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Home -> Community -> Usenet -> comp.databases.theory -> OT: Troll vs. Crank

OT: Troll vs. Crank

From: Marshall <marshall.spight_at_gmail.com>
Date: 16 Jun 2006 10:54:32 -0700
Message-ID: <1150480472.643099.135200@f6g2000cwb.googlegroups.com>


Sometimes our vocabulary limits our understanding.
(The "Sapir-Whorf hypothesis".) I think this has been
happening to me lately.

Most people are familiar with what a "troll" is.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_troll

To me, the defining characteristic of a troll is that he speaks not in good faith. That is, he doesn't believe his own arguments; they are made simply for provocation.

But until lately, I haven't really had a concept, or a term, to describe
someone who *does* believe his own posts, but whose posts are nonetheless of no redeeming value. (I am unclear how this hole in my understanding has persisted for so long--an excess of faith in human nature, perhaps. I am also beginning to believe I posess a certain gullibility.)

In any event, everyone else probably already knows this, but I present what is a relatively new concept to me: the crank.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crank_%28person%29

Trolls seem to get all the press, and all the attention. But it strikes me that cranks are actually distinctly more numerous.
(Real trolls are relatively rare in this newsgroup; we generally
have several cranks at any given moment.)

In any event, consciousness of this concept of "crank" has improved my ability to interpret what I read in the group. Since the concept is much publicized, (at least relative to trollhood) I thought that perhaps the idea would be useful to anyone else who, like me, somehow managed to miss it for so long.

HTH Marshall Received on Fri Jun 16 2006 - 12:54:32 CDT

Original text of this message

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