Updated: December 23, 2011
Welcome to Trolling, the new strategy by Dr. Kackensprecher aimed at garnering clicks. In this fine article, we will learn all the subtle and not so subtle ways of destabilizing the mental state of people with a high emotional dependence on software. Stockholm Syndrome, in the digital format.
Many a geek worldwide has his/her (mostly his) favorite software. But this goes beyond having the best tool of the trade, the most suitable piece of engineering suited for the task at hand. The feeling transcends into the realm of severe psychological addiction. And so it happens that this addiction creates an instant and violent response to even the slightest manifestation of difference in taste or opinion toward said software. This sounds like a splendid opportunity to have fun. So let's learn the best way to make fanboys angry.
Square peg for square hole
Before you can effectively annoy a fanboy, you must asset his/her state. This is partially dependent on the exact type of software the said person worships. For example, you cannot use the same strategy to bait Windows users and Mac users. Firefox fans require a different approach from those using Internet Explorer. GIMP is not equal to Photoshop. Nor should you mix separate categories of software either.
Your plan must be based on the target user base intelligence and skill, their socio-economic status, the recent comings and goings in the software news world, the popular and controversial topics running in the blogosphere, individual personalities of the key players involved, and finally, the fanboy you are facing. All combined, these factors should present you with the right formula for the most useful trolling.
Going through each and every category is probably boring and too cliche, but I will use this or that software to illustrate how certain attributes, so to speak, can be used to leverage - now, there's a corporate word - and enhance your fanboy electronic warfare.
Tip 1: Tell something that is mildly inaccurate
Say you tell a Mac user how their laptops cost 50% more than a contemporary rival product running Windows. If the actual figure is only about 23%, the fanboy will surely rush to correct you. This serves you on two levels. One, a normal person will not bother to address the slight inaccuracy of your statement, nor will they possibly be aware of the price ranges and differences unless they recently bought a laptop. Second, the fanboy will get angry by your blatant disregard of the marketing figures, which should serve your purpose. Target identified and acquired.
Step 2: Look for the weakness in the defenses
Now that you have their attention, it is time to tune up your offensive. You must not be too obvious. You must be subtle about it, as they could spot your intention, and then the game is lost. To get their sympathy and make them feel confident, agree with them on the price issue, or any other subject you may have used in the warmup phase, but then elaborate on something else that may be bothering you, only this time introduce a personal angle. For instance, complain how FireWire has been flaky for you on your Linux box. If the enemy agrees for some weird reason, find something else to complain about, like a USB printer or maybe an SD card or something alike. It should be a combined hardware-software component for best effect. The fanboys are likely to accuse you of having bad hardware or perhaps missing the right skills to debug such trivial issues.
Getting warmer: Get those spirits flying
At this point, it's time for a demo. Some things will be hard to demonstrate, others trivial. When planning your troll campaign, make sure you come ready and fully equipped for the task. Having some gadgets handy is always a good thing. With your adversary intrigued and mildly riled, you now need their interaction.
Pretend to be clueless and demo something that has a simple and obvious solution, but which might indicate you are at fault and not the software. For example, you might want to complain about Firefox opening tabs right next to the active one and not placing them at the far right end as it used to be in the past. At this stage, you are letting your foe get cozy. You observe but do not attack yet. You wait.
Prototip 4: Oh, the sh!t just got real
Now, you step the drama one notch higher. Time for your second demo. This time, it should be a complex one, with multi-component interaction. For example, playing a media file that is both unassociated with your player of choice, as well as not having the right codecs for the task. Make sure you demo two or three times in a row, rapidly, ignoring any comments and suggestions. Complain most loudly how the software does not do what it is supposed to do. Don't let the fanboy take physical control of your asset just yet. Bait them for a few minutes before you relinquish control to their supposed assistance.
Level 5: Ceasefire
Let the fanboy defend their honor. You part ways. Now, google for your woe, whether real or simulated. Make sure you find at least a dozen references. Look for those that sound angry or desperate, go for unanswered forum and board topics. Try to single out those that seem to involve a whole range of unrelated problems, like people having hardware problems and yet complaining about the stability of their software and alike. Blue screens of death are always a favorite. But so are application traces and /var/log/messages errors in Linux.
The next time you meet the fanboy, complain how the problem is back and obliterate them with mail spam, pointing out to a million online horror stories that justify your frustration. Normal people will refer you to technical support, recommend you switch to an alternative program or just give up. Fanboys will take personal offense at your software issue. You should be highly emotional at this point and resistant to help. Make sure you point out how that program sucks at least twice in the conversation. Now, you go back to the comparison, and you tell glowing stories how the competition does it better and without any problems.
Jedi bonus 6: Resistance is futile
If you've done your work well so far, the fanboy should be angry and fairly derailed. If not, go back to stage three and try a different scenario. You must remember to be thorough and methodical. Anyhow, back to our strategy.
Every time you meet the fanboy, restart the conversation about your issue. Tell stories how you made some progress, but how at every next step you were hindered and hampered by a completely new problem that wasn't there before, and how it only further emphasizes your initial claim. Occasionally, resend online stories that point out the software failures. Ignore user incompetence and environmental issues. Now, you must also look for stories with a charged political theme that add spice to your work.
Not only do you bombard your foe with mails full of problems and misery, you fire at them with stories that mention conspiracies, the suppression of freedom, the community voice not being heard, the locking out of rivals, intellectual property, patents, the mass market exploitation, and so forth. Even if they are not quite related, dig for an angle that makes them relevant. For instance, always remind the Windows users that Microsoft stole DOS from someone, Linux is for communists and Mac is made in Chinese sweatshops. Google must not be trusted with your private data, all your Playstation is belong to Sony, how come you cannot run z/OS on it, what's up with that?
Secret ninja star 7: The power of Youtube
Believe it or not, videos are a hundred times more powerful for trolling than any amount of text. Because few people have the mental capacity to read long blog rants. But they will watch videos and get ultra-rage when faced with facts, true or not, that humiliate their favorite software. You should use a balanced mix of news snippets that seem reasonable as well as rants by USI-riddled people narrating to their camera about things they barely understand and yet feel arrogant enough to babble about. Nothing like a combination of some company's CTO speeches about the business practices of their chief rival and barely intelligible responses by 14-year-old boys pretending to be young techies. The videos should be lame, unfunny, annoying, badly choreographed. The message is less important, but if they can manage to strike a nerve, that's good too.
To find relevant material quickly, look for videos that have re: and response in their title plus the related software, the Latin word versus (or vs.) that indicates would-be comparison, mega-zoom face-in-the-camera litanies, and videos with a lot of dislike votes.
Nukelar weapon: Use with caution!
Now the best part. If you're really keen on annoying those fanboys, you should write your own personal blog entry, rant about it, curse, spit and foam, then disable comments or allow comments but never publish them. You should also use a blogging service that looks cheap. Your post should appear as if someone with a reduced mental quotient got hold of a secret keyboard and spilled their share of angst before being detected.
Then, send that to your fanboy victim to let them know your precious opinion is out there, refuting all the facts they gave you and re-emphasizing how right and correct and awesome you were in the first place. Again, normal people will disregard your oligophrenic piece of prose as a classic Internet turd, but the fanboys will take grudge forever. I've shared many a joyous moment reading various forums where even simple, obvious, blatant jokes made with the most lighthearted and benevolent intentions were greeted with so much hate and zeal that you really start wondering about the planet as a whole. Mac boards lead, I must admit.
so then i installed unubtu and tried to run explorer on it, but it threw an error. i mean wtf! i never had problems like these on windows. my computer just rebooted and i was downloading this softwaer to get the icons. all this talk about linux makng it big on desktop, forget it. never gonna happen. and this spying in kernel, what about that. this is bullcrap, im going back.
And that's all. This is the ultimate strategy that should help you get those fanboys worked up. It's like rough parenting. It's all for the better cause. Or some cause. Maybe. Either way, you win, which is the important thing here. Loving software is all nice and well, but there's a limit to how much enamored and emotionally attached you can be to a bunch of code.
Well, hopefully this blissful piece of article has taught you some useful tips that should bring you much rejoicing. Remember, you must exercise flexibility with your ideas and never falter, even when faced with ultimate zeal. It is important to innovate, have a backup plan ready, as well as be persistent and consistent in your trolling. Do not laugh, break down or show compassion. And you must never give up. It's all for the greater good. With your help, one day, we might live in the world where fanboyism is restricted to Star Wars versus Star Trek. Now, there's a tricky topic.