Wednesday, 27 August 2008

A New Class of Pagan Troll

At one of the message boards where I post, we have invented a few terms for various sorts of pagans. One that has been in regular use is IRAB an acronym for "I read a book ...", i.e. those who constantly spout they read this book and it told them all they needed to know about their particular pagan path. Usually, its only the one book or author, but you do get some who read two or three books, but they are always of the awful kind, i.e. bad history, mistaken facts, misguided exercises, etc. This particular message board frowned on these types and made light work of dismissing them from the forum altogether.

This week, one of our regular posters, Nelli, realised that there was a new sort of IRAB, only they used the internet. Nelli coined the term "Google Botherer" with the accompanying acronym "GB". These are those pagans who are full of their own self-importance and post whole swathes of information on message boards. However, the canny pagan poster can soon detect that this is not the usual writing style of the GB and goes in search of the text on the internet, only to find the GB has googled one or two salient words and then "cut and paste" the information from another website.

Rather than referencing the site to prove a particular point, the GB seek to affirm their position as the great know-it-all by blatantly posting information as though it were their own. The GB is often ignorant of the fact that most people know how to use Google and have encountered Wikipedia several times before. When someone else on the message board points out the copyright breach (and the possible legal ramifications for the owner of said board), the GB will claim ignorance; even when referred to the copyright notice on the website from which they pilfered the information in the first instance.

I've encountered these types before, mostly at the Pentacle message boards, where such behaviour is swiftly intercepted and the offending GB is told to desist posting without the appropriate links and/or acknowledgements to the original website/author. And, yes, they often claim ingorance, but they are soon reminded that "ignorance is no excuse in the eyes of the law".

What I find sad about GBs is that by cutting and pasting whole swathes of text belonging to others, it almost appears as though they have no opinions or thoughts of their own. The number of times I've questioned people on posts, only to find that they "read it in a book" (though I later find they cut and paste from a website) and its not really their own opinion. Then, why do GBs or IRABs bother posting? Its smacks of trollish behaviour to me and I find it offensive in some instances. Its as though the other posters are just there to be played with - the GB dangling tid-bits of information (from other sites) in front of them in order to keep them happy.

To paraphrase that old maxim: "If you've got nothing to say then keep your mouth shut (or refrain from posting) and be thought a fool, rather than post words that are obviously not your own and be known as an idiot."

I wonder how prolific this behaviour has become if others have noticed it?

1 comment:

Ambermoggie, a fragrant soul said...

Oh yes many of those around:) Add them to those who have learnt all they know from an old teacher(usually dead) The likes of Ray Bone, Gerald et al. As in "I was initiated at age 18 in the traditional way by (insert teacher of your choice here)"
Can't really ask them can we? Although some of the claims I've heard make me wonder how many covens, followers they had. Must be in the undreds now