Sooooo, yesterday I got trolled, and I fell for it, hard. That wouldn’t be so bad, but I published a story on the Daily Dot about it before we found out it was a fake. My bosses are naturally not thrilled. Without minimizing the fact I shouldn’t have swallowed it like I did, that all would be pretty horrible IF (can you keep a sikrit?):
- news organizations weren’t constantly being trolled and then writing stories about the trolling (“rumors of X happening overnight have petered out and it now appears that X was never, in fact, going to happen” and they DON’T generally say “yeah, and we got it wrong yesterday”)
- it had been a major news story instead of an insidery item about the sentencing of someone of whom most of our readers have never heard. Accuracy is always important but this way the spread of the original rumour was minimized, if inadvertently.
- it had resulted in enduring consequences other than personal embarrassment (because god knows I’m long past the concept of human dignity and although my taste does not run to crow I’ve eaten a fair helping or two in my time). Think of the WMD hoax: decade-long, generation-crippling, heart-of-the-nation-sapping war. THAT is a consequence. Hell, Judith Miller went to prison for protecting her source and he turned out to be lying AND hundreds of thousands of people are dead. So yeah, downside.
- it hadn’t resulted in me getting three exclusive interviews with VERY interesting, VERY prominent (in certain circles) people.
- and a marriage proposal on Twitter.
So yeah, troll’s well that ends well. And as I said on Twitter, you can hardly complain about being trolled when you pull:
Selah. May the Internet Drama Fairy watch over you all and protect you from doxing.