Trolling consists of a simple idea: bait your enemies into contradicting themselves. Early trolling operated extensively by inducing people to contradict themselves on taboo topics like race, gender and class, which are both obvious and universally denied as they make some people feel excluded and therefore are “socially unacceptable.”
Some of the earliest trolls exploited this blind spot:
A number of the attackers, calling themselves the â€œMEOW MEOW ARMYâ€, were bent on taking over afk-mn and occupying it as their own. It soon was – the Harvard students, seeing a fire raging out of control in their cyber Dunster House, were compelled to escape to a local, non-propagated newsgroup on a Harvard server.The meow hurricane, however,simply refused to die: alt.college.college-bowl continued to be attacked until almost a year after Matt Bruce’s now infamous post, and the Meowers now in afk-mn began to redecorate their new home (with the legendary Fluffy, formerly Matt Bruce’s pet, claiming ownership of all of Usenet), merging with the verbal abuse powerhouse known as the Mighty Alt Dot FlameTM.
Today, afk-mn remains as a sort of Usenet posting relay hub. The first- and second- generation Meowers also became alt.flame regulars. Other bases of Usenet Performance Art, such as alt.alien.vampire.flonk.flonk.flonk, alt.non.sequitur, and alt.stupidity, long bases of Meow action, also traded regulars with the Nose. These groups fused together to form what is now known as the Empire of Meow.
This empire is still growing as you read this, as in 1998 the groups alt.flame.niggers and demon.local were recently annexed much in the same fashion as the ‘Nose. There are hundreds of groups throughout the alt.* heirarchy who have at least heard of the Meow movementâ€¦ every so often, a troll warning will be posted to these groups, sometimes even warning the inhabitants about elements that the Empire has nothing to do with:
â€œYou will be able to recognize a troll and an impending invasion from alt.syntax.tactical by cascades, numerous appearances of the word â€˜meowâ€™, and crossposts to alt.fan.karl-malden.noseâ€¦â€
Later trolls did so as well. In dying times, the greatest opportunity consists in affirming what is naturally obvious yet denied by the power structure.