Thursday, May 27, 2004


Reading the discussion after the 'Living With Asperger's' article, I came across a comment about trolling. A troll is someone who starts a spurious thread on a newsgroup, messageboard or e-mail discussion list just to see if people will run with it.

Only in the last year have I learnt about trolling. A frustrated new member of a discussion list passed along an article. I don't think anyone on this particular list is deliberately trolling. I've always assumed that list-noise comes from people who make a genuine mistake, or are not reading or following threads with total comprehension. With others I've thought it was their personality or unique style of communication. If a post doesn't read as rational then I figure the poster is having a hard time dealing with personal issues. But the description did fit to some extent. And only the other day I was trying to recall the term. So while it was in my head I did a little research.

First I read 'The Subtle Art of Trolling' at URBAN 75. I didn't even know what a Kill File is. You can see how I might potentially let others waste my time. The URBAN 75 article led me to 'The Anti-Troll FAQ' by Dave Fawthrop and to Trolling Lore at Fravia's web-searching lore site.

Fravia recommended The Art of Controversy by Arthur Schopenhauer. If you're using a screen reader, don't be surprised to hear German as well as English. The English translation and the original German are both given here. BrainyEncyclopedia gives a short biography of Arthur Schopenhauer that mentions his belief that women are supposed to obey. So the guy knew what he was talking about, in terms of controversy.

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