Assorted links

1. The London pheromone party.

2. Get paid (a little) for Facebook posts.

3. “Both studies revealed similar patterns of relations between trolling and the Dark Tetrad of personality: trolling correlated positively with sadism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism, using both enjoyment ratings and identity scores. Of all personality measures, sadism showed the most robust associations with trolling and, importantly, the relationship was specific to trolling behavior.”  Link here.

4. Do you value more what you choose yourself?

5. Claims about the pricing of cocktails.  And do you value more what you choose yourself?

6. The life of Vladimir Putin.  Good coverage.


I have to differ about the Newsweek article on Putin. I'm highly critical of the man, but this seems like a parody of propaganda - an image of the man with no eyes... THE PARIAH... the west's enemy number one,

He's against Obama. That makes him worse than Hitler.

@3: Seems we have some sadists trolling this blog...

Masochists more like, as they spend ludicrous hours a week to let us know just how much they disagree with the latest recent pro-migration post.

I've never understood what a "troll" is, and their definition isn't helpful (to me). I wonder whether in some way the category reflects Americans in their mealy-mouthed mode, where a full, frank exchange of views is seen as rude or vulgar - it's a sort of infantilised, feminised view of debate. (I'm old enough to remember when Americans weren't much like that.)

Or perhaps not. Maybe it's to do with an inability to deal with being teased.

Trolling is defined not by frankness but by writing solely to elicit an agitated or enraged response.

So a rather harsh form of teasing? OK, thanks.

I think "troll" also implies posting something false, or that you don't actually believe. For instance, the z man certainly loves to post things that are intended to get a maximum reaction or response. But he actually believes every word of it, bless his heart. So I don't consider him a troll. JAMRC, on the other hand, is just bs'ing. So he's a troll - which is not necessarily a bad thing, as he's occasionally hilarious, which is more than I can say for the z man.

Also you may the the first person who I've ever heard suggest that the problem with Internet discourse is that people are *too polite*

Dearieme/Urso - I would be interested in where you would put Prior Approval in terms of your troll classification system. He seems pretty sincere, but devoid of humor, and posts frequently and off-topic, so doesn't quite fit either the teasing model or the posting something outrageously false to elicit response.

To me, commenting on MR and in other places are a great step up from debating in the real world or back when we had newspapers to control the debate. It is hard to discuss controversial topics in any kind of civilized way person to person, emotions start to get in the way very quickly, plus generally people don't have sources or coherence to support their arguments so it quickly degenerates into personal comments. So I can put up with a few trolls on comment logs. In fact I have noticed that the best blogs always have a few, not too many, but enough to create some spice and create a little bit of a sense of community among the rest of the regulars. So thanks PA, JAMRC and Bill. But no more please.

Some people are wannabe trolls but fail. And I'm not trolling.

And some people are trolls without even trying.

Clever, but...

No, part of the definition of trolling is trying.

We now know it overlaps with sadism.

See how I'm not trolling? I am correcting a mistruth.

I have no feelings either way in crapping on your (trolling) point!


A little inside baseball. I say things like "shotguns would end piracy' and get tons of pushback.

Then I post several videos of rifles and shotguns ending piracy.


Who are the trolls?

Personally i think it is a form of mood affiliation. Their brain jumps to the track that I am advocating for gun rights so they grab the pull toy and start pulling. What do you think it is?

The term originated in the 80's before the bourgeois masses got in on the act and started telling everyone to be nice. In the early days of UseNet and the BBS, people who posted inflammatory stuff were called "trolls" because they were trolling for attention. In the hyper-polite world of today, "troll" means anyone that posts something with which you disagree.

As I pointed out below, the tone was much worse in the olden thymes.

3. On dumb websites trolls make the most entertaining comments. Guess I'm a sadist.

I bet a lot of "racists" are just sadists.

#6. I've said this before on here, so sorry for redundancy, but Putin's Russia--and apparently Putin's own life--is eerily reminiscent of a great novel on the future of Russia by Vladimir Sorokin, Day of the Oprichnik. It portrays a dystopian Russia of 2028 the encapsulates the worst of Russian/Soviet leadership over the centuries. Russia's actual future may not be that different.

#5 that article never discusses rent and labor costs, which I would think are critical pieces of that story, especially for inter-bar and inter-city price comparisons.

My suspicion is that rent, labor, and overhead, plus margin, are going to account for your baseline pricing. Beyond that, the cocktail menu is mostly price discrimination, with some allowance for different cost of goods.

Regarding Trolling, I notice some websites/blogs require commenters to log in using their Facebook account. Thus using their actual name. It seems the comments are a bit more civilised as a result. Any thoughts?

It is not that hard to create a fake facebook account if one is really interested. But I agree it keeps out many trolls for the time being, if it went mainstream we..ahem... they would all have 2 facebook accounts.

The resulting comments are more civilized but less informed. People who are willing to attach their real-world reputation to a casual blog comment for all time are those who don't have a real-world reputation to damage. (The exception is super-specialized blogs where practitioners talk to one other.)

I disagree, as long as you follow the maxim: don't do anything that you wouldn't be comfortable reading about in tomorrow's newspaper.

That's fine, but it prohibits you from the brainstorming, freewheeling style of comments where you're not afraid to be wrong or say something stupid in the hopes that you'll learn something from the responses.

I agree. I've found that saying dumb, contrary things often yields smart & informed (if angry) responses. When you are wrong on the internet there's always at least a hundred people willing to help you to try to get it right.

But I wouldn't use a Facebook account to troll, so those sites that require you to use them only limit the possibilities for discussion, IMO.

All in all I think trolls are getting an unfair rap these days.

I would be fine reading in tomorrow's paper that I typed an incorrect comment on a website today.

To your last sentence, I think trolling is just another one of the rhetorical arts. JAMRC is a pure troll- he caricatures the views of those he disagrees with enough verisimilitude to make one think.

I would be fine reading in tomorrow's paper that I trolled someone on a website today.

@ Brian:

That's because you probably have no political or upper managerial aspirations. But many would be harmed by someone dredging up a dumb blog comment they once made, so they post anonymously or don't post. And many of those people would probably be welcome additions to a conversation.

Just any number of the undeniably true comments would destroy someone.

They are the only ones that could it seems.

Or don't do anything you wouldn't want your grandmother to know about.

Otoh, if that advice was valid at all we wouldn't be knee deep in "progress" right now.

That maxim would prevent people with some jobs from posting at all. For some of us it's necessary to keep our comments from becoming something that shows up when a client googles for your phone number. Even if all you want to talk about is the benign topics around here, much less something like Israel or immigration or school vouchers.

My previous employer was not thrilled that I had political opinions at all. They didn't even know or care what they were. They just knew it had no upside for them. (And no, it was before I "company"spent time here. I've gotten to the point of heading off the obvious troll snipes)

I think trolling of more sociopathic than psychopathic. In the psyco/sociopath community I suspect my comment would be strong troll bait.

Even if I was posting only politically correct goodthinker comments I wouldn't want some people to know I comment a lot because commenting a lot on political blogs is a sign of general introversion and nerdiness.

I wouldn't be ashamed of having sex with my wife, but neither would I want to see a story about it in tomorrow's NYT.

I sometimes play the troll in comment sections that seem like they need a good trolling. I'm not sure I buy that that makes me a sadist. I doubt people are hurt much by anonymous comments they read on the internet.

Depends on the context...some have apparently been driven to suicide by exactly that.

Trolling isn't the same thing as bullying. It isn't directed at anyone.

In Singapore, threads on foreigners trigger really vile screeds from Facebook commenters. To the extent of slitting throats of white trash and the like.

And they do so while showing their place of work in their profile which - this being Singapore - is often a foreign company.

I think under the placid surface here that there is such a large pool of xenophobia the commenters feel perfectly comfortable saying these things.

To some extent, it's true when people say Singapore is a first world country with a third world people.

#3: I was on line before that phrase was in usage. The word "troll" had a specific meaning in the BBS days. Now it just means "bad person." Interestingly, the tone was mush more harsh in the BBS days. The horrible things people would say to one another on UseNet would get you banned most everywhere these days. People are far more polite today, but everything thinks otherwise.

Humans have pheromone receptors, but thus far science hasn't been able to prove that they're hooked up to anything.

What kind of girls go to a pheromone party? The sheer weirdness of it suggests only the desperate or picky. I'll have to go along next time to find out....

Re cocktails the linked piece confirms something like TC's restaurant menu advice: generally, avoid the standards. Avoid anything with vodka as the base spirit because it's aimed at customers who don't actually like liquor. Similarly, avoid drinks with too much sweetness and/or cutesy names because they're aimed at childish tastes. If a drink has an interesting amaro in it, or if it's built on gin or rye, it's more likely the bartender has put some thought into it.

Another sign to look for is good vermouth. If they're serious about that they're serious about other stuff.

Avoid the standards? I don't think that applies, or should apply, to cocktails. The mark of a good bar and bar/bartender is the ability to produce good classics - martinis, old fashioneds, negronis, daiquiris (the one with lime juice and rum, not the one in the blender), etc. You'd also want knowledgeable bartenders who can offer you specific cocktails to suit your specific tastes, mood, or dinner choice. "Innovative" drinks can be great, but often turn out too sweet, too complicated, or too expensive.

I agree with this.

And a really good restaurant should be able to make an superb roast chicken. But as on average, the most familiar dishes are being marketed to the most timid customers. Same with cocktails.

Not so - in cocktails, the classics tend to get marketed to the more discriminating (pretentious, perhaps?) consumer, while the newer, sweeter, vodka-based "standards" are marketed to timid consumers. Think a cosmopolitan vs. a manhattan. The modern rendition of classic cocktails tend to be bitter and dependent on acquired tastes - not too many first-time drinkers will actually like a real martini, amaro, and the like.

In fact, I would follow the opposite of Tyler's advice for food when you're talking about cocktails. I don't think strip mall Asian restaurants are serving good drinks. Their non-ethnic equivalent, the dive bar, probably doesn't serve very good cocktails either - the customer base just isn't there.

Which is why I specified *menu* advice - how to choose once you're looking at a menu.

My apologies, I misunderstood your comment. Even so, I have better success with standards on cocktail menus that the new, innovative drinks. Usually, though not always, the innovative drink with smoked ice, strange Italian liquors, and/or exotic ingredients just aren't worth the asking price. I have more success with the classics, especially if the bar puts them on the menu.

Your experience may differ based on where you live. Perhaps "avoid the standards" is better advice in certain cities, but not mine.

Here's a second thought on cocktail menu strategy. At a new restaurant, I'm often hesitant to order a martini. I have no idea if the bartender knows how to make one according to the classic directions - gin and vermouth, stirred not shaken (this is the classic martini, any deviation should be specified by the customer). But, where a martini with these components is on the menu, I expect that customers order it frequently, and the bartender has a lot of practice. Therefore, I'd rather order the martini rather than the 8 ingredient innovation.

Ah, but this is a great test. If you order a martini and the bartender says "vodka or gin?" collect your things and walk out.

The term-of-art meaning of trolling is that it's a form of performance art unwittingly involving the audience. Think Loki and other manifestations of the Trickster figure.

The political meaning of "troll" is someone who is scoring points on your Political Team. As we all know those people are bad people and need to be banned from the Internet.

3 self reports? Are the researchers themselves getting trolled?

Other than rather different hours and an ability to ice skate it doesn't seem that Putin's life is much different than any other head of a nation/state. It's curious that the guy doing what he evidently feels is best for Russia automatically makes him a bad guy to Americans. He's got his own country to exploit, why should he be interested in what's good for the US, assuming anyone can actually determine what that might be? The article in the zombie magazine doesn't say how often his security staff reneges on prostitute payments or is found passed out in alleys.

#1 - I would combine speed dating with armpit smelling. Smell one armpit for 2 minutes then move on to the next. Great icebreaker. It's already been implemented here:

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