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Troll, Gadfly or Culture Jammer?

I participate in a number of internal BBC discussion groups, including the wonderful News Interactive Talking Shop.

However my participation in this forum in particular often rubs against the flow of the general ‘established mass-media’ value base held by many of it’s participants.

To that end, I spent a moment wondering whether I was effectivly “Trolling” the group. A quick check of Wikipedia returned a few possibilities:

Troll: People who participate with an alternate persona, allowing for normal social boundaries and rules of etiquette to be tested or otherwise broken, without serious consequences. This enables them to challenge the dominant discourse and assumptions of forum discussions in an attempt to break the status quo of groupthink.

Gadfly: a term for people who upset the status quo by posing upsetting or novel questions, or attempts to stimulate innovation by proving an irritant.

Culture Jammer: Culture jammers use existing mass media to comment on those very media themselves, using the original medium’s communication method. Culture jamming is a form of activism and a resistance movement to the perceived hegemony of popular culture, based on the ideas of “guerrilla communication” and the “detournement” of popular icons and ideas.

I guess I’m a “Gadfly” – slightly disappointing as it has the least cool name of the three. Which probably also reflects how much I really read into all this: cum grano salis.

Published in Thoughts and Rants


  1. Tim Levell Tim Levell

    Yes, I agree you’re a gadfly. And a much-appreciated one at that. We should have more gadflies at the BBC. (Is there scope to do more with than is there currently I wonder……?)

  2. You will find at an elaborated description of troll culture and how it works. Enjoy.

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