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10 Years of Coding Horror, Troll Research, and Tacos


Jeff Atwood, Coding Horror, 10 Years of Coding Horror, here.

I’m thinking about all this because this month marks the 10 year anniversary of Coding Horror. I am officially old school. I’ve been blogging for a full decade now. Just after the “wardrobe malfunction” Janet Jackson had on stage at Super Bowl XXXVIII in February 2004, I began with a reading list and a new year’s resolution to write one blog entry every weekday. I was even able to keep that pace up for a few years!

Wilson, Fuller, & McCrea, The Fiberculture Journal, Troll Theory? here.

At the same time, to admit that you are trolling shows that you hold a target–a forum, a discussion or a user–in far lower esteem than the target holds itself. This reveals an obvious conflict of values. To own up to trolling is, moreover, a boast. As the troll, you affirm a playful mastery of Internet lore and practice that outstrips that of my target. You assert your distinction in a positional game which mobilises and accumulates technological, cultural and social capital. You aggrandise yourself as a puppeteer, maintaining control over your own passions while asking the other to question the bearings of their affects: ‘u mad?’. You remind them of values that preceded them, which you stand for, and propose to reinforce. The troll is proprietorial of particular forums, or even of the network as a whole. The troll looks to repel incomers, to deter the masses, or at least introduce a tiny break-flow into the circuit of discourse. Occasionally, the troll seeks to disrupt nodes of power from a perspective that looks to maintain the idea of the Internet as a space where manners and norms are suspended. But even in these circumstances, it is necessary to recognise that the exercise of the freedom to disrupt can impede the use of particular spaces for deliberation, support, or mutual aid.

Matthew Yglesias, Slate, Efficient-Markets Hypothesis Says America Is Poised for Better Tacos, here.

Some friends and I were lamenting the sorry state of the D.C. area’s taco offerings, and I observed that if Taco Cabana were to expand to the area, it would crush the competition. Not because Taco Cabana is the single greatest taco in the universe or anything, but it’s a taco chain that’s had to cut its teeth amidst the taco plenty of Texas. It has managed to bring to scale a homogenized chain taco concept that can plausibly go head-to-head with a robust taco culture.

So I’ve often thought that if and when they ever expand to the people-dense, taco-poor Northeast Corridor, they will clean up.


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