"Why did he commit to trolling?
He repeats the word out loud as if he is shocked by it. The word itself sounds evil, doesn't it? he says. He prefers provoking. Even heckling is fine. It is easier on the ear, intellectual even, much more civilized. He chuckles. Wasn't that part of the game, one of the tricks learned on bulletin boards a decade or two ago when he still was a kid. His aim was to make the unthinkable argument sound pedestrian, to persuade a target to lose his or her temper in a futile attempt to debunk the apparently solid post based on insane, completely outrageous logic. Of course the pitch always sounded better if the troll honestly believed - for a moment at least - in his point and appeared sincere since when he wrote about "promoting discussion" or "ushering in the voice of reason". In this, he considered himself a master. He could play any side, argue for any cause with equal zeal, conviction and (un)logic. He took pride of being an intellectual mercenary posting for any and all causes from the religious right wing propaganda to the nuttiest left-wing liberal whinging - in a foreign language no less.
Eric Ass Raymond had been a believer in the power of international discussion online - once. But later. Ah, no, no. too much had happened. By then he had come to see the blogs differently. "They are mostly a silly game," he explains. Adults wearing children's masks, trying to prove intellectual superiority to each other, like schoolboys measuring prick lengths in an elite private school for boys. What purpose does it all serve? Who really gains? He pauses, composing his thoughts.
Who is the greater fool? he asks, his voice intense. The man who believes his own lies and spends his nights rationalizing the obvious contradictions in his posts? Or a man who sees the lies for exactly what they are and, recognizing them, uses them for his own pleasure? He chuckles, and just as quickly begins to cough, the result of too much alcohol, asthma and a weak constitution. He's been drinking daily since he was 24 and he was once determined to not stop now that he is in his mid fourties. There are too few pleasures in life to stop. That's different now. He feels he must heal.
Trolling? Why did Eric Ass Raymond become a troll? Was it the booze or did the trolling drive him to boozing? Finding out that there were people out there who could find his posts funny, insightful or even interesting although he himself sometimes couldn't even remember writing them?
He toys with the question, addressing it in the third person, as if he himself is curious to discover an answer. Was it some event that sparked Eric's real-life persona to become an attention seeking depressed still functioning alcoholic egomaniac or had the seeds for it always been in his blood, slumbering inside some defective DNA, waiting to burst free? The conversation amuses him. Could his trolling or alcoholism have been preordained? Which of our actions are truly our own? he asks. Which are determined before our birth? Were his parents somehow to blame? Or some childhood trauma long repressed? Not a chance. It's me, myself and I to blame if there is anything to lay the blame on.
Trolling. Boozing. The same?"
Well, that's enough drama. At least the trolling stops here and now. I am tired of playing this game on any forum. During the last seven years on Slashdot I've been a contributor, a gutter-troll, a karma-whore and now, in the character of Eric Ass Raymond, a troll with constant excellent karma. I am tired. I don't know what I believe in or if I believe in anything anymore. Things must change.
So, what next? Rehab next week. I'm getting too old to keep drinking and maintain my standards at work. Since the therapists will certainly latch on to my history on Slashdot and, if they're any good they will quite correctly recognize the association between Slashdot and my addiction, I will probably quit posting here for a long time.
Signing off indefinitely.