Zen and Motorcycles…

Posted: January 26, 2011 by Elizabeth Sullivan in #2 Zen and Web 2.0

Ok. I’m not sure if this is an adequate example, or if it illustrates my point. But I believe that we are searching for what’s best,in order to find that we have to look at a completely irrational phenomenon. The internet troll.


Context: A game reviewer was ripped to bits on the online forum Reddit. The link above is to his response. Which I thought was interesting.

There is also a link to where ‘redditors’ bashed this guy’s review below that.


I’m going to play devil’s advocate here and say that quantity hasn’t taken over. Quantity and the internet troll have made you all more cautious about what you believe on the webs and in the real world. I think that a cautious consumer is one of the good things that’s come from the world wide web.

That being said there is a lot of ‘hate’ breezing around these waters; indicating that there is some unrest brought on by having been caught feeding the trolls? I know how it feels, and it’s not pleasant. You comment on some god forsaken article you expect noone to read, but secretly you assume that someone is going to love your work and decide that everything you say is genious, and then all of a sudden your mother or some other anonymous person, has just replied to your post and told you that you spelt “atrophy” wrong and that you should really think about trying to say something that doesn’t offend other people so much.

To me, this kind of interaction, however embarrassing it may be all boils down to a lyric from that LeAnn Rimes’ song that no-one remembers, “Baby, shame on you if you fool me once, shame on me if you fool me twice.”

To say that “the best” get’s sacrificed for any specific purpose is bologna. The important stories are just as important as they were way back when we had no internet. It’s a matter of choosing what we want to be interested in. What we want to peruse. There is a search engine built into just about every frackin’ website out there, why can’t we just use that? That search engine works on an equation that also tracks most viewed; so possibly most important – but the internet has taught you that that’s not always the best course of action. And that’s how Google works. If you can’t find what you’re looking for it should still be archived. How awesome is that?

Maybe we can learn to trust Wikipedia in all of this debacle? Although you may not trust the article that your looking up one hundred percent, you can still look up the sources that’ve been linked to the article. I think that our trust issue with the internet has been brought on by the fact that we don’t want to have to question what we understand.

The internet has brought on the need for a decision, a need for someone to make a pact with themselves, and say – Am I going to trust where my news is coming? Can I trust the internet?

Of this question I ask you: Does having a “real world” copy of something REALLY make it more substantial?

I am going to be the weird chick that quotes Star Trek, but there is a line in one of the Next Generation Movies: First Contact; where Captain Pickard [Patrick Stewart] and Lt. Commander Data [the weird robot guy] are talking about how a touch can make something real. After Data asks about ‘tactile’ experiences Pickard moves in for a one on one with a spaceship that he’d grown up idolizing he says, “Oh, yes! For humans, touch can connect you to an object in a very personal way, make it seem more real.” And then Data [the weird robot guy] replies, “I am detecting imperfections in the titanium casing… temperature variations in the fuel manifold… it is no more “real” to me now than it was a moment ago.”

I think that it’s important to note that what thy’re talking about is a piece of technology. Even though it seems like it’s irrelateable, technology is another one of those things that’s hand made, and that humanity has ‘blessed’ with it’s imperfection – for lack of a better term.

What I think was meant when people like Pirsig talk about technology’s way of providing a broad array of answers or tidbits of fact – but what happens when the ammount of people who believe in the good things grows? What happens when you ask people to pontificate about what they’re being told to consume. You get disarray and anarchy on the internet. You get places like Reddit and to a lesser extent 4Chan. They may look like something that’s been plagued by apathetic douche bags that don’t care about the world, but when hasn’t that been the case when it comes to being socially aware. You can’t say that people are never going to stop being douchebags. I believe LeAnn made that point earlier on.

But seriously, when haven’t you known at least one person, one family member who hasn’t decided to make your life a living hell. You know they like you, or at least want to spend time with you, but they also thrive on the fact that you are stupefied by how they treat you. I believe that these people were just exhibiting their troll like behaviour on the internet, and it was more noticeable. Because people got to reflect on it.

So, in conclusion we need to accept that there are trolls out there.


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