Open Thread: Rachel Maddow Is A Very Smart Person

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Via RawStory, with thanks to commentor Handsmile:

Trolling is a key part of the conservative-entertainment/media business model,” she said. “These guys say stuff all the time that they do not intend to be persuasive. They’re not trying to explain something, or bring people along to their way of thinking, they’re just doing something to attract attention, and hopefully condemnation and outrage from the mainstream, and particularly from liberals. They want to offend you. They seek to offend you. That is the point.”…

“Trolls have a purpose in our politics,” Maddow said. “They help niche, unpopular positions and people fund themselves and promote themselves as pseudo-political actors by tricking people who ought to know better into punching down at them.

Be a smart person. Don’t feed the trolls.

Apart from this PSA, what’s on the agenda?

95 replies
  1. 1
    SFAW says:

    Trolling whomever and whatever I can, of course.

    Oh, sorry! I was channeling DougJ for a second. OK, now that THAT has passed:

    Trolling whomever and whatever I can, of course.

  2. 2
    jayboat says:

    I love that woman.

  3. 3
    freelancer says:

    I had this exact thought while watching this segment:

    In addition to cleek’s axiom, conservatism is also an exercise in feeding conservative trollery.

    Clap louder.

  4. 4
    Alex S. says:

    There’s something to it. After all, the business model of the Westboro Baptist Church is being so outrageously conservative that they troll you into doing something illegal. Other conservative organisations just need to catch up.

  5. 5
    Ben Cisco says:

    I must say, the lady has a point.

    It would be harder for them to do this if the FerengiMedia™ wasn’t standing at the ready to assist at a moment’s notice.

  6. 6
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    To quote a long gone denizen of these comments:

    ABT wAi cudlips

  7. 7
    WereBear says:

    I wound up landing on the Sirius channel #10, for “from 2000 to today.” And for the love of pumpkin cheesecake, I’ve never been exposed to so much despair and anomie.

    I listen a lot to the Motown channel, and they are downright cheerful with much less cause.

    Damn Bush Administration.

    Trolls use up the bandwidth and the oxygen and make you cranky and despairing. Mission accomplished! I see them as classic examples of how bad attention is better than none; and pity them for the scorched, loveless, wasted expanse that is their lives.

  8. 8
    Raven says:

    @WereBear: Careful Ted&Hellen’s mommy may wake them up early.

  9. 9
    A Humble Lurker says:

    Honestly, I think she was giving some of the people she listed as trolls too much credit. I think more than a few of them are dumb and/or crazy enough to believe the whack-a-doodle spews that frequently crawl their way out of their pie holes.

    But I’m kind of cynical that way.

  10. 10
    amk says:

    Ninety-two percent of Americans favor background checks for all potential gun buyers, according to a new CBS News/New York Times poll.

  11. 11
    danielx says:

    “These guys say stuff all the time that they do not intend to be persuasive. They’re not trying to explain something, or bring people along to their way of thinking, they’re just doing something to attract attention, and hopefully condemnation and outrage from the mainstream, and particularly from liberals. They want to offend you. They seek to offend you. That is the point.”…

    This plus it fires up the base, for whom anything that pisses off liberals is good and true by definition. Dittoheads are alive and well, if not so numerous as they used to be. Limbaugh (to name the most prominent example) spews complete horseshit on a regular basis which is taken as gospel by his listeners, who don’t need no pointyheadedscientistliberalinteltshels tellin’ them what’s right and wrong or true or false. If his horseshit annoys liberals it must be true.

  12. 12
    Alan says:

    This is one time I don’t think Rachel is right. I don’t think it’s trolling; it’s feeding. They don’t give a shit about liberals or Dems. They’re feeding the right exactly what they want to hear. The right wants to believe and it’s an article of faith that if you’re not with ’em your a commie out to destroy America and their faith in God.

  13. 13
    Ash Can says:

    Don’t feed the trolls? Hell, don’t tell us. We’re just anonymous random commenters blowing off a little steam on someone’s hobby blog. Tell the fucking professional press. We’re pikers at troll-feeding compared to them.

  14. 14
    magurakurin says:

    @Ash Can:

    Tell the fucking professional press. We’re pikers at troll-feeding compared to them.

    No kidding, eh? Case in point: Sarah Palin.

  15. 15
    aimai says:

    I was watching the passable “Elementary” last night and Sherlock launches into a disquisition about “statistical” and “average” men arguing that it is impossible to understand or predict the motivations of an individual, singular, human but quite possible to predict the behavior of the average person and/or people in aggregate. I think there’s something of a heisenberg uncertainity principle with some posters–they aren’t necessarily trolling as their goal and they certainly aren’t paid shills (though some are) but there are some really devoted assholes who because of their overwhelming ego and contrarian shtick can end up creating the same kind of anger and despair in the comment thread. It can be hard to tell the difference.

  16. 16
    amk says:

    @Ash Can: Yup. RM herself is pretty good at that.

  17. 17
    NotMax says:

    Saw this bit when it aired and still think it too pat, if not downright smug, and a mistake to lump a variety of motivations and methods under a one-size-fits-all label.

    Trolls, demagogues, rabblerousers, agents provocateur, propagandists, insurgents, reprobates, malcontents, shills, stooges, fanatics, zealots.

    Not identical.

  18. 18
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @NotMax:

    Trolls, demagogues, rabblerousers, agents provocateur, propagandists, insurgents, reprobates, malcontents, shills, stooges, fanatics, zealots.

    Recruiting for Hedley Lamarr, are we?

  19. 19
    Schlemizel says:

    @Raven:

    I have been preaching the ‘Do Not Feed’ tactic for a bit here when they show up. It makes them very very cranky. For some reason they really don’t like my telling people to ignore them.

    I don’t know what further evidence you could ask for that DNF is the way to go. If you can’t or won’t pie them just skip over their comments, don’t read them & you’ll never feel the need to respond. I assume they will have a might temper tantrum for a week or so until it becomes obvious thats not working. Then they will go away

  20. 20
    cmorenc says:

    @Alan:

    This is one time I don’t think Rachel is right. I don’t think it’s trolling; it’s feeding. They don’t give a shit about liberals or Dems. They’re feeding the right exactly what they want to hear.

    +1

    The NRA hierarchy are true believers in firearms and Second
    Amendment fundamentalism. Their alleged “trolling” is similar in character to the seemingly hyperbolic sermons of fundamentalist preachers…yes, often the words are deliberately a bit over-the-top for dramatic effect on the congregation, but don’t misunderstand for a moment that the preacher isn’t deadly sincere in truly believing in the words and message. Pissing liberals off is only a secondary fringe benefit, but not at all the primary purpose of NRA trolling.

  21. 21
    Schlemizel says:

    @danielx:

    I just read something yesterday & now I have to go see if I can find it.

    A study shows that typical trolling behavior, bombast, sarcasm, vitriol, does not change opinions but hardens a person position. So their trolling on a national scale makes the wingnuts even wingnuttier and less willing to reason.

    It makes complete sense. Now I have to try and remember where I saw that.

  22. 22
    NotMax says:

    @Omnes Omnibus

    Or running for mayor of Mos Eisley.

    Take yer pick.

    :)

  23. 23
    gnomedad says:

    These guys say stuff all the time that they do not intend to be persuasive.

    Assisted by 27 percenters who do find it all persuasive because Obama is Hitler.

  24. 24

    AK-47 shooting party in Ohio goes horribly wrong.

    Please take these peoples’ guns away. Please.

  25. 25
    danielx says:

    The Wall Street Journal is just fucking with us now, right?

    I mean, there are lots of single parents with two kids who have gross income of $260,000. Why, I know at least…hmmm…let me get back to you on that.

  26. 26
    The Red Pen says:

    Speaking of trolls, I stumbled upon this documentary about Westboro Baptists Church. They don’t really go into it, but WBC is not just viciously anti-gay, but viciously antisemitic. I did not know that.

    http://www.vice.com/Fringes/cu.....ce=taboola

  27. 27
    artem1s says:

    agree, however, trolling has become the media’s snack food of the day. easier to report on the outrageous than research actual facts of the issue. and bonus ratings if they can get the latest loon to say something awful on the air.

    good news is trolling has become such a habit for so many wingnut politicians they no longer recognize when they have crossed the line. Akin is a prefect example. I’m sure he has made his asinine comments on rape known far and wide in order to raid some mark’s checking account. And he doubled down on the stoopid, expecting the MSM and the RNC to reward him for being so clever.

    double good news is people are responding with outrage at their idiocy. finally. I’d like THAT not to stop. But I don’t know how you benefit from their overreach if it doesn’t get reported to a wider audience.

    I agree with Rachel that you don’t engage with the trolls. But I think you still have to put the spotlight on them once in a while for contrast sake.

  28. 28
    Napoleon says:

    @Southern Beale:

    There was a second story on this general subject on the news here in Cleveland last night. It was one of those yahoos who decided to walk around his neighborhood with a high powered assault rifle. He looked and sounded the part of undereducated white working class.

  29. 29
  30. 30
    Robin G. says:

    @danielx: Are they actively looking for the guillotines?

  31. 31
    artem1s says:

    @Southern Beale:

    Jeebus, and these people honestly believe that they are the ones we will look to when the revolution comes down.

  32. 32
    jayackroyd says:

    So, does this mean (I’m at minute 7:30) that NARAL is a troll org? These tactics are not reserved to the right.

  33. 33
    Schlemizel says:

    Edit – wrong

  34. 34
    Donut says:

    While I appreciate and don’t necessarily disagree with what Maddow is saying in that clip, the whole fukkin Series of Tubez is one giant troll contraption. And so it should be. Complaining about it strikes me as its own kind of trollery. I don’t have any problems with that. Troll away, y’all.

  35. 35
    Schlemizel says:

    Here is the story about trolling

    The Science of Why Comment Trolls Suck

  36. 36
    gnomedad says:

    FWIW, Pajamas Media has hired Allen West.

  37. 37
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Schlemizel:
    Bad linky. You fix?
    ETA: You have fixed. Thank’ee.

  38. 38
    Donut says:

    @artem1s:

    trolling has become always been the media’s snack food of the day

    FTFY

  39. 39
    Schlemizel says:

    @Southern Beale:

    But really, aren’t drugs, alcohol and gross stupidity all part of “a well regulated militia”?

  40. 40
    jayackroyd says:

    @cmorenc: By definition, really, Rush can’t be a troll. He’s not seeking to disrupt communications in an online conversation. He’s providing a forum for like-minded people, dittoheads, to reinforce their beliefs. He creates a community, distinct from the listeners real world community, that tells them that they are not alone.

    This is the opposite of trolling. He’s not seeking a response from Media Matters. He doesn’t want to be in the mainstream media channels. He’s talking to the base. Trolling is what Mike Stark does when he calls into Rush’s show, disrupting the communication channel.

  41. 41
    NotMax says:

    @The Red Pen

    That ain’t even the half of it.

    Pretty much every time the overview of their ‘philosophy’ of being absolutely infallible “Tachmonites” shows up on the web, it is scrubbed.

    Thankfully, we have the Wayback Machine capture (though the page formatting may be a little wonky).

  42. 42
    Cassidy says:

    The internet is a Rube Goldberg machine powered by trolling. Kinda like Steampunk, but if the machines were powered by petulance.

  43. 43
    Rob in Buffalo says:

    Isn’t feeding the trolls the BJ business model?

  44. 44
    artem1s says:

    @Donut:

    excellent catch!

  45. 45
    Ron says:

    @danielx: That picture is just amazing in it’s tone-deafness. “Oh, won’t you think of these poor bastards with these high incomes?”

  46. 46
    Ron says:

    @Rob in Buffalo: BJ has a business model? To quote Mr. Krabs: “Where’s me money?!?”

  47. 47
    Lurking Canadian says:

    @danielx: That has got to be tongue in cheek, somehow. As one of TBogg’s commenters points out, the person who drew it almost certainly isn’t struggling to raise her four kids on a measly $650K.

  48. 48
    different-church-lady says:

    @jayackroyd: It’s not that he’s trolling a single place on the internet — it’s more like he’s “trolling” our entire political system. The thing he’s disrupting is not a single communication system, but our entire democracy, or our entire public discourse.

    Beck is probably a better example though — saying stuff that’s so crazy I have a hard time believing he himself takes it seriously.

  49. 49
    different-church-lady says:

    I see this post, it collides with the post about Bachmann above it, and I think, “Can trolls run president?”

    I mean, is it possible that Bachmann and Perry were in last years race simply to get perverse jollies saying insane things on a national stage just to annoy liberals?

  50. 50
    danielx says:

    @Southern Beale:

    Unfortunately, incidents like this are all too common. Some weeks back a nephew by marriage and a couple of friends accompanied the nephew’s cousin (all of them being 21 years of age) to a 15 acre plot owned by the nephew’s father in order to shoot a new black gun* bought by the cousin. The father in question said it was perfectly okay to shoot on his property, thus illustrating that supposedly smart people (he’s a doc) are capable of being complete dumb fucks about things outside their area of expertise. The cousin is a person who I’d already identified as a fuckup – being an accomplished fuckup during my own misspent youth, I know one when I see one.

    The land is in the vicinity of a lot of very high end homes, being in a location that’s transitioning from rural to suburban. Of course there was no backstop behind the target, and consequently they overshot the target and hit one or more of the nearby homes. They were arrested by the local constabulary, this being a suburban police department with a well known and well earned reputation for being complete pricks. To skip to the chase, they were charged with multiple violations including felonies – Christ, everything but bigamy from what I recall. Their affluent parents paid a lawyer $15k to get the charges reduced to something that would not result in jail time and/or felony convictions on their records.

    When Mrs. X told me about this, my reaction in so many words was “What the fuck were they thinking? And what was ***** (the property owner) thinking? They’re lucky they didn’t kill somebody and even luckier they have rich parents!” I commented that they damn well deserved to have the book thrown at them, particularly since there are these places called shooting ranges that are expressly designed to allow people to shoot without putting other people’s lives and property at hazard.

    Now that I’m thinking about it, they’re even luckier this happened a couple of weeks before the Newtown massacre or the best lawyer in the world likely wouldn’t have kept them from having the whole Encyclopedia Britannica thrown at them. These are supposedly smart, college going kids, and not complete gun nuts. You can imagine what the shitkickers who are all too common in my fair state are like.

    *’Black gun’ being a generic term for an AR-15 type rifle.

  51. 51
    Feudalism Now! says:

    Rush is a troll. He is trying to disrupt the national dialogue. Rush and Coulter want to make debate meaningless. The problem is we try to counter every argument when they will jump to the next extreme rung down the ladder. We get flustered while they get to chortle at our histrionics. They move the goal post into the boondocks and we get mired in debating the absurd. Gun safety is being discussed as armed volunteer minutemen at elementary schools vs. closing loopholes in background checks. The debt ceiling is another great example. Move the argument into the absurd and waste time, fluster the left, and have a good time making everyone dance. This is not honest debate. It is not to get the country to move to a more conservative view. It is to taser the government and make it spasm in ineffectiveness. Political paralysis, so the grifters can grift without working up a new scheme.

  52. 52
    NotMax says:

    @different-church-lady

    Reminded of Father Coughlin, the original electronic media superstar ‘troll,’ whose estimated audience equaled roughly 25% of the total population of the U.S. at the time.

  53. 53
    Va Highlander says:

    @different-church-lady:

    It’s not that he’s trolling a single place on the internet — it’s more like he’s “trolling” our entire political system. The thing he’s disrupting is not a single communication system, but our entire democracy, or our entire public discourse.

    This.

    Limbaugh, Boortz, Fox and Friends, the whole steaming heap, are fueling an army of trolls, winding them up on a daily basis and providing them with an inexhaustible supply of trolling points.

  54. 54
    jayackroyd says:

    @different-church-lady: When DougJ posts an innocent question on WaPo chat thread, he’s trolling. When Rush sits up to the mic, he’s not trolling. He’s certainly not trolling our entire political system, because we’re not listening. Mike Stark trolls him when he calls in, because he disrupts the message Rush is trying to send.

    Rachel gets “trolling” wrong here. It’s not important; her point isn’t the etymology. But she misunderstands the term. “Don’t feed* the trolls” doesn’t make any sense wrt Rush.

    ———–
    *this argues for the Norse bridge dwelling creatures as the source for the name. The unix community that founded the internet had a love for traditional fantasy. Randy Waterhouse saw himself as a dwarf, for instance.

  55. 55
    jayackroyd says:

    @Va Highlander: Ah, yes. THIS is true. Rush does provide daily troll bait. Rush himself is not a troll, but he feeds the trolls.

  56. 56
    NotMax says:

    @Va Highlander

    Also too, the trolling points are fungible and/or have a miniscule half-life, so long as the moolah keeps rolling in.

  57. 57
    different-church-lady says:

    @jayackroyd:

    He’s certainly not trolling our entire political system, because we’re not listening.

    If we’re not listening, then how come most of us know all the outrageous stuff Rush says shortly after he says it?

    (I’d do an ANSWER BELOW thing here, but I don’t know how to get type to appear upside down on the internet.)

    I agree it’s a stretch, or an extension, of the original definition of trolling, but as an analogy I think it fits.

  58. 58
    Cassidy says:

    Rush is a troll.

  59. 59
    different-church-lady says:

    @jayackroyd: Good observation, but if we’re going to go for more accurate analogies it’s less like trolls and more like breeding and feeding an Orc army that then goes out and marauds.

  60. 60
    redshirt says:

    @Napoleon: Oh, cool. This is the third instance I’ve heard of this happening recently (Portland, ME, Portland, OR, and now this). It’s going to become a “thing”. Just what we need.

  61. 61
    Cassidy says:

    @redshirt: It is what we need. We need these people out in full force showing everyone how important it is they exercise their rights. Of course, their incoherent nonsense and all around assholishness will convince people that gun regulation is a good thing, but they don’t need to know that.

  62. 62
    redshirt says:

    @Cassidy: Agreed. It provokes an immediate, and visceral reaction amongst “normal” folk. UNACCEPTABLE. So in a way these nuts our helping our cause.

    However, there will probably be loss of life through these stunts before they stop. More blood for the Gun God.

  63. 63
    jayackroyd says:

    @different-church-lady: Media Matters exists to tell us what Rush is saying, because we don’t listen. We don’t watch Fox. We don’t know what is being transmitted to the base. Every once in a while it’s so over the top that it makes its way into the mainstream press. But we don’t hear–we don’t listen to–the steady stream of teh crazee that his listeners experience.

  64. 64
    jayackroyd says:

    @different-church-lady: Yes, Rush as a fat Saruman delivering his message to his orcs is, IMO, a more fitting metaphor.

  65. 65
    redshirt says:

    For the Wingnuts, I’d separate the politicians from the media figures. The politicians seem sincerely stupid/crazy/evil, no trolling necessary. The media figures can run the gamut from sincere troglodyte to highly advanced troll. Karl Rove is a troll, for example, since he knows what he’s doing, and says things for affect. Your average Texas congresscritter is just an idiot teabagger steeped in decades of right wing propaganda.

  66. 66
    Cassidy says:

    @redshirt: Unfortunately, and I hate, that’s what it’s going to take. There is nothing too depraved for the gun fetishists, but we’re gonna have to lose another classroom or two full of kids before people finally say enough. I just hope it isn’t mine.

  67. 67
    Citizen_X says:

    @danielx:

    The Wall Street Journal is just fucking with us now, right?

    I can hear Statistician Samuel L. Jackson screaming, “MEDIAN INCOME, MOTHERFUCKER! DO YOU UNDERSTAND IT?”

  68. 68
    dan says:

    @Feudalism Now!: And Bingo was his name-o.

  69. 69
    LAC says:

    @Ash Can: Amen. If we were serious about troll drowning, there is the technology out there to handle that. Other than that, if I can call a troll a fucktard fuckface asshat in response to a dumb comment, I’m doing it. :)

  70. 70
    LAC says:

    @different-church-lady: I only get my Rush information second hand. Now I will tune into the “heart attack in the studio” or “choked to death on the cigar in studio” episode. I will YouTube it, Facebook it, add it my Iphone as a ringtone, and sit on a train on the way to work with a big smile on my face while I listen to it.

    Other than that, I leave that work for Lawrence O’Donnell.

  71. 71
    handsmile says:

    This thread has become a fascinating graduate seminar to identify and classify the salient characteristics of “Trolls and Trolling.” And that’s not a bad thing at all. A couple of replies to earlier commenters, however,

    @Alan:, @cmorenc:

    I think Maddow does address the matter you raise. Depending on their relative position within the Troll ecosystem (e.,g, NRA, Glenn Beck, Alex Jones, Ted & Hellen) the objectives are interrelated but have different degrees of emphasis or importance: feeding the right, grifting for themselves, seeking to disrupt/distract the wider mainstream media, pissing off liberals. The different scale and public profile of each Troll will prioritize these operations as necessary.

    @jayackroyd:

    Sure, there may well be progressive Trolls but economies of scale must enter into the discussion here. (Mr. Black wrote a recent post about the triviality of “punching down.”) NARAL and NRA may share some acronymic letters, but their memberships, range and focus of activities, and most importantly, access to the corporate media megaphone, differ radically.

    Of course, on this very blog, there are commenters who steadfastly believe (one General in particular) that the entire progressive (or “professional”) Left is nothing other than an enormous Trolling operation. Think of the love here as well for the Great Orange Satan.

    On Limbaugh, I fully agree that what Mike Stark does on that show represents one feature of trolling. But for the reasons outlined above, I think Rush himself comfortably resides within the kingdom. Yes, “We’re not listening,” (though his ravings are often reported here) but his pronouncements and the disgust he provokes among certain liberal voices is often trumpeted and Wurlitzered by the mass media.

    One final point (and my apologies for this long, long comment): my motive in posting the Raw Story article on Maddow on last night’s “Late Open Thread” (and thanks AL for the f/p credit) was largely because of a spate of recent Troll hijackings on substantive threads here and the earnest but futile attempts to reason or shame them.

    ETA (of course): Jay Ackroyd: you may well have in effect addressed my response in what I now see are your replies to d-c-l, which were posted while I was scribbling the above.

  72. 72
    bemused says:

    I gather that gunslingers will be attending rallies, Guns Across America, at state capitols this saturday at “High Noon”. Sounds delightful…a bunch of immature, John Wayne wannabes milling around with barely controlled anger and fear.

  73. 73
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    Goddamn, that woman is smart and perceptive. Good on her.

  74. 74
    different-church-lady says:

    @LAC:

    I only get my Rush information second hand.

    Correct answer! Any one of us may not listen to Rush, but we know damn well what he’s saying, because someone else is always going to bring it into “our” conversations.

    Example from today: http://www.dailykos.com/story/.....s-Children

    I didn’t tune into him, but there he is in the middle of “my” conversation anyway.

    He pollutes the national discourse and he’s hugely effective at it, there aren’t any moderators, and nobody can resist feeding him.

  75. 75
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    One of the problems with handling troll IMO is that sometimes there are trolls, sometimes a commenter is merely trolling, and sometimes a commenter is just forcefully expressing a minority opinion. Recently, I have seen at least two longtime commenters branded a trolls in comment threads for being out of step with the majority of commenters. I think one needs to save the troll label for true under-bridge dwelling trolls.

  76. 76
    Betty Cracker says:

    @handsmile: Now you’ve done it: Beetledouche! Beetledouche! Beetledouche!

  77. 77
    handsmile says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    oh my…i don’t what that means…but it doesn’t sound good…

  78. 78
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    I have been preaching the ‘Do Not Feed’ tactic for a bit here when they show up. It makes them very very cranky. For some reason they really don’t like my telling people to ignore them.

    I don’t know what further evidence you could ask for that DNF is the way to go. If you can’t or won’t pie them just skip over their comments, don’t read them & you’ll never feel the need to respond. I assume they will have a might temper tantrum for a week or so until it becomes obvious thats not working. Then they will go away.

    @Schlemizel: They won’t. Cole likes them here.

    Look, there are plenty of forum tools/plugins out there. You don’t need to ask your users to install cleek’s filter, and although I appreciate it greatly, it doesn’t work on my browser of choice (Opera) nor will it work on IE or mobile devices.

    Instituting actual user accounts and an ignore list – where you can opt to read the spewings of a designated poster/troll or not (some people aren’t trolls, just stupid as fuck, and I don’t want to read them either) would solve the problem once and for all. Cole does not want to do this. In fact, I can’t think of any political site that does do it. Might want to think about why that is.

  79. 79
    Betty Cracker says:

    @handsmile: Just a little joke that would only make sense if you’ve seen “Beetlejuice.” The title character was, now that I think about it, sort of a spectral troll who could be summoned if you said his name three times.

  80. 80
    Boots Day says:

    I was just thinking about this topic the other day, after receiving another stupid wingnut email from my conservative dad. What occurred to me is that there was only one motivation for what he (and they) are doing: They want to taunt the Democrats. I don’t know if they understand the concept of trolling, but they sure understand taunting.

  81. 81
    handsmile says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    Thanks…yes, of course, i remember that now (duh)… (admit to being a little nervous it was aimed at moi)

  82. 82
    different-church-lady says:

    @Forum Transmitted Disease:

    They won’t. Cole likes them here.

    I don’t know if it’s that he likes them here; it’s more that he’s got some idiotic idea in his head that it’s unfair to get rid of them.

    Internet forums are usually only as good as the moderation they get. Somehow BJ is a slight exception in that good conversations happen in spite of moderation that errs on the side of too lenient.

  83. 83
    different-church-lady says:

    @Boots Day:

    I don’t know if they understand the concept of trolling, but they sure understand taunting.

    DING DING DING DING WE HAVE A WINNER!

    This is why “Do not feed” doesn’t work with these folks. They’re not looking for attention, they’re looking to irritate. If you ignore them they just keep trying.

    The only thing that works is the slap down — not only are you not irritated, you’re better at their game than they are. Because you understand that you’re not going to use a topic to irritate them, you’re going to use your own confidence to irritate them, and that’s the one force they can’t match.

    ADDENDUM: of course, that might work on the internet but not with family e-mail. For the latter, the proper tool is the “threatened shun”: “Dad, do not forward any more of these e-mails to me or I will stop communicating with you.” The fear of family rejection will trump the impulse to needle.

  84. 84
    Rex Everything says:

    One of the problems with handling troll IMO is that sometimes there are trolls, sometimes a commenter is merely trolling, and sometimes a commenter is just forcefully expressing a minority opinion.

    Add “as rudely as the BJ orthodox express the majority opinion” and you have my M.O. I’m routinely labeled a troll, of course.

    As for Maddow, she’s pretty awesome and far better than network TV deserves.

  85. 85
    Ted & Hellen says:

    Hey, folks, I’m here to make my PUNCHING DOWN quota today, will you please help?

    I’m on a payment plan with both Cole and the Republican party, as well as another on the side with the Tea Bag folks, so please do PUNCH DOWN, ok? I have bills to pay.

    Also too, this is the most trembling, tender fee fee’d, fear-based crowd of delicate Obot freaks on the trons.

    I don’t really think this is the way Cole meant for things to go when he switched sides.

  86. 86
    Ted & Hellen says:

    PLEASE PUNCH DOWN to the following:

    Why is DougJ’s sock puppetry thought to be acceptable and cute here?

    Tribalism?

    Discuss.

  87. 87
  88. 88
    Ted & Hellen says:

    OMG, no one is responding to me.

    I am MEEEEEEEEEEEEELLLLLLLLLLLLLLTTTTTTTTTTTTTTIIIIINGGGGG

  89. 89
    different-church-lady says:

    @Ted & Hellen: You’re a troll, but at least you’re being a clever troll for a change. Here’s some kibble.

  90. 90
    Studly Pantload, the emotionally unavailable unicorn says:

    @Schlemizel:

    A study shows that typical trolling behavior, bombast, sarcasm, vitriol, does not change opinions but hardens a person position. So their trolling on a national scale makes the wingnuts even wingnuttier and less willing to reason.

    I saw that too, yesterday. Maybe it was a HuffPo.

    Case in point: Does anyone else here follow Shannyn Moore on Facebook? She’s an Alaskan liberal blogger and radio show host whom I’ve been following since the bad ol’ days of What’s-Her-Face Palin to get the skinny on her reign as gubnor up there.

    Anyhoo, Moore posted this morning on how a wingnut caller on her show said he believed the Newtown slaughter was orchestrated by the Obama administration to strengthen his chances for re-election. When Moore pointed out that the shootings had occurred *after* the election, his response was:

    “That’s your opinion.”

    They will truly only allow us to take their stupidity when we can pry it from their cold, dead fingers.

  91. 91
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @different-church-lady:

    mmmmmm…thank you.

    (bats eyes)

  92. 92
    Ruckus says:

    @different-church-lady:
    If John had been blocking trolls when he was under the conservative influence would he have ever grown up? Trolls work both ways, what we don’t like is not a difference of opinion that we may be able to change or understand, but someone arguing for the sake of being a pain in the ass. Or a fucking idiot. Trolls are annoying because they are like a child throwing a tantrum. They want attention and if they have to be crazy to get it, no problem. How do you deal with a child throwing a tantrum? Ignore, ignore, ignore. Maybe they learn, and in the case of an online troll they just might go away if they are incapable of learning.

  93. 93
    El Cid says:

    @Studly Pantload, the emotionally unavailable unicorn: You can keep yer damn fancy ivory tower elitist ideas about a one-directional time line, I don’t need all these la-la librul “calendars” and “clocks” and “astrolabes,” I learned how to tell when things happen and sequences of events from my daddy, or maybe I’m about to soon, if he’s done been my father yet.

  94. 94
    Julia Grey says:

    a spate of recent Troll hijackings on substantive threads here and the earnest but futile attempts to reason or shame them.

    You’re right that reasoning with trolls is impossible, but I personally find it entertaining to address their arguments as if they’re serious or make sense or have any actual importance. I’m weird, I suppose, in that I find it fun sometimes to fk around with People Who Are Wrong On The Internet. So quit pissing on my parade!

    Seriously, though, when it comes to shaming trolls, it’s not futile at all. I often find that it is ridiculously easy to get them to shame themselves. In fact, sometimes no direct response is necessary to get them to PUNCH themselves in the face.

  95. 95
    different-church-lady says:

    @Ruckus:

    If John had been blocking trolls when he was under the conservative influence would he have ever grown up?

    Yeah, I think he would have, because his conversion came from his direct observation of increased wingnuttery (and the resultant repulsion), not from someone on BJ making an argument in favor of liberalism.

    Any rate, some of the people you’re thinking of might have been “liberal trolls” and some of them might have been people with liberal POVs who insisted on being here out of context.

    In the end, it’s the behavior that makes someone a troll, not merely the fact that they go against the grain.

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