An Invaluable Skeptical Resource

Blogs attract commenters. This is perfectly normal and shouldn’t be cause for concern. Usually.

The comment section on blog posts can be a place where discussion flourishes and lively debates frolic in the sun. Or it could be a desolate post-apocalyptic mutant-riddled wasteland of rage and ad hominems. Sometimes, your commenters will be smart, funny, and constantly challenging you to write better and smarter content. Or sometimes, you’ll find yourself arguing with a person who doesn’t want to be convinced. For whatever reason, they’ve decided to ignore everything you’ve written and inundate you with bullshit. They’re on a mission. Nobody really knows what that mission is (least of all them), but they’ll be damned if they’re going to let your logic and reason get in their way.

You’ve somehow managed to attract a troll. You poor bastard.

Fortunately, the good people over at the Internet have been working tirelessly on this problem. Years of study and careful analysis of this ubiquitous (yet elusive) creature has resulted in a foolproof strategy for troll eradication:

Don't Feed The Trolls

Though backed by science and proven to eliminate even the worst troll infestations, this policy can sometimes feel too restrictive. A less effective but extremely more satisfying way of dealing with trolls, is through the use of macros. When ignoring isn’t an option and reason has been taken off the table, you respond to nonsense with ridicule.

Inspired by the comments on a recent post here at Skeptic North, and a complete inability to find any skeptical macros using Google image search, I decided to make some Evidence or GTFO macros of my own:

Evidence or GTFO

Evidence or GTFO

Evidence or GTFO

Now that I’ve shown you mine, you show me yours. What are your best/favourite skeptical macros?

5 Responses to “An Invaluable Skeptical Resource”

  1. Parrot says:

    I don’t know about that… I think macros like this are overused. I admit that it’s kind of satisfying to use a clever picture in order to try and make a point, but I think it’s better to use words and communicate as best you can without letting them rile you up.

    I’ve been trolled a couple of times. This one, I suspect, was just somebody trying to get my heckles up:

    http://www.dumbassguide.info/comment.php?bid=17

    In this one, the anonymous poster who titles his post “God” seemed not to have read my blog post and accused me of believing in God:

    http://www.dumbassguide.info/comment.php?bid=44

    Apparently, if I don’t accept that aliens came to Earth in ancient times, I must be a theist who rejects the idea that alien life can exist.

    I haven’t yet gotten any repeat trolls. In those cases I think I might find it best to just let the issue drop after a few exchanges.

    • The problem is, there’s no way to win against a troll. As soon as you figure out what you’re up against, your best bet is to decide your readers will enjoy the most, and go with that.

      P.S. I fixed the links in your comments, for you. I hope you don’t mind.

  2. Michael5MacKay says:

    I like this one, that the Bad Astronomer uses from time to time: http://www.flickr.com/photos/badastronomy/3686818201/sizes/l/

    The classic “The Stupid It Burns” is always a favourite: http://www.thestupiditburns.com/blog/#home

    I think PZ Myers has used this one, among others.

    Less apropos of skepticism, but more relevant to the issue of arguing in the comments, is this quotation from Gregory House, MD:

    http://www.myconfinedspace.com/2008/12/10/if-you-could-reason-wth-religious-people-there-would-be-no-religious-people-house/if-you-could-reason-wth-religious-people-there-would-be-no-religious-people-house/

    As for yours, I like the 3rd one, which I may use in future. “Evidence or GTFO”, while pithy and blunt, may, I have discovered, offend the those hypersensitive to EMFs traveling through the interwebs.

    In terms of dealing with trolls, I try to ask for specific evidence or evidence to support a specific doubtful claim, because that’s easier to address/respond to than a Gish Gallop. It usually works, eventually. Sometimes, however, it takes more patience than I can manage.

  3. Well, it made me laugh. My blog is too low profile to have attracted any trolls, but it can’t hurt to be prepared. Right click, save as… there we go.

    While it’s true that things like this may not contribute much of substance to the debate, when things break down to just and there’s no point in rational discourse, going for laughs is sometimes the best way out.

  4. Paul says:

    I have a different problem, in that the people who post goofy opinions on my blog are not trolls. They are people I am accquainted with in cyberspace who are painfully wooful. So I engage in long, civil, but usually fruitless arguments. That’s more frustrating than dealing with a troll sometimes.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks


  • Mitchell Gerskup

    Mitchell Gerskup recently graduated from the University of Toronto with a degree in Economics and Philosophy. An avid atheist and skeptic, he has served as the President of the University of Toronto Secular Alliance, helping to promote science, reason and critical thinking around Toronto. He also volunteers with the Centre for Inquiry’s Ontario branch, and currently sits on the CFI’s Committee for the Advancement of Scientific Skepticism. Mitchell is also an accomplished competitive debater, having debated all across Canada. In addition to issues of economics and philosophy, Mitchell is interested in the fields of science and technology.