And once again I am amazed at the shortsighted, self-righteous moralizing of those who pretend to be all progressive, hip cyber age people. Now Gawker outed an internet troll, with no regard for that such was bound to destroy his professional life, and instead of the internet being aghast with what is nothing but a modern witch-hunt, you see them outing themselves as being no more than the narrow minded bible thumpers they truly were all along, see VICE magazine (I don’t link those foolish pretend-bad-boy Goody Two-shoes no more) and even right here on Science2.0, calling Michael Brutsch a"cheater", and not just in some informal language way, which would be relatively nice, but invoking the very roots of altruism in evolution, “cheater” as in the game-theoretical defector from cooperation, who in some deeply flawed, psychopathological way is what is wrong with and dangerous to our almost perfect Western society.
I say: Gawker should be deeply ashamed!
Michael Brutsch at a Reddit meet-up. Source: gawker
Trolls are important! Brutsch trolled for a good reason, and he even said so, and from what he did in detail, one can believe him, and that he is no Einstein and thus may not be perfect, and that he had also fun doing so, well if that counts as get-the-pitchforks-out worthy, you know, having also fun doing something worthwhile, then please all science bloggers here stop blogging at once!
It is trolls who uncover where our internet based discourses are vulnerable to failure. Every discussion that is derailed by a troll has thus been naturally selected out of the internet as something too easily manipulated, every such forum is such crashed as not properly moderated in order to ensure a useful interaction with worth-listening-to participants. Trolls are not the problem - those who bite their bait are!
Trolls do precisely what viruses and hackers did to computing generally: Without them, our computing systems would be much less secure, dangerously unstable, totally vulnerable to for example governments and their cyber warfare research programs, which secretly develop viruses and social media manipulation protocols in order to derail computing infrastructures whenever it is most convenient for them, which is precisely when and where it is most important that they are not so easily derailed.
Brutsch did things like putting anti-Semitic comments although he has a Jewish background himself - i.e. perfectly good troll stuff. He did little more but post pictures that were legal and available on the net. Jailbait was a bunch of pictures like teenagers facebook profile avatars, nothing much to see at all, plus "sexualizing", what ever the hell that is (a new PC word you need to know apparently), comments attached. It was nowhere even close to the pedophilia going on at a usual little-princess pageant, and after all, reddit users voted Brutsch's works to the top! He has done us all a service by increasing visibility around how internet mob-democracy based things like reddit work.
I hope somebody will offer this able man a new and better job soon and I hope he goes on to troll. Trolls are particularly skilled and aware of what usual users are mostly blind to, namely how irrational nonsense like sexism is what drives for example reddit all the darn time.
Troll witch-hunts shoot the messenger. Brutsch is no Bradley Manning, but shooting the messenger is not what internet based transparency and all that is about!