If guns were outlawed, fewer outlaws would carry guns.
Every once and a while I check my stats. Not every day, I’m not quite that narcissistic, but every few days. And one thing that I noticed was that almost every day there are one or two hits to this blog using the search “guinea pig funny”. Presumably linking to the one and only guinea pig related post. But then I got to thinking – how far down on the list must this post be when doing a search for “guinea pig funny”. So I went on to four different search engines, and entered that search term, and scanned through the first 20 pages. And guess what? No Bipedalia. That’s really not surprising – but it does mean that there are a couple people each day searching through more than 20 pages of search engine hits for funny pictures of guinea pigs. Somehow that lowers my estimation of mankind.
A man can fail many times, but he isn’t a failure until he begins to blame somebody else.
This is a quote from the X-Files tv show, from years gone by, that I was reminded of recently. It is of course a reference to Forest Gump.
Life is like a box of chocolates. A cheap, thoughtless, perfunctory gift that nobody ever asks for. Unreturnable, because all you get back is another box of chocolates. You’re stuck with this undefinable whipped-mint crap that you mindlessly wolf down when there’s nothing else left to eat. Sure, once in a while, there’s a peanut butter cup, or an English toffee. But they’re gone too fast, the taste is fleeting. So you end up with nothing but broken bits, filled with hardened jelly and teeth-crunching nuts, and if you’re desperate enough to eat those, all you’ve got left is an empty box – filled with useless, brown paper wrappers.
For the six of you who don’t know, here is the definition of a troll from Wikipedia:
In Internet slang, a troll is someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, chat room or blog, with the primary intent of provoking other users into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.
And from Urban Dictionary:
One who posts a deliberately provocative message to a newsgroup or message board with the intention of causing maximum disruption and argument Essentially, a troll is someone who jumps into discussions to generate a flurry of responses – usually aggrevated – and seems to feed off the responses, often interjecting additional comments to try to stimulate further aggrevation. They consider the responses recognition and affirmation, so the more responses they get, the happier they are, even if those responses are scathing.
Anyone who frequents online fora has come across such behaviour. But it is not always clear whether we are dealing with a troll, per se, or just an idiot. The first question is, must a troll be intentionally trolling? If a person (or person-like organism) behaves like a troll and performs troll-like actions because of some firm, intrinsic belief or a genuine desire to try to convert others to their point of view, are they a troll? Can one be an inadvertant troll?
To answer that, I suggest putting it through the Duck Test. If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, well, for all intents an purposes it is a duck. Or a merganser, which is close enough.
The second question is, must a troll necessarily be a commenter, or can trolling be generated in a post itself? Typically, trolls toss inflammatory comments into an otherwise normal discussion. However, if someone takes the time to generate a full-blown post that accomplishes the same result – aggrevation and a flurry of responses – then the result is the same. An ambitious troll, but a troll nonetheless.
And so, with these criteria considered, I think it is perfectly fair to say that Dawkinswatch fits the definition of a troll.
Consider: He has little imagination, mostly just rehashing the twaddle of others. His posts are often inflammatory, accusing celebrities of devil worship, and accusing those who don’t share his particular brand of YEC fundamentalism of ignorance, stupidity, insanity, and immorality. He repeats himself despite contrary evidence, and asks for information just provided. He misses the point of most counter arguments. The more his arguments are shown to be baseless, the more he writes. And best of all, he frequently responds to legitimate arguments with non-sequiters of epic proportion.
Dawkinswatch, whether intentional or not, is a troll.
And there is really only one response.
Do Not Feed the Troll (DNFTT).