February 8, 2006

pet toys


There's a new term I've been using a lot recently:

"Pet Toys". Passive-aggressive bloggers and blog commenters who spend a disproportionate amount of time making lots of little sqeaky noises, not dissimilar to those chewy rubber things you find in pet stores.

Pet Toys are first cousins of "Happy Trolls". Go visit Scoble's blog and you'll find them by the hundreds.

[Bonus Link:] From Laurent: "Ten rules of blog fighting".

Posted by hugh macleod at February 8, 2006 9:43 AM | TrackBack

The visual of this is explained perfectly by the latest Fark cliche - "Honk Bag" - which was originally proposed as a new reality show wherein people take out their frustrations by using a sledgehammer to pound on a hefty bag full of squeak toys.

Perhaps it's time that the term "Honk Bag" transcend Fark and become the meme for such bloggers/comments. It is a perfect description.

Posted by: RichW at February 8, 2006 1:51 PM

I suffer from the conceit that I am both Hugh’s Barmy Army dilettante and Happy (Despondent) Troll.

You might not expect a cancer researcher to experience an epiphany upon stumbling across The ‘Void, but the distillate of common sense, written with the brevity and playful acerbicity of Flannery O’Connor, appeals immensely to the cranky scientist.

The “How To Be Creative” white paper should be required motivational and inspirational reading for anyone in the upper percentile for serotonin readsorbtion.

However (uh-oh): as much as I would like to carry the tattered banner against mediocrity (cue Killing Joke, circa “Brighter Than A 1000 Suns”), my hackles rise when ever there is the suggestion of arrogance or superiority.

This is when the happy troll jumps out from under the bridge and snaps off a double liner.

I think it is because I have become such an advocate of the “Smarter Conversations” line that anything that smacks of cerebral or informatique hierarchy is anathema to the business at hand: that’s right business.. and all aspects of our pathetic existence that benefit from respect.

The last troll-bait for me was the utterly depressing blond(e) joke scam. No harm done, except for the trapping of thousands in a cyclical hangover nightmare as they struggled to be in on it. I’ll bet that it hurt a lot of the faithful. I didn’t get trapped, but it made me feel quite blue at the ugliness of it.

Yesterday’s “Won’t Get Fooled Again” troll snipe was merely a knee jerk to what appeared to be an intangible smugness surrounding A-list wannabes waiting to assume prominence.

In the end what I, personally, think is all a lot of bollocks morphing into a hill of beans to be washed away by the first hail storm. That’s right. I have no friends.

Chew me.

Trolls will always play a useful role in any process, whether it’s the deceleration of GE crop deployment or the exposure of features in a developing product/campaign that might rankle a few million other like-minded consumers.

Don’t call them Happy Trolls, call them Beta Trolls.


Posted by: Steve Griffiths at February 8, 2006 3:15 PM

Steve, at least a troll knows he's being a troll.

A pet toy doesn't know he's being a pet toy ;-)

Posted by: hugh macleod at February 9, 2006 10:41 AM

Not sure what classification I'll receive for this, but I'll run the risk.

I thought the 'happy trolls' classification was quite valid, and it's helpful to introduce an element of etiquette to blogging, commenting, etc.

Where I'm unclear is on the exact definition of a 'pet toy.' I spend a lot of time reading, commenting and discussing my favorite posts, and I'm certainly not alone. Should I feel guilty? Change my habits? Is it acceptable to agree, add one's two cents and flee? Or is that kind of behavior now considered a burden on people with a lot of traffic, etc.?

Damn it. I'm squeaking, huh.

Posted by: Jordan at February 9, 2006 8:52 PM

I love trolls. They can add spice to a boring thread. And some bloggers who have relatively few comments (like me, for example), would gladly pay professional trolls to comment on their blogs. I also love linkwhores (nsfw), maybe because I am one myself, but mostly because they help grow the blogosphere. Without them, blogosphere wouldn't double in size every 48 hours (more or less).

Posted by: Sonia Belle at February 10, 2006 2:18 AM

I just clicked on "Sonia Belle," and the sound that came outta me was definitely Pet-Toy-ish

Posted by: John Salisbury at February 10, 2006 7:29 PM

How's the view from the mountain top?

Posted by: Ben Popken at February 10, 2006 9:04 PM

Like the view from the top of a big ol' silo, Ben ;-)

Posted by: hugh macleod at February 11, 2006 8:58 AM