Tuesday, May 26, 2015

In which I am mean to trolls

Recently, I got one of my first trolls since the comments RSS feed went down.  It was rather amusing.

They were saying, asexuality is bullshit.  So I responded in a particularly mean way: I asked them to explain their opinions, and then justify them with reasoned arguments.  It's funny because your average troll doesn't know how to offer reasoned arguments for shit.  This particular troll didn't even seem to understand why it was necessary.

A little background.  Given that my blog is not that widely read, and does not have particularly active comment sections, I generally don't attract trolls.   The trolls that I do attract, are typically wayward googlers (as I tend to think of them) who found some old page in my archives on the second page of some search term I don't care about.  Usually they're just incensed by the topic and don't respond in any way to what I wrote.

Before, other people could theoretically see the trolls' comments via the "recent comments" on the sidebar or following the comments RSS feed.  There weren't many readers tracking comments in the first place, but now that these features are broken, the only person who can possibly see the trolls' comments is me, because I alone have access to the moderation queue.  If the trolls are trying to get attention, they are doing it in about the least effective way possible.

In short, the only trolls I get are the ones who are thoroughly incompetent.

There are basically four reasons why I might care about a person's opinion:

1. The person has power.
2. I care about the person.
3. The opinion is backed up by arguments.
4. The opinion is succinct, eloquent, novel, or otherwise intrinsically interesting.

In the case of incompetent rando trolls, they don't have power, I don't care about them, they are too incompetent to argue, and too tedious to be interesting.  I like to poke at them until they either make coherent arguments or realize they've been wasting their time all along.

Of course, I'm much nicer to commenters who don't appear to be trolling.  Even when commenters don't offer supporting arguments for points of disagreement, I at least tend to care about their opinions by #2.