Saturday, August 23, 2008

Usenet trolls

They have always been around. Since the dawn of Usenet itself. Well before the term Internet became common usage. They are so easy to spot. Here is a good example of what a troll will say.

"I'm looking for the best Linux distro in terms of user interface that requires none or a minimal amount of command line work. One that has a lot of working applications including a good web browser, office suite, email, games, programs that will playback music (mp3, lossless, ogg, MIDi, etc.,) no hassle drivers for all-in-one printers, will accept external usb hard drives and DVD drives, external usb modem - basically as complete an OS as possible without having to hunt down a lot of drivers and hack the system to work. I had enough of that with the Amiga. I will most likely be running this on a PC laptop without any other OS installed. I don't like crowds on a single computer when it comes to op systems."

Now, all of those things he/she demands have been standard on Linux distributions for the last 3 or 4 years. The fact that he/she covers such a wide range of hardware and software requirements spells out he/she is trolling the newsgroup. If he/she had done even the slightest bit of googling he/she would get the answers he/she seeks. Instead he/she has trolled a Linux newsgroup.

Why is this particular bit of text labled trolling? After all, isn't he/she is merely asking which of the numerous distributions has everything he/she demands? Well, no. For one, he/she asked in a Linux newsgroup. For two, he she covers a wide range of requirements. For three it simply smells foul. For four it has troll written all over it.

From time to time we Usenet stalwarts see posts with content like this and simply ignore the poster. Unfortunately, we have some amongst our number that cannot resist such posts. That particular post will see one of two things happen. One, a distribution war will start. Where a number of people will be sucked in and start saying "this or that distribution is best" without even considering the original posters intents or wants/needs. Two, the poster will never post again as everyone else smells troll too and ignores the original poster.

I hope, in this case that the latter prevails.

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