lunes, 21 de febrero de 2011

Trolls: Anti Social Media in Twitter.

The Troll in our garden.

Interested in English Language Teaching? On twitter, search for #ELTChat: you will find info centered on English Language Teaching , and a couple of chats every wednesday, where teachers vote on a topic to chat about, and share ideas and resources. Great stuff. And now we even have our own pet troll.

#eltchat Barking dog is back... yeah Twitter...
(paraphrased by me.)

Barking dog is indeed back with us. Eurominuteman has the very doglike idea that if you pee on something, you own it.

Short version: He doesn't exist. He is an elaborate hoax by someone whose hobby is pushing peoples buttons, as a main character supported by other false people. Check the fake VAT tax number he posted (why do you post your VAT number?) on 38 different pages ( DE146346525 ) in creating the extensive, but false background info on himself, against official tax numbers here for yourself.(copy his number DE146346525 here. )

Incredibly, #ELTChat has grown steadily but until now, we haven’t really been trolled and peed on. Trolling isn't just a mean comment ... it can be a hobby, or lifestyle.

Long Version:

What does "being trolled" mean?

This article in gives better insight into what an "intentional" troll is.
(If you are going to dig further, (ie look up lulz), be prepared for lots of naughty words. However, you might want to count the number of times the word "groupthink" comes up. Any corpus or NLTK users up for the task of a l33t corpus for troll memes?)

Trolling is the prank phone call of our beloved digital natives: internet is traceable too, but you have to really do something bad for the efforts to be made, and there are a lot of tools for being anonymous. That is good: sometimes dissent is needed, and activists in countries with suppression of human rights have been aided by these tools. What allows someone to abuse may allow someone else to report abuses.

Voltaire might say today: I disagree with trolling, but I would defend with my life the possibility that allows for trolling.

We have been gifted with a pretty good starter troll to educate ourselves with on #ELTChat. My guess is that he is about 16-23, based out of the States. (1) Looking at the lengths of the posts outside of twitter, the troll has a good use of voice dictation software, and can produce defamatory posts at a respectable speed. Has skills in IT, and is not above helping someone set up a group to troll it after. It is his hobby, after all.

Why I don’t think @europeminuteman is really a grown up, (probably a kid and a somewhat badly characterized sockpuppet.)

1. All contact info is social media:

-Facebook page.

-Various twitter accounts. MANY twitter accounts. MANY MANY MANY, which will get him back up fast to hashtag squat when banned.

-Free online german email( is a German freemail that is little known and probably not on lists of spammer havens. Might get through twitter, facebook, and a lot of things without really checking personal information. BTW Eurominuteman is listed on as probable IP sockpuppeteer (if you need to ask, you don’t need to know.) MAybe lives in Germany, but uses American IP (AOL. Why AOL? AOL = new IP with every page load. CheckUser does not work. Still, got people suspicious with IP ... )

-Vague info on things that can be checked. (ie: exact “association” with European Union Quality control group not clarified, offset with very precise info on education and pictures of report cards that we couldn’t be bothered to care about.)

-Very few photos of "him", all in the same time period (2007) when this false identity was born. Impressive work, though, on the two fotostreams. Someone into mobile learning would probably have a smartphone instead of a kodak. Whoever the pictures are of, it probably isn't James O'Reilly.

-vat ID number listed in many of his pages: DE146346525, easily typed one hand. (odd nothing higher than 6, but it could be possible, right? (see footnote 2, and links above.)

-Only contact a mobile phone in Germany. Not worth the price to check for a pranker.

If he was really a quality control engineer, would he have something more substantial in some part. A mention in one of the organizations that he supposedly works in? He is very cautious in providing information, but he does some wonderful digital storytelling with the background info and stays mostly consistant. If he was indeed authentic (and free of mental illness, a sadder possibility) which I doubt after looking at the quality of his digital footprint: he's actively hiding lots of info.

2. The name: James O’Reilly.

Great name... not only the brother(?) of perhaps the most influential man of internet , Tim O’Reilly, (great attention getter in case of accidental ban.) but it is a variation on the last name of Ignatius, in John Kennedy Tooles “A confederation of dunces”, who is the greatest (idiot savant?) troll of all literature. Talks about eveyone else as superficial, and is constantly injured by the cruelty of others while he is insulting them. Pretends to help people, but finishes by creating explosions and fear, uncertainty and doubt wherever he goes. BTW unlike @eurominuteman, this book is worth reading.

3. Trolling for teachers.

Come on, this is pure high school fantasy. To attack someone as benign as @grahamstanley (a lovely man who has been pushing the envelope in Education in Second Life for years.) with threats about knowing people who can cut his European funding, obscure accusations with nothing behind them, pseudo tech and ed-babble, obscure links to wikipedia that don’t actually say anything relevent, requires a certain high school mentality. The choice of leaders in the teachers world as targets screams high school.

He has researched ELTChat and looked at who to hit.


He has attacked parentella, a group Shell collaborates with, multiple times. Search his twitter stream. He spams it through various hashtags that have little to do with parentella, but everything to do with Shell. He is just trying to incite her but Shell is very good at not responding, so he is going away.

Instead of multiple mentions, he repeats the same thing to several people: an individual accusation is much more likely to get a response.

@Eurominuteman says:

@englishraven Plz tell me more about yr authorization to claim Twitter tag ownership, 1st step void foundation is fake/mock scam
20 hours ago

@Marisa_C Plz tell me more about yr authorization to claim Twitter tag ownership, 1st step void foundation is fake/mock scam
20 hours ago

@esolcourses Plz tell me more about yr authorization to claim Twitter tag ownership, 1st step void foundation is fake/mock scam
21 hours ago

@mattledding Plz tell me more about yr authorization to claim Twitter tag ownership, 1st step void foundation is fake/mock scam
21 hours ago

That is just lazy trolling. (Realized that I am not even a leader in the ELTChat community, and decided that he better unwaste a message on bigger fish.)

So he looks at where the big fish are and claims that he isn’t spamming... EVERYONE ELSE IS!

#eltchat @englishraven is No. 6 spammer in the Top 10, I don't appear at all yet

#eltchat @Marisa_C is No. 1 spammer, @cerirhiannon is No. 11, so I can identify the handful of real spammers getting hair loss this evening

#eltchat Well the volume of my tweets is comparably low, but the content was much higher... yeah Twitter
10 hours ago

And what was that content? A link about the Purpose of Education, and a wikipedia article about Aristotle. Will I put up those links? Nah. Every click probably counts as a point for him..

#eltchat @esolcourses The Purpose of Education and Aristotle do not contradict that, stop the superficial flaming about nothing.

(SUPERFICIAL: One of the fave words of Ignatius Reilly when referring to anyone beneath him. For example, everyone. This roleplay is much clearer when euromm has more than 140 chars.)

Actually, @eurominuteman has, as an agent of provocation, been quite successful at getting bites. Certain artistry, almost , in his roleplay as troll. Because the character isn't him... it is a roleplay. We are getting angered by someone's imaginary friend. And he might have more imaginary friends.

@educationland follows a similar style,and interest in inclusion/annoying people, although it seems he is just starting and trying to establish credibility right now. (by copying the contents of peoples tweets without crediting them.) @ardgroomlad ("real name" Kevin O'Brien... see comments for why this name was chosen.) could be the good cop character, trying to fan indignation at @eurominuteman for extra drama... he only seems to come out when Eurominuteman is around and seems to work as the puppet on the other hand saying, "look at how bad Eurominuteman is!" Bottom line: more attention and focus on the puppet show.

The problem with this “artist”?

We waste time and energy over someone who is simply laughing at us. Or threatening...

Later, he came back to post this:

@mattledding Hehe Aristotle has a compass function Hehe Believe me, especially for teachers of all colors Hehe Thanks for the laugh :-))

Which, through wordplay let me know that he had researched me. (Easy, I am wide open and a dead easy target... and because I work with kids, even the slightest smell of scandal could sink me.)

Meh... if I get troll spam sunk, I’ll just go to the corp show market, where I can be as disreputable as I want, and I'll make more and work less.

Others being attacked might not be as comfy, which is where the term "cheap anonymous coward" slips in.

The troll is the ultimate comfy one, safe in his parents basement... we can attack his false identities, while he attacks our real ones. It is easier to destroy than build.

But I don’t think that our Troll is out for more than reactions, and this post is a pretty good reaction.

The real danger is wasted time.

I wasted time writing this post. I got things to do.
You wasted time reading it. You got things to do.

Let’s waste no more time:

Block and report trolls ( ie: eurominuteman in whatever of his many twitter ids he uses) when they start to provoke others, and avoid engaging them: that takes their game away. If anyone is annoying, block them. Life is short, and mean people suck.

Enough blocks and they get banned, although our friend can probably get round that easy enough. But... this is a good learning opportunity, and now a lot of teachers will be able to recognize trolls, and share that with students... wrecking a perfectly good hobby for trolls. That is why it is a bad idea to troll a teacher area full of people that care about teaching and who share knowledge in a far too inclusive way.

As a note to Mr. James O'Reilly: If you want to stay as our pet troll, then you should know that nobody is going to get angry at someone's imaginary friend.

That being said, there are some absolutely great bubble test, school reform groups that would be great for you to make new friends with.

; )

Please feel free to exercise your artistry there.
You could be the Superman they are waiting for.
Let me know how it works for you.


Virtual Homeoffice - Mind Map - [ Traducir esta página ]
DE146346525 . ZIP-Code Street Town Company Country . USA (German green card) . Project Management 1.0 Mindmapping 1.0 Brainstorming 1.0

Who in Germany has a green card? Only in the States.

Vat number: DE146346525 - forty results.

A. Who puts their vat number in their photostreams?
B. Who FAKES their vat number 40 times? check it here:

So this is all just a massive hoax. Take a good look at the info he put, (which I have saved offline in case it disappears and I have to use it, or someone wants to do a unit on trolling in a textbook with authentic material.) to see the details of how he uses the pdfs on scribd to make it look (in a search) like he wrote the articles by putting contact details. (note: jing video, requires flash) Giving him unearned "expert" appearence. (Like the "Dr." in Dr. Maurer's English in 1000 words.)

But like any magic trick, if you spend enough time and effort looking at it several times, you can see through the deception.

9 comentarios:

  1. James O'Reilly is a real person
    but he has many guises on the Web.

    Eurominuteman is his main alias, but he also uses Collaborative, newbiehelpdesk and theminddock. I have been aware of his existence for around 20 years, but it is only recently that he has made his mark as a troll on Twitter, Facebook and various Nings and discussion lists. He has been blocked by Wikipedia for taking a very argumentative line on the article on Translation:

    He has also made himself a nuisance in Second Life and has been barred from several educational sims. We actually heard him speak at the SLanguages 2010 conference - usual drivel, backed up by numerous text chat postings.

    I think ArdgroomLad may be a crusader against his antics.

    Graham Davies

  2. Este comentario ha sido eliminado por el autor.

  3. Would a real (grownup) person try to sell a house like this?

  4. Thanks for your comment. The Proz page contains false evidence, and I have copied (and quarantined my copy) the page entirely to check it for javascript hacking for possible password logging. If anyone wants a screenshot, let me know.

    Can you give me any proof of his existance before 2007?

    I deleted the last comment I made asking as well for yours: saying I would almost prefer that you were a fake puppet of his for the cavalier way he blew off your Pseudomyxoma Peritonei that you mentioned here:

    Would be interested in evidence of last twenty years. Will definitely check it out.

    To hear words and see pictures is not equivalent to a face to face meeting in questions of identity falsification. Gives a certain paranoia knowing that you or I could be someone other than who we claim to be... especially in a blogger post like this that you merely have to put your name and url in to claim to be someone else. Something very possible from our friend.

    Don't mean to offend you, just very careful with people who roleplay. Hope the recovery went well.

  5. I feel sad when I read some people tried to read my activities in #ELTchat in a wrong way. I am interested in improving myself and my teaching by interacting with professional teachers .That's it .

  6. Hello @educationland, one of the problems of having trolls and sockpuppeteers is that it can be difficult to distinguish who is real and who isn't. I hope I haven’t made this mistake with you.

    Behavior, for example, attacking #eltchat in the same mode as our troll, (annoying mods, demanding special attention and then complaining of a lack of inclusion.) come into play.
    Puppeteers seek to use, abuse, and confuse people for their own amusement. There are online guides on how to do so, which give suggestions on how to provoke fights and "drama", including the creation of supporting characters. Based on this, the reason I initially suspected Ardgroomlad was a puppet was mostly because:

    1. He only came around when puppet @eurominuteman came out.
    2. He focused attention on @eurominuteman being "the good cop", but still helping provoke reactions.
    3. His name is an anagram of "Go Drama Lord!". Funny guy.

    One suggestion there that is particularly interesting is picking fights through bad spelling! Getting people to react to your bad "sperling", and then being offended at their reactions: instant quarrel. Your sudden ability changes in English in these quote(and others) would probably raise a few eyebrows at a Cambridge exam:

    educationland Saeed Mubarak
    @esolcourses do u welcome muslim teachers who teaches English in #ELTchat
    20 Feb
    educationland Saeed Mubarak
    @esolcourses Are you sure that #ELTchat is an open forum & anyone who is interested in discussing ELT is welcome to take part?!!
    20 Feb

    educationland Saeed Mubarak
    @mike08 @Marisa_C why you dont answer my question?.Do you accept muslim teachers in #ELTchat?
    20 Feb
    educationland Saeed Mubarak
    #ELTchat discussions sound not involving muslim teachers .Although, Muslims has a GREAT history in improving science.Aren't they?!!
    educationland Saeed Mubarak
    #ELTchat discussions sound not involving muslim teachers .Although, Muslims has a GREAT history in improving science.Aren't they?!!
    20 Feb

    Seems a textbook example. The fact that we have a confirmed puppeteer (probably an american adolescent) makes the threat of some ignorant kid fomenting racism by pretending to be muslim and out of control a very real possibilty. Um. Also, hackers and programmers, rather than educators, tend to have their first quote as “hello, world.”

    The online elt community consists of teachers from a variety of cultures, and I have learned a lot from teachers from muslim cultures: teaching elt is not just a NEST game.

    The threat of upcoming trolling from someone playing a race card to create conflict for their amusement seemed too important to ignore.

    If what you want to do is learn, you are in the right place and will be welcomed with open arms.
    (it would be great to have as many muslim friends in elt as I have in the programming world.)

    Don't ask everyone to follow you.

    Don't talk about how unfriendly people are to you, if, in even the slightest sense, you may have provoked them.

    Make sure that if you retweet the contents of someones tweets that you credit them, so you are not just taking credit for copy/pasting someones resources... resources a troll looking for kicks and credibility might not have.

    Build communities rather than complain about them or try to divide them. If the community doesn't suit you or welcome you, shake the dust off your shoes and go. You can find or make one that does.

    Thanks for your comment. Hope you feel less sad, understanding where I am coming from, and congrats on the improvement in your English. Any further questions?

  7. For those might still think that @ArdgroomLad is on the side of good, you may wish to look up (on James O'Reilly's beloved wickipedia "O'Brien".'Brien_(Nineteen_Eighty-Four)

    O'Brien's job appears to be to search for potential thought-criminals (citizens who think something that is deemed to be unacceptable by the party, this could even be done by accident), lure them in by pretending to be on their side, then arrest and "cure" them. O'Brien tortures Winston to cure him of his "insanity," in particular his "false" notion that there exists an external, self-evident reality independent of the Party; O'Brien explains that reality is simply what the Party defines it as.
    He is entirely honest about the brutal cynicism of the Party; the Party does not seek power to do anything good, but simply to revel in that power: "Always, Winston, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever."

  8. Thanks a lot for giving me these golden advices .I delete all tweets mentioning some people personaly.Also I will not ask people to follow me again.But I think it is all right to retweet any article I read it for some one and I like it.I think I support him by retweeting .Again I love #ELTchat because I get benefit of their members .I hope they welcome me .

  9. Matt!!! I hadn't seen this - I am so annoyed with myself!!

    I am delighted to also see the comment by the great Graham Davies who verified the fact that the troll is a real person - could not find a DM in which Graham Davies, after an onslaught of gobbledygook, messaged me the following "He is vermin - swat him" or something along these lines.

    I met the troll in second life when I first went in and spoke to him - the voice was mature - and he seemed very helpful to new second lifers giving me advice, landmarks, etc. I was at first amazed that when I mentioned his name, everyone more or less hissed with disgust.

    Anyways, this is a great document - also for that other troll and famous plagiarist Saeed what's his name who copied whole articles from other websites and posted them as his own creations - he is just a typical example of a social media climber with absolutely no morals - except his own little personal gain

    Thanks again