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Forum Post: Are There Trolls at Encampments?

Posted 2 years ago on March 11, 2012, 12:57 a.m. EST by RedJazz43 (2757)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

Some people would like to view this forum as a virtual encampment. Are there trolls at encampments? I don't know what the would look like if there are. In my experience occasionally groups of fraternity boys would wander past an encampment intent on teasing and belittling us. I'm not sure but perhaps they were the equivalent of trolls. In any event we typically engaged them in banter and here and there we were occasionally able to inject a serious note. In every instance in my experience, while we didn't convince these fellows of our point of view, they were won over by our warmth. In any event, the whole experience was quite different from the kind of hostility which I see on this forum both towards opponents of the movement and in terms of internal disputes among supporters.

The only equivalent that I see is perhaps with the attitude toward police at encampments, though even there there is generally friendly interaction until the cops are getting ready to bust people.



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[-] 2 points by PopsMauler (182) from Chicago, IL 2 years ago

It's the internet. People are much more courageous behind a veil of anonymity more often than not.

[-] 1 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 2 years ago

But if people really want to see this forum as a virtual encampment, first of all they should probably know what an actual encampment is like, preferably through personal experience and really try to model interactions here with the same kind of love and warmth one finds at an actual OWS encampment. Again, I am not suggesting that there were never any disagreements at encampments. Some are quite well know, for example the distinction between the perpetually homeless and "movement" homeless, but no matter how heated these disagreements became, I never saw the kind of insults that I see here.

[-] 1 points by PopsMauler (182) from Chicago, IL 2 years ago

You'll get no argument from me. I get where you're coming from. I wasn't offering a justification, just a possible explanation. Some people just get their kicks out of trolling or insulting people, hence why they mostly do it online.

Before he died, the late Andrew Breitbart gave an excellent exhibition of trolling as we know it in both manifestations of discussion. You can skip to :13 to avoid the show it was on if need be.


[-] 0 points by epa1nter (4650) from Rutherford, NJ 2 years ago

I think that's impossible. Sitting alone at a computer is a very different experience than being together in a space with people who share your views and commitment. In an encampment there are numbers of you, together. You form insulating groups. The only way to find that equivalence on the net is by numerous people posting their solidarity with each other, but even then one can't form clusters. Each writer is an isolated individual in front of their respective keyboards, and each troll has the same impact as each ally. What's more, the trolls themselves aren't open to warmth and can't experience the camaraderie of groups they see across the street. They come here to disrupt and, in their own isolation, are motivated to dig in, lest they themselves feel alone in going over the the other side.

The dynamics and psychology of the net is different than that of a physical gathering. The words on a screen are abstractions, not people, in terms of experience, There is no blood or flesh or eye contact. And most of all, there are no groups.

[-] 1 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 2 years ago

I tend to agree with you. I don't think that a computer group can in any way be the equivalent of people actually physically engaging with each other. People argue lots of folks don't have the time to be engaged in OWS. I don't buy that. Except at encampments, most general assemblies meet weekly at most. Church attendence is down in this nation, yet millions of people with full time jobs and families still attend church every week. What prevents people from being active in OWS is not so much lack of time as it is lack of experience. They don't know how to begin.


[-] 0 points by Pujete (160) from New York, NY 2 years ago

I think it was the generally friendly interaction between the cops and protesters that scared Bloomberg and Kelly the most.

[-] 1 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 2 years ago

At the eviction cops were brought in from the outer boroughs rather than use the cops that were regularly stationed at Zuccotti, who were considered unreliable for the project.

[-] 0 points by GirlFriday (21784) 2 years ago

How quaint.

How timely.

I'll be damned. If you want to pet them, cool. Just don't feed them after midnight or get them wet.

[-] 2 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 2 years ago

I'm just reflecting on my personal experience. Certainly many people at encampments are as angry as are people on this forum and often with good personal reason. It may seem corny and sentimental, but for some reason the nature of the experience at an encampment seems to bring out love and warmth in people rather than hostility. This is not to suggest that there are not disagreements and I've seen actual fist fights at encampments, but I've never seen the kind of insults that go back and forth on this forum, and it doesn't strike me that anything is learned by such interaction. If one doesn't think that anything positive can come from a particular interaction there is always a choice not to engage that person.

[-] 1 points by GirlFriday (21784) 2 years ago

Hey, doesn't have to be this way........or does it? I think that you should read through all the posts.

I'm not buying into that whole be nice to the jerks thing again. Not doing it.

[-] 1 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 2 years ago

The thing is, people sometimes come to encampments to heckle who are really quite hostile to the movement, but in my experience at least, occupiers didn't think of anyone, no matter how hostile, as a jerk. I met several occupiers who had "everybody matters" tatooed on their forearms. One young fellow at Occupy Philly had been arrested more than anyone else at the occupation, He was a slight guy who was frequently exploited in jail. When that happend he would look down at his forearm and remind himself that "everybody matters."

[-] 0 points by GirlFriday (21784) 2 years ago

Too bad. I think of them as jerks. I'm sure that they matter to their mothers. So.......somebody cares for them.

[-] -3 points by JesusDemocrat (193) 2 years ago

GirlFriedbrain translation "jerks" in English means "anyone who doesn't buy into her socialist/communist fanciful notions"