A real-world troll story

Read my comments on my post yesterday.

The Nokia trolls are here. They are almost as annoying as Apple trolls back in the 1990s.

It’s always interesting behavior when you piss off someone’s “product religion.”

One thing that happened in the line on Thursday and Friday is that we all met two real-world trolls. There were two kids, who were about 14 years old. They were unbelieveably rude and there really was nothing anyone could do about them.

They’d come right in your face and taunt you. They were trying to get attention. They would interrupt conversations. I was talking with Dave Winer and they got right in between both of us and started trying to take over the conversation. I’d never met a person who trolled face-to-face before. I assumed that these people required anonymity to do their work. They don’t.

When Apple’s security guards kept them from coming into the store the entire crowd cheered. We had all been bothered by these kids. Where were their parents? They were allowed to stay on the street until 11 p.m. at night.

But, anyway, I am getting old. Remember, I don’t get it. But I learned some things in line. I found that the ONLY way to deal with real-world trolls is to band together. When we created a line that they couldn’t break through they got frustrated and went to another part of the line where their poison could still get them the attention they desired.

The problem is that online you can’t band together against trolling behavior. So, our other option is to ignore the trolls and not give them what they wanted. It was interesting watching these kids interact with people. Many people didn’t know they were trolls when they first came up, so would give them the attention they desired. But quickly the kids went over the line with each person and you could see the frustration levels rise. We had never met kids so rude.

Anyway, that’s my real-world troll story. Seems there’s a bunch of people who are unhappy with me for saying the iPhone is better than the Nokia N95. But it is. Sorry. And if that gets me called a “moron” like one troll just called me, so be it.

Have a good day! Ignore the trolls. :-)

82 thoughts on “A real-world troll story

  1. Shame to have found your post so late, it’s just that latest events in Georgia and their coverage in (mostly) Russian blogs somewhat threw paid-trolls-issue right in my face. Just my 2 cents on the issue – while I can certainly realize the value in paid trolling for products, I see little leverage in paid trolling for government. So if you have any new material on the issue I’d be happy if you revisited.

    Thanks.
    P.S. In case you’re interested, the post is here: http://www.istudioweb.com/puppets-and-puppeteers-in-information-wars-2008-08-09/

  2. Shame to have found your post so late, it’s just that latest events in Georgia and their coverage in (mostly) Russian blogs somewhat threw paid-trolls-issue right in my face. Just my 2 cents on the issue – while I can certainly realize the value in paid trolling for products, I see little leverage in paid trolling for government. So if you have any new material on the issue I’d be happy if you revisited.

    Thanks.
    P.S. In case you’re interested, the post is here: http://www.istudioweb.com/puppets-and-puppeteers-in-information-wars-2008-08-09/

  3. @Eric – yes, you are right everything is relative…I suppose the same thing could be said of spammers. One person’s spam is another person’s treasure. My guess is that most spammers could be considered by the consensus as spammers and the same goes for trolls. I’m sure there will eventually be troll gaurd like there is spam gaurd…

    What is that law about for every positive reaction there is an equal and opposite negative reaction??? I’ll have to bone up on my physics/chemistry before saying that’s 100% accurate.

  4. @Eric – yes, you are right everything is relative…I suppose the same thing could be said of spammers. One person’s spam is another person’s treasure. My guess is that most spammers could be considered by the consensus as spammers and the same goes for trolls. I’m sure there will eventually be troll gaurd like there is spam gaurd…

    What is that law about for every positive reaction there is an equal and opposite negative reaction??? I’ll have to bone up on my physics/chemistry before saying that’s 100% accurate.

  5. Robert, you are entitled to your opinion and it’s quite sad that someone should call you a moron for expressing it. After all this is merely a conversation about cellphones, it’s not serious business.

    That said, labeling Nokia owners as trolls because of the ill advised comments of a few is a bit harsh. A difference of opinion does not indicate that someone is trolling. There are some very valid points made in terms of what the iPhone doesn’t do in the previous topic.

    Ultimately our preferences are individual. If it were any other way then life would be intolerably boring.

  6. Robert, you are entitled to your opinion and it’s quite sad that someone should call you a moron for expressing it. After all this is merely a conversation about cellphones, it’s not serious business.

    That said, labeling Nokia owners as trolls because of the ill advised comments of a few is a bit harsh. A difference of opinion does not indicate that someone is trolling. There are some very valid points made in terms of what the iPhone doesn’t do in the previous topic.

    Ultimately our preferences are individual. If it were any other way then life would be intolerably boring.

  7. @Aruni one thing about blocking trolls is the consensus of what or who is a troll by a majority. There are people I enjoy reading that other friends consider trolls and vice versa. Who is right?

    Hey Robert, one thing this Nokia vs. Apple debate has sparked, is that I have had no clue about the Nokia before, and now I’m seriously considering one. I have no experience on either device and I’ve witnessed more conversation, flaming, fanboys, and propaganda spewing from both iPhone and N95 people. So I’m coming at this from scratch.

    Kinda tough being an informed consumer in spite of how religious the information is.

  8. @Aruni one thing about blocking trolls is the consensus of what or who is a troll by a majority. There are people I enjoy reading that other friends consider trolls and vice versa. Who is right?

    Hey Robert, one thing this Nokia vs. Apple debate has sparked, is that I have had no clue about the Nokia before, and now I’m seriously considering one. I have no experience on either device and I’ve witnessed more conversation, flaming, fanboys, and propaganda spewing from both iPhone and N95 people. So I’m coming at this from scratch.

    Kinda tough being an informed consumer in spite of how religious the information is.

  9. Technically, in the Internet parlance of the word, trolling is confined to a web site, such as a forum, or increasingly, blog comments. So in this case we are talking about, it is a moot discussion anyway, since this is really not trolling. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troll_(Internet)

    But, I digress…

    When I think of trolling, particularly technology zealotry, I think of someone posting something to get a rise out of the forum which is clearly a certain way that is different than the troll. (I’m a Mac and I’m a PC)

    So let’s look at the two situations and you tell me where they are not similar:

    Nokia guy goes to an iPhone line and stirs up trouble. His main intent is to to prove that the company he likes, and by extension, he, is better than you since your waiting for an Apple product, and Nokia’s products are superior.

    Or, *the* Apple guy goes up to an MS guy and stirs up trouble. It is obvious Steve’s main intent was to prove that his company, and by extension, he, was better that you since you worked for MS, and Apple’s products are superior.

    Now I agree that this in your face confrontations are uncalled for, especially over what is just a phone. Although extreme, it is the same as wearing a Red Sox cap to a Yankees game, arguing on the Internet, or in an extreme form, bombing an abortion clinic. Different means, same type of behavior.

  10. Technically, in the Internet parlance of the word, trolling is confined to a web site, such as a forum, or increasingly, blog comments. So in this case we are talking about, it is a moot discussion anyway, since this is really not trolling. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troll_(Internet)

    But, I digress…

    When I think of trolling, particularly technology zealotry, I think of someone posting something to get a rise out of the forum which is clearly a certain way that is different than the troll. (I’m a Mac and I’m a PC)

    So let’s look at the two situations and you tell me where they are not similar:

    Nokia guy goes to an iPhone line and stirs up trouble. His main intent is to to prove that the company he likes, and by extension, he, is better than you since your waiting for an Apple product, and Nokia’s products are superior.

    Or, *the* Apple guy goes up to an MS guy and stirs up trouble. It is obvious Steve’s main intent was to prove that his company, and by extension, he, was better that you since you worked for MS, and Apple’s products are superior.

    Now I agree that this in your face confrontations are uncalled for, especially over what is just a phone. Although extreme, it is the same as wearing a Red Sox cap to a Yankees game, arguing on the Internet, or in an extreme form, bombing an abortion clinic. Different means, same type of behavior.

  11. T Man: um, and HOW is that trolling again? I introduced myself to him and listened to him and didn’t even say anything back when greeted rudely. That’s 180 degrees from the behavior we’re talking about here. If you don’t even know what a troll is, maybe you’re one and not able to identify that behavior in yourself.

  12. T Man: um, and HOW is that trolling again? I introduced myself to him and listened to him and didn’t even say anything back when greeted rudely. That’s 180 degrees from the behavior we’re talking about here. If you don’t even know what a troll is, maybe you’re one and not able to identify that behavior in yourself.

  13. One thing I would like to mention that is perhaps one of the most significant trolling experiences that I have heard of. I don’t know all of the particulars of the story, but a young scrappy individual was working for this big company called Microsoft. MS is well hated by the Apple camp, just in case you did not know that. Said person from MS meets Steve Jobs of Apple on the street somewhere. Steve was probably buying a turtleneck that day, or something like that. The young man introduces himself, and in a very troll-like fashion, Jobs says something to the effect of “I finally get the chance to meet the people that are always copying us” or something like that. Said person was a little taken aback, and even later recalled the story, indicating that he had thought about a ton of replies that he could have said, but did not.

    Robert, have you heard of this story?

  14. One thing I would like to mention that is perhaps one of the most significant trolling experiences that I have heard of. I don’t know all of the particulars of the story, but a young scrappy individual was working for this big company called Microsoft. MS is well hated by the Apple camp, just in case you did not know that. Said person from MS meets Steve Jobs of Apple on the street somewhere. Steve was probably buying a turtleneck that day, or something like that. The young man introduces himself, and in a very troll-like fashion, Jobs says something to the effect of “I finally get the chance to meet the people that are always copying us” or something like that. Said person was a little taken aback, and even later recalled the story, indicating that he had thought about a ton of replies that he could have said, but did not.

    Robert, have you heard of this story?

  15. Charbax -

    As a PHONE, they might not be worth $600-700, but you’re not taking into account everything else:

    MP3 Player – ~$200
    digital camera – ~$250-300
    GPS unit ~$350-400

    And that’s not even counting the internet browsing and all that. So I could either buy all these things separate, and look like Batman walking around with a utility belt, or I can have ONE device to slip quietly in my pocket.

  16. Charbax -

    As a PHONE, they might not be worth $600-700, but you’re not taking into account everything else:

    MP3 Player – ~$200
    digital camera – ~$250-300
    GPS unit ~$350-400

    And that’s not even counting the internet browsing and all that. So I could either buy all these things separate, and look like Batman walking around with a utility belt, or I can have ONE device to slip quietly in my pocket.

  17. Charbax, oh, please, can you imagine the people Patrick met yesterday on our photowalk carrying around an N800? I can’t. Get a clue about the cell phone market, please!

    And lots of us have expensive devices that aren’t the iPhone. Treos, Razrs, Blackberries, SmartPhones, all cost more than $400 when first released. That’s not too much different than the iPhone’s price.

  18. Charbax, oh, please, can you imagine the people Patrick met yesterday on our photowalk carrying around an N800? I can’t. Get a clue about the cell phone market, please!

    And lots of us have expensive devices that aren’t the iPhone. Treos, Razrs, Blackberries, SmartPhones, all cost more than $400 when first released. That’s not too much different than the iPhone’s price.

  19. Some Guy: yeah, right. I guess you missed all my praise of Google back when I worked there, or when I told Steve Ballmer that his leadership on a gay-rights issue was wrong, or when I was quoted in Time Magazine for telling Bill Gates that he should split up the company.

    If you’re going to troll at least write a decent flame. My 13-year-old can flame better than that and he’ll sign his name to it, too!

  20. Some Guy: yeah, right. I guess you missed all my praise of Google back when I worked there, or when I told Steve Ballmer that his leadership on a gay-rights issue was wrong, or when I was quoted in Time Magazine for telling Bill Gates that he should split up the company.

    If you’re going to troll at least write a decent flame. My 13-year-old can flame better than that and he’ll sign his name to it, too!

  21. Oh, please! You’re a professional troll yourself. After all the hogwash you spewed to try to prop up the evil empire, you have the gall to complain about anyone else trolling? Give me a break.

  22. Oh, please! You’re a professional troll yourself. After all the hogwash you spewed to try to prop up the evil empire, you have the gall to complain about anyone else trolling? Give me a break.

  23. You’re missing the point.

    Neigther the iPhone nor the N95 are any really good value for the crazy expensive prices that they cost.

    Nokia is 750$ (+ subscription?)
    iPhone is 600$ (+ 1440$ – 2400$ 24-month subscription contract)

    Given the fact that neigther are going to last any more than a few months, those are both not to recommend anyone else than someone who has no problems paying a lot of money for a product that is not going to last.

    In my opinion the killer feature that will be usefull in the longer term, provide the good reason to invest more than into a 10$ pre-paid phone, that’s when the Archos 605 WiFi or the N800 will be comming with VOIP on WiFi, HSDPA and later WiMax.

    If your device comes with 2G data service, then you might as well get a 10$ pre-paid clamshell phone with virginmobile or something like that which will give you the same use.

    Though when there will be 800×480 4″ screen products with PC-like Opera browser experience, with full Flash and Javascript support, and providing free unlimited worldwide VOIP and IM using all of WiFi, HSDPA and WiMax, then those are gonna be the revolutionnary product.

    Thus far iPhone and N95 are not revolutionary, they are simply temporary flashy bricks for rich kids and misguided early adopters.

  24. You’re missing the point.

    Neigther the iPhone nor the N95 are any really good value for the crazy expensive prices that they cost.

    Nokia is 750$ (+ subscription?)
    iPhone is 600$ (+ 1440$ – 2400$ 24-month subscription contract)

    Given the fact that neigther are going to last any more than a few months, those are both not to recommend anyone else than someone who has no problems paying a lot of money for a product that is not going to last.

    In my opinion the killer feature that will be usefull in the longer term, provide the good reason to invest more than into a 10$ pre-paid phone, that’s when the Archos 605 WiFi or the N800 will be comming with VOIP on WiFi, HSDPA and later WiMax.

    If your device comes with 2G data service, then you might as well get a 10$ pre-paid clamshell phone with virginmobile or something like that which will give you the same use.

    Though when there will be 800×480 4″ screen products with PC-like Opera browser experience, with full Flash and Javascript support, and providing free unlimited worldwide VOIP and IM using all of WiFi, HSDPA and WiMax, then those are gonna be the revolutionnary product.

    Thus far iPhone and N95 are not revolutionary, they are simply temporary flashy bricks for rich kids and misguided early adopters.

  25. That is so odd/rude. If any of my children (when they are older–they are now only 4 and 2) had done that, I would have taken away some pretty important privelge. I hope we are raising them to know not to do things like that.

    Is it really impossible to form a barrier against trolls online? Sounds like a potential business opportunity.

    With all of this hype, I’m wondering if the iPhone will really deliver over time.

  26. That is so odd/rude. If any of my children (when they are older–they are now only 4 and 2) had done that, I would have taken away some pretty important privelge. I hope we are raising them to know not to do things like that.

    Is it really impossible to form a barrier against trolls online? Sounds like a potential business opportunity.

    With all of this hype, I’m wondering if the iPhone will really deliver over time.

  27. Pity, you can’t just have them blown into an alternate universe. What a way to demonstrate “empowerment.” Reminds me of an ex-fiance’s sister.
    –Mike

  28. If somebody gives you a gift, then you resell it. That’s not ethically wrong. Otherwise it’s a loan on condition. I’ve sold gifts I didn’t want before, and I don’t see a problem with that. Happens every day.

  29. If somebody gives you a gift, then you resell it. That’s not ethically wrong. Otherwise it’s a loan on condition. I’ve sold gifts I didn’t want before, and I don’t see a problem with that. Happens every day.

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