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Dvorak Admits To Trolling Mac Users 354

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the everyone's-favorite-gasbag dept.
jalefkowit writes "Tech pundit John Dvorak has long been known for his inflammatory opinions. Many have suspected that these opinions are just a way to drive up traffic to his column. Now, we have it straight from the horse's mouth: Dave Winer has Dvorak on video describing his methodology for trolling the Mac community to pump up his stats." I have to admit I'm also guilty of posting the occasional inflammatory story, but I find it's usually best to suffix the title with a question mark, and let our ever-knowledgeable readers hash out the issue and decide for themselves.
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Dvorak Admits To Trolling Mac Users

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 10, 2006 @12:02PM (#15509539)
    The Mac sites are up in arms, with commentors demanding that PC Magazine pull their columnist because he has no integrity. I don't know why anybody ever takes Dvorak seriously. If you don't, you'll see that he can actually be pretty entertaining.

    Too bad Apple does not include a sense of humor with iLife. Even now when Dvorak's let us all in on the joke, they still don't get it.
  • So what? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by eagl (86459) on Saturday June 10, 2006 @12:07PM (#15509569) Journal
    In other news, slashdot posters guilty of posting comments intended to spark debate and foster discussion of interesting topics!

    It's sort of like accusing a congressman of creating and passing good legislation because he has a secret desire to get re-elected, or accusing someone of going to work to get paid. Imagine the nerve of some people!
  • by SuperBanana (662181) on Saturday June 10, 2006 @12:09PM (#15509581)

    [SNIP]Dave Winer has Dvorak on video describing his methodology for trolling the Mac community to pump up his stats." [SNIP] I have to admit I'm also guilty of posting the occasional inflammatory story, but I find it's usually best to suffix the title with a question mark, and let our ever-knowledgeable readers hash out the issue and decide for themselves.

    You do it for the same reason Dvorak did it. Not to boost "stats"- to boost advertising revenue by increasign page hits. A 300-post thread is thrilling advertising-wise compared to a 30-comment thread. It's always about increasing advertising revenues.

    The evil "main stream media" has a term for it: sensationalism. You should attract readers via the quality of your content, not its controversialism. These days I see the average tech story on the homepage of my city's newspaper 1, 2, 3 days before it hits slashdot- and half the time, it's an AP wire story! Gone are the days when the media outlets didn't have contacts in the tech industry or didn't "understand" it. Slashdot's become a real bore, and the quality of commentary both on the part of editors and readers has gone straight downhill.

  • The question mark (Score:3, Insightful)

    by trifish (826353) on Saturday June 10, 2006 @12:10PM (#15509592)
    but I find it's usually best to suffix the title with a question mark, and let our ever-knowledgeable readers hash out the issue and decide for themselves.

    Which is, unfortunately, the case with many Slashdot (and most Digg) stories. As soon as I see a sensationalistic title ending with a question mark, I automatically skip to the next story.
  • by DingerX (847589) on Saturday June 10, 2006 @12:17PM (#15509628) Journal
    Yeah, he's been doing this for a long time. And the tech world is full of enough fanatics that you can't help but piss people off. Write an inflammatory article on Apple, Open Source, Linux, Nintendo, or any number of other technosacredcows, and bang! instant traffic. Much easier than saying something intelligent.
  • by telbij (465356) on Saturday June 10, 2006 @12:34PM (#15509702)
    We used to be able to pretend it was the editors foisting him upon us... but lo' and behold, democratic Digg comes along, and he still makes the front page!

    No, this is backwards. The unwashed masses will never be collectively smart enough to distinguish a troll, statistical certainty and all that. This is the purpose of editorial control, to go beyond the bell curve. Dvorak can be kept off /. All that we need is to convince the few editors that he is, in fact, a full-time troll, And that his rantings do not deserve a place on the front page because they are neither news, nor are they 'stuff that matters'. Unfortunately I think a successful troll is just as good for /. as it is for Dvorak's employers, so there's little incentive for them to change. We can always dream though.
  • meta-troll (Score:3, Insightful)

    by weierstrass (669421) on Saturday June 10, 2006 @12:48PM (#15509764) Homepage Journal
    This is itself a troll. The video [youtube.com] does not show Dvorak saying these things, but has him talking with the audio completely out of sync. From the FTA:
    he started telling a story about how he deliberately pisses Mac users off to get flow for his stories, and I said, hold a minute, I want to record this, and shit if he didn't stop and repeat it for me and my video camera. I guess now I'm an official video blogger
    Think about it, if you were doing well by professional trolling (and I'm not saying he's not) would you talk about it on video, and lose all that revenue by 'serious' news sites deciding not to link to you anymore? This is a hoax. It's also probably one of these things that ring so true that everyone goes on acting as though they were even after they're discredited, like Al Gore inventing the Internet.
  • by PhreakinPenguin (454482) * on Saturday June 10, 2006 @12:54PM (#15509776) Homepage Journal
    Trolling is nothing new especially when you look right here on Slashdot every day. What gets Slashdot the most pageviews? Stories about Microsoft. The anti MS people comment like crazy while the pro MS people do the same. I swear there could be a story about finding a cure for cancer above a story about Microsoft and the Microsoft story would have more comments.
  • Re:Trolling? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Handover Phist (932667) on Saturday June 10, 2006 @12:54PM (#15509778) Homepage
    Thank god us Linux users dont have to put up with that sort of thing!
  • by sphealey (2855) on Saturday June 10, 2006 @12:58PM (#15509794)
    Dvorak writes a lot of different stuff, including some real journalism and technology analysis. But his best known work, and that which I am sure earns him his bread-and-butter, is technology gossip. Like every gossip column ever written since the first traveling minstrel appeared on the scene 30,000 years ago, Dvoark's gossip columns consist of a mixture of truth, exaggeration, spin (whether planted by the technology companies or generated by Dvorak himself), trolling, and some totally made-up stuff.

    For example, Dvorak has been trying to force the monitor companies to bring new technologies to market for at least the last 20 years. That is why he hypes-Hypes-HYPES any rumour of a new display technoloy (seen that 300 dpi Texas Instruments display he reported "almost ready for production" in 1995 yet?). 40% truth, 40% exaggeration, 20% Dvorak-generated spin.

    But as I said, that is how gossip columns of any kind work. Don't like it, don't read it.

    sPh
  • Interesting ... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Saturday June 10, 2006 @01:13PM (#15509859)
    Others might call it trolling but if you call it "catering to your market" it's a great way to make moniey.
    Interesting. You know another way to make "moniey"? Have sex with strangers who will pay you.

    Now ... if only there was a word for the kind of person who does that.
  • by joe 155 (937621) on Saturday June 10, 2006 @01:35PM (#15509937) Journal
    in all fairness there is very little to say about a cure for cancer if it turns out to be true other than "good. glad we figured this one out" - it hardly makes for interesting comments. Now a good ol' troll on MS can lead to thousands of opinions and is really the basis of pretty much all tech discussions... which is why we find it so easy to talk about
  • by suv4x4 (956391) on Saturday June 10, 2006 @02:05PM (#15510047)
    Reporters are not supposed to troll, they are supposed to at least believe what they say is correct (even if it's not).

    When John Dvorak writes his typical troll stories, potentially millions of people not familiar with the phenomenon John Dvorak take the article at face value and form opinion of people and products that affect their purchase choice and they also share the misinformation with other people.

    Tell a lie enough times, and it stops being a lie in people's minds.

    So are "Mac zealots" to be mocked about reacting strongly to lies spread in the media, or should the liears not exist in first place?

    It's not so funny that media use misinformation just to drive ad impressions up. That's really low of them.
  • by DaddyBird (629784) on Saturday June 10, 2006 @02:16PM (#15510080)
    editing: "Tech pundit John Dvorak has long been known for his lame and baseless opinions."
    ... and generating traffic from Mac and PC users as vacuous as he is.

    If Slashdot didn't occasionally regurgitate his vapor I wouldn't know that he was still around.
  • Re:Trolling? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by FangVT (144970) on Saturday June 10, 2006 @02:51PM (#15510199) Homepage
    There's several Slashot [sic] users that one can count on only seeing when there's some bad Apple news to spin.

    I agree with most all of your post, but on this point I'd like to make it clear that there are Slashdot users that can be counted on both pro and con. Every story brings out the apologists, the attackers and the defenders, as well as both the informed and the uniformed.

  • by dal20402 (895630) * <dal20402&mac,com> on Saturday June 10, 2006 @03:11PM (#15510262) Journal
    MacOS was a complete shitfest in the late 90s ... even regular users were getting fed-up, the techies were long gone. I do find it kind of humorus that your types are still desperately trying to rewrite the history of MacOS8 vs WinNT, but I don't think you'll get very far outside of the Evangalistas.

    This is a little simplistic. Even in the Mac OS 8/9 era (before OS X became usable for mainstream purposes with Jaguar), which is when Mac OS was technically most embarrassing, there were legitimate uses for it. Its worst weaknesses were the lack of the two PMs and any more than marginal multi-user support. On a dedicated-purpose workstation always running one stable application, it could achieve very long uptimes, and it had real security advantages over any of today's systems. Coupled with the total superiority of the PPC before the G4 stagnated in 2001-03, it's actually not that hard to see why even knowledgeable users in certain fields kept their Macs, and why Apple continued to sell $3000+ Power Mac G4s during the darkest days.

    Now, for the majority of us, the story was different. I waited a very long time after I bought my beige G3 in 1998 to buy another machine, simply assuming the OS X transition was going to fail, the platform was going to die, and I'd need to switch to Windows when the G3 got Too Old. I didn't feel comfortable buying another Mac until the Aluminum PowerBooks and Panther came out in 2003.

    Incidentally, one irony of this history is that Windows has become what many technically knowledgeable users feared the Mac would be twenty years ago: a system where it's almost impossible for the user to assert control over the OS at a granular level. What ultimately keeps me from switching to Windows (besides the superiority of Apple laptop design) is Windows and its applications' consistent and deliberate obfuscation of every modification they make, which has just gotten worse in every generation of Windows since 95, and which is promising to get even worse in Vista. Of course Linux in general doesn't suffer this problem, but I need an OS that will run mainstream music production software, and Linux ain't it.

  • I wonder how many hits his site will get as people visit just to complain about the movie?
  • by NMerriam (15122) <NMerriam@artboy.org> on Saturday June 10, 2006 @05:45PM (#15510704) Homepage
    Yes, there are many ways, and the button is least expensive and most reliable. Plus, it makes the user feel in control.
  • by fbg111 (529550) on Saturday June 10, 2006 @07:19PM (#15510939)
    If you don't, you'll see that he can actually be pretty entertaining.

    Or you'll realize that time and life are precious, and reading Dvorak is a complete waste of both.
  • by MojoStan (776183) on Sunday June 11, 2006 @01:19AM (#15511838)
    "Mac" is the brand name of a product line (of computers) made by Apple. Products do not troll.
    C'mon. You and everybody else knew what mfh meant. This isn't English class.

    Apple's OS X v. Windows XP ads are hardly trolling. It is not trolling when a company compares their product line against their competitor's in a non-subjective way.
    I would agree that it's hardly trolling (depending on one's definition of "trolling"), but to say Apple is comparing "Mac" to "PC" in a "non-subjective way" is laughable.

    When I pull up the terminal window and type 'uptime' my Mac will return a date figure which is in months (and for a while there in years + months!) I have owned a PC running Windows XP and this was never the case.
    In this case, you're comparing your Mac (hardware and software) to your Windows XP PC. Uptime depends on much more than just the OS. Bad hardware and drivers will kill the uptime of both OS X and WinXP. Running unpatched WinXP in administrator mode with the firewall turned off will also kill uptime. Sure, there are a lot more crappy PCs out there than crappy Macs (which do exist). But there are plenty of non-crappy PCs with Service Pack 2 that don't freeze or need to be rebooted regularly. I'm surprised yours isn't one of them.

    The iLife suite of applications, like iPhoto, iTunes, iEtc, is far better integrated, reliable and functional than any of the lifestyle applications that Microsoft bundles with Windows. So again, the point that Apple is making is legitimate.
    Not legitimate, IMO. iLife is not bundled with OS X, it is bundled with new Macs and costs $79 seperately. You compared a $79 suite to whatever is included with Windows, not whatever is bundled with a new PC. Some PC companies bundle comparable software with their new PCs or make it an option. You should compare iLife (which is not free) to software bundled with a new PC, not with whatever is free with Windows.

    Many PC makers bundle (or offer as a cheap option) Microsoft Works Suite [microsoft.com], which includes Word 2002, Works (basic spreadsheet, database, calendar), Digital Image Standard (iPhoto), Encarta, Money, and Streets & Trips Essentials. Every PC sold with a DVD burner is bundled with DVD creation software (iDVD) and the vast majority are also bundled with movie-making software (iMovie). Whether or not the software bundled with a particular PC is comparable to iLife (or is better) depends on the PC.

    I think I agree with the rest of your comment. I just think the new Apple ads are almost as misleading as Bill O'Reilly or Michael Moore.

  • by I Like Pudding (323363) on Sunday June 11, 2006 @03:50AM (#15512123)
    And if you want to exit the elevator, you intuitively drag the picture of the elevator to the trash can!

    Or just hit command-Q. You can also use command-W, but this causes the elevator car to wait around holding a triangle until you come back, clogging up traffic.
  • by winwar (114053) on Sunday June 11, 2006 @09:20AM (#15512715)
    "I said it before and I'll say it again: Dvorak is deliberately screwing the advertisers that pay for his web hits."

    OK everyone, let's shed a tear for the poor advertisers.

    Hey, where did everyone go?!?

    Advertisers aren't innocents. If they get hurt, they went in with their eyes open.....
  • by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Sunday June 11, 2006 @10:19AM (#15512836)
    You're making my point for me. A) he's a comedian. Like George Carlin or Carlos Mencia, they overstate their case to make a point. They know it's preposterous, we know it's preposterous, and we laugh about it. B) If you compare his political diatribes with the speeches of some (elected) European politicians, he actually comes across of fairly center.

    The fact that you bring him up as a possible counter troll to Ann Coulter shows just how far on the right the US sits.

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