Two decades ago, the world wide web was relatively young and quiet. Now it's not a bad idea to buy up domains to prevent others from mis-using them, but back then that sort of online prank was unknown. Brooks Talley and Mark Pace were among the first to register such joke domains, setting up buchanan96.org (now cyber-squatted and blocked from displaying by robots.txt) clinton96.org and dole96.org, not to be confused with dolekemp96.org (previously). 4president.us has more screenshots of the official '96 pages, if you want to peak back at how presidential candidates presented themselves online twenty years ago.
Recently, It Gets Better teamed up with Doritos to support the LGBT community with rainbow colored chips, which could be purchased from It Gets Better's website, until they ran out. There was the usual outcry and backlash, but this time it looked like Doritos took time to respond to individual criticisms on Facebook. Except it was the return of the beneficial troll, Mike Melgaard, who previously posed as a Target representative in support of its move towards more gender-neutral of children's products in its stores. [more inside]
"I got out, and it’s not too late for you." - Sarah Nyberg on being the subject of an online hate mob. Meanwhile Zoe Quinn talks about sympathy for her abusers, and actions turned out to have consequences for internet troll Joshua Goldberg.
The Articulate Troll. Giant Bomb's Patrick Klepek has a long conversation with a troll. The troll was originally one of the ones featured in Klepek's article Our Internet Empathy Problem, written about the torrent of abuse aimed at Dong Nguyen for pulling Flappy Bird. [more inside]
Founded in 2004 as a place to catalog LiveJournal drama rejected from Wikipedia, Encyclopedia Dramatica rapidly became the premier site on the web for all manner of lulz. Intended "in the spirit of Ambrose Bierce's The Devil's Dictionary," ED grew into a sprawling crowdsourced compendium of memes, subcultures, communities, personalities, and the endless feuds and controversies spawned by 4chan and other anonymous imageboards. While comprehensive, the site developed a reputation for nastiness -- full of "ironic" (?) racism, gratuitous porn, organized attacks on other sites, and disturbingly thorough dossiers on perceived enemies, all dripping with vicious snark (just check out their entry on MetaFilter). But now, after more than six years, it appears the troll has become the trolled. Founder Sherrod "Girlvinyl" DeGrippo, allegedly disillusioned by the site's legal woes and nihilistic trajectory, has permanently shuttered the site and replaced it with OhInternet, a slicker, cleaner, Web 2.0 effort modeled after more respectable internet guides like Know Your Meme (which recently sold to Cheezburger Networks for a cool $N million, discussed here). Backups and mirrors abound, but as for the source? Pool's closed... forever.
Author Shlomi Fish offers advice on how to more effectively disarm Internet trolls using techniques from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.
Zeno of Elea, Socrates and Jesus, Weev said, are his all-time favorite trolls. He also identifies with Coyote and Loki, the trickster gods, and especially with Kali, the Hindu goddess of destruction. “Loki was a hacker. The other gods feared him, but they needed his tools.” The New York Times investigates the ever-evolving, LOL-corrupting, epileptic-seizuring, iPod-leaving-on-gravestone-ing phenomenon of major Internet trolling, featuring interviews with Jason Fortuny, Weev, and a gentleman named Christopher Poole (prev). [more inside]
The troll gap - Despite heroic American efforts such as the "Kick/nuke their ass and take the gas" troll, "Each year, the Institute for Comparative Troll Studies publishes a report on the state of trolling vis a vis national security of the United States. This year, the outlook is not good..."(via Kuro5hin)
Trolling is a lot like flirting. It can be very hard to identify, and when the beloved perpetrator is confronted, he or she may become a little mushmouthed or downright rude. Nevertheless, many still adore these people and their craft, even if we are a bit afraid of them. And for those lucky, wonderful few, it's all just a game....*sigh*...