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.

Sandroll: for when Rickrolling isn't annoying enough

Can't decide between trolling people with a Rickroll or Darude's Sandstorm? Why not both? GroboClone's mashup is exponentially more annoying. Read the rest

Serbian researchers troll academia

The journal Metalurgia International recently published a paper entitled "Evaluation of Transformative Hermeneutic Heuristics for Processing Random Data". Though submitted by real researchers from the University of Belgrade, the paper was a hoax, an attempt to expose lax publishing standards. How lax, you ask? Take a look at the paper. The obvious trolling starts with the authors donning wigs and fake moustaches, continues into an abstract full of blithely meaningless jargon, and includes references to the work of revered academics such as Ron Jeremy, A.S. Hole, Borat Sagdiyev and, yes, Alan Sokal. Retraction Watch has compiled some of the highlights. Read the rest

Secrets of the world's most successful tumbleweed farm

Tumbleweeds aren't a type of plant. It's more of a description — the thing that happens when the bushy above-ground parts of lots of different types of plants dry, die, and disconnect from the healthy root system below. It is then free to blow wherever the wind takes it. That's your basic free-range tumbleweed. At Prairie Tumbleweed Farms, the weeds are a bit more constrained and they're shipped, rather than blown, to customers all around the world. This podcast by Rose Eveleth is a cute, quirky piece, but you MUST listen to the whole thing. Because the backstory of Prairie Tumbleweed Farms is what makes this truly worthy of BoingBoing. Read the rest

Boxer announces he's coming over to his Twitter-troll's house "for a beer"

A Twitter troll called @jimmyob88 sent a series of vile, taunting messages to professional boxer @woodhousecurtis, calling him lots of rotten names. Woodhouse tweeted back that he'd found out the Internet Tough Guy's home address and was headed over to his house "for a brew." After a series of "I'm getting closer" tweets, the troll had a change of heart and tweeted, "Didnt think you would be bothered thought you would take them as a joke" and "i am in the wrong i accept that." Apparently, it ended there. (via Techdirt) Read the rest

More posts