Trolls… They are everywhere, and they sure get our attention.
There are three main ways of dealing with comments that are clearly meant to provoke and annoy. We could flame them, which, we know, only encourages them, because, to them, there is no such thing as bad attention, and that is in fact what they seek, the joy of getting the rest of the reader ship riled up.
We could reason with them, of course, trying to debunk their uninformed, misinformed, or otherwise underinformed beliefs, trying to make it clear that their nasty statements do not make any logical sense, trying to, well, reason with them and persuade or cajole or discipline them into submission. Of course, this does not work, either, since they are not trying to be reasonable or informed. They may already be perfectly aware of their unreasonableness, since they have been making the same comments over and over.
The best way to deal with them, of course, is to ignore them. No attention, no fun. If you look at the comments that the trolls make, they are honed by weeks and months of experience to garner maximum response. If the readership simply refuses to respond, then there is no fun, and they will switch to some other site.
The problem is that it’s hard to ignore them. It’s fun to flame them. Sometimes they hit on an important subject that one cannot help but comment on.
So, here is a “fourth way”: respond with Poetry. There are three ways of doing this.
1) Celebrate what you believe in, ignoring what the troll says.
2) Celebrate trolling. They do serve an important function in the Internet community, after all; they help the readership engage in productive debate with one another, and, by getting the readership excited, they generate more revenue for the site.
3) Turn what the troll says into poetry. Every sentence in every language has some degree of meter and/or rhyme, and good poetry can be harvested out of even the most egregious trolling comments. Haikus work best, although some revision is usually necessary.
One does have to be careful not to target someone who is not really a troll, but a justifiably disgruntled member of the community. Most such people, of course, use consistent aliases rather than anonymous posts, so do research their comments a bit before posting.
Here are some of the poetry I have posted on 43Rumors.com. Obviously, they were in response to trolls making fun of the Micro Four Thirds system. Clicking on the title will bring you to the original post, so you can see the context and the responses.
[This was my first attempt, with some revision.]
Trolls make my world go ’round.
Every time they shill for full frame,
I cannot not help my small-sensor shame,
And beg for more like a hungry hound.
I know well that depth of field,
And massive posture with seventeen mirrors,
As much as they fill my wrists with horrors,
Make an image fully revealed.
And, yet, I respond with ill-formed verse,
Despite all the negative talk,
From those who do not walk the walk,
Than my small sensors, I could do worse.
They do not make the passers-by gawk,
Or get two-thousand pluses or faves or likes,
But they please me well, like pickled pikes,
and fit my hands like windows on caulk.
[This was at request of another reader who goes by Oilymouse.]
For years and months I have saved and toiled,
While dreams of R10 were shattered and spoiled,
Hoping to hold in my stiff, aching hand
A box to make my images grand.
I didn’t flinch at Leica’s dumb prices,
But large sensor promises never came true.
So here’s my new family–that’s all of you!–
And µ43 catalog well satisfices.
Some trolls are sweet, like bowl-fulls of pluots,
but sometimes they write like they’re Canikon robots.
Some folks may find our subtotals daunting,
But this is a team that is worthy of flaunting.
Sigma and Leica we count as dear friends;
Schneider and Tamron are waiting in line,
While Konica’s cooking up something divine,
And Cosina’s marvels beat all other trends.
Sony has brought Oly back from the dead,
Though we had to give up our 5-axis cred.
Truly we all make a wonderful team,
An engine that never will run out of steam.
So, the trolls can,
Dis Panny’s IQ with uninformed comments,
Put Oly down for their yakuza finance,
But I won’t be a slave to Canikon bromance…
Though, I admit,
I drool on their specs in my weakest of moments.
[My first attempt at a sonnet, which is why the meter is a bit rigid.]
Just how much do we love the trolls and shills:
So little time to count the ways they give!
They make our brains alert like we’re on pills,
And keep us happy with the way we live!
They make us hone our physics, math, and such,
And watch our budgets when we buy our troves.
We’re hardly saints or kind, or like them much,
But uninvited guests we want in droves.
Some insecure, weak moments we proclaim,
“Your ways are lost and never will prevail!
Your sensor size obsession’s quite a shame!”
We want to see their flame-provoking fail.
But, do remember, they bring clicks and views,
and earn our Admin cash and rave reviews!
[I made a comment encouraging others to write poetry response to trolls, and mentioned that we should write about nice things, including, at random, snowfalls and Hokkaido. I decided to follow my own advice.]
Are we not circled by heart-taking beauty,
From night to dawn, and from early to late?
We bustle about out of sense of duty,
But, every step, many sights await.
The cracks in the wall. The petals afloat.
The sunrise in Venice. A beech.
The towers very tall. The grin on a goat.
A game of tennis. A leech.
There is never a second without a moment,
Though we no longer speak of Kodak.
If all seems lost, don’t be despondent;
Shoot some bottles of Cognac.
You’re hardly far from powerful visions,
If you are stuck in commute,
For a shot of the eyes of inquisitive pigeons
Will surely render us mute.
But, don’t stop there, if you have the chance,
Quit your warring stance, and…
Wade through the meadows and unmowed grass,
Chasing a species of beetles.
Stumble upon a sorrowful lass,
Examining a package of needles.
Snap the smile on a little boy’s face,
As he spreads berry jam on some fried dough.
Find yourself trek in a thousand-mile race,
To capture the snowfalls in Hokkaido.
Original Comment: “If 10000 people walked into a B&H to buy a camera, in like a week maybe 2 people will walk out with this camera. The rest will buy DSLR’s, bridge cameras or point and shoots.
If ten thousand folks,
walked into a B&H,
will E-M1 sell?
Original Comment: “This is gonna be an overpriced camera. The fact is it has a sensor 1/4 the size of a FF sensor, thus losing ISO performance, losing DR, losing DOF control, however it will cost the same as FF. This is ridiculous. The funny thing is that there is people willing to pay for such an overpriced camera.”
This is gonna be
an overpriced camera,
the same as FF.
The funny thing is
there are people who will buy
this great E-M1.