You can’t win against trolls, stop trying

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There’s a saying, “You shouldn’t feed the trolls,” but it’s better not to make fun of them. In this new issue of Numerama’s #Rule30 newsletter, journalist Lucie Ronfaut questions the limits of online anger.

This article is an excerpt from Rule30, our weekly newsletter published by Numerama. This is the subject of April 6, 2022. Here to subscribe for free.

This weekend, a particularly ridiculous tweet looped through my Twitter feed. A man (I won’t give his nickname) posted a lengthy thread of derogatory and misogynistic remarks explaining that women shouldn’t be computer developers. The first tweet in the series was shared more than 10,000 times in three days and was partially retweeted by people who criticized its content. The author, for his part, clearly did not change his mind. He waited a while for his tweets to go viral, then promoted a cryptocurrency project and trained to become a developer.

This story is banal. Every day, I see a silly or obnoxious tweet posted by well-meaning people to criticize, mock, or show that its content is false. This dating app for NFT holders was announced to be shut down due to lack of female applicants, ridicule of anti-crypto-opponents on Twitter, and it was eventually revealed to be a scam.

These are countless responses to Elon Musk’s shocking/stupid/crossed-out unnecessary tweets. ” It’s like trying to fight memes with stats “, American journalist Charlie Warzel wrote about this recently.” And I understand why we’re doing this: Elon Musk has a lot of money, power, and a huge following. When he says something stupid or wrong, it’s tempting to correct him (…) But on Twitter, it’s unnecessary behavior and gives Elon Musk exactly what he wants: proof of our anger.»

quote RT The ability to react to content on Twitter by tweeting on it has existed since 2015. This feature is one of the many options social networks have designed to provoke our reactions and thus get our attention (think likes). , hearts, lines, duets on TikTok, etc.).

Look at me, I’m angry!

It also had a profound impact on Twitter culture and ” dunk “, to them ” odds » and more generally our tendency to fight. Some experts even talk about the phenomenon. twitter brain, so this almost sickly temptation to react to everything and possibly make a show for our subscribers. Look at me, I’m angry! American mathematician Cathy O’Neil also uses social networks ” shame machines »Here, we are all pressured to publicly humiliate (sometimes justifiably, sometimes less) those with whom we disagree. Apart from that, in parallel, Internet users have learned to take advantage of this phenomenon. They voluntarily post outrageous comments that will provoke many angry RTs and therefore add to the virality of their account. Because for platform algorithms, highly shared content is content to be streamed into our news feeds. You cannot successfully attack these people because that is exactly what they are looking for. You can’t humiliate a troll.

This is a behavior found almost everywhere on the political spectrum. In April, a Twitter user managed to convince many people (including the media) that the Snickers candy was being criticized. penis-like veins and Mars (the company that manufactures Snickers) had agreed to sell a version of their candy with a completely smooth surface. His first tweet was retweeted more than 200,000 times, including accounts close to the American right and far right, and he saw it as so-called proof” cancel culture Personally, I found this story very funny (especially because it gave me the opportunity to write the words) « penile veins » in a professional email my number). But it also made me a little worried. It’s hilarious to see someone trolling whose opinion you don’t share. It is harder to accept that we can be ensnared in the same way by people we hate.

I don’t want to lecture you. Like most of you, I’m probably fascinated by the Twitter brain! Quote-RT often makes me itch! Moreover, I understand the desire, even the need, to yell at idiots. I don’t think that hatred needs our reactions to exist. The question is more to question our purposes than to question our purposes. Am I yelling at some idiot because I want to show my values ​​to the world, because hate should never be allowed to pass, because I hope that person goes? But ultimately, who benefits from our anger?

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Press review of the week

TW: homophobia

Groups that encourage homosexuality can be easily found on Facebook. ” improve » Making violently homophobic statements about LGBT+ people and more generally. Meta, the parent company of the social network, has already distinguished itself by its sometimes absurd automatic moderation, such as “. Lesbian“, obviously can’t properly moderate such content. A poll to read about it my number.

TW: domestic violence

We spoke recently in this newsletter about the highly publicized lawsuit between Johnny Depp and his ex-wife Amber Heard. The live-streamed event caused a wave of content on social networks that mainly attacked the player’s old friend. But this is not just the stupidity of a few Internet users. The case is now at the heart of an ideological, anti-feminist and potentially lucrative confrontation for the actors of the American far right. For example, this is the case of the media. Daily Wireinvested nearly $50,000 to promote their stories about the experiment on Facebook. (English) will be read at. Assistant.

ManyFans

No one on the Internet knows that you are a dog or a man pretending to be a pretty naked woman. magazine New York Times researched a new online business: “ e-pimps“The people (usually from developing countries) who manage the existence of sex workers on OnlyFans. The service mainly consists of responding to private messages from fans by impersonating them, which is a very time-consuming aspect of online sex work. (in English) You can read it here.

Doctor Who?

The Doctor, the hero of the famous British science fiction series… Doctor Whowould soon be embodied by Ncuti Gatwa, an actor who already distinguished himself. Sex education. Problem: Ncuti Gatwa is black and was flooded with racist comments after this announcement. This is editorial teen fashion returns to the conflicts around him. racing bending“, when a racialized actor or actress embodies a fictional character who identifies as white and the racism inherent in online fandoms. It will be read here (in English).

Something to read/watch/listen/play

firefly 1
Firefly Series

There’s a lot of loophole in my sci-fi culture. were among them Firefly. I recently caught up with my little save (about 20 years or so) and enjoyed it so much that I decided to write about it. Because this is my newsletter and if I want I can review a piece published in 2002! Fireflytherefore it is a series created by Joss Whedon (before we continue, let’s mention it’s about his father). buffyand has also recently been the subject of a lengthy investigation into misogynistic behavior). We follow the woes of a gang of space thieves who, thanks to their ships, specialize in the transportation of contraband. Calm. However, the sudden intervention of two new passengers, who is wanted for a mysterious reason by the on-duty force, turns the team’s daily life upside down.

I loved Firefly, because it told me a sci-fi story I didn’t expect. Already with its atmosphere, it is between a western movie and a movie. Spaceopera. But best of all, no grand intergalactic conspiracy, no attempt to save the universe, no (too much) chase in the stars. The plot mainly focuses on relationships between crew members. Each of the nine characters has a complex and fair story: traumatized ex-soldiers in a lost war, a priest with a troubled past, a prostitute caught between her advantageous social position and her desire for freedom… not) and especially since it has no real ending, since it was never renewed after its first season. One movie bitterly ends the story that I personally find very lame! Again, Firefly It rightfully remains a sci-fi classic from the 2000s, one that I even (and especially) recommend if sci-fi bores you in normal times.

Firefly, one season (14 episodes) available on Disney+

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