How to troll professionally?

Is there a howto for that? Last week, Peter left a comment on my post about library stereotypes, specifically the new one of hipster librarians, which made it clear that he has strong feelings about hipsters.

OMG, I haven’t read trash like this in quite some time. Leave it to a piece of shit hipster to come up with ways she’s not a hipster so that she looks like more of a hipster. Why don’t you people take your tattoos and glasses and bikes and crap music and go away already?

Um, thanks Peter.

Why am I blogging about his comment? Well, it struck me a little odd. First of all, that post was over a year old, so he had to find it. Probably by searching “hipster librarian”. So it took effort. Not like it just popped up in an RSS reader. Second of all, it’s clear he’s got his own issues with hipsters, which is understandable.

My real question is what’s the point of a comment like that? I get it. Peter think’s I’m a “piece of shit hipster.” We probably can’t be friends. Fine. But the fact that he took effort and time to let me know, shows how much he cares.

This then got me thinking about other forms of online professional discourse. How many times have you come across an email on a listserv, a blog (or its comments), a Tweet, etc, and thought, “Wow, did they just say that?” It could be in a “what’s the point/way to add to the conversation” way, or in a “that’s almost career suicide” way. The most memorable example of this to me recently was the whole SLA name issue. The vitriol and unprofessionalism expressed by people on both sides made me scratch my head and think about that New Yorker cartoon, On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.

So, if you want to add something to a conversation about libraries (or whatever it is you do for a living), what’s the best way to show how little you care or how little you think of the participants? Obviously silence will be the most polite, but won’t let you share your thoughts. Calling people “shit” might be a little over the line (same thing with likening them to child molesters or invoking Godwin’s law. Maybe it’s something to be addressed in the next generation of managing your professional online identity? How to troll without being a complete ass?

And Peter, I will try to post more about music and my tattoos. I need a new white belt…






2 responses to “How to troll professionally?”

  1. Steven Kaye Avatar
    Steven Kaye

    Is it that hard to call out someone on their argument or rhetoric without trolling?

  2. Mark Avatar

    I need some advice to deal with trolls,
    I just had enough of trolls and its gotten to a point of hurting my self or even killing my self.
    I just don’t know what to do I tyres every thing the voices inside my head are telling me to kill myself I think I’m suffering from schizophrenic all because of trolls
    I have tyeid many things like sucking my thumb but its not working !!!!!

    Please HEEEELLLPP !!!!!!!!!!

Leave a Reply