platonism and anger management

Entirely unsurprisingly, the word ‘troll’ now has a politicised range of meanings—all the way from anonymous internet bully to subtly provocative dialectician, with a fractally wriggly continuum linking these extremes—and the comment this is a response to (a) made it reasonably clear which meaning one s/he had in mind* and thus (b) deserved a better (or at least more self-aware) answer than “By using the word X you can only be saying Y about me and I know myself well enough to say this is false.” Of course dsquared was trolling here — and it’s not as if Farrell is historically that good at identifying the motivations of the people he deems trolls by his own over-simplified (which is to say self-exculpatory) definition. The revealed fact of the faultline is an indication that people on both sides are uneasily (=angrily) aware that they too exist within contradiction: “just a lot less so than those OTHER deluded clowns,” the more twerpish partisans on both sides are busy telling themselves.

*And yes, s/he later disappointingly backed away from a good strong usage…


  1. Dee

    Saw your tweet about Paul being the “weirdest” Beatle. That may or may not be true. But do you and other others who tweeted about this not realize that when that woman said “comb his legs” she didn’t LITERALLY mean with a comb? She meant her mum used to massage his legs after a long gig. By “comb,” she was making a joke about Paul’s hairy legs. … I read Twitter but don’t tweet (long story) but thought I should point out the meaning since you folks didn’t seem to grasp Liverpool humor.

  2. sukrat OTI

    The point Dee makes was a sensible and usefully informative response to three people chattering on twitter, even if this was a slightly avant-garde place to post it (where two of the three only saw it because I drew their attention here).

  3. koganbot

    The problem with discussions of trolling, when trolling is taken to be a problem, and even when “trolling” is restricted to “anonymous Internet bully or nutjob,” is that the focus on “trolling” becomes a substitute for figuring out what’s really at issue. E.g., “He was going to comment on my idea, but he got distracted by trolls.” “She was going to comment on my idea, except he couldn’t resist the temptation to troll me.” Compare to, “Resisting the bait set up by the trolls, he commented on my idea — which is unfortunate, given that he’s a bore. People need to troll him harder.”

    What’s at issue is whether and how well people comment on me. And I don’t think trolling has much to do with it.

    Trolls aren’t like, say, drunk drivers, even if they and their co-dependents are similarly hooked. Drunk drivers really do mess up the road. Whereas you can sidestep trolls on the Web (unless the troll has hacking/cracking skills; but most don’t). Sometimes you can even learn from them. If the convo’s good, trolls will enrich it. (And I say this as someone who’s been trolled viciously.)

    Not that there aren’t situations where troll posts should be deleted. But if it comes to that, likely something else was wrong anyway.

  4. koganbot

    Is an example of “synecdoche” also called a “synecdoche,” or is it “synecdoch” or something? (Was going to say that “trolling is a misfiring synecdoch(e), where the part is taken to be the whole.”)

    I was just trolling Dee. But s/he could have safely left out the words, “since you folks didn’t seem to grasp.” Could have put a period in their stead.

    • koganbot

      Er, I mean “‘trolling’ is a misfiring synecdoch(e),” so the word “trolling” (when trolling is taken to be the name of a problem), not the activity.

      The true problem on the ‘Net is ambiguity.*

      *Unless it’s the solution. What was the question again?

  5. sukrat OTI

    I think synechdoche works the same as metonymy (where the whole is taken for the part): viz “this is an example of metonymy” = “this is a metonymy”

    Isn’t the actual problem word “conversation”, though? “They didn’t reply well to me” is a problem for YOU, but it isn’t (necessarily) a problem for a conversation, even a conversation started by you in your own territory to your own rules. (Because your rules and habits and manner may be good-conversation averse…)

    What’s a conversation for? Well, people come into one with all kinds of very different intentions and expectations, from killing time or hooking up, to solving problems, to creating problems. Which of these enrich the conversation can only be judged situationally—and there’s never going to be an overall agreement on the value, precisel because people come in from such very different angles.

      • sukrat OTI

        Depends how precisely you’re pointing: the metonym is the word or group of words that substitutes for whatever’s being er metonymised. So I think strictly a metonym is an example of a word or phrase you use to create or cause a metonymy. But I think act/tendency and tool collapse quite easily into one another at this level of discussion: for example metaphor is used as both act/tendency and tool (even though metaphorism is strictly speaking the term for the former). Ditto perhaps synechdoche and synechdochism, to answer your original question. The metonym is a part of the metonymy: the means by which metonymy happens. But if a poet uses metonymy and you point at the relevant line or section and say “this is metonymy” or “this is a metonymy” or “this is a metonym”, you’re pointing at the exact same set of words and making the exact same claim.

    • koganbot

      I don’t mean that there’s something that everyone will agree is “the issue” or “the problem,” but that “trolling” becomes a shorthand name for what everyone assumes everyone agrees is “the issue,” without, you know, their figuring out what’s at issue (which may not be the same for everyone, or the same for some individual at all times).

      • sukrat OTI

        haha I don’t actually think we’re disagreeing. If you just take the word “interruption”, there are situations where interruption is bad and situations where it’s good.

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