Conversion vs. Conversation

Scumbag Socrates - Knows all the answers, only asks questionsThere was an interesting Lifehacker article recently that dealt with rhetoric in online discourse. It’s worth a read since I learned quite a bit. The Socratic method of asking questions really only works as a teaching method, and only if it’s with someone you’re not argrily arguing with online.

Anyway, I hear a lot of talk about trolls “converting” people. Let me explain to you something about conversion:

It doesn’t fucking happen.

There’s a phrase that goes “you’re preaching to the choir.” What that means is that you’re basically talking to people who already agree with you for the most part, and any conversation you have or article you read is going to affirm your view or give you a new perspective on it. You’re reading and discussing to learn or affirm. For example, people who read this blog probably already have some idea of what trolling is and what kinds of politically-incorrect hijinks and fun may happen.

On the flip side, what usually happens when you end up in a discussion with someone who already has their mind set on something? They’re seeking to push their opinion on you, and with the mindset of “conversion,” you on them. We’ve all done this, don’t fucking lie to yourself.

But it’s a mistake to go in and think you can change this person’s brain, and it gets little to nothing done. The only people who are paying attention are the lurkers, the idiot you’re arguing with isn’t the person you need to be concerned with, it’s the people who are reading this discussion who don’t have a set idea or opinion. There’s a guesstimation out there that about 80-90% of a community is made up of lurkers.

Plus, if your goal is to “convert” someone, who’s to say that they aren’t just agreeing with you to get out of the argument, yet they still hold onto their opinion? Who’s to say that they aren’t just feeble-minded and won’t just adopt the next most convincing-looking opinion out there?

So use the tips in that Lifehacker article, and be assertive. No questions, no pussing out, no name-calling. If they start calling names, you’ve won, like Schopenhauer wrote in The Art of Being Right. Go out there and be a tactful trolling prick, and take the high ground.

Cover your ass on the Internet

First Day On The InternetSome of you probably already know this shit, but there’s always someone who didn’t get the memo. I always see would-be trolls posting from what appears to be their IRL-based account. While “trolling” (posting image memes and being an inconsiderate dick to people online) seems to have become more socially acceptable or at least so common that no one is surprised by it anymore, there are two categories of people you need to look out for that may want to harm you or your reputation based on your thoughts and deeds. This is especially true on Facebook, which is a choice venue for Trollbase at the moment.

Anyway, the two categories of individuals are:

1) Individuals who disagree with you

2) Individuals who belong to groups that disagree with you

Category I individuals are people who become butthurt at your efforts. This is what happens when you put your arguments from your ego at the forefront, i.e. as in you would willingly dare to oppose their opinion and step on their ego. If you meet the wrong person (either they have no life or are extremely motivated to hurt you), they may do everything in their power from the Internet to harm you or your reputation. These can even be people you know IRL, since Facebook isn’t really the best at keeping things private.

Category II individuals can be more effective at shitting on you because they have strength in numbers.

How do I stop these assholes from shitting on my shit?

Simple: Don’t make yourself into an easy target, and don’t leave your information out in the open. Better yet, don’t make yourself a target at all. If you have to be so outspoken, more often than not it’s your ego that needs to check itself.

Don’t make yourself into a visible target

If you want to sum up this article: use a fucking pseudonym, use a new e-mail address, and make no references or connections to yourself that can be used to identify you.

First of all, voicing an opinion that is less than socially acceptable, whether in trollish jest or in total seriousness will have you branded as such. There are people who will try to harm you for declaring an opinion and will bar you from getting certain social opportunities. This isn’t written to scare you and it’s not like you’ll be scared anyway since you are a fearless troll warrior, but you may still want to get a job at Burger King in the meantime and you don’t want your boss to see your posts on public Facebook pages about Mitt Romney and Barack Obama having gay buttsex together.

Keep your troll life and IRL shit separate

Don’t add your friends to your troll accounts. It might be tempting to have your friends who are more Internet-savvy to join you on your adventures, and it’s good to have a friend like this, but it’s more than likely that you don’t have any friends like this. Keep this shit to yourself. Trolling can be srs bz. Plus it’s a good exercise in humbling yourself. What if some fuck decides to ask your “friend” who you are IRL? Either have some honorable, trustworthy friends or just hide your shit well.

So why hide your shit if you aren’t doing anything wrong?

“Avoid suspicion: when you’re walking through your neighbor’s melon patch, don’t tie your shoe.”
– Some old Chinese fuckers

You may not be doing anything wrong but you don’t need to look like you’re doing anything wrong either. Trolling looks wrong to many people since it’s associated with 4chan, Asperger’s, and hackers on steroids. If it doesn’t look like trolling, you’ll know you’re doing it right.

Lastly, I don’t wanna see my troll homies getting slandered by some butthurt asshole.

As for your government, if you aren’t doing anything illegal or weird that will get their attention, you’re okay. They probably already know what you’re doing if you’re important at all, so if you’re paranoid get a VPN or 10 proxies or something.