From one troll to another

Last week, Emma posted a link on her Facebook stream, linking to a blog post by The Honest Courtesan. While it’s interesting to see Emma’s reading choices ;), the point of the blog post was to rebut a post by someone calling themselves Eve’s Daughter who made a post entitled “A Man is a Rape-Supporter If.”

In this list, Eve’s Daughter sets out a list of things which, if apply to you, make you a rape supporter. However, it’s written in a way in which every adult man falls into the category, making every man alive a rape supporter.

Now, I’ll be honest with you, once or twice in the past I have been known to troll a little. A was particularly pleased with my pre-election night throw away comment “oh no! I’ve lost my polling card, now I can’t vote :(“, as dozens of people rushed to tell me I could still vote 😀 .

So when I read the post by Eve’s Daughter, the first thought that went through my mind wasn’t, “what a load of nonsense this is”, it was simple one word – troll.

Of course, I could be wrong. There are a lot of radical extremist feminists out there and some of them probably do believe this. But here is why I believe it could well be a troll:

1. It’s clearly designed to get people really angry. It makes the bold claim that every man ever is a rape supporter in a bold and uncompromising way, stereotyping an entire gender. And it’s works. Check out The Amazing Atheist going mental on YouTube.

Strip out the WordPress header and insert a logo for The Daily Mail and it suddenly seems a lot more in context. To me, it almost seems like a job application for The Mail Online.

2. It is designed to draw in as many people as possible. Everyone checks boxes on this list so everyone who reads the list can’t help but been drawn in to the debate.

Again, it works really well. Not only are people commenting on the subject matter across the internet, but even I am here blogging about whether it is a troll or not.

3. It’s obviously not true, but is written in a way to make it almost plausible. The author could have just written “all men are rape supporters” and everyone would have ignored it as obviously nonsense. Instead the piece leads you through a series of leading questions to slowly heat your blood, without setting it straight to boil. That way, you don’t switch off straight away, you begin reading and get hooked before the fire is really stoked.

4. The author shows some signs of intelligence and satirical humour. On May 25th of this year, they made a post entitled “Life, the Universe, and Everything”. While this could be a coincidence, it is almost certainly a reference to Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, a fantastically clever piece of fiction that people like myself and you, my well educated yet probably bitterly sarcastic audience, enjoy.

Of course, I could be reading far too much into this, but if you accept the premise that the author of this blog is a Douglas Adams fan, and then ask the question “if a Douglas Adams fan published such a piece, is it serious or satirical trolling” the last option is suddenly a very appealing one.

5. There is no author information on the blog. If you were seriously campaigning on these kind of issues, surely you would put your name to it? Meanwhile if you were just doing it to get a rise out of people, you might as well publish anonymously, especially if you were a troll and people knew the real you didn’t actually believe any of this.

There was some mention of death threats somewhere on the blog, which could be a reason to publish anonymously, but I don’t think this is the case because who would actually make them? Surely anyone smart enough to rebut such arguments isn’t the kind of person that makes death threats so who would be so angry about this kind of writing to do that? Not to mention that if you believe in a cause strongly enough, which we’re supposed to believe the author does, that kind of thing won’t stop you.

As I said however, I could well be wrong. One of my points was going to be that it is simply too OTT, that reading the comments showed that this was clearly a comically absurd character created by the author and that clearly it was impossible to create a worldview so shielded from reality that truth was so utterly unable to penetrate. But I’ve been working in atheism for five years now, and from my experience, I know that this just isn’t true.

Still, so many of the techniques used in the article just seem to ring a little bit too true of the tried and tested strategy for a good troll post.



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This entry was posted on Friday, June 3rd, 2011 at 11:22 am and is filed under Thoughts. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.