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Delivery Driver Required. IMMEDIATE START…

11 Jun

Due to a SUDDEN BEREAVEMENT within our close-knit group of drivers, a vacancy exists for a DRIVER.

THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING WRONG WITH THE TRUCK AT ALL AND THE BRAKES WORK PERFECTLY IT HAS BEEN INSPECTED BY EVERYBODY AND NOTHING IS WRONG IT ALSO HAS A NEW DRIVERS SEAT AND WINDSHIELD.

If you would like to work for a boss who writes everything in CAPITAL LETTERS and is semi-literate but still feels it is necessary to micro-manage his secretary’s advertising copy then please give us a call.

The successful applicant will be HARD WORKING AND LOYAL AND 100% TRUSTWORTHY AND LOYAL. GOOD TEAMWORKER, PUNCTUAL AND NOT DRIVE LIKE A NUTTER.

Pay will be commensurate with experience. The successful candidate will be given a trial period of three weeks, after which they will probably turn down the job because it is very difficult for most people to get on with Dave who runs the company and his brother Mad Eric who services the trucks. Most people leave on day three.

YOU WILL BE HARD WORKING AND LOYAL AND USED TO HARD WORK. LOYALTY WILL BE REWARDED. YOU WILL BE PAID FAIRLY FOR A FULL DAY’S WORK.

Please contact Marjory (me) in the first instance on the number below.

046TRUCK

 

The FBI, marijuana and young hackers: Morality hides under the table.

22 May

“..the best ones smoke weed, so we can’t use ’em…”

 

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The director of the FBI, James Comey, has reportedly told the Wall Street Journal that he may have to review the prohibition on drug-taking among his workforce because he cannot employ the best of the best when it comes to hackers.

At first glance, this comment may seem almost comical. Indeed, Comey is now back-pedalling furiously and saying it was meant as a joke. But it may still be a truth spoken in jest.

The FBI does not employ people who have used drugs in the last three years. The FBI wants to recruit hackers. So, they recruited a load of hackers who haven’t used drugs in the last three years. You can guess from Comey’s words how well it all worked out. Now, the FBI wants the ones who are trousered, minced, absolutely off their face on skunk – because the hackers the FBI currently have are not as good.

Can you imagine how the FBI hackers who are about to be fired feel? There you are in your navy blue skirt or your Walmart charcoal pants. You parked your car perfectly in the car park, neither too far to the left nor right. Suddenly, a security guard pulls your chair away and marches you up to the human resources department.

A woman you have never met then hands you an envelope with a letter of reference and tells you that they have done all they can to find an alternative position for you within the FBI but to no avail. Then, she nods to the security guard who walks you out to the car park.

As you pass your old desk, you see that it is now occupied by an eighteen year old who has his slammed Vans resting on your immaculate Apple and is taking a selfie on his iPhone.

You are toast.

This hacker does more in four hours than you did in three months.

You find the Hudson River and you jump into it.

 

The Fantastic Dilemma…?

It would seem reasonable that our offices of high authority and power do not employ habitual drug takers. Drug taking is both illegal and begs questions about the competence of a worker to do their job properly. But what happens if you are trying to arrest criminals who hide behind the tightest web security? The best help may come from those deep inside the business we call ‘code writing’ (if it is legal) or  ‘hacking’ (if it is illegal). These people often smoke joints and eat pizza.

The top hackers often take drugs. I mean, would you really leave a message on the FBI’s server at Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington saying: “Love the suits you guys wear!”  if you were sober and law-abiding? Besides, hacking is a long game that stretches your concentration and intelligence over many straight hours. The USAAF pump Speed into their fighter pilots so why can’t a hacker stock up on some weed and Ben & Jerry’s?

Perhaps James Comey just got sick and tired of having his weekly email to his staff persistently replaced by a picture of a lol-cat and that print of Bob Marley smoking a joint. He’s out for revenge. Book the kid. Think laterally.

015

Which brings us neatly to…

If you are a right-leaning law-abiding citizen, then you probably believe that the FBI go around all the top universities and pick out the brightest code writers and sit them down in the back of the black Suburban and say:

‘Forget Pfizer. Come and work for us.’

If you are a left-leaning law abiding citizen, then you know damn well that the FBI stake out a sixteen year old as he or she hacks into their headmaster’s bank account – the one that pays for the dwarf to whip him – and they sit him or her down in the front room with their parents and say:

‘Forget McDonald’s. Come and work for us.’

‘I can’t. I take drugs.’

(mother faints)

‘Damn.’

 

Can you spot the massive…er…half-truth in all this?

Just because the FBI cannot themselves employ drug-taking hackers doesn’t mean that they don’t use their services.

The FBI contract out this kind of work to a bunch of private firms that do employ drug-taking hackers. Those firms then invoice the FBI for ‘code writing services and program viability analysis’. Everybody is happy.

 

Then, in May 2014, the FBI notice that, whereas the FBI all drive around in four year old Chevrolets, these firms that go by the name of Yellow Penguin Computing, Zed Labz, Drelb Inc. – all drive three month old Ferraris.

 

When your in-laws are outlaws…

James Comey, Director of the FBI cannot have that. It sticks in his craw. Yet he cannot employ drug takers. He needs a solution. He dips his toe into the waters of popular opinion. He says he might have to look a the situation.

If he is successful, then any government department or agency may soon be allowed to employ drug-takers as well.

There will soon be no difference whatsoever between the moral values of society, outlaws and the elite who rule them both. Just like the end of alcohol Prohibition, the questions over morality will melt away. We all know that the current prohibition of marijuana serves no public good. It merely boosts the wealth of dealers – the bootleggers of old.

But the FBI cannot employ the top hackers unless marijuana is legalised across the whole of the US. It is a nationwide agency. Worse still – until that day, the barrier between what is legal and what is illegal becomes arbitrary and selective. Existing laws already flatly ignore criminality within crime-fighting agencies.

You were stopped for speeding by a cop who you believe was off his face on Nepalese black at the time?  Good luck with the appeal. You believe that your local police are paid off by drug dealers? Bring us the evidence and we’ll pay for your headstone.

That is not a good forest for society to venture into. Either marijuana is legal or it is not.

However, could it just be that James B Comey, director of the FBI, is in fact merely lending his weight to the campaign to legalise marijuana?

012

 

 

 

 

 

Freelance Writer Required

9 May

Chance of a lifetime for the right writer…!

 

Giraffe Books are looking for an enthusiastic and loyal freelance writer to join their award-winning team of enthusiastic freelance and loyal writers.

You will be confident working in an environment of poisonous vitriol. You will have your own extensive list of publishing contacts or else you will say that you have at your first interview.

Since the exciting merger last week between Giraffe Books and Editions Hitler, exciting opportunities for promotion exist within this  new and vibrantly exciting publishing house.

Required Abilities:

♦ Answering phones in our up-scale city-centre offices.

♦ There’s six of them, stacked up. You will answer them all. Are you some kind of communist…?

♦ If I have to tell you how to do your job one more time then you are toast. History.

♦ Dealing confidently with highly demanding executive level visitors and never having a nervous breakdown.

♦ Crisply ironed. I say no more.

 

Desirable Attributes:

♦ Getting over it quickly.

♦ Not EVER mentioning that you are a pretty good writer yourself.

♦ Empty my bin.

 

Giraffe-Hitler promote from within. You will only notice that this is a complete untruth once you are within and realise that you have not been promoted.

Salary is commensurate with experience and qualifications. It works like this:

1) We ask you to tell us your experience and qualifications.

2) You tell us.

3) We tell you that you are pretty much a novice and virtually unemployable.

4) You join us on startlingly crap terms and conditions because you have serious debts and a family to keep.

 

All applications should be made via email to  untermensche@girhitpublications.com

British Economic Development Explained:

23 Apr

To my many faithful readers who live in all parts of this wonderful planet and who occasionally lie awake thinking:

“I’ve had such a great day…but I simply cannot get to sleep because I am not sure how the British economy actually manages to operate in the 21st century”.

Here is a picture of a British pub. it acts as the perfect metaphor to explain:

007englishpub

Key to picture:

Let us imagine that this pub is the ‘British Economy’

The chimney at the top centre and the building below and to the left of it is the basic British Economy.

It was designed and built by many clever people. One day, while on his way in to work, one of the builders found an old wooden ship and thought some of the wood might come in useful. The architect fired him once he saw the result but the accountants gave the builder his job back and promoted him to Chief  Builder In Residence.

It was decided that the economy must expand because the population had increased. The architect designed a large extension with six floors and a spire on top to fit on to the right hand end of the existing pub/British Economy. Work started immediately.One day, while on his way in to work, the builder found an old fireplace complete with chimney stack and thought it might come in useful. The architect fired him once he saw the result but the accountants fired the architect instead and got a new one. They kept hold of the Chief Builder In Residence.

The new architect cancelled the idea of the seven floors and went for just two, with a nice sloping roof made of the finest slate. The accountants were delighted with him but said they had heard rumours that the second floor was a bit dark inside and could a window be put into the nice sloping roof?

The new architect had a word with the Chief Builder In Residence. They both got on very well. They both shared the suspicion that you only survived if you kept the accountants happy and read the contract closely. One day, while on his way in to work, the builder found an old window and thought it might come in useful.

The accountants were delighted. However, they asked the architect if perhaps a second window could be put in as well because the first one, though excellent in many respects, was attracting ridicule?

The architect asked the builder and the builder refused. He pointed out that he had met his contractual obligation since there had never been any mention of multiple windows to him before. The architect explained this to the accountants.

The accountants fired the new architect for negligence and had a meeting with the Chief Builder In Residence. They explained that many more windows and a bigger building were needed because the economy was still expanding. They reminded him that he had been doing very nicely out of this project and they expected him to come up with a solution, especially since all the architects seemed so useless.

The Chief Builder In Residence suggested building a second wing, coming out from the new extension at a right-angle, on two floors.

The accountants laughed and explained that this would be far too expensive. How about just one floor? The Chief Builder In Residence explained that if they only built a single story extension, then the first floor window on the existing building would have its view blocked by the pitched roof of the new extension and also the guttering would be a nightmare to maintain after the first year.

The accountants smiled and reminded him that, as a builder, it was none of his business how the maintenance costs worked out after the building was completed. The Chief Builder In Residence told them he had just about had enough of their smug attitude and they could stick their extension up their inkwells. He had decided to become an electrician, instead. There was more money in being an electrician.

The accountants made a quick drawing of what they wanted and then found a new builder. The new builder built the new single story extension exactly as they wished. The accountants were very pleased. They promoted him to Associate Builder Designate.

As a token of thanks, the new builder told them he’d include a pretty little security camera disguised as a lamp and install it for free on the side of the old, original building. He’d also create a landscaped garden at the front and build a monument in honour of the accountants.

The accountants were delighted.

The Associate Builder Designate installed the cute little security camera disguised as a lamp and went home to bed. When he came back in the morning, somebody had stolen the security camera. He bought another and put it up so that the accountants would not be disappointed. That also disappeared the following night. In desperation he contacted a local electrician to help him sort out the problem.

The electrician visited and suggested mounting a second security lamp just above the little cutesy security camera and said he happened to have one in the back of the van that he had found on his way to work and thought it might come in useful. The Associate Builder Designate was delighted and begged the electrician to start immediately and then send him the bill when he was finished.

The electrician smiled and began to work. Within four minutes he had finished installing a security lamp above the security camera on the side of the original building and so he presented his bill to the Associate Builder Designate.

The Associate Builder Designate was horrified. He explained that the electrician had charged him almost as much for four minutes work as he – the Associate Builder Designate –  earned in a month. The electrician smiled. He asked the Associate Builder Designate what other work he had to do to fulfill his contract to the accountants. The Associate Builder Designate wiped his eyes and explained that he had promised to create a landscaped garden.

All of which brings us to that hanging basket of flowers…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ukraine: Western leaders consider snub to Putin

7 Mar

fist love hate

Roadwax’s Elena Handcart has just sent this report from the Crimean peninsula:

As the RAF Chinook helicopter from Odiham in Hampshire dives through the darkness of the night towards Razdolne, Captain Sandy “Toxvig” Thompson’s tense voice rings out in my headphones.

‘Remember, Elena…not a word about this being an MI6 job and no names. Don’t mention how you got here or who you met. Right?’

I nod in agreement as the muscular physique of Chaz “Minty” Mintoe looms towards me, un-buckles my harness and drags me towards the open hatch.

“Who dares, wins…!” he says and hurls me into the darkness while the Chinook is still thirty feet above sea level. I smile and wave goodbye to one of the most handsome and brave lovers I have ever known. So sad, then, that he could never sustain an erection.

I land roughly on the waves and my unconscious body is dragged towards the shore by the savage riptide.

I awake to find myself lying on a clean yet overpriced bed in the 2-Star Radzolne Holidaya Inska. Smiling back at me from the compact yet modern bathroom area is a face I do not recognise.

‘You do not recognise my face, do you?’ The man smiles and laughs.

I get dressed and leave him. His army clothes – all insignia removed – lie scattered around the room. There is no doubt though, from the way he rubs toothpaste into his genitals, that he is actually elite Russian forces.

The hotel concierge refuses to accept my credit card and instead leads me through the maze of coridoors to the back of the hotel and freedom.

‘ My name is Dmitri and I am pro-Ukraine. Not everyone loves Putin here. Do not mention me or I will be killed.’

I nod my head and thank him.

‘Take the footpath over the mountains and you will arrive in Yalta. It is hard climb. God be with you!’

I walk round the side of the building to the main entrance and get in a taxi.

‘Yalta.’ I say. The ancient Mercedes moves off and I settle back in my seat and watch the tired faces of the tired women as they catch fish with tired faces.

Within minutes, we arrive at a checkpoint and I am arrested.

"Well...THAT was a complete bloody waste of a war."

“Well…THAT was a complete bloody waste of a war.”

Kevin Hart and the art of being British.

26 Feb

028kevinhart1

A few hours ago, US actor and verbalist Kevin Hart sat down in a BBC television studio in London and ‘did’ an interview, plugging his new film.

In order to ‘do’ one of these promotional interviews, you have to have at least one ‘anchor’ person who ‘does’ the role of asking you the right questions – the ones that allow you to sell your film.

Ideally, two anchors – one male and one female – should ‘do’ the questioning. These ‘anchors’ should always dress like your parents. In fact, TV Anchors are the viewer’s metaphorical parents in an idealistic, slightly off-kilter version of reality on Planet Earth. They are unfeasibly polite, informed, interested and well groomed. Nothing like reality.

024anchors2

On this occasion, a live breakfast slot in a foreign country and a perfect storm created Television Gold. Sochi Olympic Games…? You have nothing on what happens next. Within 45 seconds, Hart had started demolishing everything in site. Intellectually speaking.

010kevinhart3

He completely took the piss out of everyone in the studio – including his management and financial backers.

He destroyed the place.

He killed them all.

He did it ‘live’ and everybody loved him for it.

Here, thanks to Aunty Beeb, is the original footage, still warm. It seems to only have two edit points, so this is pretty much live and without a pause. Please watch it now! I’ll wait here while you do.

Taking The Piss

It is so hard for the British to explain to the wonderful plethora of people living elsewhere in the world what we mean when we talk about ‘taking the piss’. Taking the Mickey, extracting the Michael. Some countries ‘get it’ more easily than others. North Koreans in particular have difficulty with it. Only 35% of North Americans get it. The French? 10% at most. Latvians – 98.3%. Local Police Officer who just pulled you over in your car? .025%. Don’t go there.

Kevin Hart is taking the piss. If you do not see it then it doesn’t matter. If you laugh at his jokes and think that he is funny then that is great. No problem!

But he is.

Hart is described as an actor and ‘comedian’. He has busted his chops on the standup circuit in his own country and he has not been handed a backstage pass to fame. Along the way, he has learned like all standup comedians that his world is actually the world of the Gladiator.

Ideally, this is a point that the audience is unaware of but every standup comedian contemplates only one thing in their quiet moments: Death.

Comedians speak of ‘dying’ on stage. They dream of ‘killing’ their audience. Only one can win.

Kevin Hart makes no secret of his inspiration. Step forward Cosby, Murphy, Chapelle and Rock. That is all fine.

But really – there is something much faster, sharper, sooner, quicker and nastier about Kevin Hart. He is very much a man of his own design and this BBC footage perfectly describes that. He can ‘riff’ and feed off the slightest input but he can do it so fast that, when you re-run the videotape, you still marvel at his sure-footed and lightning fast responses.

This is rapping, finally crossing over into standup. The intonation, the stanzas, the speed of delivery.

In a world where it is now safe to agree that HipHop has become truly multi-cultural and truly a World genre, is Kevin Hart the first ‘verbalist’ to break rap into standup, like a chef cracking an egg into a bowl to make an omelette?

Okay, let’s leave the food analogy to one side. Today, he killed. He became a killer. Count the number of words per minute. Count the separate ideas delivered. Count the punchlines. Measure the total time on air and look at the sheer speed!

Kevin Hart in a black tuxedo, driving a ’65 Aston Martin. Tick box if Insurance Indemnity purchased. Box ticked. Since nobody else is currently standing up to the line, Mr Hart will be happy to serve.

Trolling: Understanding what it is and also why it happens.

24 Sep

Introduction

The topic of ‘Trolling’ is being discussed in great detail on the internet and in the media these days.

Or is it…?

To celebrate yet another confused and inaccurate article being launched on the BBC’s internet site, Roadwax feels that the time is right to encourage proper debate on the topic. One should never encourage a troll but one needs to know what food they like to eat.

This post is a stripped-down “How-to” guide for those of us who do not have much time right now but need to understand more about trolling. It is intended to inform and also to encourage a clearer understanding of what ‘trolling’ actually is.

By necessity, this article also discusses internet bullying. However a separate Roadwax article deals with this topic in more detail.

If anyone wants to read the full, unabridged articles then please email loopwithers@live.co.uk and ask for a copy. Don’t all rush at once. Oh – there aren’t any pictures in this post. Trolls do not really go for pictures. It is all about words. Bring on the trolls.

The current situation: where we are right now

A quick search through the world’s top English-language internet news sites reveals that the word ‘trolling’ is being frequently used but never properly explained. A longer and more refined search will just make you want to weep. It soon becomes clear that the word is being thrown around without a clear understanding of its meaning. After more than thirty years of trolling on the internet across the world, we rarely find a definition of exactly what a ‘troll’ is.

Is ‘internet trolling’ actually being discussed and described or is it simply being mentioned, like a fashionable buzz-word…?

Now is a good time to clear up some frequent misunderstandings that are beginning to creep in to the current debate. If we do not agree a clear understanding of what trolling is then we cannot effectively deal with the topic.

A brief history of the troll

Trolling has been around for centuries. Every culture with a well-established language has always had trolls. Trolling particularly appears at times when there is war and conflict. Diplomatic statements and war-time propaganda messages are often good examples of simple trolling. Over the last couple of decades, ‘internet trolls’ have appeared. We owe them a debt of thanks. If the internet community had not labelled them as ‘Trolls’ for the first time, we would never have realised that they existed.

The differences between a troll and bully

Trolls are not necessarily bullies…but bullies can be trolls.

Think of it like this: A house can be a home but a home is not necessarily a house.

The current focus in the media is to describe trolls as bullies. This is a dangerously incorrect assumption because it masks what is really going on and…is quite possibly a form of trolling itself!

It is very important that we separate out ‘trolling behaviour’ from ‘bullying behaviour’ to understand what is going on when we look at our screens.

Here is a short list explaining why we should make a distinction:

1) Bullies get given elevated status in society if described as trolls – a label which they do not deserve.

2) Bullying is a form of psychological or physical pressure used to unreasonably coerce people. Trolling isn’t.

3) Trolls and bullies both cause disruption but in different ways. They operate similarly but differently.

4) Trolls wreak destruction and disorder but bullying causes distress and depression.

5) Knowing the difference can keep us protected both on and offline and it can even save lives.

How to spot an online bully:

Online bullying can only take place on websites that allow people to ‘comment’ – write and upload statements that other people can read. Think hard on this point. Notice how many websites do not allow the posting of comments or else ‘suspend’ the writing of comments for a while. Often this denial of the ‘comment’ facility is being carried out to stop bullying or trolling being possible.

So, online bullying takes place most often in ‘forums’ – where a topic can be discussed openly by anyone who want s to have their say. YouTube videos, News Website articles, Enthusiast Forums, Bebo, Askfm…the list of places who offer forums or the opportunity to comment is almost endless. This is where trolling and bullying takes place.

An online bully will always make a personal attack or a particular threat to writers in the forum. Always.

Here is an imaginary ‘thread’ on an imaginary forum:

Bob123:          ‘I think this video is great. I love cats! Cats are so cool!’

Fishman:        ‘Check out 1’24” when the cat goes nuts! LOL!!!’

ZZZmonkey:   ‘You think video footage is real? You are so stupid.’

Bob123:           ‘F**k you, a**hole, you are just a sad piece of sh*t. Go play with yourself.’

ZZZMonkey:   ‘Video is not real! If you think cat actually jump then you are nuts.’

Fishman:         ‘In English please? Are you another crazy Russian who eats cats?’

Bob123:           ‘You f***ing piece of commie sh*t. F**k you.’

ZZZMonkey:   ‘Video is fake. I am not commie. You know nothing.’

There is only one bully in this example. It is Bob123. ZZZMonkey is holding a different opinion about the video and tries to persuade others that they are watching fake footage and believing it is real. ZZZMonkey is straightforward and also rude but he doesn’t bully. Bob123 immediately responds by attacking him personally and then Fishman adds what is possibly a racist slant in his reply which has nothing to do with the points being made by either side.

Now, read the thread again and imagine that:

Bob123 is aged 11 years, female, goes to school.

Fishman is aged 33 years, male, works in telesales.

ZZZMonkey is aged 42 years, transgender, CCTV operator.

Notice how the internet removes so much information that can help us make sense of what appears to be a pointless conflict situation. Bullying often seems more horrifying precisely because it often appears to be so personally vindictive yet it is conducted by apparent strangers.

Bullying is often carried out by people who are struggling to understand what is going on around them. They feel insecure and threatened and so they lash out. They will continue to do this until they are forced to stop. It becomes an exciting new power and the thrill of hurting people is – as adults eventually learn – addictive. If bullying is allowed to go on, then that is exactly what it does. It goes on, and on…and on.

How to spot an online troll:

Trolling is the opposite of bullying. It is often carried out by people who are confident and assured about the world they see. They feel excited by the chances to mess around with the comfort level of less confident or less well informed online guests. They get their fun from wrecking, derailing, destroying and challenging the view of others. They don’t get their thrill from attacking people but instead from manipulating what people think.

Trolls love the power they get from controlling proceedings, dictating what the debate is actually about. Trolls might also bully but then – if they do, they have failed as trolls and should be desribed as bullies. Trolling has nothing to do with bullying.

Trolling is all about power and manipulation. Bullying is all about hatred and aggression.

Let’s run the same scenario again. Remember – we know nothing about the three people who are commenting.

WigWax: ‘I think this video is great. I love cats! Cats are sooo coooool!’

108566M: ‘check out 1′ 24″ when the cat goes nuts! LOL!!!’

Nobby:  ‘My dog could eat that cat. Dogs rule. sorry but thats the way it is.’

108566M ‘Dogs spread disease and suck up to their owners. You sad moron.’

Nobby: ‘Grow up. Cats spread more disease than dogs. Fact. Is a cat gonna save you in a robbery?’

WigWax: ‘Great. A drug dealer wants to lecture me about how great his dog is. Sad.’

Nobby: ‘Maybe I sell your mother all the crack she takes just to put up with you. What’s wrong with that?’

WigWax: ‘Why don’t you get a real job and stop wrecking people’s lives? You scum.’

108566M: ‘I feel sorry for you. You will rot in Hell. God will punish you.’

Nobby: ‘My dog just ate your God. And your cat.’

Nobby is an internet troll. Nobby just derailed this thread and turned the conversation from the love of cats to the morality of drug-taking and religious concepts. Nobby did this without using threats or bullying. Nobby relied on WigWax and 108566M to respond with anger and abuse and Nobby is now firmly in control of this thread. You can use your own imagination to work out how much fun Nobby has over the next few hours…

Notice also – and this is so important – how this thread would simply stop if nobody responds to Nobby’s last comment. The troll cannot continue to dominate unless others allow that to happen by posting replies. The troll can only

a) have the last word in the thread

b) kill the thread by killing off the orginal discussion

c) encourage a Moderator to delete the thread because it is now wrecked

If someone now posts:

Girlfriday: “Nice trolling. Anyway – back to the thread. Cats ARE cool…!”

…then there is still a good chance that Nobby will dive back in and continue. Remember – Trolling is about control and manipulation. Do not feed the trolls.

Trolling on world News Sites:

All news sites – ABC, NBC, BBC, Reuters…every news site in the world – are trolled every day. The trolling takes place in the section of the site where people can leave their comments. Some trolling is done for the sheer twisted fun of it but some trolling is done for a darker reason – to stifle proper debate and to crush dissent.

I could put a link in here to a real-life example that is happening now. Unfortunately, by the time you click on it, the debate will either have moved on or else the comments will have been removed.

Instead, I encourage you to click on your favourite national news site and find a breaking news item which also has a comments thread – and watch it evolve. See if you can spot the point at which an internet troll begins to change the topic under discussion.

Is it a story about a car crash that suddenly changes to a discussion on banning older drivers? Is it a news item on a new hospital brain scanning procedure and the comment thread changes into an argument about abortion?

Hopefully, (to prove my point here) as soon as you see this happening, a Moderator for the site will ‘close’ the comments so that no more posts are allowed.

The comments thread will disappear from view if you revisit the site.

The troll will have successfully stopped open debate and discussion.

The troll will have won.

Trolling on ‘SIF – Sites’ (single interest fanatics) – and YouTube

YouTube provides a fascinating and vibrant introduction for anyone who wishes to study trolling, bullying or any aspect of mass culture. If you watch YouTube, you will see examples of trolling easily and quickly. They are identical to those you may find on the thousands of sif-sites around the world.

YouTube is the most influential and powerful internet media site in the world of 2013. Facebook simply pales into insignificance by comparison, even if one takes their already mathematically corrupted viewing and membership figures…and doubles them.

YouTube allows anyone to upload any piece of film and audio footage for the world to see. It is a place where all you have to do is type in any ‘search’ word and you will find a list of uploaded film relating to that topic. It is hugely influential, whereas other sites are not.

Precisely because of its universal accessibility and worldwide reach, it becomes far more valuable than any single news channel. Notice how, when a new story breaks on a world news channel, one can frequently discover related footage existed a few hours sooner on YouTube.

YouTube allows users to ‘comment’ on footage uploaded by other users.

Think of a popular topic that interests you personally. Go onto YouTube and search for films and videos on that topic. Read the YouTube ‘comments’ and you will see trolling and bullying laid bare. You may also find supreme examples of ‘Moderating’ – where potential trolls and bullies are put in their place by third parties – other visitors to the site.

However – for the sake of clarity – remember that YouTube’s own Moderators use a firm but light touch. YouTube – like Twitter – is a citadel of free speech and expression and therefore it aims to censor as little as possible. YouTube singlehandedly defines the complex struggles involved in maintaining a world concept of ‘free speech’ by simply allowing it.

To many new viewers, this is quite a shocking and revelatory experience. YouTube allows us to see, experience and come face to face with the often shocking world of free speech. Free speech can easily be controlled by bullies and trolls and those who are spectacularly ignorant.

It should be borne in mind that a vast proportion of the most extreme comments on sif-sites and YouTube as well are left by children aged 12 – 18 years. Whether this consideration makes you feel better or worse probably depends a lot upon how you value the power of education.

Trolling as a means of stifling dissent.

As we see in the example of News websites, a troll can stop debate taking place by encouraging the Moderator to close the thread down because it has got out of hand. It has collapsed into a vicious fight between overheated commentators who are now verbally abusing each other.

Most news sites used to try to keep trolls out and keep any debate going but this proved to be a thankless and exhausting task. Now, newsgroups simply ‘pull’ the thread. It is safer and cheaper. Discussion forums – where enthusiasts go to talk with each other – still allow trolls. They cannot really close the forum just because a troll has moved in. Instead, they warn them against trolling – either by an online message for all to see – or privately and more discretely.

A wise troll will move on once their actions are identified. There used to be a saying: “Please do not feed the trolls”. Some web forums still use it but, in truth, that request is usually lost on the very people who should heed it. Trolls have plenty to feed on.

Professional Trolling

But suppose that the troll is employed by a political party? Suppose the news item on the news site or the article in a discussion forum is about a piece of legislation being proposed by The Gorilla Party (hey – I’m just making up a name to keep things simple) and The Ostrich Party doesn’t want that piece of news to give attention to their competitor?

Suppose the Gorilla Party announces support for “free day-care for all children of working single mothers. Vote for the Gorillas and get free day care!”

The Ostrich Party are pretty sure that this legislation will never get passed because it is too expensive. They have worked out the costing figures and they are certain that the Gorilla Party have too. But they are annoyed because the Gorilla Party is bringing to people’s attention the fact that the Ostrich Party do not have their own solution on offer. It makes them look un-caring by comparison.

Do you really believe that the Ostrich Party will keep clear of the ‘comments’ section on that news item? Of course not! They will get a troll in there as soon as possible, to wreck the debate and hopefully get the comments page closed down as quickly as possible.

Stifle debate.

Unintentional trolls

Especially when it comes to news sites, people sometimes become trolls without realising it. They add comments without understanding that they have derailed the discussion.

If a news item is about an accidental house fire where a baby has tragically died, the comments may be mostly from people who wish to express their sadness and support. This is normal and well meant. It goes on all the time. Feelings are intense and people want to express their grief or sympathy.

Now is a bad time for someone to point out the fact that the parents were recent immigrants to the country and they had trouble calling the emergency services because they could not speak the same language.

This comment might have actually been intended as a helpful explanation. It might be a very significant factor that needs to be addressed by the local fire department.

The comment has the opposite effect on the thread. It appears sudden and insensitive and detracts from the emotional integrity of the other comments. The comment thread collapses into accusations of racism, xenophobia, bitter personal abuse and the moderator has to close it down since meaningful debate is now long gone and no postive advantages exist to keeping it open.

This imaginary example shows us how trolls can sometimes be innocent commentators who merely make a badly-timed or poorly-judged observation but meant no actual harm. It illustrates how we can all unintentionally appear as trolls if we mis-judge the mood on a forum or a comment thread.

We might be intending to make a postive or constructive comment – to encourage the debate to broaden out and not simply dwell on the tragedy but instead the cause – but we get it wrong. Suddenly, we have appeared as a troll in the eyes of our peers.

Part-time Trolling

Anyone can be a part-time troll. If we understand anything about trolling then we realise the power that trolling can give us. If we take the power of the troll and turn it to good use, is that not a good thing?

So, suppose you saw a bully attacking someone on a website. Would you ‘troll’ them as a way of stopping them carrying on? Would you try and draw them off their poor target by a display of intelligent trolling without becoming a bully yourself? I reckon that you might. A lot of people do.

Maybe, you would never dream of trolling but then you accidentally stumble across a comment thread where one writer is abusing another simply because of their ethnic background and not for their views. Would you do something to stop it? Of course, the choice always rests with you.

Although trolling is almost always carried out to stifle or subvert debate, it can be seen how trolling can sometimes be used as a weapon against hatred or bullying.

Basic Trolling

At its most basic, trolling is just a means of subverting or suppressing debate. Basic trolling is seen when an internet  discussion suddenly gets ‘hit’ by someone who types: “Buy viagra. Meet beautiful girls and get love pills for free when you click on this address: www.khfskfh.com Best tablets guaranteed.”

They upload this message five or six times in a row on the thread. Let’s be honest, they have probably killed any conversation stone dead. Still want to discuss how mortgage interest relief can be used as a social tool? Nah…nor me.

Sophisticated Trolling

Some trolling is outstandingly sophisticated. It is carried out to undermine or discredit people who are – in the eyes of the troller – deserving to be trolled. People who make overtly political statements, politicians of all levels, are frequently trolled by their adversaries. After all, politics is a dirty game. Trolls silently read the comments left by a particular person over months or even years until they find the right moment. Note – the troll never breaks cover by joining the debate. They just sit and wait and bide their time.

Then, when their ‘target’ – frequently a politician, media professional or social advocate – appears to be gaining fame and popular support, the trolling starts.

‘Great speech. Funny how you support free childcare now but stood against it last year. click this link to your earlier comments: www.abvkdzz.com

Off we go. The trolling has started. The debate is being diverted away from the wishes of the speech-maker.

Governments and politically-charged departments are the most sophisiticated trollers of all. Who can forget the British Government’s encouragement of the belief among the world’s people that Adolf Hitler only possessed one out of a possible maximum of two testicles?

Serious questions raised in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 quickly focussed on asking how the terrible catastrophe had happened in the first place. Go look at the threads now. 99.9% of the arguments are buried under tons of trolled nonsense. The aeroplanes were holograms and the whole thing never happened. It was the Illumnati. It was little green men.

It is now almost impossible for anyone find out how the events on 9/11 actually managed to happen. Sophisticated Trolling at its finest.

Conclusion:

Trolling is an integral part of modern internet communication. it is the art of subverting or suppressing debate. But there is a great reluctance within the world’s government and media to discuss in detail what it is and how it works.

Now, isn’t that strange?

Here’s a picture of a kitten:

"He told you there would be no pictures. He lied to you. And I'm not a kitten.."

“He told you there would be no pictures. He lied to you. And I’m not a kitten..”

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