More lulz from the Anti Vaccination crowd

If you saw yesterday's post, dear reader, you'll be aware that I've been flexing a little skeptic muscle on the Australian Anti Vaccination Network's Facebook page. The subject of yesterday's post, Erwin Alber, seems to have slinked off with only a parting Hitler reference to remember him by. But we've got a whole 'nother batch of crazy cooking up.

Enter Jane, Lauren and Nicola, three rabid supporters of the Antivax movement. Through today blows were traded, statistics cited (our side), anecdotes rambled (their side), links provided (our side) and emotive fearmongering employed (guess which side)

It eventually became clear that the strain was beginning to show. Jane was the first to seriously crack

Jane Beeby, caring mother

Nice huh? "May your next shot be lethal one Jason". OK, grammatical errors aside, that's a pretty nasty sentiment right there. A nervous, paranoid person (say, for example, an american) might consider it a threat. I consider it a clear sign that I touched a nerve.

By the evening, after one thread (in which I outlined in no uncertain terms my stake in the matter) was mysteriously deleted, the AVN side had run out of talking points and started resorting to ad-hominem attacks, threats of bans and flat-out schoolyard insults.

The fact is, they have no real data to backup their claims, so this is really all they're left with. Eventually Jane dug up a piece of classic copypasta on the subject of trolls, starting "I believe that most trolls are sad people", and decided to settle in for a night of flat-out insults and troll-labelling.

Thing is, though, Jane fails at the internet. Her copypasta is old. Really old. It dates from the days when Usenet was king. When the newsgroup was where all the discussion happened. When trolls were the bad guys. In short, from an earlier age of the internet.

These days trolling has emerged from under the bridge and has become a serious tool of internet activists. Witness, for example, Anonymous. These guys are proper, genuine internet trolls, out in the streets doing some serious advocacy work, with a more than healthy side order of lulz. Witness the denizens of the internet's dankest dungeons pulling out all stops to track down and save Dusty the Cat. Trolls have grown hearts and social awareness. Who knew such a thing was possible?

Fact is, if you label me a troll, I'll generally just smile. If you label me an epic troll, well, I'll get the beers in. That's a victory

We're doing what trolls have always done, but we're not doing it solely to annoy any more. We're doing it to disrupt online activities we consider harmful, we're doing it to demolish misinformation and we're doing it with facts, with a knack for research and a keen eye for the lulz.

And frankly, it's fun.

I do believe today, Jane, Nicola and Lauren, you lost the game.

posted @ Thursday, July 23, 2009 1:42 AM


Comments on this entry:

# re: More lulz from the Anti Vaccination crowd

Left by Frode at 7/23/2009 1:56 AM
The anti-vaxers have nothing, so they call names.
They have no science, so they call science meaningless or state that scientists have a god complex.
They can't argue on a logical, fact-based level, so they appeal to emotion, cry 'conspiracy' and generally act pretty low.

# re: More lulz from the Anti Vaccination crowd

Left by Frozen Summers at 7/23/2009 8:53 AM
Whats up with your links?

or is "javascript:void(0);/*1248277089765*/" some kind of microsoft thing that doesn't work on my mac + firefox?

Also, you're a troll.

# re: More lulz from the Anti Vaccination crowd

Left by Jason at 7/23/2009 10:18 AM

There appears to be a bug with the subtext backend. In IE, I get an error message when editing links, but the links work. In firefox, no error message, and a broken link. Editing manually for now.
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