The ‘Le Reddit Army’ : A Case Study

“LE REDDIT ARMY IS HERE”

Ever read that phrase in a Youtube video? Or see an internet caricature along the line of Berta Lovejoy, or some variation of a fedora wearing atheist posting some inane top-rated comment on a video? Well then, you have encountered a member of the greatly despised “Le Reddit Army”, a group of redditors on the internet who band together to post obnoxious messages on youtube and upvote their fellow soldiers. As I mentioned in a previous article, these guys are a relatively recent brand of troll who operate by impersonating internet stereotypes and inspiring rage from people who fall for their act, proud redditors who don’t want to be associated with them, and anyone who just doesn’t like seeing obvious trolls getting top comments. Who are they exactly, what should you be doing in response to them, and what does their presence say about the internet community as a whole? By the end of this article you will at least have some understanding of these internet trouble makers and then you can decide for yourself whether or not they are worth getting worked up about.

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Musings & Trollisms: A Guide to the Trolling Mindset

[Fibbing Intensifies]

Trolls are people who spread negativity on the internet through deception. This broad description of them is fitting because there are many different kinds of trolls. There are trolls who deceive people by deliberately saying something naive or stupid (EX: “How does this video have 10 million views, there are only 7 million people on the planet?”), and there are trolls that take on an unusually aggressive stance on something that really didn’t need one (EX: “Anyone who STILL believes in God is a confirmed idiot!”). Recently, a newer “roleplaying” type of troll that originates from the “Le Reddit Army”, who invade youtube comment sections and masquerade as stereotypical internet personalities like the “fedora-wearing-neckbeard” and the “angry feminist”. These trolls are meant to incite anger within people in two different ways. The ones gullible enough to actually buy their charade are offended by their patheticness, and the ones that can see through them are annoyed by the sheer volume of them that exist. Trolls often fight with meaningless nonsense, but they rely on their victim’s reaction for their “reward”, so in the end, trolls are only as effective as you allow them to be. On the other hand, there are those who enjoy harassing people, sending threats, saying explosively racist and offensive things, and telling others to kill themselves. These people are often identified as trolls, when in reality they are more akin to legitimate criminals and cyber bullies. Identifying someone that openly sends death threats as a “troll” downplays the seriousness of his or her actions. Actual trolling is like a balancing act, a line between legitimate and fraudulent, entertaining and disheartening, funny and sad; a line that must be carefully balanced upon. In the end, trolling is a performance, and the difference between a skilled troll and an artless basement-dweller is apparent. Before going any further, the question of why trolls troll must be addressed.

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How to Spot a Troll

Spotting a troll is often difficult for people to do these days. Not because most trolls are skilled at concealing their identities, it’s more that people stopped being able to differentiate “troll” from “person I disagree with”. The general routine now is that there is some sort of consensus for a specific topic on a discussion board until someone comes in with a differing view, and that person is subsequently hit with inane and mindless troll accusations that now come in the form of the phrase “gr8 b8 m8 i r8 8/8”. This is a problem because now that the term “troll” can refer to essentially anyone, the phrase has lost all power and the once important task of troll slaying has become far more difficult. I’m here to try and clear it all up.

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