OT: Troll vs. Crank

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


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.


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 - 19:54:32 CEST

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