The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

"What's trolling?"
he asks...
Moran rises to the bait, swallows, sets the hook, and heads for the bottom...


Tom Moran posted the following query to UseNet on May 30, 1996:

I see a lot of dubbing of "troller" or "trolling" out here. What does that mean?

Hold it! Don't just post something and say 'Heres an example'. You have to post the example and then show that it is trolling.

Within hours, Ken McVay acquiesced by posting this now-classic troll:

"I am not surprised that you do not understand, given your inability to use the English language properly, brush your teeth, enjoy normal sex, or understand something if you do manage to read it. You are simply too stupid to deal with it.

"There. See if you have brains enough to figure it out, Morin. (Somehow, I doubt it.)"

Mr. Moran, alas, not realizing that he had been trolled, cooperated by swallowing the hook and setting it himself:

"Moran wonders if McVay stamped his foot down when typing the sentence, "There."

"He doubts if Moran can figure out his response. He's got that right.

"He says Moran can't brush his teeth or have "normal" sex. Now how would he know? He probably figured it out the same way he figures out anything else, by what he wants to believe."

In the meantime, Matt Giwer, a troller (of the worst sort) in his own right, also responded to Mr. Moran's question, but failed to provide an example, when he said "The claim of 'trolling' is well understood to be a perjorative and nothing more."

Danny Mittleman took exception, and provided this definitive response:

"Not really. Notice that it is directed in a.r for the most part only at Matt Giwer. Other denier and anti-semitic correspondents have rarely been called trolls. This is because Giwer's MO differs from that of the other deniers and anti-semites.

"Trolling on usenet derives from the sense of trolling while fishing. It takes the form of putting one's written "line" in the water using inflamatory material as "bait" and seeing what bites.

"There is discussion of trolling in appropriate FAQs available in news.announce.newusers. It is a matter of observation and extrapolation to conclude that Giwer's behavior here amounts to trolling.

To which Mr. Moran, clearing refusing to recognize the painful barb from the hook he'd just swallowed, said: "People troll, fish bite. "

Mr. Mittleman continued by pointing out what everyone but Mr. Moran now clearly understood:

"No. McVay was just trolling. Caught a big one too!"

Caught, hook, line and sinker, Mr. Moran continued to reel himself in:

"You have any further details to support your incredibly ignorant statement?

"Here we have McVay making things up about someone's personal life and you endorse him. This is a school yard tactic. Evidentally you can't control yourselves.

"Now maybe you can support McVay's little remark. Moran ask McVay, `Now how would he know?'. Now, how would Mittleman know? Go for it.

"It seems a increased desperation is manifesting. Maybe you should go and show this to your collegues and see what they have to say about it. Why don't you come back and tell how your collegues would support you.

"If McVay was trolling, the only thing he snagged was a rock which pulled him over board, and you jumped in to save him, only to get entangled in his line."

On July 15, a full 6 weeks after having been trolled, a full 6 weeks after swallowing the bait, and a full six weeks after setting his own hook, Mr. Moran now insisted upon hauling himself into the boat and flopping about, gasping for air, on the waiting deck - he reposted his query, and Mr. McVay's response!

Another 6 weeks - in early September 1996, UseNet once again awakened to the sound of this gigantic, suffering catfish. The sound of its flopping and thrashing about on the deck impossible to avoid...

"Moran had posted recently `What is `trolling'?

"I see a lot of dubbing of `troller' or `trolling' out here. What does that mean?

"Hold it! Don't just post something and say 'Heres an example'. You have to post the example and then show that it is trolling.

"Ken McVay responded:

"I am not surprised that you do not understand, given your inability to use the English language properly, brush your teeth, enjoy normal sex, or understand something if you _do_ manage to read it. You are simply too stupid to deal with it.

"There. See if you have brains enough to figure it out, Morin. (Somehow, I doubt it.)"

...at which point, Mr. McVay can only comment: "I rest my case."


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