How to hijack a thread

From Almost Diamonds, by Stephanie Zvan, comes a description of many of my favourite trolls, including the one who won't take "you're banned" as an answer. This is why he's banned.

Or, A Primer in Antisocial Attention-Seeking

Lay your groundwork. Watch the group interaction. Make yourself known to the community. Engage on a topic or two. Piss a few people off so they'll react to you reliably later.

Watch for your chance. If the blog is any good, the host and/or community practices some sort of moderation, active or passive. You'll have to catch them on a busy day or heated topic to get them to feed trolls.

Commit to the campaign. Prepare not to have a life for the duration. Refresh frequently and respond to everything before anyone else can. Drown anyone speaking in good faith in an avalanche of comments.

Build a fire. Say something known to be controversial. Be sure to compliment community members--in the most backhanded way possible. Extra points for dog whistles.

Make yourself the injured party. Recharacterize any objections to your statements as referenda on your character. Loudly protest your ignorance of even the concept of a dog whistle. Of course you didn't say that. Abuse yourself sarcastically in strong terms to show how misunderstood you are.

Limit your scope. If the conversation happens across several blogs, pick the one you want to make your own. Most of the community will gravitate to the comment threads where real discussion is happening, leaving a smaller field for you to manipulate.

Divide the community. Pick out a couple of people to side with. Ideally, these should be people with a history of both arguing with the community and making at least occasional good points. Agree broadly as soon as they say anything reasonable, so that anyone else who wants to agree with them must also agree with you.

Deflect topical discussion. Engage with everyone who still wants to discuss the idea at hand. However, don't engage with them on the topic. If you can turn them to talking about your behavior, this is a plus, but any sideline or distraction will do.

Deny group authority. Insist that if anyone wants to judge your behavior, they must also judge the behavior of all community members by the same standards. Point to their reactions to your bad behavior as bad behavior that also needs to be censured. Ignore the fact that you haven't contributed to the community in the same way they have.

Prepare to lose. You've almost certainly chosen a blog where your disruption will be noticed. After all, that's what you're there for. The problem with avoiding chaos is that these people have come together for a reason--to talk to each other, not you. They're eventually going to go back to doing just that, closing up ranks, and you're going to have to find a new way, or a new blog, to get anyone to pay attention to you again.

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