In case you haven’t noticed, there are a lot of Dbags on the Internet. At some point we will hit the Asshat Apocalypse® where total disregard for others is the norm and bad behavior is the Currency of Choice.
The dive bar of the Internet; where communication finally hits rock bottom and turns over its life to Christ. The Kitty Genovese of language; where intellectual discourse is raped and murdered while everybody watches, yet nobody lifts a finger to stop it. Comments sections are where loaded guns of idiocy discharge reams of retard bullets into innocent and unsuspecting bodies of text, leaving all of language itself wounded and bleeding. Source.
Here are five specific things you are doing in comment threads that make you an Internet Troll.
1) You point out a MISSPELLing
Now I’m not saying an article or post riddled with errors is something to be ignored. It certainly does distract from the message if you have to keep trying to figure out what the message is because you cannot understand what language the writer was using in a piece where ever other word is misspelled.
However, in this Age of auto-correct, auto-complete, ADD and brain farts, you almost have to give a little latitude to someone when they make a minor spelling infraction. What’s that you say? They should proofread something important like a page on the interwebs? Well guess what? the US Constitution has misspellings in it.
2) you point out incorrect usage of a commonly misused word or phrase
I’m no longer sure if I could or couldn’t care less about this Small Language Crime. Maybe they should have written e.g. instead of i.e. and you pounce on them like a cat on a mouse. Congratulations, you won the internet today.
My personal theory on these last two is somewhere back in time, you missed out on a perfect score because of a misspelling or grammar usage. Whether you still got an A or were bumped down to a B grade, this has tortured you throughout the ages. You feel that if you didn’t get a break, then gosh darn it, no one in the world is ever gonna get a free pass for misspelling any word. EVER.
3) you harp on one small detail that is incorrect as if that invalidates the enter post/article
Essentially you have realized that you can look up everything on the internet, so you spend your time pointing out every possible error in postings. Sure you act helpful, but you also imply that each tiny error makes the whole article invalid, sucking the joy out of it.
Someone writes “Let’s remember that the 2008 Giants and the 2011 Packers got into the playoffs by winning out right at the end of the season and they went to (and won) the Super Bowl. ”
Now they really meant the 2007 and 2010 teams, respectively. And that would be important in a list of teams that made it to the Super Bowl. But when it’s so minor that the error isn’t germane to the story, there isn’t much point in harping on it. I know, now I gotta explain to you want germane means and no it has nothing to do with Germany.
The point the person is trying to make is that two teams that had rough starts to their season made it the playoff and went on to win the Super Bowl.
4) Matter of degree versus YMMV
This one comes in two flavors:
4a) Someone writes about a general thing, i.e. the price of street fests being too high. You immediately point out that the street fest you volunteer for is only $5. Thanks Lieutenant Logic, this obviously doesn’t apply here. They are talking about the other 218 street fests. Or someone makes a general statement about how it take an hour on average to shovel out their car when the snow plow has packed them in. And you chime in with “it took me 10 minutes to shovel my car out, what’s your problem lazy-boy?” The problem is you’re talking about that one time you shoveled your car out the minute it started snowing and it only snowed two inches. Everyone else is averaging their entire winter experience.
4b) someone uses an abstract example to illustrate a point and you harp on the general occurrences for example someone writes about a specific teacher in a rural district who doesn’t get some benefit and you chime in that all the teachers in NYC get this benefit.
5) you ignore qualifiers and hear only what you want to hear
If you only read the headline and the first two paragraphs of a story, article or post before you bang out a comment, there isn’t much I can say that will mean anything to you. There is a lot of research on the persuasiveness, or lack-there-of of “hedge words” — words that qualify a statement. Most research I have read — both articles — recommends eliminating hedge words because they make you sound equivocal.
However, you have to be a special kind of Dbag to be so certain of everything you say that you don’t qualify your statements to allow for the tiniest bit of uncertainly. It’s one thing to say “The Patriots are the best team in the NFL.” it’s another thing to say “they will win the Superbowl.”
Mostly, it’s not about doing any or all of the above, but your delivery system. You could simply say “hey good article except you misspelled “xxxx” in the second paragraph and I think you meant “moot point” not “mute point”. Instead you screech like an 900-pound gorilla. You think that your comment is different, is more important than any other comment or commentor and if everyone would just pay attention to what you had to say the world would spin more efficiently with unicorns farting rainbows and everything. And so you stop at nothing to make sure you are heard, manners be damned and civility be gone! It’s hard to ignore a gorilla, especially when it is flinging feces at you. And like a gorilla, you cannot readily comprehend why it is that you are being denied your banana.
The simple answer is: Do Not Feed the Trolls.
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