The art of trolling

15 Nov

Not a troll

A few weeks ago I had first hand experience of the local grapevine in full swing.

I was sitting at home looking around in despair at our “homely” (aka a right fucking mess) abode. Trying to do housework and look after a baby at the same time is like painting the Forth bridge – and the folk who do that don’t have to deal with the Swanage Spider Situation.

Every time I turn my back, an eight-legged tenant of ours installs a new web somewhere in the house. They are everywhere. In the corners, on the floors – I even found one between the salad spoons on the kitchen window sill.

It was the final straw. I suddenly remembered that a while ago my friend Michelle had given me the phone number of her cleaning lady. Perhaps it was a hint. Anyway I gave her a quick ring and within five minutes of agreeing our terms another friend called to congratulate me on hiring said cleaner. Hugh Grant would probably have had her arrested on suspicion of phone hacking.

I don’t know how, but around here word just spreads.

It’s probably why the townsfolk make the most of an opportunity to be anonymous. It is surely no coincidence that every single New Year’s Eve the entire town takes to the streets in fancy dress. And why comments on the local community blog, Swanageview, are almost exclusively made anonymously.

Unfortunately for The Postman, the chap who runs the blog, it really brings out the worst in them. He helpfully posts community news and issues which are all promptly ripped to shreds by the anonymous masses. Swanage has nailed the art of trolling (although inevitably they would not agree).

Notice of a proposed talk about the condition ADHD resulted in a little slanging match  between Anonymous One who thought it was  “a make believe disease for naughty schoolboys” and Anonymous Two who chastised him/her by asking “what’s the name for a condition characterised by credulous acceptance of nonsense?”

Woe betide the (anonymous, of course) person who dared to ask whether a local performance by the Masai Warriors (I would love to know what the hell they made of Swanage) was suitable for the under 5s and was bluntly instructed to “do some research and make your own judgement”. The person who wrote that later defended his/her reply by saying that as the comment began “I’m not trying to be rude…”, it wasn’t. Obviously.

A while ago a discussion about local business ended in a stand-off over whether or not it is socially acceptable to sell gollies in the tourist shops (there is an abundance of them,  a result of the somewhat tenuous connection the next village has with Enid Blyton). “Next you’ll be saying we can’t black-up for the carnival” griped Anonymous. You can imagine the replies that got.

More recently a post about the Travelling community was bound to be controversial but all the Anonymi really got stuck in and ended up calling each other Nazis.

The blog owner has now had to write an entire post dedicated to asking people to play nicely and put their money where their mouths are (IE use their names).

Needless to say nobody has taken the blindest bit of notice.

“I wouldn’t be nearly as honest and open if I thought that my identity – and it follows that of my family – could be recognised” said – yes, you’ve guessed it – Anonymous. The irony is that he/she may well only be talking to him/herself for all anyone can see.

The Postman has his work cut out.

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