Trolls

Trolls are funny, so long as they’re ruthlessly eliminated.

Firstly, they seem to be shocked and appalled to find that neoreactionary blogs are unconstrained by the masochistic principles of ultra-liberal comments policy.

Secondly, they totally miss the way relevant incentives line up, especially right now, given the debates unfolding about our own micro-cultural dysgenics. Comments are not any kind of asset to be welcomed with gratitude, unless they’re intelligent, appropriately directed, and reasonably civil. Otherwise, they’re just pollution. Why on earth — in an environment cross-cut by discussions about keeping well-meaning, polite-but-dim commentary at bay — would anybody expect the door to be held open to hostile snarls, snarky one-liners, insults, and disposable trash-talk?

Outside in has benefited immensely from some of the most brilliant commentary on the web. It takes very seriously the warning — most insistently from Vladimir — that the rational expectation is for entropy, so that high-quality discussion cannot at all be taken for granted. In consequence, the private army here is simply itching to string up a few random commentators as a sacrifice to Malthus. And then some graffiti-clad, obnoxious drunk, drooling troll stumbles it …

June 3, 2013admin 13 Comments »
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13 Responses to this entry

  • vimothy Says:

    The troll is not so unredeemable a figure, though. Moldbug, for one, often appears as a troll — e.g., his relentless, brutal trolling of the Abu Muqawama comment section section is a high point of his whole oeuvre, IMO.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    Do you have a link for that? (It has to be conceded though, surely, that to be trolled by a genius is not truly comparable to being trolled by a typical troll. The prospect of universal redemption strikes me as dubious theology in this case.)

    [Reply]

    vimothy Reply:

    It’s a lot, as they say in Lahndahn:

    http://www.cnas.org/blogs/abumuqawama/results?page=1&keys=moldbug

    Start early and go later, in chronological order for maximum effect. The very old comment sections were sadly killed when they switched the blog to CNAS, so I think that this is the first one you can actually read:

    http://www.cnas.org/blogs/abumuqawama/2009/09/afghanistan-and-obama.html

    (I will concede that the typical troll is no elevated thing — although the same can surely be said for the typical blog reader or commenter. But the troll qua troll is not without redeeming features: doesn’t he also bring the outside in, some of the time? Reactionaries who comment on left-liberal blogs might have some experience of this …)

    [Reply]

    j. ont. Reply:

    If you take the Trolls vs. Grey Vampires thing seriously (and Fisher is not always to be taken seriously), then we’ll define trolls as “critics from nowhere”. A real troll will never give you their top 10 favorite death metal albums, because that opens him up to criticism – he’s not in it for that. Instead you have to tollerate this fucker telling you how Opeth isn’t “real” death metal, without providing alternatives. This is what’s so infuriating about trolls.

    So I’m not sure to what extent a troll brings the “outside in”, as it were. Rather, the troll (at best) serves as a puncturing force. Where a solid surface was, there is now a whistling hole, and the vacuum created begins to suck out pieces of your argument. “Surly this troll must know something I do not? Surely no man or woman would be so annoying just for the fun of it?”

    Posted on June 3rd, 2013 at 9:47 am Reply | Quote
  • Orlandu84 Says:

    I am still really new to the reactosphere, but I find the lack of a secured and tightly controlled forum a problem. I think a forum with the following characteristics might work.

    1. Two to sixth month waiting time before the ability to post on the threads of others is granted.
    2. One year length of time before someone can start a new thread after being able to comment on the threads of others.
    3. Moderators need to have done their own blogs.

    Is this a perfect solution? No. Yet, I do not think there exists a perfect solution to trolls.

    Lastly, if this forum already exists, please direct me to it. If it has been attempted and failed, please let me know.

    [Reply]

    Posted on June 3rd, 2013 at 1:03 pm Reply | Quote
  • Bill Says:

    After reading your ten part essay on the Dark Enlightenment, and finding this blog and unqualified reservations, I have become an avid reader. You are right to limit comments, because this section is an extension of the blog post in a way that expands the content, and unlike most sites it pays to follow links in the comment section.

    Immediately after finishing the Dark Enlightenment essay I ordered Fanged Noumena, wow was I disappointed by the first essay, because between it and Brassier’s intro I thought the whole book was going to be a lefty book. However, the last two essays on transcendental miserabilsm and your relic and his radio stations, lol, gave me some faith. Not only is the “character arc” from lefty to full human being compelling, but I think it is the process everyone has to go through to get free from the Cathedral.

    Last year I finished up an MA degree in Cathedralism, just joking, it was art history. I went back to school after teaching and being in the Army National Guard. The assigned readings were full of Marxist economic analysis and leftist continental philosophy, to the point where it bordered on satire. I would go to class and naively give two or three experience based examples why I disagreed with the author, thinking my good examples and candor would point out their error, or at least start a conversation, and find myself looking at a room full of stone faced zealots. Often I would get a slap down from the alpha female in the room for thought crime. I had the benefit of living a little before being exposed to the heart of the Cathedral, if I had been 19 and not 32 I would have been powerless.

    I was wondering why I haven’t seen anything regarding Michel Houellebecq, as his account of H.P. Lovecraft and novels feel like a natural predecessor to neo-reaction. He is, weirdly, venerated by the left. He teaches at the European Graduate School with Zizek and crew… Can’t figure that one out, unless it’s a psychological escape hatch for the left-singularity.

    I’d be interested in a reading list for initiates. I think this movement owes something to Hume and Kant, but would benefit from some help on what to read.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    Thanks for getting past the first Fanged Noumena essay — it’s probably the single most ghastly piece of writing in the history of the human race, but it hardens us up to visit the pits of cognitive possibility (hopefully you’ve picked up some flexible antibodies).

    As for a reading list, that seems like something we all want to emerge from the production of minimal convergence, spiced up by oddities according to taste. I’m going to add a ‘resources’ section to the side bar, which will cover online materials demanding regular reference (inevitably, with my own skew on the matter).

    [Reply]

    Posted on June 3rd, 2013 at 2:30 pm Reply | Quote
  • admin Says:

    @ j. ont.
    All good points — but not really a problem if we just brutally terminate the mofos.

    [Reply]

    Posted on June 3rd, 2013 at 2:47 pm Reply | Quote
  • nonce Says:

    I don’t contribute much to comments sections because I don’t usually have anything to say, but blogs that moderate heavily are unwelcoming. The thing I have noticed is that progressive and feminist blogs for instance moderate very heavily but leave in trollish posts that agree with them. It made me realize that moderation is a substitute for cultivating a community (and blogs are communities) that can maturely handle disagreement as well as drive-by trolling and snark. You find there [deleted] followed by a dozen infantile and profanity-laden retorts by comment section regulars. They can’t handle disagreement or trolling without their comments section exploding and derailing because they are weak-minded ideologues, and instead of getting better at Internet arguing the blog just deletes which further infantilizes the readership.

    I think it is better in the long run to moderate lightly.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    That’s the liberal default (‘liberal’ in the old and respectable sense). It was my default a year or so ago, but it isn’t now, because:
    (a) The cost of trolling (to the troll) is too low for reasonable incentives to work.
    (b) When valued commentators waste their time responding to trolls, it is even more destructive then the trolling itself. The entire micro-culture of the blog rapidly decays into idiotic bickering.
    (c) If people don’t trust Admin to moderate reasonably, they should abandon the blog, taking discussion elsewhere. The structure is identical to that of neocameral government in miniature. No one has a greater incentive to maintain civilized and stimulating discussion, attractive to creative commentary, than Admin.
    (d) ‘Unwelcoming’ is neither good nor bad in itself. This blog wants to be completely unwelcoming to the vast majority of potential visitors (as any sane neocameral state would).
    (e) A complete absence of specialization wastes everybody’s time. For instance, this is definitely not the place to discuss whether Naomi Klein has some interesting things to say, free health care is a human right, or the GoP is a racist party. Kindergarten political controversy is just annoying for the commentators who matter (to me, and to each other). No one here wants cookie recipes, sports results, or pet anecdotes.
    (f) Literally nobody spends all their time at any one blog, so if they are to be ‘infantilized’ (a dubious hypothesis in any case) it is because they have chosen to bubble themselves in a ra-ra-ra partisan enclave. That says more about who they are than it does about anything a blog ‘did’ to them. Infantile blogs deserve infantile readers, and knee-jerk liberalism (“we value everybody’s opinion and treasure their right to be heard”) is infantile.

    [Reply]

    Thales Reply:

    Indeed, a lax troll-squashing policy is something that discourages the marginal commentator from even contributing in the first place. Like graffiti on buildings, it reveals to decent people that ownership doesn’t really care about the place.

    [Reply]

    Posted on June 4th, 2013 at 6:36 am Reply | Quote
  • vimothy Says:

    @j.ont

    I think you make my argument for me. Anyone who can be infuriated by the claim that “Opeth aren’t real death metal” deserves to be trolled. Since such a person deserves to be trolled, the implication must be that the troll’s actions are just, and hence that the troll possess all the cardinal virtues eo ipso. So it’s not the case that trolls are wholly negative, homo sacer type figures. Sometimes, per your example, to troll is an appropriate act!

    [Reply]

    Posted on June 5th, 2013 at 11:33 am Reply | Quote
  • Outside in - Involvements with reality » Blog Archive » Trolls Explained Says:

    […] like this blog, you have been benighted enough to understand Internet trolls as abusive irritants, masters of disguise, satirists, or even amusing pets, you apparently need a good talking to. […]

    Posted on August 15th, 2014 at 5:24 pm Reply | Quote

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