The BBC tracks down a troll

Not a funny or clever sort of troll; just a bottom-feeder who specializes in writing racist remarks on online memorials. [BBC via Waxy and Metafilter]


      1.  Not at all, but it’s kind of anticlimactic. One of the few things I appreciate about some of the “TV Street Justice” shows I’ve seen in the U.S. is that there’s often a follow-up where the viewer is informed of nice things like “After our filming the jerk was charged with felony a”, etc. Here it’s just “Hey, we know you’re a jerk, have any comment?” “Yeah, eat a bag o’ dicks.”

        No money shot, basically.

        /Also I think I’ve gotten a handle on this multiple accounts thing

      2. More upset than the rat did. Sheesh. The guy seems like a repugnant scumbag, but he’s comfortable in his (white) skin, I guess. I wish the reporter would have maced him or something.

        1.  Yeah, I have to admit he seemed more bothered than shamed.  Gotta love that he’s a husband (probably) and a dad too!  Here’s to hoping that the kid doesn’t inherit his ugly race issues.

          I suppose a resourceful person could figure out where he lurks in Cardiff if they were determined…..

    1.  I think it’s fair if the racist asshole is posting on memorial forums baiting people with his racist assholery. How else would you define a troll?

      1. Oh…  I expect that he certainly is a troll. But single instances of outrageously inappropriate comment does not necessarily make him a troll.

        What makes him a troll is his motive to get people to engage him in his prolonged effort of assholery. There’s a good reason for the term “don’t feed the trolls.”

        It’s possible that the guy just leaves a single post and never returns because he could care less about what people have to say about his raging racism. Possible… but not probable.

        But when the whole point of the “documentary” (read: salacious expose!) is to profile trolls, pointing out a couple of isolated posts seems like a piss poor effort and doesn’t prove this guy is a troll in the least.

        Once again, he probably is a troll. But based on the what the clip showed me, the question still stands. Since when does Racist Asshole = Troll?

        1.  He’s posting inflammatory statements with no purpose other than to upset others. If he had known one the dead folk and had posted something along the lines of “hey I knew the guy he was a jerk, plus I hate Indian people, therefore I hope he rots and doesn’t rest in peace”,  his post might be jerky, but not necessarily trolly.

      1. Maybe I need to add to the list.

        Trollus trollus – The garden variety troll

        Trollus allcapsicus – The screamer troll

        Trollus disingenuus – The concern troll espouses positions that he does not hold. Feeds primarily on lulz.

        Trollus hydra – The sock puppet troll

        Trollus pandiculatus – The bored with everything troll

        Tyrannotrollus grammaticus – The grammar pedant troll

        Verbithrax loquacius – The time-waster troll repeats the same argument over and over with minor changes to entice new victims.

        Verbithrax loquacius ssp verbultimus – This troll has to have the last word, is inevitably male and rarely, if ever, mates.

        Verbithrax redirectus – The threadjacker troll

        Verbithrax redirectus ssp. nirvanicus – Insists that nobody can discuss the subject at hand until all other injustices have been solved. Can be identified by inevitable reference to the theft of land from Native Americans.

        1.  You’re leaving out the Shell-game troll who will accuse others of trolling for even slightly calling them on their own trolling, as well as the PC concern Troll ( a sub-set of the Concern Troll) who attempts to label statements not remotely bigoted as being bigoted

          1. There’s no objectivity when it comes to which statements are awesome and which are not. Disagreeing about what is okay isn’t the same as trolling. Responding to suggestions of problematicity with ad hominem *is* trolling.

          2.  Buck, if what you are writing is in some way about our ‘disagreement’ regarding the 24 hour comic (meant to reply to your last statement there but never got around to it), I think you are mistaken. Characterizing those views as uptight is not an ad hominem. If I had said, something along the lines of, “well, you’re a white dude” or ” yeah, well you wear glasses, so you stink and so does your opinion”, that would be ad hominem.

        2. you forgot trollus inadverticus-the troll that thought her comment was funny but upon rereading realizes that her comments could be easily interpreted as asshole-ish bc the audience does not know her personally.  This type of troll LOVES the edit option on comment boards.  I mean, I don’t know anybody like this, but I’ll bet she exists.

    1.  Really great talk, but the lack of audio for the questions/comments being tossed at you made most of the end pretty tedious. Is there a link to your original presentation file or the cartoons? I’m watching on a pretty big hdtv and I can’t make out the text unless I’m sitting inches from the screen.

    1. Sometimes I can’t help but wonder if stories like this are done with actors. It would be easier, you’re guaranteed the reaction that will work with your story, and it’s doubtful anyone is going to double check your work. I know I’m not going through the trouble of looking up nimrod.

      Edit: I should have known better than to assume nobody would look him up, I could have just read all the comments. Must have forgot I was on the internet.

  1. So the guy is really only TBK and runs when confronted by anyone in real life.  This is news about internet trolls?

    Are we supposed to be shocked when we learn he lives in his mom’s basement while we’re at it?

    1. I don’t think we’re supposed to be shocked by who and what the troll turned about to be. 

      I see it more as a story about how relatively easy it is to expose hurtful and potentially criminal trolls. Point being, “Think twice before YOU post such shite, yeah?” Effect being, one hopes, less hurtful trollery.

      1. Oh yeah, that reporter really made him carefully pose his response to being outed.

        Those guys just don’t care, because LOLs are moar fun!  I think getting this guy’s mom to stand in front of him and read his posts to him would only make him giggle at his cleverness.

  2. So, that was pretty anti-climactic. The racist internet troll turns out to be a racist real life troll.

    The above and all comments by ChicagoD are made without the express written consent of the troll community.

    Edited by a moderator: no requests for violence please, even in jest.

    1. Well, it’s certainly something I didn’t know. I thought they’d be 11 year old kids hiding behind anonymity. Instead, it’s a grown man apparently with the mind of an 11 year old who doesn’t give two shits about society. So yeah, I didn’t know that an Internet troll would be the Internet presence of a real-life troll.

      1. I imagine I can’t be entirely wrong that a number of the crazy trolls are 11 year old kids but absolutely, I’m very surprised that this is a grown man too.

        1. Creepy assholes who show up on BB tend to be men over 50. And a surprising number of them seem to live in Canada.

  3. Ok, not condoning his actions, not saying he’s a good guy – BUT.  His reaction was, in my opinion, absolutely appropriate.

    “Good or bad, this is something I have every right to do.  Fuck off.”

    The BBC were trolling a troll, and the troll didn’t take their bait.

    1. According to British law DOES he have the right to hate speech?

      The reporter does say people have gone to jail for less. 

    2.  With his deliberate targeting of racial hatred towards friends and family of certain deceased people, I wonder if he’s venturing out of a form of free speech commentary into a form of pure and simple harassment.  I don’t know the laws in the UK though, but I think they’re stricter in this regard than in the U.S.

      1. What he does is reprehensible, but he has a right to say it.

        There is a reason we elevate total freedom of expression to such a high level.

        When you start criminalizing speech because it offends somebody, well, you might find a lot of ‘offended’ people coming out about all sorts of issues.

        1. I think that’s what they call the ‘slippery slope’ fallacy. He’s not so much exercising his right to virtually hold up his racist sign in the internet public square as much as he’s burning a cross in somebody’s virtual home yard.

          1. Burning crosses is a violation of someone’s property. At the very least, it’s trespassing. It’s scary. It’s dangerous. It’s intimidating. No one could argue that it is ‘speech.’

            What he is doing is more akin to holding up a Westboro Church sign in front of someone’s virtual home yard.

            Which is rotten, but it’s quite far from cross burning.Cyber-cross burning would be more along the lines of malicious hacking and website defacement.

          2. @twitter-455461422:disqus 
            When you talk about freedom of “speech” you’re not just referring to sounds you make with your mouth. 

            Giving money to a political party is classed as constitutionally protected speech in the US so you’d probably have to show cause to argue that burning a cross *isn’t*.

  4. It would have been more interesting if, instead of asking how the troll “justified” trolling, the interviewer had simply asked “Why do you do it? Why do you enjoy it? What do you get out of it?” Who knows, the guy might have even tried to answer. 

  5. I’d have much rather watched someone clever just start dissing him up and down, using info they were to find through doxing him or whatever, and then say, “And you have the fucking nerve to feel superior to ‘n****rs’?  HA HA HA HA HA”

    And then just go from there.

    I am only speaking as a black person who reads this kind of jackassery on a daily basis and is not surprised by the level of  open, unabashed, unapologetic racism that pours from the American psyche not unlike beer from a fratboy’s nostrils.  Of course you get callouses.  But yeah, it’d be great if he weren’t so twee and tisk tisk, but rather just fucking bait and troll him real life.  Like, Sasha Baron Cohen style, or something.

  6. I don’t get the line about ‘troll community’…I always thought trolls were solitary creatures, usually found in caves and under bridges.  The Internet variety rarely roves in packs…(though one can fall into a nest of them on occasion)

    So this doofus gets outed by someone who knows who he is in real life…but the community reference rings false, to me at least…

    he’s playing his mean little games on Facebook; most likely such a scholar would indeed link his pseudonym to personal, trackable info.  But that’s what this link glossed over: the tracking part.

  7. Well that was a fun little exercise… a little Internet sleuthing and I found out his online profile, his wife’s name, the block the bus stop is at, the pub he likes to go to, the fact that his wife faked having cancer, and that he was arrested 6 years ago for having a gun…

    Not gonna post it here – I’m no troll – but you too can find it with a little work ;)

  8. Not as smiley or crinkly faced as i was expecting. Also, no “trollololol” singing.

    The internets have lied to me ._.

  9. What’s 9 weeks in prison?  Sounds like he might have been in there before.  Oh look:
    “A hunter was jailed on 3/12/04 for having an illegal shotgun to shoot foxes. Darren Burton (35) of Fairwater, Cardiff had the shotgun pistol and ammunition hidden in his car. The court heard police searched the vehicle after he was arrested on suspicion of drink driving. Burton had gone to Fairwater Police Station in Cardiff to give cigarettes to a relative in the cells. Police smelled alcohol on his breath and arrested him but he told them he wanted to move his car somewhere safer because there was a gun in boot. The court heard how Burton was “keen on outdoor pursuits” and used an air rifle to hunt rabbits on a farm near his home. A situation arose that when Burton was shooting rabbits he saw an owl being taken by a fox. “He decided to kill the foxes in the area and was given this weapon by a man he knew.” Burton admitted possessing a prohibited firearm and ammunition. The judge jailed Burton for two years. ”
    Found at

      1.  Illegal firearms (i.e. almost all of them) in the UK are not ‘non-crimes’.  We like it that way.

  10. I’m so glad this piece of human garbage has a kid. I bet that kid will grow up to  be a really cool person filled with awesome ideas about other races. You know who’s also a tool? His wife. I hope she doesn’t know what he does at night , but she probably does. Good work lady. You’ve picked a real winner to have more racist kids with. This is why we shouldn’t be allowed to procreate without a license.

  11. Pretty disappointed in this. He quickly abandons the line of questioning of the effect of his actions, and starts bludgeoning him with the fact that it’s illegal.

    It’s analogous to seeing a guy smoking a joint on the street, and when your argument that kids will see him and turn into heroin addicts fails, you just start going on and on about it’s illegality.

    What is the difference between using a racial epithet, and calling someone an ‘idiot’ (which is technically a term for a disadvantages groups of people, generally used disparagingly)

    It’s absurd. I’m damn glad we don’t have laws like that in America. Talk about a solution far worse than the crime.

    Well, now he will likely go to jail due to the BBC’s actions. Does anyone really believe that will contribute to racial harmony in the world?

    1. What is the difference between using a racial epithet, and calling someone an ‘idiot’

      Gee, I don’t know.  Why don’t you yell one amongst a crowded group of minorities and find out?

      *edit* Oh I see your a Ron Paul worshiper. nvrmnd.

        1. Antinous, this is BoingBoing. I’m willing to bet that at least 50% of your readers are white, male, upper middle class, and generally the most privileged 3-5% of people in the whole world.

          You simply disagree with me on various points. That’s quite alright, but don’t pretend that MY views alone stem from privilege.

          You, me, most everyone on this blog and in the secular world want fundamentally the same things. There are just disagreements about how to achieve them.

          1. Without privilege to support them, you couldn’t have held these opinions past age ten.

          2. You realize you sound a bit like a right-wing reactionary here, right? Those who commonly say:

            ‘Without the military to defend your freedom, you couldn’t be saying that right now.’

            I am not more privileged than the average reader of this site. I come from very ordinary middle class background. I’ve had some extremely  rough times in my life like anybody else.

            For what it’s worth, I was a solid left-liberal democrat until well into my 20s.

            I don’t know exactly what you mean by your comment.

      1. You seem to be saying that I would be beaten up for saying a racial epithet but not a more neutral one. Is that, then, your definition of speech that doesn’t deserve protection..that someone might get beaten up by saying it?

        Strange logic.

        1. Is that, then, your definition of speech that doesn’t deserve protection..that someone might get beaten up by saying it?

          Hey! Check out this quote from the Boing Boing Comment Policy.

          • Please avoid using offensive words like avttre, snttbg and phag, which have been ROT13ed for your reading pleasure. If saying it to a stranger in meatspace might earn you a black eye, please don’t say it in your comment. Replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.

          This shit just writes itself. For people who don’t suffer from Common Decency Deficit Syndrome.

          1. Touche, Antinous, touche.

            But I maintain, whether something might get you beaten up among the wrong people is a poor judge of whether something should be illegal speech.

            I bet in certain bars in Georgia, saying the Iraq War was a criminal enterprise could get you beaten up.

    2. “What is the difference between using a racial epithet, and calling someone an ‘idiot’ (which is technically a term for a disadvantages groups of people, generally used disparagingly)”

      The difference is that in the UK one may be illegal and one may not. What’s the difference between any speech and any other speech? Slander is speech, but it is not protected.

      Personally, now this guy has been outed I have no ethical problem with his speech. He’s exposed himself to the marketplace of ideas and others ought to counter his speech. As an anonymous internet user (and the irony is not lost on me here) I think his anonymous, one-sided, uninvited rantings have essentially no value as speech.

      1. The problem is, who decides if it has value. I don’t think it has value. Most people would agree with us. But then, who decides? What if you move just a little bit up the ‘value’ meter, to something that would offend a lot of people but some would find it to be valuable speech?

        Who decides? The majority? That’s dangerous ground…

          1. The courts. It is what they are there for. To make these decisions. Society demands all kinds of fine lines and this is just another one.

            P.S. the “like” was entirely inadvertent.

    3.  That’s because this really wasn’t a documentary. (At least not this portion.) It’s a salacious expose along the lines of To Catch A Predator.

      Should have been called “Surprising Online Fuckwads For Your Titilation.”

    4. nomnomnomnomnom, I hope you like it.  I fried it in hot oil and rolled it in sugar than springled it with salt.  ENJOY!

      1. Lock up all the racists/druggies/bums/etc, and all will be well in the world!

        The paradigm of punishment based behavior correction has fundamentally failed, and we need to abandon it.

    5. “It’s absurd. I’m damn glad we don’t have laws like that in America. Talk about a solution far worse than the crime.”
      And we Europeans are glad we don’t have laws like in the US (’cause we’re no longer in the middle ages). E.g. state sanctioned murder is no longer en vogue here.

  12. Oh wait, he lives in Cardiff.  That explains it – there’s an awful rift in the time-space continuum there and space debris is always falling through.

  13. Double Jeopardy for $500.  “What is an unrepentant douchebag?”  I’m not an advocate of violence, so I hope his friends (assuming he has any, and they aren’t just like him), his family (see above), and his co-workers see this and shun him.  But they probably won’t.  So yeah… weevils…

  14. Troll got trolled! You can tell at one point he’s about to go off about how dare the BBC guy interrupt his pleasant family time, but then he thinks better of it.

  15. I play an online game that is completely full of people like this.  The “N” word is tossed around like it is just another word in the english language.

    When asked to stop they laugh and continue and say that it is not bad.  I tell them to go to Harlem NY and tell the people that live there that it is an OK word to say.

    People like this have nothing better to live for and it is sad really.  What they do, they know is offensive.  They can’t run and tell friends so that they look cool.  So, they do ti for themselves.  Their lonely, pathetic, idiotic selves.

  16. I wish they would have offered him money to sincerely answer questions from the internets.  I am fascinated with the base hate of this type of trolling.  What is the payoff?  To knowingly hurt someone that is a stranger I just don’t get.  I want to know how this guy got this way, open him up on top and poke around a little, and watch how he turns his wee little one into a wee little troll.  

    I mean, lately I have had as many fantasies about what I would say to Newt Gingrich if I had the opportunity as much as I have fantasies of winning Lotto.  But than I freak at the thought of even hurting Newt’s feelings.

    1. I understand your fantasy of  wanting to interact  with Gingrich.  I once got my wish and  had a very polite and respectful (on my part), but a  not a very constructive conversation at a town haller with the Santorum creature during his second run for the Senate.  It did not go well.  I got beat up after the meeting.

      But back to the idiot on topic:  Confronting the kind of man who anonymously spews hate via social networks and asking him what makes his tick could lead to violence, and  I wouldn’t recommend it.  I really thought he was going to punch the reporter.  Those kinds of people are just looking for any excuse to lash out.  They’re like cornered, rabid animals.  

      1. That is awful you were physically hurt.  I am sorry that happened to you.  And you are absolutely right re-questioning these individuals.  There is a huge fuzzy divide between asshole and sociopath, a divide that you don’t know you’ve traversed until you are sucker punched.  I got into it with a crazy guy on the subway and breaking into a cold sweat fear realized, no, this guy is really crazy.  Not crazy like me.

  17. So I love that they tracked a guy like this down. Losing that warm blanket of assumed anonymity has got to strike at the heart of these folks. However, I do not believe anyone should be given jail time for expressing their opinion. Even vile and disgusting things. I would much rather hear a guy like this say something like that, then treat him accordingly than have him have those opinions and keep them to himself. It denies me the right to treat him as he deserves.

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