Fanboys and Trolls

Started Mar 6, 2010 | Discussions thread
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Joebobb
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Fanboys and Trolls
Mar 6, 2010

As a lurker, I read with some degree of mirth the constant battles between fanboys and trolls. It's funny - while at the same time largely pathetic. And it's pathetic on both sides.

I was trying to understand it. What is it that compels one group of people to intentionally antagonize another? What is it that compels the other group to respond in such defensive and unilateral terms? I think I stumbled on the answer, although the answer seems to be in two parts and I haven't entirely reconciled the two. Maybe someone else could try and help refine the "unified field theory of trolldom and fanboyerism"?

Fanboys and trolls are two sides of the same coin. Actually, they're one and the same...a fanboy for one system is a troll for another. This doesn't mean that all fanboys troll - but the mindset and sentiment that fuels the behavior is the same. And many postings that are deemed "trolling" are actually just cross-forum replies from fanboys of other systems who are commenting on a thread where they feel the necessity to either extol on the virtues of their system or attack the shortcomings of another. But this doesn't answer the question of why.

Self-identified "photographers" are people who obviously have some interest in taking photographs. Indeed, these are people who have decided to turn to photography as a creative outlet. However, many people are NOT creative...this is simply reality. It becomes remarkably clear when you see some of the absolutely mind-numbingly bad or wrist-slittingly boring pictures that are posted in these forums by various parties (who shall remain unnamed...in part because there are thousands of them...at this site and elsewhere). I don't know if these people entirely realize how bad or boring their pictures are - but I think at some level they are dissatisfied with their creative output. It becomes human nature then to look for external causes for this shortcoming...technological limitations of equipment, etc. So the attention becomes directed back at the external means of creation, to avoid reflecting on the shortcomings of the engine of creation - themselves.

At the same time (and maybe somewhat paradoxically), they become personally invested in "their" system of choice...and anyone's suggestion that it is not the bees knees (as my grandmother would say) becomes a personal affront to their competency and self-image as a competent photographer who has wisely chosen the best system.

So maybe the fundamental issue is a deep-seated sense of inadequacy (in terms of creative output - but maybe not only this) that manifests itself in outward, passive-agressive and childish acts of cruelty towards others - and the complementary manifestation of this inadequacy as a blustery and essentially religious conviction in their decisions and (system) choice - as this becomes a fundamental part of their vision of themselves as a "photographer"?

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