Subculture blog post: Trolls

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Subculture – Trolls

“Trolling- The art of deliberately, cleverly, and secretly pissing people off via the internet, using dialogue.”

When people are given the opportunity to obscure their identity and essentially not have consequences for the actions they take, they are able to disrupt social norms by taking on aberrant personalities from their usual selves. They become motivated to provoke a response from the victim by creatively manipulating conversations to deceive and truly make them believe that what they are saying is completely factual, no matter how outrageous. Internet trolls have become a subculture of their own and have developed distinctive yet devious personalities as well as common languages that can only be initiated by a troll and only a troll can win. Many people who identify themselves as trolls have dwelled in internet forums, such as 4chan and comport, in a way to amass the maximum amount of “lulz” for personal amusement or the amusement of their associated group. There are spectrums of trolls with different personalities, some that incite innovative, intelligent, and intriguing techniques of trolling, while others that troll for the simple expression of delight.

So let’s start with a little brief history of trolls. In the early days of the Internet, a troll would be anyone who purposely was disruptive or annoying online. Behind a screen, there was anonymity to the users, where there were no consequences for their actions. In the 2000’s, as the Internet became a household thing, online forums and discussions began to develop. 4chan’s infamous /b board became the birthplace for many trolls. It was an anonymous   image/discussion board in which there are essentially “no rules”, but still under moderation for illegal content, which may lead to bans.

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From here, trolls started emerge from under the 4chan /b-ridge (see what I did there?), and started moving onto other sites, such as 9gag and Tumblr. Trolls spread like wildfire. Nowadays, trolls lurk everywhere, from Facebook, Twitter, and especially YouTube comments.

There are many creations of trolls, such as lolcat which are pictures of cats with text that is idiosyncratic and grammatically incorrect, or Pedobear, a cartoon bear that mocks users that show interest in children. Trolls often use this to irritate people for the “lulz.”

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What the trolling community values more than anything is the lulz. Lulz are essentially something pointless that brings comedic value to the individual. As stated before this often comes from sarcastic humor, pokes fun at a person, or can also come in the form of satire.The label of lulz stem from the acronym LOL otherwise know as laugh out loud. Without lulz there is no method behind the madness that is trolling.

For many of these trolls, they find satisfaction through the fact they cannot stand up for themselves in real life. In a sense, observers can see the Internet as the “great equalizer” because trolling does not require physicality, but instead value wits. This opens the opportunity for everyone to stand up for themselves via the Internet and earn satisfaction through pissing people off to continue to gain lulz. But what makes the “lulz” worth it? Does it leave them with a feeling of self-gratification? Or are they really just assholes who enjoy seeing others agony?

According to an 18 year-old student and troll (who asked to remain anonymous), “trolling gets me some attention. I’ve never been the cool kid at school. They always knew me as the guy who tried to hurt himself; I know they pity me. But trolling gets me some light. Some people find it annoying, but a lot of people find it funny.” Fitting with the community is one desire for the “lulz.” He said, “If you’re not bugged by it, you’re in on it.”

“Do you make friends with other trolls? Do you collaborate with one another to plan to raise hell?”

“I know some people do, but not me.”

“So how do you feel like you belong? Aren’t you just being hated on?”

“I like getting reactions from people. I know some people laugh. And also it’s really cool when other trolls join in on the fun and we poke at things together. Even if I don’t really know them, at least I know someone is on my side.”

“So you troll because people will think you’re funny?”

“Yeah, it’s really become a part of my life. I’m a TA for Pre-Cal, and here are some of the papers I graded. I know people will laugh at my comments, so it’s worth the trouble.”

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Obviously, it is for pure entertainment as well. A De Anza student who also asked to remain anonymous, said “it’s fun to piss people off. It’s kinda like when I was young, I always did that ‘I’m not touching you’ thing to my sister. It was always funny until she would tell my mom or hit me.” Trolling is exactly that, pleasure in another’s annoyed or angry reaction, except for that there is no mom to monitor you or sister to punch you in the face.

“I believe annoying people is an art form. It’s a lot harder than it seems. You gotta know what pushes someone’s buttons, or else won’t be fun.”

“So how do you choose your victims?”

“It’s usually the people who bite. People will reply to your comments or you can comment back at them. If they reply, they probably are irritated. That’s how it all starts. You just keeping going to see how far they’ll go until they break.”

“What do you mean by break?”

“I like to try to work with people and see how they reason with my absurd behavior. When they start going saying things like, “Fuck you, asshole,” or “Get a fucking life!” That’s when you know you’ve got them.”

“And from there do you just keep trolling?”

“Yeah, you just keep going to see how far you can push them. They can just close the window at anytime, it’s not like they have to fight back, but they choose to. That’s what’s so fun about trolling.”

What we can tell from these interviews is that in the realm of the online community, the self-condoning trolls are able to mask their true selves and take on any personality they wish to choose. They do not have physical limitations or have to face the physical obstacles such as confrontation present in the real world.  

When asked about what trolling feels like when you are successful in an online interview conducted by billions-and-billions, a troll who goes by Paulie Socash said, “Feels good, man.  Probably a lot like breaking a news story that exposes some idiot politician or public figure who groped his masseuse.  You are drawing attention to some other person’s failings.  For me the goal isn’t the individual, though, it is the overall public reaction.  It’s about controlling the outcome and the presentation of an event.”

The reaction is what is important in trolling. Paulie Socash offers a slightly more cynical perspective in what he conceives as trolling, providing justification in how trolling is different from bullying. “Because it is online, you are consenting to everything you can and might see.” Paulie Socash says, “It’s fair game. All the internet is fair game.” It’s fair because you aren’t being held against your will, and can walk away from the situation at anytime. You do not have to reply or try to deal with other people’s comments. “It may be just for the lulz, but nearly every self-identified troll I have ever interacted with has certain tendencies (and limits) that are part of their “real” persona.”

The subculture is quite vast. There are sub-subcultures within trolls. The lingo and goals for each troll is very different. They all look for different things and only eat certain prey. They have different tools in which they attack, such as memes and copy pasta or just use different tactics to piss people off.  Here are just some of the types of trolls you’ll encounter.

1.  The Grammar Nazi- Grammar Nazis correct any grammatical error on posts and do not regard what the post is actually about. They commonly attack the misuse of there, their, and they’re.

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2. The Screamer- THE SCREAMER HAS THE CAPS LOCK BUTTON ON AT ALL TIMES. PEOPLE BELIEVE THAT THEY ARE ANGRY BECAUSE OF THIS, EVEN IF THEY ARE JUST DOING TO BUG YOU.

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3. The Crier- Criers take matters up the butt and make big fusses about anything and everything. They act as if your post has offended them, even for the little reasons.

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4. The Peacemaker- The peacemaker is the troll who will but into any debate and say something like, “C’mon guys, there’s only once race; the human race!” or “What would Jesus do?”

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5. Mr. Know-It-All- He is never wrong. Ever. He seems to know more than you about everything, even when he doesn’t. He’ll keep trying to prove his is right, even if he isn’t. He is a very persistent little bastard.

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6. The Retroactive Stalker- This guy goes through your old history and posts and tries to embarrass you in an effort to discredit your claims. He will often post links to old things you have said or show old MySpace selfies that you aren’t too proud of.

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(Why So Serious Christian Bale?)

7. The Hater- The hater just hates on everything. They say the most inappropriate, vile things, especially on touchy topics like race, sex, and religion.

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8. The Spoiler- This asshole spoils movies or shows or books or any form of media on posts.

For example:

 

Me: I’m so excited to watch The Walking Dead tonight!

    Spoiler: Too bad Rick kills Shawn before he fully becomes a zombie!

    Me: -___-

 

9. The Flooder: The flooder just posts irrelevant comments such as LOL, HAHAHAHA, OMG OMG OMG, multiple times to create internet traffic…

These are just some of the types of trolls out there. They all have different personalities and ways of besiegement. Although what they post might all differ, all trolls have the commonality of desiring the lulz. Most trolls do not care about whom they have offended as they believe the Internet is the battlefield. Trolls have a lack of integrity, which makes them deceive any bystander. The desire for lulz is strictly for their entertainment, which makes trolls seem like lifeless a-holes.

The trolling community is stereotypically depicted and connotatively labeled as internet nerds. Such as unattractive acne covered males or fedora tipping jokers. In reality, we as a race of human beings are the trolls. There is no escaping the fact that anyone with a sense of sarcasm can potentially be a troll. The more relatable to past or current global events can in many cases make the joke funnier. This means the realm of trolling is expanded to me, you, your mom, or even your siblings. The beauty of the troll lifestyle is that is not defined by an image, they are anonymous, and its that sense of anonymity that should define the trolling community.

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A common fashion in trolls is that they like to remain anonymous, whether it was the interviews or even online where they lurk. Is it to save them from getting punched in the face? Possibly, but also because it’s not something they’re always proud of. Trolling is like picking your nose, peeing in the shower, or watching porn. We all do it, but we don’t ever admit to it because of the opinions and dirty looks we would get.  Anonymity allows for the unpopular, radical things to be put out there (whether the user believes them or not). It creates debate and chatter, without having to be the talk of the town. And for the online trolls who just love pissing people off, with anonymously baiting victims online, there are no real consequences. The worst thing that could happen is a ban, but they could make another account and they’ll be back to continue to wreak havoc.

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The key to trolling is in how well trolls are able to manipulate language. Textual styles  in which these trolls choose to pursue depends on who, where, and how their trolling. But in essence, the trolls heavily rely on the misconception of the recipient to invoke an emotional response. For example, the popular trolling scheme of deleting System32 in which inexperienced users are tricked into deleting the Windows system directory that is essential for the computer operating system to function. The troll would mimic an employee of microsoft or someone who is notably tech-savvy and provide plenty of pseudo-reports about the “dangers” of the system32 files which seem immensely convincing to the newb eye. The criteria of successful trolling is fulfilled once the flabbergasted victims respond with bewilderment or anger.

This may potentially even lead on to group trolling in which several trolls participant in the deception of the victim. Other trolls may contribute by also sarcastically providing false information in which they also “deleted” their system32 files and achieved faster speeds, further increasing the convincing factor of the scheme. Highly troublesome to the victim yes, but outrageously hilarious for the trolls.

At the end of the day, the reason why people troll, is simply for the lulz. This subculture establishes what they consider as good taste among their community of trolls through the use of deceptive advice, disruption of normality, and generally uncivil behavior, and with the power of anonymity, one is able to continue with unjust behaviors without consequence. People who are not able to identify deception or sarcasm and people who “feed the trolls” potentially further suffer the wrath of an internet troll. Some may consider, what trolls do as exceedingly offensive, exceptionally deceptive, or extraordinarily amusing. One rule of thumb is not take the internet too seriously, and to not be overly earnest in a public forum where trolls may lurk. Only those who choose to be trolled, can be trolled.  Everyone has the ability to be a troll, and everyone can add a little humor in their life. Understanding the art of trolling can make you a much more valued citizen of the Internet.

Sources:
reddit.com
4chan.org
http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2011/jul/24/internet-anonymity-trolling-tim-adams
http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2012/10/what-an-academic-who-wrote-her-dissertation-on-trolls-thinks-of-violentacrez/263631/
http://www.indexoncensorship.org/2011/09/interview-with-a-troll/
http://billions-and-billions.com/2012/05/28/interview-with-a-troll/
http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/delete-system32

 

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Blog post 3

The idea of women and how women should act has evolved through centuries due to many forms of the media. One of the most prominent forms is through music, specifically rap and hip-hop. Rap and hip-hop music emerged during the 1970s, often as a source of expression through music. As seen through many current rap artists, the expression of emotions through music has turned into hatred and objectifying views towards women. As new artists have emerged, women have increasingly become sexually exploited through the form of lyrics and music videos. Misogyny is the hatred or disdain of women. Misogyny in music portrays an idea that reduces women to objects rather than human beings solely for men’s ownership and abuse [1]. Although misogyny has not always been present, it has become a constant theme throughout all the works of new artist such as Eminem, Robin Thicke, and Lil Wayne. The theme of misogyny in music has become widely accepted throughout society and has flourished through the music industry for years.

Robin Thicke’s music video of “Blurred Lines” is very aggressive on the male part. It shows girls flocking to Robin, Pharrell and T.I., and the men are objectifying the women by having them walk around in bikinis almost as if they are just flaunting their bodies for the men. The video is completely in the dominant gaze and objectifies women because it puts the men in the power position, and makes it seem like the women are only there for the men to look at and flirt with. The women in the video are looking into the camera trying to seduce the viewer into believing the idea that objectifying women is okay. What the video does well is distract the viewer from the lyrics that are obscene and focus their attention on the beautiful women walking around or caressing Thicke. In the lyrics of the song “Blurred Lines” Thicke sings, “What you don’t like work… I know you want it”(Thicke). He is saying to the female dancer she has to work for him but he can have her for free or for whatever he wants. He also sings about knowing the women want to engage with him sexually and physically but they must work for it. The idea of women wanting men and men being able to have their pick is one that is popular now-a-days and has become a big issue in society. Whether or not the men are singing about women in a derogatory manner may or may not be doing it for money, publicity or to make a name for themselves does not matter, the artists should be thinking about how women feel when they hear and watch the songs. 

In the music video of the popular song “Beat the Pussy Up” by Loverance featuring IAMSU, it provides images of attractive women dancing around at a bar and vying for the attention of the artists. In the first moments of the video they talk about entering an exclusive party they were invited too that is filled with alcohol and beautiful women who are there simply there to give out sex. As the video continues you hear lyrics like, “Im gonna get deep in it” or “Call me I can get it juicy for ya.” Insinuating that not only will sex be had, but it very well might be the best sex that these women will ever have. This video eventually cuts to a scene where a rapper talks about what he wants to do a girl like “fill me on up, put it in your gut” and as he is saying this he looks as if he is directly speaking to a girl looks to be smiling and enjoying everything the rapper says. As you watch the video every girl seems to enjoy the lyrics and the artist’s presence further confirming the values and labels men put on women. For example, a label often put on women is “hot piece of ass” which relates women similarly to barbequed meat. These labels will often leave women feeling like sex objects and pieces of meat that can only contribute to world by having sex.  I think if women were to push back on dominant gaze that males have on women within the music industry they should resist and shoot down artists that write songs that are as disrespectful to woman as  “Beat the Pussy Up.”

Eminem has always had trouble with the opposite sex, and although everyone can relate to this in some form, Eminem’s experiences have been well…legal and public to say the least. Eminem’s fans know that his relationship/divorce from his wife Kim Scott was rather chaotic for him. The couple divorced once, remarried each other, then later divorced again three months later with a lawsuit she filed against him. Eminem has also been sued by his own family (mother and aunt), and his ongoing feud with Mariah Carey over their alleged relationship, which seems to be brought up from time to time in some of his work. All of this leads to the excessive amount of violent Misogyny in his songs, specifically, “Superman”. This song is about Eminem’s perception on women. To him, women are whores, gold diggers, and liars. He doesn’t want to be in a relationship with anyone from the opposite sex and doesn’t want to be affiliated with women in general. To him, women lie, and all they want is fame and the life that comes with it. In order for him to not get hurt again, he basically plays games with them. An example of that is in the beginning in the music video, Him and the girl (pornstar Gina Lynn) describe themselves as “wanting” and “loving” each other. All this goes on and all of a sudden his opinion of her changes: “Ooh you drive me crazy, bitch you make me hurl”. In other words, he says she’s another worthless slut and in the video, he kicks the chick out of his home along with her belongings as if she was a prostitute. He tells them that he is their superman, and how the girl drives him crazy. To him everything is a game, and he is the winner because he will never fall for a female’s game. “I’d never love you enough to trust you, we just met and I just f*cked you” just comes to tell you that he’s using women for sex one after another treating them like shit. In a few clips in the music video, Eminem is shown in a sea of almost naked women basically wanting to grab a piece of him and this interpretation shows that women want nothing but lust from men and all of them are the same. “Love that tattoo what’s that say? Rot in Pieces, uh that’s great” is basically telling his ex to go f*ck herself and die. And finally,” “Put Anthrax on a Tampax and slap you till you can’t stand.” basically put the nail in the coffin of this misogynistic song and video. In my opinion, he’s just going with the popular hip hop culture’s ideas that he grew up around and trying to keep a traditional, stereotypical hip hop view of women in his music. Sexism sells in the hip-hop industry unfortunately. The majority of rappers/rap songs use offensive vocabulary (all because they think it’s cool), “bitches” and “hos”, etc. If you find Eminem sexist, then you should find most other rappers sexist too.

             “Pop that” featuring rap artists such as Drake, Rick Ross, French Montana & Lil Wayne, shows endless amounts of woman in bikinis and swimming pools. The singers are singing about them doing a certain type of dance called “twerking” during the entire song they ask “what you twerking with” the girls seem to be enjoying themselves even though they get referred to as “Bitches and Groupies”. At certain points the men are completely surrounded by woman. They are bumping and feeling on them. A line in the song that really stands out to me is when they say “pop the pussy bitch” that line is very vulgar. The females in this video are being used as only an object for sex and erotic dancing. The fact that the video never shows the females fully clothed and seen only in bikinis proves that they are only a sex factor in the video. I know that objectifying woman in the music industry will never end since it sells very well. The only realistic way to put an end to it is having the women who allow this to happen to them to stand up for themselves and produce music videos with an alternative gaze. But that won’t happen since the pay is good and the desire for fame is great.

            The genre of rap and hip-hop is a thriving industry and although it may portray misogynistic views they are not going to stop producing it. Some people may choose to listen to the message it sends and others may not but consciously or not the mindset of the young audience is changing and forming around these lyrics and music videos. It is very hard to single out songs that have done very well without objectifying women or by using an alternative gaze where women are portrayed as empowering figures. The few that are out there don’t merely do as well as those who do use woman as sex symbols in order to sell the song. Most of these songs really have no meaning and really only sell due to the woman and the sensual content and appeal in the lyrics and music videos. As long as our society deems it acceptable we will continue to see this and accept it as a daily norm. Young men are becoming aware with this music that they have so much control over women and they can make them do whatever they want. The messages being sent through the lyrics and music videos is definitely not a message society should be living by and it is extremely important that an alternate gaze of female as dominant figures becomes apparent in music videos.

Blog Post #2

In the Information Age, it is hard to keep any event national or international a secret. In the days of old, like the twentieth century, any event of major significance took a couple of days to actually understand the true nature of what happened, but today facts are a click away. For example when the Boston Bombing occurred it was not difficult to be informed because the event was plastered all over Internet and broadcasted around the world through the television. Although these mediums of information have kept us well informed and connected, they have also created common a thinking pattern that has generated sense ignorance within the masses.

            During the first minutes of the bombs going off in Boston, the Internet was flooded with tweets, status updates, and news articles posted from people and news websites. There was no shortage of opinions and assumptions on the Internet, many of which caught fire and gained momentum within populations, which soon became public opinion. These rumors consisted of assumptions of attacks from North Koreans Taliban and other extremist groups. None of that proved to be true in the end, but these rumors spread through the Internet in a rapid succession. I feel this occurred because the Internet is similar to an open forum, which is free for people to post their opinion and other information no matter how uninformed and ignorant they are. This ability to post what they believe is true makes the Internet very interactive, earning the Internet its name as a Two-way Broadcasting system. Which in the case of the Internet leaves to user to be responsible to filter for what is true and untrue.

            In the coming hours of the bombing, the television began to come out with the correct information of what happened in Boston. This helped debunk someone of the denotative thoughts people had of whom the bombers were and whom they were affiliated with. Many individuals use television broadcasting as their main way to gain information about events because they view it as the most accurate form of media. This assumption often leads to people to not question or dig deeper into what the television has told them. Then as broadcasts continue and multiple stations broadcast similar points of view and ideas it reaffirms to everyone that everything on T.V. is to be truth. In addition, many people who view the news do not realize that only a few big name corporations control the airways, which can monitor and skew what they broadcast. What this often does is limit the scope of what stations can broadcast leaving one side unexplained or ignored.

            A source of information that is under utilized by my generation is anything that is print, for example newspaper or magazines.  This medium is often is forgotten in the fast times we live in because of the time it takes for an article to be written then printed. In this process, it can often lead printed media to be days behind the Internet or television. In this process though, I feel as if this gives print to give a truer report of the events occur. 

            As we go through looking for facts to give light on current events, we should be able to utilize all forms of media to gain a complete understanding of an event. Even though the internet and T.V. broadcasting allow for quick fixes for information on an national event it is up to us to dig deeper and ask more questions.  Blindly taking in information can often lead to misconceptions of events and assumptions that are not true. Although our forms of media have given us an ability to be well informed, it is up to us as consumers to make sure if the information we are taking in to be true and legitimate.

 

 

 

 

 

Blog Post #1

Every morning I wake up and shower, brush my teeth, and apply my deodorant. Out of everything I do in my morning regiment, applying my deodorant is the most important. Why? Well because my entire life big name deodorant companies have told me that if I smell bad then that cute girl I have been eyeing won’t like me. What companies like Old Spice do is send a message that to be the perfect heterosexual male you need Old Spice, or Old Spice can make you into the man you want to be.

In the Old Spice ad, I have chosen it takes place in a library and shows a man who is split in the same manner of Two Face from Batman. On one side of the man he resembles Seth Rogan and is wearing glasses, brown pants, a surfer print T-shirt, and a messenger bag, which is a fairly common look for any man in his 20s who is in college. In the eyes of Old Spice, this is the average mid- 20s college male, this is boring to Old Spice, and this is average. This also perpetuates the myth that any male with glasses is unattractive to the opposite gender and unwanted. This stigma comes from the idea if you wear glasses then you are a nerd and generally out of shape deeming them unattractive. These myths being perpetuated are false and untrue.

On the other side its completely different; showing someone who resembles a band member from Kiss with long black hair, and lipstick all over his body from adoring fans. All while, he has strapped on him a multi- neck guitar with a saxophone attached to his guitar strap, it is all extremely over the top, but exemplifies what Old Spice sees as exciting and masculine to American Society.  The reason this man is dressed in this manner is a result from the myth that if males that play in a Hard Rock band then denotatively they are labeled as “sexy” or very desirable for fornication.

This ad is captioned as, “Somewhere in there there’s a man in there” sending the message that Old Spice can serve as a catalyst to become that ideal man you always wanted to be. It also sends a very “high school gym class message” when referring to the male psyche. Old Spice does this by implying that even though you are male, you are not a true man and soft whichis why you are socially undesirable. Below the original quote the ad says, “Smell Better Than Yourself” which serves the message that scent of Old Spice has more worth than the individual itself.  These quotes are placed in a translucent badge that perpetuates the message of elitism reserved for the manly men who use Old Spice. This idea gives the viewer the idea that if they use Old Spice then they will be included in a special fraternity, and denotative thinking will make anyone think of a special brotherhood that will most likely get individuals laid. Although smell can give an individual a sense of confidence it does not deem an individuals self worth.

This ad seems to forget about homosexual males. In this case, I am sure that they have a different idea of what they deem to be sexy and attractive. In addition, for most homosexual males I believe they have a different idea of what manly is.

In many ads today they often generalize sexes and gender groups and assume that they are advertising to white heterosexual males. They also use outdate stereotypes to send messages that show two extremes that in most cases do not apply to everyone. The biggest offender of this is Old Spice who uses gender roles and although the sensational nature of the ads, are entertaining they should be focused on advertising to all the different races and sexualities of people.

Here is a link to the ad:

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