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Sunday, December 14, 2008


I've been thinking about trolls lately.

Trolls are the jerks of the Internet: they show up only to bother people and derail conversations. They take advantage of the good will of people in online communities.

In general, I believe that people should be heard, and that the proper reaction to speech we don't like is to encourage MORE speech, not to silence the original speakers. But where does that leave us when the trolls arrive?

I watched with interest as the PETA folks re-discovered Darcy at Way Way Up last week. I've had threats before, but Darcy wins for the sheer number of angry anti-hunting comments.

Townie Bastard makes the point that these guys make a lot of noise, but rational people don't pay attention. I wonder if that's the case. I've certainly heard them on the radio lately, which is not necessarily proof that people listen to them: it could just show that the CBC feels that people need to know what they're saying.

But I do have to agree with his main point: when jerks show up on my favourite blogs, I don't really pay much attention to them. If anything, I become less sympathetic to their goals. In PETA's case, I'd be the first to agree that killing animals is bloody and horrible and should never be done lightly, but the way they present themselves wrecks any credibility they might have gained.

I'm not sure that other people feel the same way, though. What do you guys think?


towniebastard said...

I think that's because the people in Newfoundland have long since recognized that he's at the very lunatic fringe of the conservation movement and that these are people that absolutely, desperately need the attention in order to survive.

Newfoundland media recognize this and ignore the lunatic fringe whenever possible. Given the latest racket, I would have hoped Nunavut and national media would have done better. And I think they would have, except a couple of local politicians rose to the bait. And once you rise to the bait, all bets are off.

There are crazy people out there. You're better of just ignoring most of them

Natalie said...

As you know, I am new to the North. I completely support ethical hunting. I now even own a fur scarf. As a newcomer here I was continually blown away at the animal furs and skins that I see people wearing all over town. You just don't see that "down south".

I know members of PETA and I can appreciate the fact that they hold strong in their convictions. I understand that they are not going to protest certain animal killings and not others.

Coming off as nutcases who are out of control does not support their beliefs in any way and does just the opposite.

Personally, I am thankful for bloggers who are knowledgeable enough to show us the reality that hunting plays in Northern lifestyles.

As for people leaving rude comments, the bottom line for me is that others respect their right to their opinions, they should get control of themselves and do the same.

akeeyu said...

I think PETA had some sort of point initially, but lately it just seems like they want attention for attention's sake. They're like that obnoxious kid yelling "HEY EVERYBODY LOOKIT ME! LOOKIT ME! LOOKITMELOOKITMELOOKITMEEEEEE!" and then when you say "Okay, I'm looking--what do you want?" they have totally forgotten what they were yelling about.

Also, their objectification/exploitation of women in their ads has gotten completely out of hand. Do they even have an ad strategy other than "Hey, how can we use a naked woman for maximum titilation in the next ad?" It's been done.

Way Way Up said...

Initially, I never thought I'd get as much as attention from these people as I have. Generally I don't publish the more vitriolic comments. I simply make my points, refute their arguments and then once the comments start to become competitive, annoying or nasty I consign them to "Ignoreville".

These trolls have done one thing for me though, which is that I have become much more interested in the whole issue of subsistence hunting issue. I'm no scientist so I'm always looking up new information to support my points of view.

In the end though, I think it boils down to what a long-time Northern told me a few weeks ago: You can try to explain to people outside Nunavut what it is like but unless they have been here and seen it for themselves, your attempts to explain will always fall short.

Way Way Up said...

Oops....sorry for the typo. I meant once the comments start to get REPETITIVE I tend to ignore them.


Mongoose said...

I don't have a specific opinion about PETA, but as for trolls, my opinion is that trolls are like VDs: there's probably a good reason you have them.

Mack the Hack said...

My opinions regarding trolls are very well-established.

It's no exaggeration to say that my own unpleasant encounter with one more or less kept me from doing any meaningful sort of online activity for the better part of two years.