This is one of the oddest, most disturbing stories I’ve read about Internet depravity. Parts of it are simply unbelievable.

“Lulz” is how trolls keep score. A corruption of “LOL” or “laugh out loud,” “lulz” means the joy of disrupting another’s emotional equilibrium. “Lulz is watching someone lose their mind at their computer 2,000 miles away while you chat with friends and laugh,” said one ex-troll….

Another troll explained the lulz as a quasi-thermodynamic exchange between the sensitive and the cruel: “You look for someone who is full of it, a real blowhard. Then you exploit their insecurities to get an insane amount of drama, laughs and lulz. Rules would be simple: 1. Do whatever it takes to get lulz. 2. Make sure the lulz is widely distributed. This will allow for more lulz to be made. 3. The game is never over until all the lulz have been had.”

…The willingness of trolling “victims” to be hurt by words, he argued, makes them complicit, and trolling will end as soon as we all get over it.

Their oxygen is your reaction. Without it, they’re rendered impotent. Enough said.

While you’re over at the NYT, be sure to read this shocker, which I’m sure gave Michelle Malkin a dizzy high. And when I say a shocker….

The Discussion: 24 Comments

Read the NYT editorial and unfortunately I was not shocked at the stupid and vicious acts that continue flow from the current administration. It’s amazing that we Americans actually have such a worthless, stupid, seditious, traitorous moron as Bush for president while clamoring for democracy and human rights in China. Frankly, I’m embarrassed and ashamed, no shocked. Are there enumerable human rights, corruption and political problems in China? You bet. Do we have the same problems in the US? Not really. But what we have may be even more insidious than the clumsy thuggery of the CCP. They don’t pretend to be evenhanded, law abiding and fair. Here, this administration, and the Congress and most of the electorate is wallowing in contemplation of their navel lint while others are attempting to destroy the foundations of the US. Now, that’s shocking.

August 2, 2008 @ 10:38 am | Comment

I think this is what happens when people who aren’t that well-socialized (and are living in a dysfunctional society) are isolated from actual face-to-face interaction and real community. It’s easy enough to dehumanize “the other” in “real life.” Remove the layer of physical interaction and I think it becomes even easier. It’s cheap, petty cruelty, little acts of cowardice by stunted, weak and pathetic individuals.

August 2, 2008 @ 3:18 pm | Comment

(to continue)…individuals who feel helpless and victimized on some only vaguely articulated level…so rather than examining their own pain and feelings of helplessness, they turn around and inflict pain on others.

I know it’s all cheap psychologizing, but that’s the best I got tonight.

August 2, 2008 @ 3:27 pm | Comment

is the air really this bad?

August 2, 2008 @ 4:01 pm | Comment

Michael, the air is amazingly good today. It rained the last couple of days and pollution levels seem to have dropped overnight. The CCP can do anything.

Lisa, am with you on the trolls. Their fetish always say much more about them than about their victim.

August 2, 2008 @ 8:08 pm | Comment

Richard said, “The CCP can do anything.”

Yes, Richard, they can.

August 2, 2008 @ 10:13 pm | Comment

I wonder why this “old story” did not see the light of day during the Bill Clinton administration???

August 3, 2008 @ 3:02 am | Comment

Economist magazine had a good article about internet hate as well. Shame on those trolls!

August 3, 2008 @ 7:53 am | Comment

Dissident: China under martial law as Olympics near, August 1, 2008
A Chinese democracy activist told Congress last week that China is under martial law as part of security preparations for the August Olympic Games.

Yang Jianli, a Tiananmen democracy advocate in 1989, fled the country and was arrested and charged with espionage in 2002 before being release in 2007.

Chinese pro-democracy activist Yang Jianli at a news conference in Washington on Aug. 21, 2007, after serving five years in a Chinese prison. Left to right are Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Christopher Cox, Yang’s wife, Christine Fu, Yang and their son, Aaron. AP Photo/Dennis Cook

Now at Harvard and president of the Initiatives for China, Yang told the hearing that “the Chinese government is clearly intimidating the Chinese people not to do anything during the Olympics.”
“Beijing is under martial law now. Beijing has become a forbidden city itself,” he said.

Yang said he does not oppose the U.S. engagement policy toward China, but that it must be realistic. “A very important component of the policy is missing, that [is] engagement with the democratic forces in China.” He said the Bush administration’s “under-the-table deal with China” not to support democratic groups will fail.

“President Bush should send a message to the Chinese people, should engage with the Chinese people,” Yang said, noting that there are “two Chinas in China” – one of people seeking democracy and freedom and the other silenced by the government.

Yang said China supports anti-American and anti-democratic forces around the world and is an ally of Iran. “It is in the interest of the Chinese government to ally with all the dictatorships in the world,” he said.

The solution to China’s problems is democracy and the United States needs to “help China democratize,” he said. WorldTribune.Com

August 3, 2008 @ 7:56 am | Comment

I Believe China’s Political Reform Can Use America As A Relative Object Of Reference

First, let me raise two terms. The first is “Absolute Object of Reference” (AOR). The second is “Relative Object of Reference” (ROR). This is ok, because as an engineering mindset, one must always define new concepts and terms to clarify his thoughts and his research. Let me now explain what these 2 terms mean.

Let’s talk about soccer. We know that Chinese soccer is one of the worst in the world. So clearly Chinese soccer needs reform. Does the Chinese soccer team have an Absolute Object of Reference during when it’s undergoing reform? Of course it has – they are the soccer teams of Italy, Netherlands, Brazil, England, or even the soccer team of USA. Those teams already are much stronger than the Chinese team. So, for every step during its reform, the Chinese team can compare its current state to those teams, to see if it’s closing the gap or not.

Now, lets talk about team Brazil. Does team Brazil need reform? Of course it does. Team brazil also needs to improve its skills, its strategy, its training, etc. But the reform of team Brazil is one without any absolute objects of reference. Because team Brazil is already the best in the world. It can only improve by self-reflection, by studying itself and see what else it can do to make it better. Does Ronaldo need to model its skills after some Chinese player? Well he can of course, if he is humble enough. But he’s not using that Chinese player as a benchmark to meet, if he needs to use that Chinese player as reference, it’s not an absolute reference, it’s only a Relative Object of Reference.

In other words, in any field, if the reformer is way below the talent/skils of others, then those others will become the absolute objects of reference for the reformer. But if the reformer is already the most advanced, the most skilled, the number one, the first car in a motorcade traveling on a road. then he will have no Absolute Objects of Reference. He can still try to seek some new experiences from others, but that’s his choice, and in that case, those others become his Relative Objects of Reference.

Now, let’s talk about political reforms. Does China’s current political system need reform and improvement? Of course it does. But the political reform of China is one without any Absolute Objects of Reference. In other words, the Chinese political system is already the most advanced in today’s world. China is already leading the pack.

Before the discussion can continue. Let us agree one at least one basic point. That is, the American political system results in less individual liberty, more government corruption, less political stability, more inefficiency, and less easy to operate. Therefore, the American political system is at best a relative object of reference for China. In that way, yes the Chinese political reform can use the American system as a reference.

Let me raise anoter point. If a system requires very high skills and training from the user, then generally speaking, it is a poorly designed system.

For example, which cameras are better, the ones created from 50 years ago, or the modern digital cameras like the Sony Powershot? Of course the modern digital cameras are better. Now, which cameras require more skills of the user. The traditional camera, or the new digital camera? Of course the traditinal camera. The user of a traditional camera need to be very knowledgeable about spectral circles, shutter speed, background depth, lighting, etc. I remember when I was in the Army, using a camera requires months of training. If you are not careful, you’ll shoot some pictures and they end up completely not printable in the darkroom, they look either completely black or completely white. But I bought a modern digital camera, recently, called the Sony Powershot. It is so easy to use, that you don’t even need to read the manual. Everything is self-explanatory. Just click and shoot. If you make a mistake, just shoot again, and erase the previous one from memory stick. Even an American knows how to use it.

A good political system is one that is very easy to use, easy to operate, and does not require much training. Or it should even have auto pilot mode, so the pilots can fall asleep, and it’ll still work.

This is the similar to what Mao Zedong said about how government cadres should pay more attention to the details of the citizens’ lives. If a citizen did not think about a certain service, like day care, laundry, buying salt and pepper, etc. The governmetn should think proactively for the citizen. Just like in Windows XP, if I plug in a new hardware, it’ll automatically pop up a message saying “do you want me to now look for the drivers automatically”? and I’ll just click OK, and everything is set up for me. It can think before I think.

Therefore, the Chinese government is a proactive government. The American government is a reactive government. It only does things when the citizen asks them to, but never have the initiative to do it first. Just like, a bad husband only washes the dishes when the wife asks, but never thinks about doing it before the wife asks.

So that is why the modern digital camera, and the modern operating system like Windows XP, are better systems than the traditional cameras, and the old system like MS-DOS. They are more automated, requires less training and less worry from the user. Today, the traditional camera and the MS-DOS systems are slowly being eliminated and no longer in production. Similarly, I think the old American system will one day be elimited and out of production as well.

August 3, 2008 @ 8:26 am | Comment

The problem with your camera analogy is that if it wern’t for a good old fashioned Reactionary Capitalistic Economy and free market economy consumers rewarding ingenuity you would still be using an old fashioned box camera with huge glass plate exposures of minutes instead of fractions of a second.

Next stupid analogy?

August 3, 2008 @ 9:12 am | Comment

Tian Li, you hit the nail on the head – it’s Bill Clinton’s fault.

Nanhe, you’re quoting from a Washington Times site that you would sneer at for its coverage of Iraq, but seem to embrace because it fits your worldview on China.

August 3, 2008 @ 9:15 am | Comment


How do you turn this article into a diatribe against the Bush administration? If that is not derailing a thread, don’t know what is.

The problem is that America loves its freedoms, unfortunately too much in many instances. China goes the other way, to its detriment as well.

A balance in between would be great, but unfortunately the Net has allowed idiots like these guys to wield disproportionate influence and ruin peoples lives – with little downside, since most are anonymous and/or can’t be prosecuted for the lies they spread.

America is a gun society – best to shoot them all, they don’t care about other people.

August 3, 2008 @ 3:05 pm | Comment

bigdog, there are links to two articles in the post. Not a Sinophile is referring to the second link, which does make a case against Bush. I see it as much broader, a case against America’s obsession with immigration – one of the few areas where I actually thought Bush was taking the right approach. Until I saw the article in question.

August 3, 2008 @ 5:28 pm | Comment

did you *have* to post the link to that meat-processing story? i’m gonna have nightmares now 🙁

August 3, 2008 @ 11:39 pm | Comment

ObaMao Nightmare

(…) artist Ai Weiwei, who was a consultant on the stadium’s design and is one of the few anti-authoritarian voices in a politically docile Chinese art establishment, has said that the concoctions for the Olympics are only cosmetically different from official design. Both, in different ways, affirm the continuance of one-party rule, he says, and the repression that implies. “There is no New China,” he concludes.
At the sight of the white marble Mao, the people who bought flowers at the kiosk break from line and bring their offerings to the statue. A young man supports an old man, possibly his grandfather, who wears a vintage blue worker’s suit. Both men bow three times to the statue and lay their flowers on a neatly stacked mound of similar bouquets. Other people come forward, including teenagers. They too bow and leave their offerings.

August 4, 2008 @ 1:04 am | Comment

Which is exactly why I have taken to simply deleting their comments without any response; starving them of the reaction they crave kills them off.

August 4, 2008 @ 4:04 am | Comment


I read them both. And we both know the NYT is no friend of the this administration – or conservatives in general.

But the fact is that Bush has actually been more forward thinking and ‘compassionate’ (seems odd using that to describe him) than Congress. Reform on this front would have been possible without the opposition from within the legislative branch.

So my comment was to point out that to brand this as an intentional assault by this administration was not being accurate. I am no friend of this current presidency, because it has done a lot to roll back individual rights,but let’s try to be accurate and fair in our commentary when its due.

August 4, 2008 @ 11:57 am | Comment

Sedition and treason. Why won’t the American people deal with this? The Congress is weak and incompetent. The administration is criminal. The Supreme Court is more interested in ideology than law. I guess the only solution is revolution. By the way, that’s my answer for China, too.

August 4, 2008 @ 2:33 pm | Comment

bigdog, did you see my own comment where I say immigration is “one of the few areas where I actually thought Bush was taking the right approach.” Meanwhile, it was sadly and disappointingly the Bush administration that committed the atrocity described in the article. We were a kinder, gentler nation under Clinton (and under Bush 1 and even under Reagan), no matter what his (their) flaws may have been. It’s an outlaw regime.

August 4, 2008 @ 10:21 pm | Comment

…other tragedies attributable to President Bush:

Crucifiction of Christ
The Great Ice Ages (Predicted in the ’70s and occured 11,000 years ago)
The Big Bang!
R.I.P. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn 1918-2008

August 4, 2008 @ 11:59 pm | Comment

“Animal rights activists” (a better word for them is “terrorists”) have attacked two scientists at UC Santa Cruz with firebombs, after circulating a hit list of scientists involved in animal research.

Chairman MaoBama declares martial law.

August 5, 2008 @ 5:03 am | Comment

You’re out Tian Li – posting under multiple names is bad enough. Coming here and quoting Little Green Footballs hasn’t won you any points either.

August 5, 2008 @ 6:37 am | Comment

Just read the ‘shocker’. Really sad. (The bit about cows’ windpipes being torn out makes me a more determined vegetarian than ever.)

No doubt all the pro-China jingoists out there will be happily pointing at this ‘shocker’ and saying, “There you go, the West is no better at upholding human rights than we are, so they had better stop pontificating on human rights in front of us!”

(To which I shll reply: It’s precisely because I’m Chinese myself and sick of the ways of the West like you that I’m hoping China can do BETTER in this respect — so we can look the West in the eye, show them a better, cleaner slate and ask them to get lost. But China’s record has stubbornly remained poor. Much to my eternal disappointment.)

August 5, 2008 @ 9:13 pm | Comment

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