Don’t Feed The Troll

Zen and the art of surfing

Feb 2 · Unlisted

In 2006 I was hired by Cycling Plus to administrate their troubled forum. They had a troll infestation. I set things aright, and even had the opportunity to reinstate Simon L2, who had been banned; apparently the owners didn’t see much difference between him and said trolls.

I didn’t stay long. I was too busy keeping my own forum safe from underbridge dwellers. Later, kaboom!, but it was nice while it lasted.

I’ve been thinking about trolls thanks to this old thread on CycleChat, which the earth yielded up during my recent prospecting. OMG, I thought on reading my own replies,

Also, was that guy actually calling me a troll? Either it’s obvious or it’s not. Doesn’t really matter, except this too set a chain reaction going in my brain until I finally concluded: I am a troll. What else do you call someone with a history of riling people up on forums (and obliterating them on occasion)?

Wait just a minute! came my frontal lobe/front bumper to my defence.

brains on the brain

A troll delights in posting to raise hackles: that’s always been precisely the opposite of my intent. It seemed a trial was in order. I hired Saul Goodman as my lawyer.

For prosecuting attorney I’ve pulled Evilchuffy, aka Chuffy, beloved OP of CycleChat’s Beer thread, out of retirement. Talk about a blast from the past.

Evilchuffy: If it please the court, I call as my first witness Flying_Monkey. He can’t be here today given his importance to the Canadian economy, but I submit his sworn testimony that the defendant is “a sophisticated troll” by dint of the fact that he gets under certain people’s skin in a literate if not literal way.

Judge: The court recognises Flying_Monkey as an expert in absentia.

Saul Goodman: Objection! Who has time to read all these links?

Judge: Sustained.

Evilchuffy: The prosecution rests.

Judge: I’m ready to render a verdict.

Saul Goodman: Wait a minute! I’m not done yet.

Judge: Very well. Any last words?

Saul Goodman: No evidence of hostility has been presented. Ever. This trial is a travesty of justice. My client has always tolerated dullards until they practically throw themselves under his wheels.

Judge: That’s not helping your case.

Saul Goodman: Mercy. Also, be sure to catch me on Netflix later this month.

[All rise]

Judge: The vedict is guilty, of not fitting in. I sentence you to hard labour of fitting square pegs into round holes, or vice versa, depending on what’s in stock. Oh, and damnatio memoriae.

tough but fair
Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade