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Journal Starship Trooper's Journal: God help us all ... (Troll FAQ)

by Anonymous Coward on 05:15 AM March 16th, 2000 CST

[ed: This is only a partial archive of what I found on Craig McPherson's site; unfortunately I haven't been able to find the full text. If you have a full copy of this document, or know where one is, please mail me. -S.Trooper]

But mainly help me. I had a long, dull business trip Tues. and Wed., and as a result I wrote the following (5000 words and still unfinished) Slashdot Troll FAQ. I haven't been able to build on 80md's original due to lack of connection, but the doct. below still needs revised. Specifically, it needs to be made more entertaining. See whatcha think.


Slashdot troll FAQ

  1. What do trolls do?
    We post inflammatory, satirical or just plain weird comments on slashdot, aiming to draw attention to ourselves and to distract discussion away from the matter at hand. We use satire, wit, art and other cultural weapons to give fun to the clueful and embarrass the clueless.
    1. What are the characteristics of a good troll?
      A good troll is a statement designed to inflame the passions of a certain type of reader. A troll is a contrary or controversial statement, which attacks a preconception of someone who is likely to read it, causing them to suspend their normal standards of critical thinking, and to fire off a combative response, without thinking that they are being had. This is the "classic" troll, aimed at enticing someone to make a fool of themself.
    2. Are there any other kinds of troll?
      Yes. The "surrealistic" troll is a piece of prose, rambling, comic or just downright weird, inserted into a discussion where it seems at once utterly irrelevant and curiously in place. The common thread linking the types of trolls is that a certain kind of personality (read - far too uptight) gets irrationally annoyed by them.
    3. What are "characters"?
      Some kinds of trollish statement have been proven to work again and again, so naturally, some trolls have taken advantage of this fact to repeat them again and again. Certain individual trolls are more or less identified with certain types of trollish statement, and thus we have the idea of a "character" - a fictitious entity which is supposed to actually hold the views which are expressed in the troll?s posts. Some of these characters have distinct personalities and maintain narrative coherence from troll to troll (see the "Microsoft Linux" episode between streetlawyer and DMG); some of them show up expressing the same or similar points of view again and again (the RWM and derivatives).
    4. What are some of the characters?
      The number one maximally 1337 troll character is the RWM; the most established troll, with the most solid track record behind him. Opensource man and his creations is the oldest surreal troll; gnarphlager and auntfloyd also adopt this style. Paranoid Man is getting off the ground, and DMG and streetlawyer have their fans. Mindless Bastard is more of a style of trolling than a character per se. There are lots more people posting trolls than are listed here; these are just the repeating characters.
    5. What is an RWM?
      RWM is the Right Wing Maniac, a character with a hotch-potch of (often mutually incompatible) libertarian, Christian, and Objectivist views, who typically (mis)applies the general principles of his world-view to various slashdot topics. He tends to be keen on referring to people as "socialists", particularly if they consider themselves to be conservatives. Sometimes he?s more of a religious nut; sometimes it?s more the free market which rings his bell. There is also a Left Wing Maniac with a yen for spouting dialectical materialism, but he hasn?t done much recently. It?s worth noting that it is very rare to find a RWM troll thread in which at least one participant doesn?t agree with most of RWM?s views.
    6. What is a DMG?
      DMG is the Dumb Marketing Guy. He claims to have been involved in Linux for "at least four years, since the very beginning", and offers unsolicited "open source" marketing advice on Linux advocacy to the members of the community. He often takes a rather hurt tone in response to the welter of abuse which is the usual response to his advice.
    7. How about the other characters?
      For crying out loud, they ought to be self-explanatory, surely to heck?
    8. What?s with the "cheese" thing?
      Buggered if I know. Lots of trolls mention cheese, and seem to indicate that cheese has some sort of significance. Maybe it does.
    9. Why does streetlawyer swear so much?
      Because he had a hard life, dragging himself up from the streets to get his fucken law degree from fucken Hah-vud, OK?
    10. What you said really offended me!
      Well, sorry. But really, nobody cares (see below). You?re too easily offended. Now purge the post from your board, log our IP address and go back to drawing your "After Y2K" comic (which is shit, by the way).
  2. What don?t trolls do?
    We don?t do boring, uncreative shit which just makes slashdot harder to read. We?re not into denial of service attacks - they aren?t very funny. We?re probably harsher opponents of the spam bunch than you are, because anything which encourages people to browse at levels above -1 makes our work harder.
    1. Those cut & pastes which fill up the forums, are those you guys?
      Nope. Nezh.
    2. How about that obscene ASCII art I just saw?
      Nope. Nada.
    3. Thank God you?ve got nothing to do with "open source Natalie Portman", or "naked and petrified"!
      Errrr, well actually yes we have. Both of those ongoing trolls were written by regulars on the troll forum, and you?re not going to find condemnation of them in this FAQ.
    4. What?
      Read them. Untwist your underwear, stop fulminating over the momentary interruption to your terribly important discussion about Slackware and have a look at some of these posts. Open source Natalie Portman was a fine piece of Burroughsian prose and if you don?t agree that it was, then you?re wrong. The whole "Naked and petrified" thing was an absolute triumph - it provoked a huge amount of reaction, entertainingly interfered with a few people?s heads by sexualising the context of slashdot and is still talked about, several months after the original author stopped bothering.
      1. But that naked and petrified stuff was really sick!
        Sick to you, but that was actually the guy?s genuinely held sexual fantasy. He was erotically excited by the thought of women turned to stone, and was letting the world know about it. Don?t pretend that you weren?t interested - it?s absolutely fascinating.
      2. You?re kidding me!
        Nope. I was taken aback myself, but there are several sites on the Net with active discussion boards on this very subject. It?s not that very different from the subject of "The Fermata" by Nicholson Baker, where the hero has the power to stop time, effectively turning women into statues. And that is quite a common paraphilia.
      3. Well, I thought it was offensive to women. Wasn?t it tantamount to a rape fantasy?
        No, it was a petrification fantasy. Which is something rather less threatening, because harder to act out (how many people really believed that anyone could actually turn Natalie Portman to stone?)
      4. What does Natalie Portman think about being "open sourced"?
        I?m sure she?s not wonderfully happy about being the subject of someone else?s tawdry sexual fantasies, but it kind of comes with the job. I doubt she loses much sleep.
      5. You keep saying I should read this stuff. How can I?
        Opensourceman?s works (including the Star Wars series and Fat-time Charlie) are available online at: http://www.warmann.com/ Craig MacPherson has a website at: http://users.ipa.net/~cmcpher/ , which probably has a few things on it to do with the petrification thing.
    5. So gritsboy and scooby doo are trolls then? And Trollmastah?
      Wellllll .... they?re a step above the cut ?n? pasters. And sometimes they can be funny if you?re in a silly mood. But they don?t contribute to the troll forums, and it?s not what I personally would call incredibly creative. Some people like running jokes and some don?t. The original Trollmastah has contributed some good material, but there?s a lot of imitations about.
  3. Why, for God?s sake?
    For a variety of reasons, but mainly to puncture the self-importance of a few people who deeply deserve it. Slashdot has a lot of very clever people posting, but vastly more individuals with a serious perception/reality gap with regard to their own intelligence. People who believe themselves to be perceptive, clueful, even deep thinkers while merely reciting lists of conventional wisdom deserve to be taken for a ride. And there?s the sheer Skinnerian joy of it - if somebody, or some group of people have buttons, it?s inhuman not to take delight in pushing them.
    1. Why do you spend such effort on being assholes?
      In order to do it properly.
    2. What?s your problem with moderation?
      No problem. Whining about moderation is for the moderation thread. Several trolls moderate more or less frequently (and meta-moderate - be very afraid), and there is very little genuine complaint about moderation on the troll threads. Any remarks about $3 crack are meant in a spirit of fun and affection, and are usually merely cris de coeur when a finely crafted troll has been rumbled in the first few seconds and down-modded.
      1. What about "Portrait of a Moderator"?
        That was funny.
    3. Why don?t you go and troll somewhere other than slashdot?
      Where is there? We?ve had a token go or two at Nitrozac and kuro5hin, and an abortive attempt to troll some n
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God help us all ... (Troll FAQ)

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