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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » The World Wide Web of Trolls

   
Author Topic: The World Wide Web of Trolls
Alcon
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The New York Times has done a 7 page expose of modern internet trolling culture. It's a fairly interesting read, though I'm not sure that it really reveals anything we here didn't already know all too well.

Linky

quote:
/b/ is the designated “random” board of 4chan.org, a group of message boards that draws more than 200 million page views a month. A post consists of an image and a few lines of text. Almost everyone posts as “anonymous.” In effect, this makes /b/ a panopticon in reverse — nobody can see anybody, and everybody can claim to speak from the center. The anonymous denizens of 4chan’s other boards — devoted to travel, fitness and several genres of pornography — refer to the /b/-dwellers as “/b/tards.”

Measured in terms of depravity, insularity and traffic-driven turnover, the culture of /b/ has little precedent. /b/ reads like the inside of a high-school bathroom stall, or an obscene telephone party line, or a blog with no posts and all comments filled with slang that you are too old to understand.



[ August 04, 2008, 10:25 AM: Message edited by: Alcon ]

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Teshi
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Fortuny reminds me of a forgotten character from Ender's Game.

EDIT: Or a version of Peter. Hm, it occurred to me to wonder how many of the troll community will find threads referring to 'their' article? They sound like the kind of fellows who, given this kind of exposure would want to track down every thread about them.

quote:
“We’re waiting,” Weev said. “We need someone to show us the way. The messiah.”
For this fellow, it's a religion. Or, more accurately, an anti-religion. I suppose it's a form of nihilism.

It's interesting that the destructive tendencies of the troll community reflect closely the destructive tendencies of something like Scientology (which they as a broad group ostensibly oppose).

I also wonder how many of the answers this young man gave to the reporter were real. I imagine that most of what was said to face to face is true (for as we know, trolls turn to stone in daylight) and anything said over the phone or the internet is up for grabs.

Interesting article.

[ August 01, 2008, 11:49 AM: Message edited by: Teshi ]

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Epictetus
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I thought it was a really interesting read, it reinforces what my parents always told me about bullies when I was a kid, "Bullies were almost always bullied themselves." It's kind of nice to know that holds up in the internet culture.

It also makes me grateful that the trolls I've encountered on this site aren't nearly as vicious as some of them described in the article.

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Alcon
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I knew the two troll's world views sounded familiar... and I just realized where from. They sound like Dr. Horrible.
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Alcon
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I have to say there we some things that really surprised me in there. Like this:

quote:
The talk led to two uncomfortable interviews with federal agents and the decision to shed his legal identity altogether. Weev now espouses “the ruin lifestyle” — moving from condo to condo, living out of three bags, no name, no possessions, all assets held offshore. As a member of a group of hackers called “the organization,” which, he says, bring in upward of $10 million annually, he says he can wreak ruin from anywhere.

We arrived at a strip mall. Out of the darkness, the coffinlike snout of a new Rolls Royce Phantom materialized. A flying lady winked on the hood. “Your bag, sir?” said the driver, a blond kid in a suit and tie.

“This is my car,” Weev said. “Get in.”

And it was, for that night and the next, at least. The car’s plush chamber accentuated the boyishness of Weev, who wore sneakers and jeans and hung from a leather strap like a subway rider. In the front seat sat Claudia, a pretty college-age girl.

This sounds too much like something out of The Matrix or Hackers for me to believe. It sounds too much like a conspiracy theorist hacker's favorite fiction.

quote:
Weev says he has access to hundreds of thousands of Social Security numbers. About a month later, he sent me mine.
A month later... wonder what he did to get a hold of it. I really have trouble connecting what these trolls and hackers claim to be able to do and what they claim to have to their apparent maturity level. How on earth does "the organization" bring in $10 million annually? I can't even imagine how it would begin to do that.
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Samprimary
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The internet was the best thing to happen to physically unimpressive sociopaths!
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scifibum
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I'm pretty sure the Rolls was a rental, and Weev was trying to impress the heck out of the author. The author was very restrained, but put sly observations in there like "And it was, for that night and the next, at least."

Another example, paraphrasing: "I think it was Claudia's apartment" when referring to Weev's invitation to go to the apt.

I think the entire article subtly points up the childishness of the behavior these professional trolls sometimes exhibit.

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Zhil
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The author better be careful! The trolls might start, you know, harrassing him.

I also note that some of the hackers showcased here are pretty anti-semitic. SURPRISING.

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scifibum
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I guess that knowledge of their harassment abilities might be why the author kept the mockery very subtle. (Or maybe I was imagining the mockery.)
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Zhil
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No, I detected the mockery as well. I don't think the hackers are stupid, they'll see it too.

The author never finished the story about what Weev did to the other trollers that were harrassing Girlvinyl. I want to read hacker vs hacker action, dangit.

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