The Trollocaust and Feminazi Twitter Drama Explained in Context
Twitter is this unique social space that brings vastly different (and sometimes insular) Internet cultures together, and when this happens, the culture clash creates crazy Internet drama like yesterday’s “trollocaust,” dubbed so by the trolls, hackers and Anonymous-affiliates who felt they were under attack by “feminazis” hellbent on muffling their freedom of expression. Neither group has any business with the other, but here they are, operating on the same platform and pissing each other off. Maybe it’s time they went their separate ways. They don’t understand each other anyway. One’s harassment is another member’s way of showing love.
On Monday, dark web counter culture folk who follow rules and etiquette birthed from places like 4chan, Something Awful and Usenet found themselves at the mercy of older women who did not grow up with the Internet and viewed their obnoxious 4chan ways as if they were a foreign language. More than 45 accounts of people associated with Anonymous and activists were suspended as a result of this clash. The feminists lost only one, the twitter account for a blocking app used by feminists and atheists. The suspensions began after four women reported harassment, sadly still a common occurrence across most of the Internet, to Twitter.
If a woman (or a man) was being harassed, including with death and rape threats, on 4chan or a place operating under similar rules, the way to get the abuse to stop would be to come up with a witty retort preferably from the weird Internet society handbook of inside jokes and circle-jerkery. This witty retort can also be an offensive remark meant to disgust and upset the abuser, like making light of the Holocaust, questioning the abusers sexual orientation, gender, religion, whatever will upset the abuser to admit defeat. Besting the abuser in argument intellectually works as well, but a weak comeback can and will result in more abuse. One does not make controversial or unpopular statements in a 4chan-like place without the power of their convictions, and the last thing one wants to do is to lose their cool, get mad and contact the moderators or Internet police. Saying you will do so is taken as a sign you want and or need more harassment. New users in these web communities are generally hazed with abuse to ensure they can handle the madness that is the community, and are expected to speak in this coded way if they want to stay a part of the community. This code includes racist, misogynistic, antisemitic, homophobic and over the top offensive language and jokes despite many in the community being black, homosexual, feminist and Jewish.
Twitter is different. Twitter is not 4chan or the deep web, and will never be 4chan and the deep web– Twitter even has rules and tools in place to prevent it from being so, like the block button that eliminates the need for the person being harassed to best the harasser in any sort of argumentative exchange. A woman, especially an older woman, is not on Twitter to get into a face-off of “who is more offensive” or to find out who has a more logically sound argument, nor does she have time for such juvenile games. She uses Twitter for a completely different reason than the young male that frequents 4chan. To her, the slur “feminazi” is offensive, misogynistic and reminiscent of Rush Limbaugh, and a term she does not use ironically or in an attempt to “take it back” like younger feminists on the micro-blogging network. She does not get that she is being tested, because no one gave her the memo. Death threats and words like “trollocaust” are offensive to the woman, nay, most users on Twitter of both genders, because they don’t know they’re supposed to be offended by the term. They did not get this memo either. People on Twitter are not on the platform to condition themselves to bombastic and offensive statements or take a crash course in how to withstand cyber-bullying. Many of them are genuinely incapable of handling offensive language on a screen and when they see it, they will report it whether or not they understand the context. In the rules dictated in the Twitter space, it is not normal to receive death and rape threats, and people who make such threats are reported to the authorities or in this case, the Twitter police. The Twitter police actually do their jobs in Twitterland, and if they find someone violating their rules, they will suspend said user. These are the rules of Twitter, and by Twitter’s own inclusive nature, are very different from 4chan-like etiquette. 4chan’s 10 year old codex is rebellious, alienating, cultish and strange while Twitter’s is more akin to civil and mainstream society by design. Twitter is its own web place and can do what they want.
Which brings us to the “trollocaust:” the 4chan game cannot be played on Twitter because not everyone knows the rules. Even if all users do know these crazy Internet society rules, they may not want want to play by them, and it is unfair to subject them to the game because outside of the 4chan context the game appears quite rude with players mostly bigots. The game only works if everyone knows they are playing, and since not everyone is playing, everyone loses.
So what’s a troll, Anonymous affiliate or follower of deep web etiquette and humor to do? Go elsewhere, maybe even back to 4chan and Something Awful. Anywhere but Twitter, because Twitter doesn’t want you, and you just lost the game. No one likes a loser.
Or, you know, make your accounts private and communicate however you see fit with your peers.
Sexism drove Asher_Wolf away from Cryptoparty and it looks like Twitter as well.
Last night she “ragequit” due to something related to hackers posing as “bronies” attacking her website? That is what the rumors on Twitter are saying, at least. I write “bronies” because Internet pranksters love disguising as them (or anyone they hate, really. The #cutforbieber folks, for instance, tried to blame it on 9GAG in various comment section of YouTube vlogs on the controversy).
The time stamp for the brony attack is from December, but the intention behind whatever drove the people to harass Asher_Wolf is still the same.
Her last tweet, according to Topsy, was “offline.”
While I had yet to attend a cryptoparty – it was on my agenda – I relied on her Twitter stream to keep me updated on all acts of Internet activism. She was in Australia, and her timing jived with my late night Internet wanderings when insomnia kicked in.
I get her point of not having to stick around and take abuse, but why quit Twitter when it was her site that was disturbed, not her news distribution service?
I feel like I am being punished.
1:30 pm Update:
On secondary inspection, it was probably the trolls that came out following her Aaron Swartz post.
Asher_wolf is back on Twitter, no explanation for the hiatus.
Has my life changed?
I think it might have….
So, I am not a “snake expert”, and the post below is based off my limited experiences with snakes at friends houses and from my observations at the zoo. Oh, and, the fact that snakes are cold-blooded, meaning snakes are the temperature of their surroundings.
Psst, New Yorkers! The cobra is a cold-blooded reptile, and it’s 40 degrees outside! Why would the escaped cobra even leave the Reptile building?
Because there is obviously nothing to fear, I have to assume this is all because New York, New York was feeling jealous over all the national (and international) media attention Chicago’s been getting because of our newly elected Mayor Rahm Emanuel. As proof of how awesome our new mayor is, his fake twitter account is being made into a book. Does Mayor Bloomberg even have a fake twitter (a good one)? And are the tweets of the fake Bronx Zoo Cobra going to be made into a book? I scoff at myself for even posing the question. Well, maybe if the cobra actually kills someone.
You can probably tell, I don’t find the fake Bronx Zoo Cobra twitter account funny mainly because I refuse to forget that snakes are cold-blooded… (just like how squirrels can’t pickpocket people because they don’t have hands – I’m looking at you, Justin Kaufmann-)
As to why journalists (and their readers/viewers) have eaten this silly story up, my guess is the escaped Bronx Zoo cobra story lightens an otherwise somber international community worried about Japan, Libya, and budget deficits.
UPDATE: Before I hit the Publish button I google-newsed “bronx zoo cobra”, and do you know what was at the top of my search? The Egyptian cobra was found inside the Reptile building. I am soooo good.
Like me, the director of the Bronx Zoo Jim Breheny also doesn’t understand all the hub-bub over the snake, as evident by his behavior in the above press conference video.
The original fake Rahm’s twitter account has been getting more press lately, following the real Rahm Emanuel’s offer of $2,500 to the author if he/she reveals him/herself. See NBC’s article about it here, and here is USA Today’s.
Perhaps inspired by the popularity of this fake twitter, a new fake Rahm Emanuel twitter was created about 5 days ago, @MayorRahmE. This newer fake twitter has a little bit more than 300 followers, and is significantly lacking the wit (or any sense of humor, really) and intelligence of the original. The very first tweet on this new fake twitter is below:
This new fake twitter writes in CAPS AT IRREGULAR INTERVALS and seems to make fun of Rahm (and his ballet skills) directly, rather than indirectly like the ingenious original fake twitter.
Surprisingly, one of the original followers of this new, bad fake Rahm twitter is Karl Rove, or who ever is in charge of his twitter. Karl Rove does not follow the better, original fake Rahm twitter.