What’s Behind The Public Shaming of Reddit’s King Troll Violentacrez?

first_imgfruzsina eordogh A Comprehensive Guide to a Content Audit When Gawker reporter Adrian Chen publicly outed troll and influential Reddit user Violentacrez as Michael Brutsch two weeks ago in what many are calling the “best story of the Web,” he changed the nature of the Internet forever. The resulting journalist-sanctioned public shaming:1. Highlighted how ignorant the media is of Internet culture.2. Forced the Internet’s core psyche, sometimes referred to as the “hive mind,” to mature from a teenage boy to a relatively respectful young adult almost overnight.3. Legitimized digital lynch mobs. The Seduction Of A Public ShamingOur technology may have evolved, but our attitudes have not: Nothing pleases humanity more than a good public shaming. Instead of pelting rotten tomatoes at a man locked in the town square stockade, society’s “sinners” are now paraded on national television, courtesy of Anderson Cooper, and branded with a scarlet “T.” (Just Google “Michael Brutsch” if you don’t know what I mean.)Brutsch is now the physical face of the most hated thing on the Internet: the Troll. That anonymous person who goes out of his way to provoke a response. While few people understand what trolls actually are, where they came from and why they do what they do, it is generally accepted that they are the scum of the Web. Hating on them unconditionally is not just acceptable, it’s encouraged, as Cooper implied by calling Brutsch a sad “little person,” sitting “alone in his room, typing on his keyboard, interacting with people he doesn’t even know.” Cooper did stop short of calling him a “neckbeard,” but other outlets have not –  he’s been called a “monster,” and even falsely tied to the suicide of Amanda Todd and the “capper” community. Brutsch didn’t create the act of trolling, nor was he the original or most notorious troll. (Brutsch might not even be a troll, as tech culture journalist Xeni Jardin pointed out.) Nor is Brutsch the first man to have an offensive porn collection, or the first man to sexualize children. Regardless, Brutsch will be made an example of, dammit, because we the media (or as Forbes Kashmir Hill called it, “The Internet Cool Kids”) are sick and tired of these vile human beings mucking up our Internet! Never mind that the same media leverages these same transgressors to drive pageviews – all cloaked in hand-wringing and faux outrage (an act Reddit itself is guilty of) . And, of course, the same said media also sexualizes children.   Guide to Performing Bulk Email Verification Related Posts Tags:#Trolls center_img The Dos and Don’ts of Brand Awareness Videos Trolls Are Easy TargetsCalling Brutsch’s transgressions “vile” isn’t an overstatement – his stuff was downright disgusting. Brutsch had his hands in some of the most controversial subreddits, including /r/incest, /r/misogyny, /r/beatingwomen, /r/chokeabitch, /r/Jewmerica, /r/Jailbait, /r/niggerjailbait, /r/rapebait, /r/picsofdeadkids and /r/creepshots, just to name a few. If you are offended by those titles, that’s the point of a Troll: Brutsch’s online behavior is so offensive that anyone that wants to be considered a respectable member of society has no choice but to oppose his behavior.As Chen describes trolling in his unmasking piece: “A troll exploits social dynamics like computer hackers exploit security loopholes, and Violentacrez calmly exploited the Reddit hive mind’s powerful outrage machine and free speech values at the same time.” If “troll” wasn’t the hot button word of the year, we’d be calling Brutsch’s digital binders of scantily clad or beaten women “performance art.”Whitney Phillips, a scholar studying Internet trolling culture, put it another way, calling trolls “cultural scavengers” that “engage in a process I describe as cultural digestion: They take in, regurgitate, and subsequently weaponize existing tropes and cultural sensitivities.” Trolls don’t engage in this sort of behavior alone or in a vacuum, Phillips said. Rather, they come out to play when they have a supportive “host culture.”  AKA: Reddit.Enabling Adolescent BehaviorThis is exactly what Brutsch meant when he told CNN’s Drew Griffin that Reddit “enabled” and “encouraged” his online behavior: “When two years ago, when all of this was at its height, the audience was appreciative, and supportive of the sort of gallows humor that I put out there.” When Brutsch, who is one year shy of 50, said he was catering to an audience of college kids, he means this both literally and figuratively. Brutsch’s fanbase isn’t necessarily college-aged, but the core Internet psyche is.Established sometime between late 1993 and 1999 through sites like Usenet and WebCrawler, and then reborn in 2003 with the creation of 4chan, the Internet psyche is skeptical, self-absorbed, sadistic and lazy – except when it comes to porn, cute animals, digital pranks and acts of Internet vigilantism. For various reasons, perhaps elated to being wealthy, white and privileged, users connected to this hive mind regularly post the most disturbing (re: misogynist, racist) content they can find. You might see this behavior as a way to compensate for, and feel alive in, their mundane real-world existences.    The infamous Usenet troll Ted Frank told Stryker in an interview for his book Epic Win For Anonymous: How 4chan’s Army Conquered The Web, that trolling served as “an educational tool for newcomers.” Modern trolling culture has evolved from its roots on Usenet, however, and Frank “insists” the trolling similarities between 4chan and Usenet are “an etymological coincidence.”  (In fact, the notion of trolling can be traced back even further than Usenet: Stryker describes comedian Andy Kaufman as one of the finest examples of a “pre-Internet troll,” and draws parallels with the “Greek prankster Pan, the Norse god Loki, and the conniving Native American Coyote.”)As the Internet goes mainstream and effectively kills the mantra “there are no girls on the Internet,” older generations, women and traditional media increasingly bump into this hive mind. Their presence will age and mature the digitial pysche just by being there, is the hope.  Facebook is Becoming Less Personal and More Pro… The 4Chan ConnectionMuch of Reddit’s young, trolling psyche comes from 4chan, specifically /b/, but 4chan has managed to stay out of headlines during this flame war. “I don’t understand why everyone was upset at jailbait, while 4chan continually posts bullshit across the internet and no one bats an eye,” wrote redditor he_cried_out_WTF in response to the Violentacrez controversy. “4chan is apparently the petulant child that everyone pretends doesn’t exist as it throws yet another vase on the floor.”Reddit (and 4chan) aren’t the only social news sites that regularly tap into the vase-throwing Internet psyche: Digg, 9gag, Fark, Something Awful, Encyclopedia Dramatica, Buzzfeed, The Daily Dot, Know Your Meme and the entire I Can Haz Cheezburger clan regularly regularly tune in. Even Erik Martin and fellow paid Reddit employees were guilty of listening to this psyche when they cried “free speech” and “privacy” as knee-jerk reactions, when they could have denounced the misogynistic and racist behavior Brutsch catered to.  Brutsch gave the community exactly what it wanted. In return, he heaped up “meaningless Internet points… It had a reward, like the monkey that pushes the button to get a food pellet, it’s addictive” said Brutsch on national television. “Why do people spend money playing [World of Warcraft], why do people play games like that to build up their meaningless stats?, [it’s] exactly the same as 800,000 karma on Reddit.”  Gamification, baby.Where Do The Rest Of Us Fit In?Our reaction, as both journalists and “respectable members of society” prove we’re not that different from Brutsch and the dark side of the Internet. We behaved trollishly when we celebrated his job loss, demanded he be imprisoned or burn in hell, and gleefully discussed how his life is now ruined forever. Our collective outrage – what trolls eat for breakfast – also earned us meaningless Internet points in the form of Facebook likes and Twitter RTs. Chen’s piece made White Knights of us all, but is that enough to fix all the societal ills Brutsch was pointing out with his “trolling?” And is a digital lynching really the way to go? We don’t accept this kind of treatment of criminals in the real world – our current justice system is not ruled by a mob mentality  – but Chen’s piece and the resulting digital lynching is generally viewed as an acceptable means of punishment online. Perhaps, though, the most ironic aspect of this journalist-sanctioned public trial and execution, is that it generated from well-known Reddit “trolls” themselves. last_img read more

Former Assam Cong. leaders join BJP

first_imgFormer Rajya Sabha member Santiuse Kujur and former Minister Gautam Roy joined the Bharatiya Janata Party on Sunday, less than 24 hours after quitting the Congress in Assam. Former Youth Congress president Hiranya Bhuyan joined them too. The three senior leaders joined the BJP at the State headquarters in Guwahati in the presence of Assam Finance and Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and State BJP president Ranjeet K. Dass.last_img

This Chandler startup wants to make the cloud personal

first_imgThe personal cloud tech startup will soon be shipping its first flagship product. Image Credit: Web Forum Blog Advertisement Chandler-based Eggcyte Inc. is looking to make the cloud personal.The personal cloud tech startup will soon be shipping its first flagship product: the Egg, which is a handheld, personal device that provides a private alternative to social media and cloud services. It allows the user to privately share, store and stream personal content including music, photos and videos, said Barry Solomon, Eggcyte’s co-founder and vice president of marketing and sales.We like to think we’re offering the very first device of its kind,” Solomon told me Wednesday by phone. “Our approach was to create a robust mobile device. Once you put your content on the Egg you can access it anywhere.”The Egg, which contains an Intel Atom processor, connects to Wi-Fi to allow the user to access their content through an app on their Apple or Android smartphone or through a web browser. – Advertisement – The device is more robust, smaller and consumes less power than a typical external hard drive, but Solomon added the Egg offers much more capability.Since each Egg has a unique URL, the user can invite friends, family and colleagues to have their own account on their personal Egg to privately share content and chat with them in their personal cloud.“The advantage is privacy and control. The content resides on the Egg, not on your phone,” Solomon said. “It’s more private than texting. We want to give people a truly private alternative to social media and cloud services.”When the user is disconnected from the Internet, they can take their Egg, and their downloaded content, on the road with them in the car, on a plane or camping.“The Egg acts like a portable media streamer off-the-grid,” Solomon said. “It doesn’t need to connect to Wi-Fi. It’s great on-the-go.”Also, because the Egg has a USB port in it, the user can move photos and videos onto it when they run out of space on their mobile device or camera.Ahead of the Egg’s launch, Eggcyte announced a partnership and undisclosed investment with luxury automaker Jaguar Land Rover. Solomon envisions the luxury car company selling an Egg with every vehicle so customers can bring their music and movies into the car with them.[related-posts]Eggcyte is part of Jaguar Land Rover’s Innovation Incubator program.Launched earlier this year, the program encourages and supports new software-based automotive technologies developed by U.S. technology startups, according to Matt Jones, head of future infotainment at Jaguar Land Rover.“As well as pioneering new ideas and developing our own technologies in-house, we are developing even more collaborative partnerships with the world’s leading technology businesses to help enhance the experiences our customers have in our vehicles,” Jones said in a statement.The partnership was announced Tuesday at the Connected Car Expo in Los Angeles.The Egg is available for pre-sale online now: $199 for 64 gigabytes of storage, $299 for 128 gigs and $399 for 256GB. It also has all-day battery life.While units will start shipping in the next two weeks, Eggcyte expects its Egg to be in retail stores within the next six to eight weeks, Solomon said.The 10-employee company, formed a year and a half ago, is a spin-off from Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC). Both Solomon and Eggcyte CEO and co-founder Thomas Martis are former mid-level Intel executives.Intel has a large presence in Chandler with more than 11,000 employees.[Business Journal]last_img read more