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Beach Grit

Correction: Ashton G. “anonymous troll!”

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

Welcome to hard-hitting journalism!

Toward the end of last week, with interesting stories at an absolute premium, I opted to wonder about the State of Commenting on the Internet ’18. What could have easily been seen as an empty space killer was actually an honest to goodness attempt at understanding how people consume/participate in this surf conversation. The whole business got started, for me, when Stab’s editor Ashton Goggans claimed that his website turned comments off underneath certain pieces in order to protect brands/individuals from the dreaded “anonymous troll.”

And I wondered, does the anonymous troll even really exist* anymore? Sure, I know that avatars/handles don’t often match identity/name exactly but isn’t it all a semi-honest representation of how each of us really feel?

Well, since the bit was posted many comments from first time participants started flowing in on all sorts of stories. Hurtful comments like from Adjunct Professor who wrote underneath a story about Donald Trump hating sharks, “why. what is the purpose of this artice ….. hard hitting journalism chas!”

The truth of it stung. It was not hard hitting journalism if I must be honest, merely a cut and paste from the New York Post of all places. Hurt was followed by shame and I decided it was high time that I get serious about my craft so I rolled up my sleeves, put on my fedora with its handwritten “press” card tucked into the band and opened an email from dear Negatron who informed me that Adjunct Professor shares the same exact IP address as Ashton Goggans himself.

Keeping my sleeves rolled up and not knowing, really, what an IP address is I googled “IP address” and read on Wikipedia it is, “the numerical label assigned to each device connected to a computer network that uses the Internet Protocol for communication.”

I sat back in my chair, lit my pipe and said out loud, “Blimey. So Adjunct Professor and Ashton Goggans share a computer and apartment.”

How’s that for hard hitting journalism?

*Where Disqus or other platforms utilizing a working email address are used.