Arguments on the Internet are the new black


After 20 years you think you know a person.

My husband is an Internet troll.  Its true.  He has joined a local discussion forum, under a pen name I might add, and he participates in the discussions of the day which range from politics, to the status of the local park to a heated debate about the best pizza restaurant in town.  He gets in there and stirs the pot just for kicks, he really does.  Now he will tell you he is just stating his point of view and pointing out when other people are being unfair like the time the new restaurant registered 500 new people within a few hours for the purpose of stacking that poll about who makes the best Stromboli.  But I know a troll when I see one.

The thing is, he does not point out the failures of a person's logic or their misstatements of fact.  He tells them they are too excited and that they are defensive or their criticism is too harsh or they have no business even participating in the discussion and if they don't like what people are saying they should just go away.  Then he sits back and enjoys it when the person he insulted and belittled gets upset and then he wastes no time pointing out...gee whiz batman...he was right all along.  I swear to you he has even envoked Godwin's Law!  I am so disappoint.

Now, I am not going to lie -- I have taken the bait.  I am just as guilty as *you* are of seeing something on the Internet and responding in a way that would not win me any awards for the most rudimentary of High School Debate competitions.  It is all too easy to respond pointedly when someone makes an observation  grounded in their own personal agenda and calls you a bully or perhaps a fundamentalist whatever the fuck that means.  But in truth, arguing with people who seem unable to rise above hyperbole and address issues without personal attack is a fool's game.

Yesterday I was a fool but today I will not make the same mistake.

If you want to read something that puts all the petty Internet bullshit in perspective please go here and see what Whiskey Day lives with daily.   I admire her quiet strength and incredible sense of humor not to mention brilliant original writing.

4 comments:

Miso Susanowa said...

As I am sure you saw, I have had enough of this petty, schoolgirlish public outing of dirty laundry and pinching lately on Twitter.

After being labeled "exciteable" myself, I have refrained from posting or writing lately, but really, I've had enough.

I don't expect adults to wage their petty wars in public; I get enough of that from the screaming couple above me.

I'd spank you all and send you to bed, or make you take Ex-Lax for the obvious constipation & accompanying irritability if I could.

It's one of the reasons I have left the "blogosphere" and Second Life/virtual worlds. I have better, grownup things to do than play little-girl character-assassination games.

Mr. Crap Mariner said...

I, for one, look good in black.

-ls/cm

Scott Bergman said...

I wouldn't be so quick to label the husband an internet troll. I've been so labeled myself. I post an honest heart felt opinion, argue in support of it for a few supporting posts, and bam, someone says it, "ahh he's just a troll." Sometimes at that point I lose my cool and try to take a stop at thy's heart.

The thing is I'm not going to post an entire library of supporting information in an attempt to show I'm right, when the person is never going to change his mind anyhow. Best I can do is plant a seed, and hope that later on someone else waters it and that the person comes around to see why I was right, or wrong.

I know in my case that's what happens. You won't change my mind in an initial argument, but you give me food for thought, and as supporting facts come, if they do, I might later say "hey, that person was right, I didn't see it"

Now when someone says I'm a troll, it's clear to me that person can't support their position so they resort to name calling, and as far as I'm concerned the conversations over.

Just my two cents worth. Hope it helps in some small way.

Chestnut Rau said...

Hey Scott! When I say my husband is a troll I mean it in the most loving way. He really does try to have intelligent debate but he is quite interested in religion and politics so his ability to change people's minds on the internet is limited.

I really was trying to make a broader point and using my dear husband as a foil. *winks*