Crowdfunded by listeners, EFF perma-kills a bogus podcasting patent

Five years ago, a patent troll called "Personal Audio" started demanding money from podcasters, claiming that their patent on mailing cassette tapes of people reading magazines (a ridiculous patent on its face) also covered podcasting. Read the rest

Carlos from Night Vale has a new podcast where he talks with his trolls

Conversations with People Who Hate Me is a new podcast from the Welcome to Night Vale folks in which Dylan Marron, who voices Carlos the Scientist on Night Vale, tracks down the people who troll him online and has long, thoughtful, substantive (and funny!) discussions about where they're coming from. Read the rest

Report on media manipulation "from radicalized groups that emerged from internet subcultures"

Danah Boyd from Data & Society writes, "The report examines why the media was vulnerable to manipulation from radicalized groups that have emerged from a variety of internet subcultures. We're seeing an intentional and systematic attack on institutions and information intermediaries and most folks are unaware of the degree to which they are a pawn in others' gameplay. As a result, we are watching good intentions get twisted around and used to harm people, organizations, and democracy." Read the rest

Troll Cakes turns nasty comments into delivered pastry

Talk about just desserts! Troll Cakes will turn a hater's online comment into a tasty cake and mail it to said hater. Above, one they made of a classic Trump troll. Read the rest

Amazon's #1 bestseller is a blank 266-page book titled "Reasons to vote for Democrats"

"Reasons to vote for Democrats" consists of 266 blank pages, a clever troll gift for all your left-leaning friends and family! But Republicans are so eager to stick it to their adversaries that they've paid a collective fortune to push it to the top of Amazon's bestseller list, inadvertently providing a rather convincing one. CNN reports that it's the same trick as Why Trump Deserves Trust, Respect and Admiration, published shortly after last year's election; a blank notebook is a dollar fifty shipped. Read the rest

Google's troll-fighting AI can be defeated by typos

Jigsaw is a "wildly ambitious" Google spin-off research unit that recently released Perspective, a machine-learning system designed to identify argumentative, belittling and meanspirited online conversation. Within days of its release, independent researchers have published a paper demonstrating a way of tricking Perspective into trusting ugly messages, just by introducing human-readable misspellings into their prose. Read the rest

Three kinds of propaganda, and what to do about them

Jonathan Stray summarizes three different strains of propaganda, analyzing why they work, and suggesting counter-tactics: in Russia, it's about flooding the channel with a mix of lies and truth, crowding out other stories; in China, it's about suffocating arguments with happy-talk distractions, and for trolls like Milo Yiannopoulos, it's weaponizing hate, outraging people so they spread your message to the small, diffused minority of broken people who welcome your message and would otherwise be uneconomical to reach. Read the rest

"The Ambivalent Internet": A scholar of trolling's new book about politics in the internet age

Whitney Phillips is about to publish her second book on internet trolls: The Ambivalent Internet: Mischief, Oddity, and Antagonism Online, co-written with Ryan M. Milner during the 2016 election cycle, when trolling became an indomitable force for political goals. Read the rest

Political leaks disrupt Ecuadoran election

Opponents of Ecuadoran president Rafael Correa -- himself a prolific and shrewd social media campaigner -- have had their social media accounts hacked and used to dump embarrassing transcripts purporting to show their party in disarray and romantic scandals in their personal lives. Read the rest

Vintage CB radio trolling from 1969

"What's your handle, creep?" "Don't tell us to move to another channel!" "You sound like you're dying... why don't you go ahead and drop dead!" Trolling was alive and well on CB radios in the 1960s, as these vintage South Philly conversations from 1969 prove. Read the rest

#SavePepe: creator Matt Furie seeks to take back Pepe the Frog

Can something be un-memed? Matt Furie hopes his creation Pepe the Frog can have a second metamorphosis back from being a go-to troll image of the alt-right. He's teamed with ADL to #SavePepe. He even made a new cartoon about it. Read the rest

To hell with the Trolley Problem: here's a much more interesting list of self-driving car weirdnesses

Jan Chipchase has assembled a provocative, imaginative, excellent list of "driver behaviors in a world of autonomous mobility" that go far beyond the lazy exercise of porting the "trolley problem" to self-driving cars and other autonomous vehicles, including flying drones. Read the rest

Weird porn author who was dragged into Hugo Awards mess pulls off epic troll

For the second year in a row, a bunch of disgruntled "conservative" sf readers and writers are attempting to destroy science fiction's Hugo Awards by nominating slates of works that are, variously: rabid racist tracts; works by their ideological opponents; tepid military sf; works by bystanders; and weird porn by Chuck Tingle, a master of the form, who has nothing to do with any of this. Read the rest

Oregon's domestic terrorists just got 55 gal of lube to go with all those dildos

In 2009, Indian women sent pink underwear to Shri Ram Sene, a right-wing, conservative Hindu organization that had promoted street-violence against women who were perceived as "immodest." Read the rest

Survey of wealthy customers leads insurer to offer "troll insurance"

Chubb's new troll rider on its elite personal insurance package for its wealthiest customers now offers up to £50,000 to cover the cost of counselling, lost income, and professional anti-troll services (forensics, reputation management) for people who are targeted by online harassers. Read the rest

Hang the Jedi

The knighthood of Star Wars is neither Galactic nor an Order.

Everyday Misanthrope, the game about making people miserable

Every interaction with another human being is just another opportunity to make the people around you feel more like you do: absolutely miserable.

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