A Monkey’s Nemesis

16 Oct

Having pretty much defined community monkeys as crazy people with a slightly masochistic streak when it comes to the folks they look after, it’s only worthwhile that we take a look at the monkey’s nemesis as well. Now I know what you’re thinking – community monkeys typically have all the power in the world, right? They control their little slice of the internet and the community they shepherd. In that respect, since they’re well nigh demi-gods, that means they really wouldn’t have any real enemies. Anyone who stood against the community monkey would be slapped down harder than a frat boy with wandering hands at a kegger.

But that doesn’t mean a community monkey doesn’t have people that are a pain in the fucking ass to deal with. Remember that game called Whack-a-Mole that you probably played when you were younger? I swear that was a game made to train potential future moderators and online rules enforcers. For the two or so people who don’t know, you got to hold a blunt, wide hammer-like object that looked nothing like any real hammer and you practiced cartoony violence against plastic mole heads that popped up randomly out of holes in front of you.

If by some miracle of God or whatever deity you might believe in you actually got a high enough score whacking fictional animals, you might get a cheap toy that the dog ate later. But more than likely you wore a face of either sadistic glee, extreme constipation-like concentration, or fury as you futilely whacked one mole down only to have two more pop up.  On the Whack-a-Mole machines that were best at annoying the shit out of you, the moles would be painted with a look of utter stupidity with a moronic grin that taunted you.

This long-winded analogy is a perfect depiction of the community monkey’s eternal nemesis, the troll. Now, we’ve all heard plenty of definitions about what a community troll is. Some call them people who look to get a rise out of people on purpose. Others define them as constantly negative and confrontational jerks who revel in making trouble. Yet others candidly describe them as the kind of people you want to hang by their toes upside down by whatever private parts you can grab above a hungry lion pit.

That’s part of the problem, you see – trolls come in all different forms, sizes, shapes, and degrees of language failure, and they’re slippery little bastards, too. Ban one, and another two pop up. Get occupied with a group of them only to have twice that number crop up elsewhere. No matter how much the community monkey may whack away with their Banhammer of Smashing (or what I affectionately name “Vera”), there’s always going to be some troll, some place, that is causing trouble.

It’s probably this difficulty at identifying or getting rid of them that makes that insufferable and probably the only real thing that could nullify the omnipotence that a community monkey enjoys. Where there is a community monkey, there will always be a troll, and the two will be locked in an eternal struggle that you’d think would be something epic like Good vs. Evil, or Red vs. Blue, but which really turns out to be more like Team Edward vs. Team Jacob. At least it’s as annoyingly stupid as that last one, anyway.

In the coming posts, I’ll be talking a lot about trolls and their presence in online community. For now, just know that the community monkey has a worthy adversary.

What’s a Community Monkey?

14 Oct

So what is a Community Monkey, anyway?

Community Monkeys are an organization’s way of saying they need a cattleherder to move the livestock around. Now don’t get me wrong – community monkeys don’t think of their communities as dumb cows. They may, at times, think that there is dumb cow-like behavior, or attach other animal-like labels to what people do, but they do essentially treat their communities like people.¬†People that need to be herded, managed, coddled, or prevented from doing odd things like poop on each other, but people, nonetheless.

A community monkey is mostly modernized for the 21st century in that you will find them most commonly on the Internet, watching over pockets of online anonymity. In the old days, and by old I mean a time when “lol” was a non-sensical babble word, you probably saw community monkeys in certain people-wrangling roles. The teacher stuck watching the kids at recess, or a traffic cop waiting on a highway, or maybe even a hotel concierge. Whatever role they played, there were several common personality traits:

  • They were masochistic. Mostly in the name of some ideal or worthwhile thing you couldn’t touch.
  • They were tolerant. Mostly to the point of ridiculousness.
  • They were insane. This explains the first two traits if you really think about it.

Community monkeys these days are anything from customer service reps, to forum moderators, to glorified community managers whose job it is to wrangle people online. And like their offline counterparts, they are masochistic, tolerant, and insane. This is especially true when you consider that Penny Arcade’s Anonymous Fuckwad theory holds true in every forum and online community out there. I don’t care of the online community is the Blessed Order of Elderly Knitting Circles – if they have an online forum or place to gather, there are always going to be assholes, there are always going to be trolls, there are always going to be people who couldn’t spell out of a paper bag, and there will always be a slightly disheveled, very tired, yet dedicated Community Monkey watching over them.

This is an honest blog about what community monkeys go through every day – an uncensored, unfettered account of what they do and what keeps them going. You might laugh. You might cry. You might never read this blog again after any of its entries. But maybe, just maybe, if you’re a community monkey, you’ll smile and realize there is a place on the big bad ‘Net where someone will actually point out how banning a troll and taking sadistic pleasure in it isn’t so bad after all.

Even monkeys need entertainment.

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