Elon Musk Is A Troll

For a period of time, I was a moderator on an online forum for people with an interest in weather. The group ranged from professional meteorologists to rank amateurs like myself.

The forum had subforums, including sports, off-topic, and politics. Weather attracts a wide range of people, across the political spectrum. Sometimes things could get heated.

On the weather side, this is a strange world where sunshine is the worst and boring and hurricanes, tornadoes, and snowstorms are reasons for giddy excitement. It may seem strange, even a bit sick, to get happy about events that cause death and damage, but Earth’s atmosphere really is fascinating. Elsewhere, various subjects were discussed, ranging from events of the day to sporting events to simple things like gardening and weekend plans.

Moderating this group could be like herding cats, and during major weather events it was near impossible to curb misinformation, terrible analysis that confused the discussion, and yes, trolls. In all the subforums, there were trolls. Some were full-time trolls, who were there just to cause chaos, and some were part-timers, those who liked to agitate certain people on occasion.

After a while, you begin to recognize what a troll is. Professional Bond Movie Villain Elon Musk is a troll. And he is a troll on the very platform he likely will buy, Twitter.

One of the odder things to me is that a lot of people seem to not really see Musk’s terrible, petulant child-like behavior. Tech journalist Kara Swisher is someone I admire. But she’s pretty much doing a defense dance of Musk that I’ve heard about trolls here (her piece overall is well worth the read):

“In person, he’s much different.” The problem is, that’s like saying pre-internet “yeah, he may be a jerk in the office and screams at people, but outside of work he’s great.” Trolls thrive off of that kind of thing. And also, it echoes the “it’s just the internet” talk that used to be trotted out to defend bad online behavior. The people being trolled, and the trolls themselves, are human beings made of flesh and blood with a mind, not bots with 1s and 0s.

Trolls tend not to be complete idiots. They know what they are doing.

Troll culture has overrun our offline society as well. Krysten Sinema, is a great example, with her fuckoff ring and her felt-cute-screwed-over-the-poors thumbs down to raising the minimum wage (Note: a common troll technique: do something offensive but leave just enough room for benefit of the doubt that you were misread).

The Republican Party has made trolling their preferred strategy, doing and saying things for no more purpose than to “own the libs.” Many of the bills they are ramming through are just plain troll moves.

Musk operates very much in this spirit on Twitter. Musk has Tweet trolled repeatedly, from accusing someone of being a pedophile over not taking his idea of a submarine to rescue kids trapped in a mine seriously. He even won a related court case using the trolling technique I mentioned above. His COVID Tweets were absurd, and often his other Twitter antics are similar to a 15-year-old’s. Even the Twitter sale price—$54.20 per share—included a troll with the marijuana reference of “420.”

It’s never good for a troll to take over his or her’s playground. We may find out just how awful that looks very soon.

Last word is sort of a troll on you, the reader. If you click on the link, you’ll wish I rickrolled you.

4 thoughts on “Elon Musk Is A Troll

  1. Nice piece. One of the things that i liked is how you pointed out both the “This isn’t real life” aspect of it and how the “own the libs.” aspect of their trolling often goes into real life harm.
    And that what they do “for the LULZ” can cause real harm.
    Trolls use the “Give them the benefit of the doubt” gambit along with the “It was a JOKE” to avoid consequences. They will use the “It’s FREE SPEECH” to give them an out for speech that is harassment, threatening and disinformation.
    They are Working the Refs with that gambit.
    When they DO pay some consequences they pretend that they weren’t busted for what they DID but because someone didn’t like their opinion and “canceled them”

    1. All that is 100% spot on, especially the working the refs part. I don’t think people give them enough credit/hate for being able to play the long game, like here with the media, and it stuns me how many people don’t or won’t see it.

  2. There is a simple, though not remotely easy solution. Once this deal is complete, drop off of the platform. Hurting Muck (oops did i misspell that?) on the bottom line is his greatest fear. Find another platform. As the eyeballs diminish, the ad revenue dries.I am doing quite nicely w/o BergFace already.

  3. “Elon Musk will soon be The King of the Trolls” — he may be the heir-apparent but Trump is the King of Trolls!

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