decides to use it and answer appropriately.

Jay (profile) says:


Who would want to go to that much trouble?

We notice NiceDoggy or Hothmonster’s comments. Even though they post pseudo anonymously, we can see the consistency of their statements and positions, where it’s impossible if someone keeps their name as an AC.

You have to pay more attention to tone and style of writing. And that can carefully be masked to give the impression of a new AC when it might really be one of 20 people.

No, Mike isn’t going to unsalt a hash or whatever, but it doesn’t take much to figure out how people want others to approach them. We just respond in kind.

A. Turney says:


“If you have to ask that then you really don’t know much about lawsuits, lawyers and subpoenas.”

If you’re worried about lawsuits, then maybe you shouldn’t say things to get yourself in trouble in the first place. Simple.

I really don’t think Techdirt should allow anonymous comments at all. All commenters should be required to use registered accounts and all accounts should be associated with a credit card, at the very least, to make it easier to bring rogue commenters to court. To do otherwise is irresponsible.

Anonymous Coward says:

Not to shabby ...

“If an AC posts a comment that is antagonistic or “troll-like,” it will nearly always be treated as such because there is no way to judge it differently.”

I think dissenting opinions, when expressed with the same type of tone as most of the concurring opinions here, are often viewed as “antagonistic” or “troll-like” despite being similar in tone.

Just John (profile) says:

Had to borrow it

I hope you don’t mind Tim Cushing,
I had to borrow your article for another blog I frequently use.
If you want to see the post, it can be found here:

Given that blog, and after reading this, I could not resist.

Hope you don’t mind.

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