April 12, 2010

Someone Is Wrong On The Internet!

Filed under: Main — admin @ 12:01 am

There is something about that anonymous jerk on the Internet (you know the guy I’m talking about) that compels some people to reply.

There are several names for the anonymous jerk or their posts:

Troll. The most popular and perhaps most ancient term to describe the anonymous jerk is troll. I like to think of the large ogre who dwelled under bridges in fairy tales, but troll is a fishing term.

When you troll for fish you’re not deliberately targeting any specific fish. No, you’re casting a wide net and hoping to catch anything. Trolling is effective, both in the water and digitally. The Troll operates by posting something just slightly wrong, enough to elicit an emotion from someone else and generate a reply.

It’s the reply that gratifies the Troll, not the issue. That’s important to note because Trolls don’t care for issues, they only want replies. Their posts need not even be controversial or provoking.

Shart. An acronym for Short, Hostile And Resentful Troll, the sharter specifically uses trolling to hijack an otherwise informative message thread. So what starts out as a topic on baking cookies turns into a thread on whether Brittney Spears is even relevant any more. That’s a successful shart.

There are lots of Sharts on the Internet. Sharting a thread is very common.

Flamer. A flame is a heated post. A controversial topic is tinder. The flame baiter supplies the gasoline and spark. They may participate in the conflagration or they may just sit back like any pyromaniac and be pleased with their work.

Flamers are more divisive than trolls. A troller can be subtle, sometimes even asking an innocent question. A flamer, on the other hand, means to erupt a thread with dozens, if not hundreds of angry, nasty posts.

The classic flamer was the guy who showed up in the early Star Trek forums to belittle the members there. They’d write things like “Go take your Spock ears back to Mommy who will fix them while you sit in the basement and cry over your Commodore 64 keyboard.”

Classic stuff! But such flame bait would elicit lots of replies, which is all the flamer wanted.


  1. XKCD am I right?

    Over at a couple beta communities, all of the above will break out from time to time.

    Comment by linuxlove — April 12, 2010 @ 5:23 am

  2. Like clockwork.

    Comment by admin — April 12, 2010 @ 7:01 am

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