Friday, May 01, 2009

Of Blogs and Trolls

Geez – I return to [landlocked] Paradise Island for just a few days and patriarch’s world totally falls apart. People lost their damn minds over a flu outbreak currently affecting 0.00000003 percent of the nation’s population; Larry Krammer missed his own point in a shrill screed; a Supreme Court Justice called it quits; and Chrysler filed for bankruptcy. Okay, that last one was as predictable as the sunrise. Still, those others took me off guard.

All that aside, I recently had an e-mail exchange with HistoriAnn concerning a reoccurring troll outbreak on her space. No, I am not talking about Timothy Geithner -- This time. Rather, it's a reader who just won't take a hint -- or an explicit statement -- or an outright demand to just go away.

It got me to thinking, do trolls know that they are trolls? Maybe they actually think of themselves as a force of good rather than an unnecessary drag on humanity.

So, I devised this helpful quiz to determine whether you are a troll or not. Answer the following questions to know for sure:

1. I read blogs because:

    A. I want to be exposed to wider range of viewpoints than is available through mainstream media.

    B. My computer has a porn filter installed.

    C. I believe that I am the only person qualified to police the internet.

2. When I encounter a blog post that I disagree with, I:

    A. Simply move on and read another blog. Life is too short to worry about what other people are doing on their blogs.

    B. Leave a short comment of disagreement with an explanation.

    C. Leave comments suggesting that the blogger has questionable parentage. Then I click on all of that bloggers links and leave additional comments asking them all to just shut up.

3. My favorite blogs:

    A. Challenge me to think in new ways.

    B. Give helpful hints on knitting.

    C. Are written by people against whom I have sworn a blood oath to defeat.

4. Most bloggers respond to my comments by:

    A. Acknowledging them politely.

    B. Linking to my own blog.

    C. Deleting them.

5. After reading blogs, I feel:

    A. Like I spent time more productively than reading a magazine.

    B. Like I should have spent that time watching porn.

    C. Like I need to seek revenge.

6. My day job is:

    A. Clerical/Industrial.

    B. Technical/Professional.

    C. Handing out riddles before allowing people to pass over bridges.

7. The bloggers who I read most often:

    A. Write about events in their daily lives.

    B. Assess popular culture or news stories.

    C. Have filed a restraining order against me.

8. The best way to engage in an on-line discussion is to:

    A. Ask more questions of the author.

    B. Offer a counter example.

    C. Leave half a dozen comments on a single entry, all of which are longer than the author's original post.

9. If a blogger asks me to stop reading/commenting on their blog, I:

    A. Stop reading/commenting on their blog.

    B. Apologize for offending them and then stop reading/commenting on their blog.

    C. Develop a new alias to trick them so that I can keep commenting on their blog. After all, they clearly need my help to show them the errors of their ways.

10. If I find a blogger who has made a mistake on their blog, I:

    A. Send them a private e-mail noting the error.

    B. Leave a short comment.

    C. Phone their employer and ask that they be fired.

11. To my mind, the least interesting blogs are:

    A. Not updated often.

    B. Depend upon gimmicks, like campy comic book covers.

    C. Are written by people with whom I actually agree.

12. Before leaving an accusatory comment, I:

    A. Re-read the entry to make sure that I understand the tone and reasoning behind the post.

    B. Read some of the blog archive to get a sense of that blogger’s overall politics and purpose.

    C. Don’t bother reading the entry or anything else on the blog – I just know when a blogger is wrong.

13. When I read a blog written by somebody who identifies as a different race/gender/sexual orientation as myself, I:

    A. Take it as an opportunity to expand my own understanding of different experiences.

    B. Consider points of common humanity.

    C. Assume that their blog is part of a vast conspiracy intended to rob my race/gender/sexual orientation of our basic rights.

14. In real life, my friends:

    A. Don’t know that I read blogs.

    B. Occasionally receive e-mails from me recommending particular blogs or entries.

    C. Don’t exist outside the confines of my imagination.

15. The last time I spent a night on the town, I:

    A. Went for cocktails at my favorite bar.

    B. Saw a musical/play/movie.

    C. Replaced a newborn infant with a changeling.

16. If another commentator disagrees with me on a third-party’s blog, I:

    A. Allow the conversation to continue on its own. I said what I needed to say the first time.

    B. Leave it to the blog author to respond, or not respond, as s/he sees fit.

    C. Depend upon sarcasm and ALL CAPS to silence and intimidate my critics.

17. If a blogger makes reference to an event or issue that I didn’t previously know about, I:

    A. Look to read more about it in my local library or from reliable internet sources.

    B. Ask my friends about their knowledge of the event or issue.

    C. This has never happened because I know everything about everything.

18. My own blog:

    A. Is very similar in scope and content as the blogs that I read.

    B. Allows me to experiment with different ideas and sharpen my writing.

    C. I don’t have a blog – It would detract from all the time I need to spend “correcting” other bloggers.

19. When I have met bloggers in real life, I:

    A. Have been pleasantly surprised by their approachability.

    B. Exchanged helpful tips about html code.

    C. Predicted that their eldest daughter would prick her finger on a spindle and die.

20. Many blogs are explicitly partisan. I think:

    A. This is an important part of free speech and the exchange of ideas.

    B. This has been an important transformation in political discourse over the past ten years.

    C. This demands police intervention.

21. Without blogs, I would:

    A. Watch more television.

    B. Read more books.

    C. Beat up small school children.

22. I think of blog space as:

    A. The equivalent to an individual’s living room. We are all guests.

    B. Akin to a coffee shop. I use the same basic manners as I use in polite society. If I wouldn't say it out loud, I won't write it.

    C. A war zone where one must kill, kill, KILL.

23. Anonymity on blogs:

    A. Allows individuals to be free to express their ideas without fear of reprisal.

    B. Is often fragile, but should be respected.

    C. Is my exclusive right. Everybody else is a coward.

24. If I were only able to leave one last comment on a blog ever again, I would:

    A. Thank a particular blogger for hours of free entertainment over the years.

    B. Ask why a certain blogger is disturbingly haunted by Wonder Woman.

    C. Write, “To the last I grapple with thee; from hell’s heart I stab at thee; for hate’s sake I spit my last breath at thee.” Or words to that effect.

25. As a child, I:

    A. Learned basic manners.

    B. Read too many comic books.

    C. Never received the attention that I felt that I deserved.


vuboq said...

Where's the scoring guide? How will I ever know if I am a Blog Troll or not?!?!

rosmar said...

Wait a minute--are you suggesting that I'm a troll just because I make people answer riddles before they go clip-clopping across my bridge?

Roger Owen Green said...

well, I had 1 C, 2 C...

pacalaga said...

All my answers are C (except fro #3 because I loves me some knitting tips. unless someone is doing it wrong!) so that means I am queen of the blogiverse, right? Right? RIGHT?!

Sisyphus said...

Heh! I love this.

Plus the picture that has the really strange looking dude in red going "ahhhh!"is really funny.

historiann said...

Ha! I love this. Brilliant. My favorite was actually #6, day job = "Handing out riddles before allowing people to pass over bridges."

Thanks so much for the free laughs. You are an excellent quiz writer, although I suspect that you administer very few quizzes in your day job.

Maybe one of my trolls is Geithner? Well--fair enough, I suppose. (A few times when I've looked up the IP address, it's been traced to the "U.S. treasury department, Washington, D.C." Seriously! Well, not really.)

dykewife said...

loved the questionnaire. now that spring is here i can move back to my spot under the bridge.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of free laughs, people get paid for this caliber of wit and humor. You've either been lying to us about your profession or you really need to consider a vocational change.

GayProf said...

VUBOQ: Actually, you really don't need the quiz. One can determine if you are a troll by answering one question: "Has somebody ever accused you of being a troll?"

RosMar: If handing out riddles is more of a hobby that a profession, I think you are safe.

ROG: You are one of the nicest bloggers out there. I find it hard to believe that C ever came up.

Pacalaga: All hail our new queen -- Just stay clear of her when she has needles in her hand.

Sisyphus: Oddly, I didn't even notice the fashion-challenged shrieker. My eye is always drawn to Wonder Woman, no matter what else is in the panel.

HistoriAnn: It's true -- No exams, no quizzes in almost all of my classes (Unless their mammoth size makes it impossible to do otherwise).

And I wish somebody in the Treasury Department would read a few blogs.

DykeWife: If bridge living is seasonal for you, than you aren't really committed to it.

JP: That's sweet. Of course, it's easy to say that because you aren't paying anything for this blog. Somehow I suspect it would become much less entertaining if it required a Visa card to access.

tornwordo said...

Vuboq, I'm saying A and B are 0 points and C is 1 point. If you score over 3 points, you are a troll. Or Gayprof's scoring will also do.

My favorite was "handing out riddles before allowing people to pass over bridges."

Tenured Radical said...

As usual, you totally rock.

Patrick said...

By funny coincidence, I had just been reading a characteristically bitter comment from one troll of my acquaintance, left on another blog, before stopping by to pay you a visit. I've been lucky so far that no trolls have found my blog worth the trouble, though that's probably in part because I rarely write anything controversial there. At least I haven't so far. I've never understood the motivation for reading a blog one so obviously hates, unless the energy provided by the rage is what the reader is seeking. Just makes me tired.

Belle said...

A delightful primer; the next time a troll shows up, we should all just return the quiz to him, already scored with all Cs and see if ze gets the message....

Bing said...

I challenge your lineage and your future...Doh!

jeremy said...

I was hoping for a takedown of Larry Krammer who, in my estimation, has been of point for nearly 15 years (and a lot senile). [See L.A. Times op-eds]

DCJ said...

Phew! I only scored 2 points.

Steven said...

And I always thought those were good characteristics. No need for me to look for the bonus question. ;-) I'll have to hide my troll card. Thanks for the laugh.

Should one be considered a troll if the blogger doesn't receive a reciprocated visit/comment?

Greg said...

Riddles By the Bridge for the win! Nicely done.

I don't understand blog trolls, either and am happy to have dodged that sort of thing thus far. I mean, doesn't Ann Coulter keep a blog they can go read?

dpaste said...

I think "trolls" is such a harsh term. "Differently socialized" is so much less pejorative.

My word verification is "achoomo"

I think this blog has cow flu.

DCJ said...

I would add though that the whole "troll" discourse has a couple facets to it. One is that calling someone a troll is sometimes an easy way to dismiss their opinions without actively engaging what they are saying. Once you label someone a troll, you effectively erase them; what they say or think is no longer judged serious, because it is assumed that, as trolls, they are somehow mentally defective or an obsessive stalker. These are just labels, used as most labels are, to shove people into a box and leave them there.

Rebecca said...

There are people out there that consider themselves professional "trolls", who intentionally go out of their way to bully or annoy others. And they do keep their own blogs and channels. I am unfortunately associated with one such person.

As a result, I was a victim of the charming local custom of "swatting". (Swatting is where the troll calls the police, spoofing your telephone number pretending to be you, and confessing to be holed up at your home killing people.) Lucky for me, they had my wrong address, so the police were pretty relaxed as they my bedroom at 1am to find out what was going on. :(

Although, I admit, you're quiz is very cute.

Elizabeth McClung said...

I too do not get the mentality of trolls (or the media to be scared of random viruses which will kill us all - aren't we still supposed to be going around saying, "Bird Flu" or something like that in hushed tones and "They killed 10,000 chickens in Thailand (I like Thailand!)" - as for trolls,I do think that maybe if it DOES stop them pushing small children into walls, then I can accept the moronic nature of them....unless that was you commenting ad nauseum EVERY SINGLE DAY gayprof, in which case I am sure it was genius satire and I missed it. I do believe you know how to spell words like 'stepid hore' and other quality writing. I mean I have dyslexia (and now brain damage to my language centre) and I still learned how to spell all the bad words correctly.

Jonathan said...

um....i'm guilty of 19.C.