This bit is, for the most part, a series of some of my earliest posts on the theme of the TROLL at ARBR, when I was still – somewhat naively, at least unrealistically optimistically – attempting with a dash of incisive humor to nudge the neolithic (nasty, not nice) Neanderthal toward non-intrusive netiquette. Some quotes from posts to the newsgroup are shown in italics, where they may help to provide some context for the multi-part poem. And yes, of course, ultimately this effort, like virtually all others to persuade the TROLL to positively modify its online behavior, was a spectacular failure. But hey, a lot of folks had almost as much fun reading it as I had writing it.

In the Smoking Gun... thread, trillingly trolleth the TROLL:

To want to talk about nothing but recumbents is the province of small and stunted minds and I will not allow myself to be limited like that.

I agree it would be a real shame
If all talk – unlike TROLLS? – were the same,
But I'm sure that most folks have a life,
Other forums, or even a wife,
And their 'limits' extend far beyond
This one newsgroup, a pretty small pond.

It's just fine to discuss politics,
Playful puppies or peppermint sticks,
Minnesotans and their petty spats,
But is ARBR the place for those chats?
In good spirits perhaps, like grown men,
But please try to get out now and then...

When a reader peeks in on this group,
He is saddened, or thrown for a loop,
Or disgusted like Philbert and Bob
If it's five percent bikes plus a glob
Of irrelevant BULL. My two cents:
Let's keep ARBR's main focus on 'bents.

Then we found this BS in the Stepped back in thread – OOOPS! I meant Stopped of course:

I am a good troll and enhance the group... Either top post or get lost, you dumbbell! ... That should be bottom post of course, but the rest of the statement stands... I am a good troll who loves to tweak the group... My only purpose in being here is to furnish some wit and knowledge and to occasionally tell a story or two...

In real life this TROLL may be a saint,
But at ARBR, it quite clearly ain't.
Though it says (twenty times) that's it's "good",
If the TROLL doesn't do what it should,
BOTTOM LINE: [May I have a drum roll?]
Folks, the TROLL is a TROLL is a TROLL!

And a TROLL is annoying at best,
Always blathering, thumping its chest,
TROLLS do more harm than good, and in fact
ARBR's TROLL needs to clean up its act!
Want specifics? That's not hard to do;
Off the top of my head here's a few:

Number One: When you sit down to type
Out a message that's mostly a snipe,
Take a second or two to review
If there's more than one browser or two
Who'll be eager to read what you pen.
If there isn't, well, please think again.

For an internet forum to flow
There's a basic thing writers should know:
Only write for the folks who will read
What you've posted; your personal need
For revenge, strange obsession with fame,
Or indulgence in some pointless game
Isn't reason enough to submit
Any post; if you do, you're a TWIT!

Number Two: check the raw message count.
For the TROLL an oppressive amount
Of the posts in a typical thread
Seem to come from the same muddled head.
Is prolific the term that applies,
Or some form of the verb fertilize?

If there's twenty-five postings in all
From eight people, I think I would call
It excessive (and maybe obscene)
That the TROLL wrote perhaps seventeen.
My suggestion: Back off – just a tad.
Domination's not "good"; it is BAD.

Number Three? This TROLL writes all of us
When involved in a personal fuss.
My suggestion: Control that big mouth.
Minnesota – north versus the south?
Only two grumpy writers much care.
Keep it private; it's like underwear!

Please don't share while you're picking your zits.
Petty squabbles and personal snits?
On behalf of the folks who peruse
Such embarrassing verbal abuse,
I assure you we'd much rather pass.
Please use email – or maybe more class?

Number Four: those redundant repeats –
Duplications and echoes of bleats,
That we read the first time, and the third,
Repetitious – almost word for word.
My suggestion: Please say it just once;
And then spare us from further affronts.

Number Five on this quick list of goals
For the gentrification of TROLLS
Is to stop playing Emily Roast
Chiding those who prefer to top post.
If you've gotta tell folks how to write,
Please, at least keep it tactful and light.

Plus it's probably worthy of note:
As it jumps on some kid or old goat,
This dumb TROLL is a bit off the mark,
And it should have just kept it in PARK.
Usenet netiquette mavens now say
When you quote in reply, here's the way:

Don't just blindly include the whole post;
Only quote what applies – at the most
One short paragraph, maybe, or two –
Of the part that relates to what you
Have to state (or misstate) in reply.
Yeah, I know that it's hard, but please try.

Is that all that 'a TROLL with a heart'
Has to do to be good? ... It's a start.
Now I guess we'll all see if the TROLL
Who insists that it's good (on the whole?)
Can live up to its own fervent claim...
Of if, sadly, all TROLLS are the same.

A little while later the TROLL returned with one of his typical blatant denials of patently obvious truth:

I also have never been obscene... just because I believe [NAME WITHELD TO PROTECT THE (RELATIVELY) INNOCENT] is a [BLEEP!-ing] asshole[, that] is not an obscenity...

The netiquette lesson resumed:

Some political putzes use spin
"Folks, my heart is pure GOLD," though it's tin.
But at ARBR that spin doesn't work,
Since the archives will show what a jerk
ARBR's TROLL's been – both snotty and rude,
Plus combative, abusive and lewd.

Number Six on the list: Just BE NICE!
Before sniping, please stop and think twice.
If the good of the group's on your mind,
Then stop showing your hairy behind!
We've been mooned much too often by TROLLS
And occasional "brother a-holes".

For this group to get back to the place
Where more readers return, simple GRACE
Is what's needed, not conflict and spite,
Not a TROLL who's just itchin' to fight...
Though by whatever standards you choose,
It's outwitted, and always will lose.

HTBT Index

Last updated Nov 14 2007