Writing about music online is tough work, and can be a thankless job when you read the ruthless comments posted by some readers. While everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion, some take that entitlement to the most serious degree. Indeed, sometimes the comments section of an article is far more interesting than the article itself, particularly if trolls are involved. While these creatures inhabit all corners of the Internet, the trolls who feed on music are a peculiar sort. We got down to the serious business of researching common troll personalities typical of daily online life.
A meticulous historian who not only closely monitors “poser activities,” but will sometimes promote him or herself to the auspicious title of “elitist." This commenter is skilled in defending the music of old and reminding us that all new music is terrible. In order to preserve our shared musical history, we should oppose creative renditions, cover songs or even lineup changes. A reunion is never a true reunion without all members, even if some play as animated corpses.
THE FACT CHECKER
A virtual walking rock and roll encyclopedia and natural skeptic, the Fact Checker wants to make sure that no detail is left uncovered. Careful to remind readers of “facts” carelessly missed in an article, no matter the insignificance, Fact Checker graciously provides this essential and highly valuable service for free. Google be damned, there is no greater wealth of random minutiae and superfluous trivia than the sort that Fact Checker can provide.
Allergic to spellcheck and fond of the caps-lock key, this troll loves to spout angry one-sentence emotional rants. Usually at odds with the article’s premise, and only able to read photo taglines, Rant Pants is also guilty of misgendering authors in their boorish, accusatory tirades. Don’t fret: Rant Pants offers no follow-up discussion after the initial outburst. Like a sighting of Bigfoot, Meg White or the elusive Chupacabra, Rant Pants’s appearance is as mysterious as his or her disappearance.
THE SCENE AUTHORITY
Music online publications and blogs are a virtual vacuum of authority and need some law and order, by God. Without these brave men and women who force their way uninvited into a conversation by announcing their years of experience and the bands they helped create and destroy, other commenters would be at a loss for proper direction. The Authority is easy to spot: Navigate your mouse toward a condescending comment full of pretentious pontificating and click on the profile picture. You should see middle fingers, shameless selfies and a plethora of posts celebrating that same alpha authority in other threads.
THE SHIT GUY
Very dependable, responsible and on time, he makes sure to comment on all local music and scene commentary under the same impenetrable anonymous profile that warns all readers, “the Houston music scene is shit.” Should an article appear that could possibly disprove the Shit Guy, he will resort to his Location Defense. “This scene will never be like Austin or L.A.” When further questioned about how many local shows he actually attends, his answers are vague and evasive. While insisting he’s a local connoisseur, his dubiously timed posts seem to dissipate around 10 p.m.
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THE GIRL WHO DOESN'T NEED FEMINISM
This fine lady is offended that someone could possibly be offended by sexism she hasn’t yet recognized or experienced. While this sexism is plausible, it hasn’t yet made her uncomfortable, so therefore it shouldn’t make others uncomfortable. All sexism and misogyny are subject to her personal experience and filtered as anecdotal (see: “Well, I didn’t feel that way..."). Ignorance is key and other forms of feminism are unnecessary, because they would require either her participation or acknowledgment of the privileges she enjoys thanks to the women who fought for the rights she passively takes for granted.
POINT BY POINT GUY
Supplying a dissertation-length rebuttal to an article is a fine art crafted by Point by Point Guy. Carefully constructing a thousand-word manifesto in the comments, exceeding character length and following up with another entry of vast proportions, Point By Point Guy resists the fear of wasting other people's time by insisting on the dire importance of his presentation. He also makes sure to audaciously plug his own band and his friends' bands in the scene, smugly congratulating himself for creating free press for his band where none existed before.
CLOSET ARMCHAIR EDITOR
This commenter wants you to know he's skilled in the fine art of grammar-shaming. So few times does the Armchair Editor get to enjoy the pleasurable satisfaction of discovering dangling modifiers and comma splices as when he reads a music blog. Sometimes disguised as a "Grumpy Old Man," this troll often simultaneously brings his rancor to fellow journalists and readers alike. Bravely throwing professionalism to the wind while yelling, “Get off my lawn,” the CAE also enjoys congratulating himself on winning imaginary arguments with strangers online.
“Why didn’t you cover my show? Instead you print this?” Fond of throwing around words like “clickbait” or “massage parlor rag,” Missed Opportunity wants everyone to know that freelancers are missing incredible shows. Monumental shows. Life-changing shows. Considerations like limited staff or limited space are completely irrelevant, not to mention the fact that Missed Opportunity doesn’t bother to keep his own band’s website updated.
While adept at taking everything personally, the Illuminati Lunatic believes there is a conspiracy in the music scene. There are connections unseen, secret loyalties, dark alliances — all meant to exclude good, hard-working bands from breaking through to the next level. The biggest participant in the secret union? Naturally, the press, which favors only certain bands and styles. Fighting “the power” and vexing “the man” are common themes in Illuminati Lunatic’s daily discourse. He describes himself as a rebel or nonconformist, but sources close to this troll disagree. Refusing to give her name and claiming to be the troll's wife, one woman sighed loudly and said, "He’s just pissed the Winger reunion didn’t make.”