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Saturday, September 27, 2003
Parade of Trolls Redux

By Steven Taylor @ 9:27 am

A while back I proposed an idea, called “The Parade of Trolls” that was intended, in “Carnival of the Vanities” fashion to allow the Blogosphere to share (and be amused by) various example of Trollishness in the comments section of various blogs. I have been meaning for some time to comment on that rather failed experiment, so here we go.

By “Troll” I mean an individual who lurks in the comments section of a blog, leaving strange, often annoying, but normally negative or nonsensical posts. And more than just being annoying they typically range to the level of funny (but not on purpose), although sometimes they are simply abusive. If anything Trolls typically provide mind-boggling feats of illogical. One thing is clear, and what separates a Troll from simply a dissenting voice in one’s comments section, is that the Troll really has no interest in reasoned argument, but rather simply wants to spew. Along with bandwidth issues, there is no doubt in my mind that Trolls are one of the main reasons that many blogs don’t have comment sections.

It is also noteworthy, however, that they can also kind of pathetic, insofar as one wonders why some of these people read stuff (often on a daily basis) that they clearly don’t like and then take the time to conjure half-baked responses to them. So, in addition to being funny and maddening, they are also rather sad.

Anyway, the response to my initial request for examples was two-fold, there was a lot of interest in the concept on a general level (for example: here, here, here, here, here and here) but very little in the way of actual examples to showcase. While some of the contributions were clearly example of Trollishness, none were particularly funny, although some did highlight noxious behavior—which is less entertaining.

Indeed, part of the problem may also be that crystallizing Trollish behavior into a single example isn’t too easy. For example, here at PoliBlog I have a Pet Troll (to be defined as an individual Troll who, for whatever reason, reads your stuff daily (indeed, usually multiple times a day) and feels the need to toss out “commentary”), but it is difficult to find a single post that fully captures the overall contributions of the fellow.

It also leads me to the conclusion that, perhaps, “one man’s Troll is another man’s Freedom Fighter” or some such—at least that obnoxiousness in the eye of the beholder. Part of it, too, may be that like stray cats, bloggers think it unwise to feed the Trolls, and the fact that it isn’t nice to make fun of people who may not know any better…

So, I had a parade, and basically nobody came. And that’s fine—for as I like to point out in Real LifeTM, parades are Nineteenth Century entertainment anyway, so why would I want to go to one?

Filed under: Blogging

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  1. A blog without a comment section? That’s not a blog. It’s just a public conversation with yourself. Sure, it’s hard at times to “put up with” random voices that are “off the mark.” But isn’t that what democracy or a discourse with the universe is supposed to encourage?

    And you have the nerve to pontificate on why people don’t vote.

    Comment by BJK — Saturday, September 27, 2003 @ 9:44 am

  2. Have you been to InstaPundit lately? ;)

    Plus, I wasn’t advocating lack of comments, just noting a reason why some folks might not have them.

    However, I don’t think that a blog has to have comments to be a blog.

    Comment by Steven — Saturday, September 27, 2003 @ 10:01 am

  3. BJK, you are mistaken.

    Steven wants comments. I’d go so far as to say he craves comments.

    But-and it’s a big ‘but’-Steven only wants those comments that agree with him. So when Steven posts one of his inanities or one of his outright fabrications, he expects a comment such as ‘Bravo, Steven. You are truly a master of all political science’ or ‘Intriguing insight, Steven.’

    It’s like Limbaugh; you’re always right if you screen the audience.

    Comment by JadeGold — Saturday, September 27, 2003 @ 4:01 pm

  4. You just had to kill it because it was a stupid idea.


    Comment by Paul — Saturday, September 27, 2003 @ 6:42 pm

  5. Comment by Anonymous — Tuesday, August 10, 2004 @ 3:48 pm

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