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Why You Should Feed the Trolls If You Damn Well Need To
June 25, 2012 12:36 PM   Subscribe

Jay Smooth on why "don't feed the trolls" is not always the best course. [SLVimeo]

(More Jay Smooth on Metafilter)
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike (58 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite

 
More Jay Smooth on anti-feminist internet trolling (not included in FPP because a Kickstarter campaign features prominently).
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 12:43 PM on June 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


"Troll" is too limiting a word to describe the many nuances and variety of online rhetoric, propaganda, hacking and other stuff.
posted by stbalbach at 12:55 PM on June 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Every time I see one of Jay Smooth's videos, I like him more.
posted by rmd1023 at 1:00 PM on June 25, 2012 [12 favorites]


This is a terrific piece, and I say that even though I mostly believe with an almost religious fervor in not feeding the trolls.
posted by Linda_Holmes at 1:04 PM on June 25, 2012


That feminist video game research Kickstarter is finished now (funded over the initial ask many times over), so I believe Metafilter policy says you can post it in FPP if the Kickstarter is completed.

(it's a good cause,but, imho, I wasn't that impressed with Anita Sarkeesian's previous feminist video series (critiquing tropes in film & TV portrayals of women), so hopefully she does a better job with the huge funding she's gotten for her video game tropes project)
posted by Bwithh at 1:04 PM on June 25, 2012


Yeah, the thing about the kinds of harassment and threats that Anita Sarkeesian received, is that they're not from the backpacker 5-elements trolls that Jay Smooth is talking about. So now that the definition of trolling has drifted from what it was originally (a development I heartily approve of because it trolls the trolls SO HARD) the advice to not feed them doesn't really apply anymore. Getting angry at the adequacy.org people makes you look asinine, but responding to people making rape threats is a moral imperative.
posted by "Elbows" O'Donoghue at 1:07 PM on June 25, 2012 [8 favorites]


My gut reaction to the title is an exasperated "trolls != Griefers," which I know well enough to keep to myself. So it's really refreshing that he (kinda) acknowledges that off the bat and will even be talking about it later. Ill Doctrine is great.
posted by postcommunism at 1:07 PM on June 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


And the second group consists of self-identified trolls who feel that my framing of the issue is unfair to the troll community. They're basically the troll equivalent of purist underground hip-hopheads. They're like troll backpackers. Who feel like I'm promoting a distorted mainstream misconception of what trolling is, instead of honoring the real, underground, trueschool traditions of trolling from back in the days.

Jay Smooth is one of the very few people who gives me fangirly feelings.
posted by thehmsbeagle at 1:12 PM on June 25, 2012 [8 favorites]


Wow, I want him to have my man-babies.
posted by RolandOfEld at 1:13 PM on June 25, 2012


From the response to the video game bullying: "Treat this like it matters." Hell yes. Silence is complicity...which is why I think so many of us struggle with threads on hot-button issues here. We don't want to pile-on or get GRAR-y, but it's hard to know where other people are coming from especially when it's a topic you feel strongly about, so you want to engage in good faith. This approach has its issues, for sure, but I think it's important and useful if we can all stay civil with each other.
posted by smirkette at 1:14 PM on June 25, 2012


From the last part of the video - "......because if they're getting harassed in pursuit of their silence and you tell then that all they can do is just don't feed the troll, in that scenario, it might be you who is helping the trolls win."

I like JS as well and 99% of the time I agree with him, but in this case not completely. The part that he does not address is that in true trolling, no matter what the response is, the goal is to shift the conversation to another slightly different topic to continue to stoke the flames. It is not about the argument, it is about baiting people to keep the argument going no matter what the subject matter.

He is right in that one should ask, of the person who is getting trolled, why they are being trolled and maybe what you can do to help. But engaging the troll holds absolutely no value as the primary focus of the troll is not to keep a through line of argument, but morph the conversation just enough to keep the respondent off balance for yet another round of arguments that never find a resolution.

Even in the industrial strength trolling he is referring to, the same principals hold true although the language of hate in the trolled discussion is far worse. The best response, I think, is to still simply ignore because even though the uber-troll may be spreading a really obnoxious message using troll tactics. It is just a troll and if it is not fed, it will go away. Unfortunately, there will be another troll waiting in the wings to play a different angle and the process may start all over again.

I think it far better to learn how to recognize this behavior and disengage as soon as possible One's efforts are better spent on more positive activities.
posted by lampshade at 1:16 PM on June 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


Jay was getting at this, but I'm not sure I'd called what Anita Sarkeesian experienced "trolling", it seems like a different beast entirely. More like a sustained intimidation campaign. The clear message was that voices like hers shouldn't even dare to speak up, or they will be met with endless harrassment. This isn't the same beast as a few people provoking to derail a productive conversation - it's more like a form of online terrorism, and should be addressed differently.
posted by naju at 1:16 PM on June 25, 2012 [18 favorites]


There are other options apart from "engage" and "do not engage". Anita Sarkeesian got trolled because of the documentary she was working on, and she responded by including the trolling in the documentary.
posted by LogicalDash at 1:22 PM on June 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


it's more like a form of online terrorism, and should be addressed differently

Yeah.....what is going on with the situation in question borders on criminal. Calling it a troll actually distracts from the real problem that is far worse than somone pulling a classic Godwin style Hitler name calling.

Still, the tactic is the same and while the uber-troll may have taken it to a higher (or lower actually) level, at the same time there is no winning the argument because there is no argument to win. Trolling is not about finding an answer. It is about manipulation. Any response is a win to a troll.
posted by lampshade at 1:27 PM on June 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


On preview, what lampshade said.

I'm keeping my chestnut close by.
posted by humboldt32 at 1:29 PM on June 25, 2012


Jay was getting at this, but I'm not sure I'd called what Anita Sarkeesian experienced "trolling", it seems like a different beast entirely

Right, I would say "don't feed the trolls" is specifically a piece of advice that applies to things like online forums and message groups, where there is a main tangent of discussion that can be derailed by trolls. It's about not accidentally helping someone inject a bunch of noise into the signal by engaging them.

The concept more relevant to the Anita Sarkeesian is probably "haters gonna hate" which is about ignoring abuse you get from people who don't like you and your work, or at least not taking it seriously. Which of course doesn't really make sense in the context of Sarkeesian's work because a large part of what she does is take those sorts of issues seriously instead of ignoring them.
posted by burnmp3s at 1:37 PM on June 25, 2012


I've been following this dude for a while now. Jay Smooth is one smart, reasonable cat. If you spent a few hours watching his whole catalog from Ill Doc, that would be a few hours well spent.


p.s. he is also a nerd, and a pretty good musician. here's his ode to his busted external hard drive, and here's his "if bill o'reilly was a rapper".
posted by lazaruslong at 1:38 PM on June 25, 2012 [5 favorites]


Just throwing this into the fire: "trolling" has taken on many definitions in the last few years. Some like to defer criticism (constructive or no) as trolling, and others truly antagonistic comments for the pure reason of being antagonistic.
posted by pyrex at 1:46 PM on June 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think "what happened to Anita Sarkeesian isn't exactly trolling" is very, very similar to what he's saying. I think he's saying something like, "If you want to say 'don't feed the trolls,' that has to be based on a limited definition of trolling that cannot include everyone who's negatively affected by other people's behavior, or you leave too much room for abuse to go unaddressed."

I think "that's not really trolling" and "you can't include that under a 'don't feed the trolls' rule" are close relatives, if a bit different.
posted by Linda_Holmes at 1:55 PM on June 25, 2012 [4 favorites]


You're all wrong, and nobody likes you.
posted by AzraelBrown at 1:57 PM on June 25, 2012


Where can I vote for Jay Smooth for president of the internet?
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:59 PM on June 25, 2012 [15 favorites]


There should really be different words.

Trolling: no specific target, not immediately recognizable to whomever takes the bait. Fizzles if ignored (or an admin squashes it).

Griefing: specific target(s), immediately recognizable/hurtful to them. Fizzles only if squashed.

Starve the trolls, feed the griefers.
posted by postcommunism at 2:03 PM on June 25, 2012 [8 favorites]


I hope he isn't suggesting that misogynistic bullying is "trolling".

If he is, he deserves to get trolled, hard.
posted by 0xdeadc0de at 2:18 PM on June 25, 2012


i'm interested to hear what he has to say about the latter camp of self identified troll backpackers!
posted by cristinacristinacristina at 2:20 PM on June 25, 2012


I had no idea that Jay Smooth was so very good. Thanks for this.
posted by OmieWise at 2:21 PM on June 25, 2012


There should really be different words.

Trolling: no specific target, not immediately recognizable to whomever takes the bait. Fizzles if ignored (or an admin squashes it).

Griefing: specific target(s), immediately recognizable/hurtful to them. Fizzles only if squashed.


Griefing already has a definition that is closer to indiscriminate annoying behavior in multiplayer games. Your description sounds like it would fit harassment, which has more connotations of being a sustained and focused abuse against a particular target.
posted by burnmp3s at 2:25 PM on June 25, 2012


If he is, he deserves to get trolled, hard.

No he doesn't.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 2:26 PM on June 25, 2012 [7 favorites]


Every time I see one of Jay Smooth's videos, I like him more.

It's moving in the opposite direction for me. The sheer volume of his opinions and his authoritative tone is starting to look a bit smug to me.
posted by Hoopo at 2:36 PM on June 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


I hope he isn't suggesting that misogynistic bullying is "trolling".

If he is, he deserves to get trolled, hard.
posted by 0xdeadc0de


No. No he is not. Watch the link, and also the first comment link from the OP. He draws a pretty stark line in the sand w/r/t the misogynist bullying.
posted by lazaruslong at 2:39 PM on June 25, 2012


Griefing already has a definition that is closer to indiscriminate annoying behavior in multiplayer games.

That's true, and griefing is usually done as antisocial entertainment, not like the "ihateyou ihateyou ihateyou" that Anita Sarkeesian received. Ignoring doesn't really stop either of them, though.
posted by postcommunism at 2:56 PM on June 25, 2012


I think the cardinal rule of ignoring trolls is subject to a great many exceptions, not least of all because in any open internet dialogue, there's more than just the trolls and the target at play - there's also an audience. Many times, ignoring openly stupid and flame-baiting comments is the way to go, but you'll on occasion be met with a troll who expresses (possibly with insincere and shit-stirring motivations) a nonetheless widely-held belief regarding gender, race or politics. This is where the "troll" dismissal won't necessarily work. To those watching the exchange, they see on one side a Widely-Held Belief, and on the other side, silence and/or "Trolling troll is trolling." Which doesn't do much to dispel the belief and actually appears evasive. Rather, I like the idea of engaging at times like this; calmly, rationally and succinctly, and then walking away. Easier said than done, but in my experience it's the best solution in cases like that.

Flat-out harassment, though, is best fought with IP bans and lawsuits. Because fuck them.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:56 PM on June 25, 2012


Coincidentally, Ze Frank also did a recent podcast on threats/trolls/griefing, called Face Punch.

I had to ask what Smooth meant by "make 'fetch' a thing with misandry" - apparently it's a Mean Girls reference, which kind of makes me love him even more.
posted by running order squabble fest at 3:04 PM on June 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


This is partly why I don't always agree with the mod policies on MetaFilter (when we are talking about tolerating what's essentially hounding hate speech on the Blue, Green or Grey because it's already there or too integral to the conversation or whatever and letting that kind of speech stand and help create negative energy, as Jay Smooth puts it).

To make it clear, I support Jay Smooth's position in the OP linked video.
posted by kalessin at 3:12 PM on June 25, 2012


The sheer volume of his opinions and his authoritative tone is starting to look a bit smug to me.

Out of curiosity, do you take issue with what he actually has to say? Because I'm always confused about the "smug" thing. It's a non-argument, and basically says to me "I just don't like that he presumes to have an opinion and state it forcefully."

And that's not smugness. I'm not seeing Jay Smooth as saying "look at how awesome I am." He seems to be communicating in good faith stuff he has really thought about and cares about. If you see a quality of self-congratulation there, I'd love it if you shared what that is, and why it bothers you. Because the complaint confounds me.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 3:42 PM on June 25, 2012 [12 favorites]


Not to mention he couches his opinions - in this video anyway - by saying that he might very well be wrong and doesn't have all the answers, which is sorta the opposite of "smug".
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:48 PM on June 25, 2012 [7 favorites]


Out of curiosity, do you take issue with what he actually has to say?

Sometimes no, sometimes yes, I suppose. I don't have a laundry list of my reactions to all the points he's made in these videos. He's usually pretty on-point.

I'd love it if you shared what that is, and why it bothers you

I thought I had? Anyways some of it might also be related to the "video blog" format, which not only presents body language, facial expression, and speaking style, but seems less like a conversation to me and more like a lecture as opposed to other forms online communication. At any rate, I was responding to a comment indicating his schtick gets better and better for them. For me, the first time I saw it I liked him, and now having seen a bunch of his stuff I find his approach a bit grating. I'd probably like it better if he was writing instead. Presentation is kind of a big deal if you're taking up visual media, and his tone really puts me off with repeated exposure. But I often think that about people who talk at me for 3-4 minutes without taking a breath.

Not to mention he couches his opinions - in this video anyway - by saying that he might very well be wrong and doesn't have all the answers, which is sorta the opposite of "smug".

A high quality self-produced, heavily-edited series of videos consisting of closeups of your face while speaking about contentious topics doesn't exactly scream "I could be wrong" to me. "I could be wrong" and "I don't have all the answers" are often used as a rhetorical device, but I guess we're seeing that differently.

Anyways, I know he is well-loved on Metafilter and speaks the language a lot of people on Metafilter want to speak on topics they like to talk about. No one is saying you're wrong to like him.
posted by Hoopo at 4:41 PM on June 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


A high quality self-produced, heavily-edited series of videos consisting of closeups of your face while speaking about contentious topics doesn't exactly scream "I could be wrong" to me.

That looked high quality and highly edited to you? It looked more to me like standard vlog fare when it comes to the format.

And your issue seems to be more with the format itself; making videos rather than writing. I guess you could make a case for that being "smug". Or you could take the point of view that smugness is by no means limited to the medium of video, and that maybe people have an easier time digesting bits like this when they're in video format, so those who are interested in communication rather than how their chosen medium "appears" might go with videos over essays and articles. But I guess that depends on what sort of motivations you want to guess about the person making the video.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:55 PM on June 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


That looked high quality and highly edited to you?

This one in particular maybe not. Others have had a bunch of visual and audio flourishes.

Or you could take the point of view that smugness is by no means limited to the medium of video, and that maybe people have an easier time digesting bits like this when they're in video format, so those who are interested in communication rather than how their chosen medium "appears" might go with videos over essays and articles

What do you mean "or"? I never implied it was impossible that some people might like video blogs better than written pieces or that smugness is confined to video. I do not enjoy his chosen video persona, it communicates things to me it obviously does not to you. I'm really not interested in arguing this anymore.
posted by Hoopo at 5:11 PM on June 25, 2012


Alright then. But just to clear up some confusion here, when you said, "some of it might also be related to the 'video blog' format, which not only presents body language, facial expression, and speaking style, but seems less like a conversation to me and more like a lecture as opposed to other forms online communication", I took this to be an issue you took with the format. Which is totally fine and all; just that you can choose what motivations you want to ascribe to why someone chooses the format. But since, as you say now, your issue is entirely to do with how he personally comes across to you, sure. Some folks grate my nerves, too, regardless of format. Like, I can't enjoy anything from Henry Rollins anymore or anyone playing a ukulele. It's a personal thing and not really worthwhile arguing about, so I respect your decision to drop it.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:16 PM on June 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


Anyways, I know he is well-loved on Metafilter and speaks the language a lot of people on Metafilter want to speak on topics they like to talk about. No one is saying you're wrong to like him.
Woah! in the spirit of that delightfully condescending reply let me just say something tells me you don't have an issue with Henry Rollins, if you know what I mean.

Damn, I wish I could post my smug as fuck face here.
posted by fullerine at 5:28 PM on June 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


Yeah, that was a dexterously inserted tack into the otherwise innocuous slipper of that comment.
posted by lazaruslong at 5:35 PM on June 25, 2012


Wow. I went and watched the videos because I've liked the stuff I've seen that Jay Smooth has done on race. I do know about the special kind of online harassment that women get but he has since put up a link to this blog (which I've heard of but never read), which really makes it clear what is happening here (in case anyone has any doubt).
People have sent me my social security number, information about my family members, identifying details that make it very clear they know exactly how to find me. They have politely provided details of exactly what they’d like to do to me and my family, they send me creepy things in the mail.

‘I’m glad your stupid cat died,’ someone wrote me last October. ‘You’re next, bitch,’ and followed up with my street address.

*GAG GAG GLUCK* You have discovered the only vocables worth hearing from Sady’s cock-stuffed maw…die tr*nny whore…[slut walk] is a parade for people who suffer from Histrionic Personality Disorder aka Attention Whores…I know where you live, r#tard…why don’t you do the world a favour and jump off a bridge…Feminazi…

A small sampling of the kinds of things that show up in our inboxes, in comment threads, on attack websites, in things sent to our readers.
I mean, what are people doing about this? Is there some sort of a, I don't know, an awareness campaign or anything to counteract this? Online terrorism indeed. More importantly, what can I do about it? I have always been a pretty strict believer in a "don't feed the trolls" policy, but I wonder if I need to totally rethink that now?
One of the main reasons "Don't Feed the Trolls" falls short as a universal pat answer is that it assumes one's only possible goal in speaking up would be to induce a change of heart in the individuals doing the trolling. Many of the stories people have shared in response to this video illustrated how speaking up can be a net positive for your community as a whole, regardless of whether it inspires some epiphany in the trolls themselves. Gauging the usefulness of speaking out strictly by tracking whether a miraculous troll epiphany occurs is often missing the point IMO.
I guess I know that there is no stopping trolls. But I do appreciate that sometimes we speak up not because we feel that it will have any kind of effect on the troll, but for the benefit of the readers who are not participating in the discussion. What is the scenario when we should make the effort for the benefit of others?

I know he (Jay Smooth) links to an example of what one community did in one situation, but is there any kind of general right response to this?
posted by triggerfinger at 5:54 PM on June 25, 2012


something tells me you don't have an issue with Henry Rollins, if you know what I mean.

I actually have no idea what you mean or where you pulled that out of. Why is everyone talking about Henry Rollins all of a sudden? The guy is just communicating in good faith stuff he has really thought about and cares about.

Damn, I wish I could post my smug as fuck face here.

I'll just picture this instead.
posted by Hoopo at 5:58 PM on June 25, 2012


Hey, glad to see you're done "arguing".
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:06 PM on June 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


To me, he doesn't look smug in that picture; maybe bemused.

This is what smug looks like.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 6:07 PM on June 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


yeah I'm done.
posted by Hoopo at 6:08 PM on June 25, 2012


Wow. The accusations of smugness are such a classic example of a tone argument that it's kind of sad.
posted by palomar at 9:10 PM on June 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


Yeah, thanks for that palomar. I couldn't quite put my finger on it. Probably because I'm so used to the normal response to a dude speaking sensibly about complex racial / gender / cultural issues reasonably is unfettered gobsmacked-ness. I guess it's a sign of things to come.
posted by lazaruslong at 10:31 PM on June 25, 2012


Can someone explain what the "second group" of people he identifies as "backpacker trolls" are? And what they object to in linking trolling with the kind of harassment Anita Sarkeesian received?

From the thread I'm gathering that the "old school" trolls see trolling as just harmless irritation but this new stuff causes real damage. Is that accurate?
posted by Sangermaine at 11:22 PM on June 25, 2012


I don't get the Henry Rollins thing. Why are you talking about Henry Rollins?
posted by Kwine at 12:28 AM on June 26, 2012


Sangermaine, he's just making a general reference to trolls from the earlier days of the internet. It used to be a popular pastime in various online fora (Usenet especially) to plant outrageous opinions into ongoing discussion threads with a straight face in order to elicit an overreaction. It's really a form of irony or satire when it comes down to it. I guess you also could generalize and say there were both blackhat and whitehat trolls, on the one hand trolls who were antisocial and wanted to disrupt legitimate discussion or persecute particular participants, and on the other, trolls who were trying to make belligerent or obnoxious members look stupid. Either way, while there were certainly plenty of crazy and likely malicious trolls back in those days, the dynamic tended to be one-on-one or one-troll-versus-many-regular-folk, rather than this disgusting flash-mob style ganging-up, with non-stop threats of sexual violence, etc.. The past always looks rosier, but there are strong reasons to think that, e.g. a flamewar on comp.lang.c in 1987 over dereferencing pointers is not going to do as much damage to anyone's psyche or to society at large as does a whipped-up frenzy of juvenile misogynistic assholes. I think one big difference is that there were usually or at least some of the time shared norms in the old days that might provide the basis for a de-escalation or a concession, as well as a generally pretty high level of technical sophistication and intelligence. Nowadays it's not really trolling anymore - classic trolling is generally a solo sport done to get someone's goat. This shit is just the madness of the crowd - mindless vandalism and ill-will, trucked in from "out of state" as it were and descending on a targeted site the vandals have never heard of and will never visit again. So, no shared norms or culture whatsoever.

As for backpacker, specifically, I think he's just extending the use of that adjective to cover old-school trolling, I don't think there's ever been such a thing as a backpacker troll, a backpacker being an old-school generic term for a graffiti artist, musician, or whatnot, who carries underground music and supplies in a backpack. Someone who's hardcore, a purist.
posted by facetious at 12:37 AM on June 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


Thanks for the info.

It seems like the escalation (or mutation if you prefer) of trolling from personal relationships within an insular community to mob frenzy is a natural result of the growth of online participation amongst the population, the increasing amount of relatively easily-accessible personal data available online, and the relatively lowered technical bar to finding and acting on that information. In 1987 it would have taken a bit of work to organize a mob, hunt down a user's private info, then harass them. Now it's relatively much easier.

I guess what I'm saying is, I don't buy that there's a new breed out there. I don't think people are more vicious now than they were a decade or two ago. It's just much easier to organize and engage in something like this.

I also think another component is the greatly altered relationship between the online and real worlds. With the rise of Facebook, Twitter, social media, and just increasing online presence in general, the divide between digital and real blurs. Facebook, for instance, has become heavily integrated into younger people's social lives to the point where what happens on it can have serious real-world effects.

I suppose what I'm getting at is that the current generation has become more accustomed to what happens online spilling over into real life and so maybe might be more willing than earlier users to take a fight out of the forums and onto the streets.

It's interesting to compare the rise of these angry mobs and things like Anonymous's various activities, for good or ill, and even stuff like the campaigns reddit occasionally mobilizes with phenomenon like the "human flesh search engines" you see in China. Those can mobilize tens of thousands of people against some target and have destroyed lives. I'm not sure what can be done to stop the mob once awoken. The mix of numbers, anonymity, and ease of attack make the Internet the perfect medium for vigilantism and mob harassment/violence.
posted by Sangermaine at 1:45 AM on June 26, 2012


great points, i'm totally with you. that human flesh search engine thing is creepier than heck, although if it was mobilized to find a missing child, etc., it would be pretty cool. unfortunately humans seem to have this unstoppable internal compulsion to use their powers always for evil, never for good. the flesh search engine thing reminded me of the Five-Anti Campaign in the 1950's, or most of Soviet Russian history. totally off-topic, but i literally cannot get my mind around the fact that mao was personally responsible for something like 50 million deaths. man.
posted by facetious at 2:16 AM on June 26, 2012


I haven't watched any video blogs because I prefer to read my internet, but I watched this and I have a question that is related to presentation much more than content: is the kind of constant editing he does typical and acceptable? I'm assuming that he edits to get the best "take" of whatever line he's saying, but I find the constant little blips as his face moves just that tiny bit kind of distracting, and there's one sentence where it's basically a new edit for every subordinate clause. Is this stylistically the thing that's done in vlogs? Is it a by-product of the way they're made? Is it considered an improvement over a single cut that might include pauses and "ums" and mis-speaking? I am curious about this strange new thing I've encountered.
posted by not that girl at 6:54 AM on June 26, 2012


I am curious about this strange new thing I've encountered.

It is pretty typical of vlogs. A lot of it is, as you say, the selection of the best takes of different sentences, but some of it is also to add some visual dynamic to what you're watching, so it's not 3:30 of Dude Motionlessly Talking To Camera. Done right, it gives the effect of being physically present with the speaker; giving visual cues that your brain interprets as the sort of gesticulating and slight body movements a person will make when having a casual conversation with a friend. However, you'll see some people go overboard with the cuts, to really jarring effect - sudden close-ups of the mouth only, suddenly wearing a pair of funky sunglasses, maybe sitting on a lawn chair on top of their roof, who knows - that seem more affected than casual.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 7:10 AM on June 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


I've been watching all this guy's vids - they are very good! Thanks for posting!
posted by rebent at 11:52 AM on June 26, 2012


As for backpacker, specifically, I think he's just extending the use of that adjective to cover old-school trolling, I don't think there's ever been such a thing as a backpacker troll, a backpacker being an old-school generic term for a graffiti artist, musician, or whatnot, who carries underground music and supplies in a backpack. Someone who's hardcore, a purist.
You say out of character, 'SIR THIS IS MY PROFESSION, I DON'T JUDGE YOUR PUMA KILLING SKILLS'
posted by fullerine at 3:19 PM on June 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Newest U.S. Counterterrorism Strategy: Trolling
posted by homunculus at 3:36 PM on July 18, 2012


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