I got a concern troll of my very own last night.

04 Aug 2008 11:01 am
Posted by: Donna

How exciting for me! It was a response by someone calling himself “indyvoter” on this post:

For what it’s worth, I don’t think that just because a woman has written these posts that they have to be honey sweet. And I do understand that politics is much more confrontational than selling deodorant or real estate.

But I do think that if the goal is to convince people that you have a good thing to sell, and you want them to be as excited about it as you are, and you want them to vote the way you are planning to vote…that being a potty mouth and always trying to suck as much shock value out of as few words as possible…just isn’t the way to do it.


Well first, I think some definition of terms might be needed:


1a. Noun
One who posts a deliberately provocative message to a newsgroup or message board with the intention of causing maximum disruption and argument Urban Dictionary

Concern Troll

A person who posts on a blog thread, in the guise of “concern,” to disrupt dialogue or undermine morale by pointing out that posters and/or the site may be getting themselves in trouble, usually with an authority or power. They point out problems that don’t really exist. The intent is to derail, stifle, control, the dialogue. It is viewed as insincere and condescending.
A concern troll on a progressive blog might write, “I don’t think it’s wise to say things like that because you might get in trouble with the government.” Or, “This controversy is making your side look disorganized.” Urban Dictionary

Oddly enough, or perhaps not, I happened to be toodling around the blogosphere after I got that caveat from “indyvoter” and came across this post on one of my fave progressive blogs, Pandagon.

I’ll admit, I was always confounded by the idea that women shouldn’t curse, that certain words are reserved for male-only company. You’d think that was a fading idea, but the hostility that cursing female bloggers get demonstrates that a lot of people still hold that belief. It just never made sense to me, until reading this exchange—the taboo against women cursing is another instance of women being understood in our society as children, and children are a class restricted from the use of naughty words. Blair doesn’t even try to hide that he thinks of women as children, using the childish descriptor “pottymouth” …

I couldn’t agree more with Amanda and the strange admonishment I got about swearing in my posts (which I obscure with symbols anyway) makes a bit more sense now. I guess this is a common thing in the right wing blog hivemind, scouring the internets for incidents of women being “pottymouths” and making a point of expressing your “concern” over it. Oh, and indyvoter also chastised me for being angry in my post about John Sidney F**king McRacist. That one I expected because I’ve long understood that female expressions of anger are taboo, even on a blog.   We women are never off the hook from the obligation to be cheerful, pleasant, and decorous no matter where we are. 

He also made this cryptic comment:

Food for thought–if you happen to aspire to serve in office at any point in the future, it might be worth considering that what you say here, stays here, with your name on it, forever.

I don’t use my last name here but I also don’t make a big secret of who I am. I don’t know what indyvoter’s intention was in making that comment but I do have to commend him for displaying a higher level of concern trolling skill than he did with the anger and “pottymouth” stuff. It was what redeemed an otherwise lackluster effort. So overall, I’ll give him a C-plus.


  1. Comment by Zelph on August 4, 2008 10:22 pm

    I’m concerned about your concern troll. Is he getting the proper amount of attention? His mental health doesn’t seem to be very good. Concern trolls are cute when they are little. I used to have my own concern troll, but I had to ban him. He is now running for Congress as a Libertarian. How fast they grow up!

  2. Comment by indyvoter on August 10, 2008 7:58 pm

    1. It is uninformed–and sexist–to immediately assume that I am male because I disagreed with you. I am not. I happen to have breasts and just as many x chromosomes as you in my DNA,.

    2. It’s clear you put a lot of thought and work into your blog, which most people don’t do unless they want to be read, by a lot of people. Flame me all you want. If your website statistics indicate a steadily growing audience over time, and there’s a lively discussion amongst a wide variety of readers showing up in the comments, then you’re succeeding at that goal and I’m simply not your demographic.

    If those things aren’t happening–maybe my words make a valid point. I don’t expect you to disclose that information here, just encourage you to look at those numbers and hear what they say.

    Just don’t play the gender card if it ever happens that your way of expressing yourself keeps you from achieving things you very much deserve to achieve.

    I won’t be adding to your webstats by coming back to look for a response. But thanks for the momentary thought I’m sure you had, of immediately flaming me with one in order to have the last word. I’m sure your very large audience here will get a good laugh out of it.

    Warmest regards,

    The C+ Troll

  3. Comment by Donna on August 10, 2008 8:40 pm

    Oh hi indyvoter, I never assumed what your gender was. Believe me, I’m aware that women can be just as rigid in their interpretation of gender roles as men can be. Trust me, dear, it doesn’t detract in any way from what a concern troll I think you are. :)

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