How to Annoy People on the Internet

While some folks make enriching hobbies out of cruising discussion forums and blogs and posting the comments that inflame, it is possible to enrage people on the internet, mortally wound their feelings, and cause them to question whether you have a 666 birthmark on your scalp, without that deep dedication.

Perhaps you've been thinking lately about how you can make more people blow a gasket during the course of their days.

Or perhaps you yourself are looking to become temple-throbbingly angry over words typed on the computer screen by complete strangers, but you're just not sure where to turn to get that fix.

Here are some tips to get that steam shooting from the ears without delay!
For writers/bloggers/forum participants:
  • Type stuff. It really doesn't matter what. Eventually you'll hit on a combination of words that will make somebody believe you're a cruel and nasty individual trivializing their beloved pair of socks, the death of their childhood cat Mittens, or their lifelong love of cheese wheel rolling. Remember, this is the Internet, where colored pixels of light on the screen translate directly into personal insecurity and outrage.
  • Be yourself. There's nothing that makes people on the internet more angry than someone who has ideas, or opinions, or types stuff (see above). It wouldn't matter if you were Gandhi, Kermit the Frog or Mr. Rogers. It's only a matter of time before someone finds you to be the most vile creature Satan ever shot into the Great Spittoon of Life. Be patient.
  • Write the words that come to you without thinking of them from 47 different angles first. Be hasty. A careless, off-the-cuff phrase from you might just be the big Internet scandal that triggers loathing and threats against your nether-regions.
  • Talk about controversial topics. Or lint. You might think that to really make people mad on the internet, you need to talk about things like politics, religion, gender issues, dog fighting or who should win American Idol this season. But you may not realize, you also have a great opportunity to make people spit blood by bringing up things like: breast feeding, animal breeding, favorite soups, the color puce, liking something, not liking something, and bits of fluff you might find in your armpit after wearing an angora sweater. The chance of annoying people regularly on the internet by talking about topics is virtually limitless.

For readers:
  • Examine all content from news articles to blog posts to Twitter entries as if it relates directly to you personally, and all aspects of your life. Assume the writer was knowingly talking about you, even though the only thing they've seen of you is your screen name and your Winnie the Pooh avatar in the comments section.
  • Fixate on one or two small details in a larger piece. Then super-size its importance for maximum impact. If you're skilled with this, you might be able to trigger a whole sub-discussion flame war where commenters on both sides begin to dwell on this minor issue instead of the topic the author actually intended. You may be working up a good froth for days!
  • If there is nothing in a piece to fixate on, make assumptions that could be related, and rage about those. For example, if an article is about kittens and there is a white and a black kitten in the accompanying photo, you have an opportunity to discuss the author's obvious neglect of including tabbies in the piece, and how tabbies are just as good as black and white kittens and how the author is clearly an anti-Tabbyist. This places you in a very powerful position, because it is difficult to defend a statement that wasn't actually made in the first place. Your blood pressure can then elevate nicely due to their refusal to accept your accusations.
Yes, friends-- typing, words, thinking, not thinking... these things and more will soon put you on the road to annoying people on the web.


And for my guests today who have already begun this process, how have you inadvertently made others find their inner rage online? I hope you'll share with us today.

28 comments:

webRat said...

This article upset me. Are you saying we're not allowed to be silly assclowns with angry feelings about nothing online?!?

Jenn Thorson said...

webRat- I am offended by your offense. It makes me question your intellect, work abilities and general hygiene.

nothingprofound said...

Jenn-I've employed several of these tactics quite successfully and have been able to sustain a pretty rich level of moral outrage. But there are those days when I can't find anything to feel upset about, so I'm grateful for these dandy tips which will serve me well during those depressing lapses into inner peace and harmony.

Beer Drinker said...

Yo, Jenn. I really wish you'd stop spying on me and divulging my personal information for your own use. What does Mittens have to do with any of this anyway?

Jenn Thorson said...

NothingProfound- I am deeply annoyed that your comment didn't annoy me. Work harder. :)

Beer Drinker- What, Mittens is off-limits now? I thought he was common knowledge. Don't you remember when, after a few brewskis, you told me the tragic tale of Mittens? You tell EVERYBODY who'll listen the Mittens story! Usually right before you vomit on your shoes.

Chris@Knucklehead! said...

Boy, did you hit the nail on the head with this one. As you probably remember, I ended up taking down my original blog because of that very thing. Apparently, if you mention the fact that someone is Mexican, even if you make no judgments, assumptions, or comments on that fact beyond "Jose is Mexican", that makes you a racist.

Great piece, Jenn. A 10 on the sarcasm scale.

Deray said...

You missed a very important technique, try to discuss if you like "it" and how you like "it". "It" being whatever you want it to be. I'm disappointed Jen, how could you forget about that? o_0

Jenn Thorson said...

Chris- I do vividly remember your issues with that stupidity. What unbelievable pettiness that whole thing was... Especially when what you were writing wasn't inappropriate and wasn't mean-spirited.

Deray- Heh, I tried to block that particular incident out of my head. PS- I notice the, um, "it" girl is back posting on the forum again. I still think she's doing some sort of psych experiment on everyone.

madtexter (corey james) said...

Jenn, Your blog sucks!





(Not really, just trying out what you just taught us).

Hee, hee. Have a great weekend!

Jenn Thorson said...

Oh yeah? You suck, too, Corey!!




(Hey, thanks for testing it out. Have yourself a great weekend, too. Talk to ya later.)

Shawn said...

I just ran into this phenomenon on BlogCatalog. I rarely participate in online forums, so it should have come as no surprise that the moment I decided to jump in, I did so by unwittingly employing several of the above tips (namely: typing stuff and failing to think about what I was typing from 47 different angles). Anger ensued.

Jenn Thorson said...

Shawn- Oh, BC is filled with that. I learned in trial by fire to think of things from 47 angles lest the wrath of fellow posters get me.

I'm sorry you experienced that one recently. There ARE some good folks worth meeting there...

Like "NothingProfound" and "Deray" from up above, they're both BC buddies of mine.

But there are some nutters, too.

Cari said...

I don't believe you. You're really just a bitter smelly, nerd boy living in Mommy's basement in between sessions of D&D at the neighbor kid's house, aren't you?

Jenn Thorson said...

Cari- I might be bitter. And (sniff)... no, we're good. Just bitter. :)

Jaffer said...

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--

I just typed and stuffed it with 'keywords'

Luchi Smiles said...

I was here!.

Beer Drinker said...

Can you click my ads?

Seriously, you guys are still playing around over on Blog Catalog???

Jenn Thorson said...

Jaffer- Oh, that's good, because I was concerned you were giving me a Latin test, and I only took French.

Luchi- Hey, you, stop spraying that graffiti on my blog. Give me the paint can. :)

Beer Drinker- Yupper. On and off. It's sort of picked up again recently.

ReformingGeek said...

Oh, Jenn. Are you still upset about my comment about not liking cabbages? Really, it WASN'T personal. I just prefer lettuce.

Sheesh.

Tracy Farr said...

Excuse me, I'm new here, but I take offense at your derogatory remarks about Winnie the Pooh. Winnie the Pooh may be some dumb avatar for some people, but to a whole generation of Americans, he's a cuddly little cub all stuffed with fluff, and we take offense at any slip-shod remarks that he might be anything less. To disparage his name is to also disparage Christopher Robins, the 100 Acre Woods, and Tigger. And woe unto those who use the name of Tigger in vain!

Other than that, great post!

Mike Looney said...

Well of course "the color puce" will inspire outrage and rants. It's a silly color.

Or is that "It's a silly colour"?

Either way it's just plain silly.

And any one that doesn't think so is a sock puppet of BigPuce, and astroturfing.

JD at I Do Things said...

I'm terribly disappointed that, for the most part, my posts have failed to incite rage among my readers, casual or not. Should I start writing about lint?

Babs-beetle said...

Now I'm annoyed!

I just KNOW I left a comment here, but I come back to see a response and what do I find? Nothing! Where did my comment go? Did you trash it with other internet rubbish?

Then maybe I only THOUGHT I left a comment. *leaves confused*

Jenn Thorson said...

Reforming Geek- You Lettucist! How could I ever forgive such anti-cabbage rhetoric?!

Tracy- Well! Fine! But if a bear consistently gets himself stuck in a tree to a honey overeating disorder, then I say he gets what he deserves. :)

Mike- How do you feel about chartreuse and mauve?

JD- If it's a slow day. :)

Babs- Did you leave a comment about Kim Kardashian? If so, yes, I chucked it. :) But I hadn't seen anything on this post from the mighty Beetle, so methinks you may be suffering from Misremembered Commenting Syndrome.

Vodka and Ground Beef said...

This is hi-larious. My favorite line: "There's nothing that makes people on the internet more angry than someone who has ideas, or opinions, or types stuff."

What a great blog.

Melanie said...

Black and white cats, tabby cats!!!!!!!! What kind of blog are you running here??????? Why are you leaving out gray cats?????? Everyone who has any brain at all knows gray cats are smarter and prettier than any other cat!!!!!

Seriously, GREAT post! And notice the excessive use of punctuation. I found out one day that is an excellent way to annoy some people.

Mike Looney said...

How do you feel about chartreuse and mauve

Those are very silly colors.

Green, purple, not silly
Chartreuse, mauve, silly

Any one that thinks other wise is in the back pockets of the Dye Makers of America PAC, and we know that that means.

Static said...

This article is most informative and inflammatory. I look forward to reading more of your blog.

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