Tag Archives: trolls

Consequences of an Online Presence

I find it amazing when someone decides to start being active online in some form or another and then is surprised when others start to respond to what they are sharing. I think there are those that purposefully try and get a rise out of people. A lot of the prank YouTube channels in particular seem to be that their goal is to shock, to make a video that goes viral. Then there are those that seem to be creating, thinking it will be funny, or because they have fun doing it and don’t expect the reaction to some of the things that they create.

Recently there has been some stories about a family with five kids who run a prank channel where the parents run pranks on the kids. Now they have around 765,000 subscribers and recently some of their videos had started gaining some tractions. The reaction to the videos was not all positive because in some of the videos the kids seem like they are in distress. Understandably some people get upset about this and while I disagree with people sending threats I am not surprised it happened. What amazes me is how surprised the parents are at people’s reaction. If you start putting yourself out there in any way online you have to be prepared for the potential backlash and really think about what you are putting out there and if you can stand by it.

Online Audience

The very nature of an online audience is that it can be anyone anywhere. Now usually you will end up finding people who are a similar interest with what you are posting. At the same time if you start getting a larger audience you are more likely to find people who disagree or even potentially disapprove. Going in to the experience of online sharing you almost have to anticipate that there will come a time when someone will disagree with the very existence of what you are sharing. If you spend any time online you see these things all the time, I mean just look at the comments section of a simple news article. It cannot be that hard to believe.

Internet Trolls

The other piece that you have to recognize is that there are some people out there whose sole purpose in life seems to be to get a rise out of someone. They just want to argue for argument’s sake instead of contributing anything meaningful to a conversation. When you are dealing with someone who is a troll there just is no point in even engaging, which can be hard. They will write pages in response without saying anything, but trying to make it sound like you are wrong no matter what the circumstances. It can be hard not to respond when you are faced with such opposition, but ultimately it is a futile effort that will just leave you frustrated.

Consider Content

Now one thing I have to point out is almost anything can be considered controversial, but there are definitely some things that people post online and all I can think is, “you really though that was a good idea?” There are things that are going to potentially draw more ire than others and you either prepare for those consequences or just don’t do it. At the same time there are people for whom their perspective just doesn’t prepare them for understanding that there might be a different way to do things.

The Daddy of Five YouTube is a good example because they do not seem to understand how or why people are getting so upset it’s just a prank and even now they have revealed that it was all fake (they have also made all their videos private). Now there are still questions of how real or fake the videos are, but it is the fact that you started making these videos and didn’t expect that it could get bad eventually. A lot of prank channels (that don’t include kids) already get some heat just due to the content and the actions that they take. It is the people who react like they don’t think those reactions might be a possibility that just baffle me.

Going in to any sort of online media you have to understand that you are opening yourself up for others to react to you good or bad.


Trollhunters on NetFlix

Netflix is on a roll for shows that David and I like. Recently I started watching one of their new shows Trollhunters and so far I am thoroughly enjoying it. It is great because instead of taking human lore they turn it on its head a little bit and the lore is actually about the trolls. The troll hunter is actually traditionally a troll who hunts bad trolls. Then through a series of events it ends up being a human teenager, Jim Lake Jr. (played by Anton Yelchin), who happened to find the troll hunter amulet. Then we get to dive with him into this secret hidden underground world where trolls, gnomes, shapeshifters and more exist. At the same time he is also figuring out how to get through high school and not let his mom and others find out about the whole other life. It is a fun time and I highly recommend the show.

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On Feeding the Trolls

There’s a pun in that title…

I’ll try to keep this at a level that you can follow without playing the game, here goes! So, end of last week, the Chain Attack Warmachine and Hordes podcast I listen to got to talking about the toxic negativity in the community at large, in particular the online community. What, negativity in an online community??? you say. Yes.

There’s always been negativity, I mean, it’s the Internet and a game and these things happen. However, with the new edition coming out and changes to near everything in the game (small or large), there’s a whole new level of negativity. Memes were spawned, like #threeyearsofplaytesting (from their statements that they spent three years on the edition, generally used to talk about something that isn’t perceived as balanced), #designspace (a common phrase they used to explain why some things were changed), and a whole group dedicated to memes about how bad a whole faction was… a faction that’s now getting a heavy set of errata coming up in January.

This one's more my style...

This one’s more my style…

Anyway, the podcast was basically… hey guys, if you really think it’s that bad, try a different faction. Try a different game. Take a break. Walk away from the online communities. Whatever you need – but if it’s all just negative for you, there’s no need to just feed into that further. With something like a Forum, you have to choose to go there (and it’s all sub-forums, too, so you can easily go to one section and avoid another, if there’s one thing you’re happy about and one you’re upset about). You choose to listen to a podcast. Even some of the more passive things, like Facebook groups, you can actively leave.

So with all of that floating around my head, I maybe, sort of, went and started a thread on the Trollbloods Forums asking the question, “Do you really feel like it’s that bad?” I had been noticing that there was plenty of negativity and constructive criticism, but only a few who were more directly “trolling” the threads and spreading toxic negativity. Three main ones I’ve learned to just ignore the comments from. And then there’s one other, whose whole gaming group has basically moved on from the game and he’s upset and still posting, but it’s tough – he has a blog, he’s a volunteer for the company, all these things. He’s one of the people who got me into the faction, with his blog and guides, and it makes me sad.

But by starting a thread asking basically “why are you here spewing negativity when you could just walk away?” I was kind of literally just asking the trolls to come out of the woodwork (see? pun!). I was feeding the trolls.

One of the three main Forum trolls bit, and he was all over the place. I noticed something I hadn’t seen before – his Forum signature, which reads

Someone PM me after the game gets fixed.

Like, doesn’t that read like someone who’s stepping away? Saying PM (private message) me when things are better? And instead, he keeps jumping in and derailing threads by saying things are bad and we’re deluding ourselves to think otherwise. And also saying that the company is doing things bad/wrong/stupidly and there’s no hope for improvement. A perfect candidate for stepping away.

Well, after engagement by the rest of the community, things got well out of hand… and the thread got closed (but at least not until after I had gotten one final say!). Which is, I suppose, what happens when you feed the trolls. When you confront them and say, “troll, why for art thou trolling?” it turns out what you’re likely to get is a trolling response.

The hope, though, is some introspection – if not of the main trolls, then, well, for others. For those who are just dissatisfied and have nothing constructive to say. I know that Chain Attack got me thinking about how I don’t feel positive about my Convergence of Cyriss army right now – I’ve boxed it up, and I’m waiting to see how the future shakes up before I get back to it at all. And so I removed Convergence from my Forum signature, I’m staying away from that sub-forum, and following my own advice. It’s all Trollbloods from here – and I’m having a blast with them!

On Gates, Hugos, and Puppies – Throwback Thursday

This week for a Throwback Thursday, looking back at some of our posts from the original blog, there was one that came to mind this week thinking about Ghostbuster… but then I remembered that really, there’s two posts there, so why not both? From Gamergate to the Hugos, and now to Ghostbusters, I think there is a strong thread of connection between the world happening, and reactionary backlash. Here’s each of those posts, below! Or follow those links back to the originals where there was a lot of conversation.

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Ghostbusters – the worst movie trailer ever?

When I was seeing news about a reviled trailer for the Ghostbusters movie I figured that a new trailer had hit and that it was truly bad. So I went and looked, and… nope. Just the same one.

A trailer that has over 31 million views, over 230,000 likes right now, and over 740,000 dislikes.

I mean, that’s approaching the levels of something like Rebecca Black’s Friday. Meaning either a) it’s being shared around because it’s so bad and others are agreeing and disliking it… or b) it’s being deliberately targeted with bad blood to dislike it.

Ask the director, Paul Feig, and it seems he has an answer on that. I found the quote on The Mary Sue, but reading the original interview piece was more revealing.

It’s sad to hear a statement like that about Geek Culture, but at the same time, can you blame him? Some of what I liked in the original interview is the list of movies he’s done, with Melissa McCarthy as well: BridesmaidsThe HeatSpy, and now Ghostbusters. And I will admit, we love all of those movies. The grossout of Bridesmaids isn’t my normal sort of humor, but The Heat we absolutely love, and we watched Spy recently and wanted to blog on it but just haven’t yet…

Quick thoughts on Spy: it reminded us a lot of the recent Get Smart (in fact, we watched Get Smart the week after and were amazed how much they are reminiscent). However, unlike Get Smart, where the new spy is competent but ends up with a lot of slapstick and accident sort of jokes around him. Melissa McCarthy in Spy is competent and a lot of the jokes are around people not expecting her to be competent, things like her awful cover identities.

So was the Ghostbusters trailer the best thing ever? Nah. Are there legitimate reasons someone might not be happy for the movie? Sure – we’re tired of reboots, why is it a reboot instead of a 30-years-later, it’s looking like a grosser movie than the originals… But I mean, the original was made by a bunch of comedians, and this one’s a bunch of comedians. It’s 30 years later, things change. But do I think these are the reasons why trolls are trolling and disliking this movie trailer? Nope.

Do I trust Paul Feig, with that track record of movies, to deliver? Do I trust that cast to deliver? Yes, I do. Do you?