Ford: A farewell to trolls

The Good of This Place

And so it arrives. The last column. Plenty of my fellow senior columnists have given eloquent and moving goodbyes, salutes to Yale, and remembrances of years gone, so it seems fitting that I should do the same — after all, my column is called “The Good of this Place.”

But I tend to write about that nostalgic stuff on a biweekly basis, even during the regular season. And since I’ll be delivering a more serious reflection on Class Day anyway, I’m going to use my last column for a very different kind of send-off. There’s a saying on the Internet that advises, “Don’t feed the trolls.” Well, the Yale Daily News’ comment boards are particularly troll-infested — and year after year, we columnists have shouldered the complaints, the rants and rarely the plaudits without ever acknowledging their darling authors. But god forbid we end our careers at the News without throwing them at least one bone, one inspired rage-quit, one guilty spark of recognition that admits: “We read you.”

And boy, do we. So let the feeding frenzy begin.

River Tam: No, not River Clegg. The original Failboat, Tam began her auspicious trolling career as a champion of the right wing. But the 2010 change in commenter registration brought about a transformation in both name and character, and Tam’s critiques acquired a razor-sharp contrarian edge. Things she doesn’t like: liberals, third-generation legacies, YCC, Scroll and Key, Classics majors, liberals, “the interminably peppy,” puppies, pro-choicers, Title IX, senior class gift, liberals, sunshine, good cheer. Also, the majority of staff columnists. No one knows who Tam really is, although she has hinted at membership in the Class of 2011, most of whom she surely despises as well. If this is the case, we’ll be sad to see her go. Of course, sticking around to comment after graduation is a time-honored troll tradition, which brings us to …

Paul Keane: Otherwise known, of course, as “The Anti-Yale.” He went to Yale Divinity School a long time ago, and possesses the uncanny ability to relate each and every current event to his own life. There was a shooting at Toad’s? He graduated from Kent State in 1972, you know. Someone put up racist graffiti? He went to this conference at Cornell in the ’60s where someone said something racist. Students like wearing sweatpants? He lives in Vermont, actually, and they wear overalls there, which is pretty close. There was a breakthrough on Lyme disease? One of PK’s good friends had a roommate who had that! Did he mention he went to Yale Divinity School? It’s safe to say PK has commented more and earlier than any other troll in YDN history and maintains a titular, much-updated blog (among many others). That said, his commitment is actually pretty impressive (if a bit worrisome), and he receives extra points for commenting under his real name. Then again, if he didn’t, how else could he prove he went to some version of Yale?

Eli1: Also known as “angry jock troll.” Not the most frequent of commenters, Eli1 springs to the valiant defense of the Yale athletics program whenever it comes under fire from the whiny, unattractive, unsuccessful, antisocial normies who have never been to a frat party and will never make decent i-Bankers. You still go watch him play in The Game every year, so who cares if they’ve lost nine out of the last 10? Recently voted “Most Likely to Punt Ned Fulmer.” See you at Toad’s, losers. Additionally: AMERICA.

YaleMom: I had to call my own mother to make sure this wasn’t her. YaleMom is actually pretty sweet, and I hope she’ll stick around the comment boards after her embarrassed offspring graduate from Yale. When that day comes, however, you’ll be sure to find her in the Yale bookstore, with a “#1 Yale Mom” t-shirt, hat, and mug to match.

SiouxChamp: Saved the worst for last. The Troll God. Good Christ, I hate you. For those who don’t know, SiouxChamp is an extremely well-read, upstanding citizen from North Dakota who, after watching the Yale men’s hockey team beat the pants off his beloved alma mater last year, decided to troll every News article about our dominant skaters. SiouxChamp crowed triumphantly when our “Bullfrogs” (he’s a clever one) were defeated by eventual tournament winners Minnesota-Duluth (or rather, the referees), only to see Michigan upset North Dakota several days later. Whoops! I’d have a complex too if my 15,000-student hockey powerhouse started losing to a bunch of prissy Ivy Leaguers from Connecticut. But SiouxChamp takes trolling to a new level with his unprovoked, misspelled bitterness. What does he do during the off-season? Throws darts at a poster of Denny Kearney’s beautiful face, most likely. But I’ve got a challenge for you, SiouxChamp: beat me one-on-one in hockey, and I’ll publicly announce that NoDak is the best team in the country. Lose, however, and I hereby banish you from the News for time eternal. Consider yourself served.

And that’s all, folks. There are many others — Goldie, grumpyalum, new ROFLCOPTER, Arafat, joey00, Leah Libresco ’11 — but these five are my favorites. Troll long and prosper, guys. It’s been fun.

Riley Ford is a senior in Saybrook College. This is his final staff column for the News.

Comments

  • The Anti-Yale

    Thanks for the satire. I agree—my commitment to blogging is a bit worrisome.

    That’s why I wrote my own funeral service, so no one else can have the last word.

    But your effort here was a good try!

    http://prehumous.blogspot.com

    Best to you,

    PK

  • pickle

    I think River Tam is a sociopath.

  • River Tam

    You will know who I am at graduation. I will the be the girl crying, wishing Michele was sitting next to me.

  • 201Y1

    No offense, but I don’t think that’ll narrow it down very much.

  • sonofmory

    Marry Me Riley!

  • pickle

    No kidding… Yale is a breeding ground for sociopaths.

  • Goldie08

    I don’t know – I find goldie is funny and charming!

  • jnewsham

    This was a good read.

  • Jaymin

    Why Leah?

  • lalocruz

    WE’LL MISS YOU RIELY

  • alsoanon

    I have a “Yale Sociopath” list that I keep in my head. River Tam is definitely on it.

  • Jaymin

    Alright people, I want you to actually go onto River Tam’s account and reread some of her comments. Basically, she seems to be a conservative individual who calls out writers who use meaningless and ambiguous pablum in their columns and comments. I really fail to see anything outrageously sociopathic.

    People need to stop responding to principled conservatives with such instantaneous revulsion. River’s comments may not emotionally satisfy your vision of a harmonious world with benevolent governments, efficient welfare systems, and unbigoted equality, but her harsh dose of reality has much merit.

  • The Anti-Yale

    http://yalegrad80.blogspot.com

    Hey Riley,

    You gotta read past my first sentence: the OVERALLS got me arrested at Yale Divinity School by Yale Police because they thought I looked like a miscreant townie. Those eoveralls were a symbol to YPD’s elitist eyes of NON-IVY LEAGUENESS. Ugh.

    TTFN

    (Ta Ta For Now)

    PK

  • Hieronymus’ Bosh

    Wow. Clearly I need to up my trollarity… But it was a dull year… ‘cept for alla tha shootin’s ‘n such.

  • YaleMom

    Thanks Riley!! I think these Yale boys are real honeys. (Are you listening Ashley? The prince has been taken) If you were real, Riley, I would pinch your cheek and give you some of my famous peanut brittle. YEAH!

  • penny_lane

    I think someone needs to update Mr. Ford on the definition of troll…unless he’s deliberately applying it *very* loosely. Simply commenting fequently is not enough to earn the title.

  • medley

    Good column, but folks… read Leah Libresco’s column today: she is, indeed, River Tam.

  • zjkil9

    Bye Riley. We’ll miss making fun of your bloviations over breakfast.

  • penny_lane

    Also, River Tam is one of the few YDN conservative regulars (actually, let’s just go with “regulars” here) with whom I think I would enjoy having a real conversation. She espouses quite a few views I tend to think of as simplistic while displaying strong facility with deeply complex subjects, and a respectable breadth of knowledge and learning–I think we all might have a thing or two to learn from her, even if she is wrong about things like abortion and majoring in the humanities.

    Calling someone a sociopath just because she disagrees with you is stooping very, very low.

  • Leah

    I showed this comment thread to my suitemate who said, “River Tam is your alter-ego! If you believed the opposite of all the things you believed, you would be her,”

    And that’s all I have to say on the matter,

  • RexMottram08

    and a farewell to Riley’s poor quality writing!