Category Archives: andrew keen

I pity the troll

keen dont wantWell, more like I have some compassion for him – but “I have compassion for the fool” sounds like something Martin in the Simpsons would get punched for saying (more Simpsons later).

I went to the Frontline Club last night, actually, thanks Euan for reminding me that I *paid* to go to the Frontline Club and hear Andrew Keen speak about his book what he wrote. I got to meet Richard Sambrook and Graham Holliday and had a quick drink and catch up with Euan afterwards so it was worth it actually.

Andrew is a man who clearly gets something out of being (metaphorically) beaten up by one half of the audience while the other half looks on, amazed and puzzled by the rage of their usually rational fellows. I couldn’t help thinking that this is probably a situation Andrew has found himself in again and again. I felt very much like I was watching an unconscious videotape of the world according to Andrew Keen aged four and a half. He behaves like a picky child. “Don’t want this. Don’t want that. Don’t…. want” So, to save you from reading his book or paying to feed him in some other way, let me summarise what he doesn’t like:

community
libertarians
democracy (he spits the word “democratisation” when he reads from his book)
hippies
Dave Winer
people ‘stealing’ stuff on the web
people having the chance to ‘criticise’
people making economic choices
free markets
state regulated markets
anonymity
humility
Glen Reynolds
Tim O’Reilly
Jeff Jarvis
foocamp

By the way, when I asked him the question “So what *do* you want” I included liberty rather than libertarian – yes I do know the difference, but I’d slipped into troll behaviour too – I’m not immune to it, that’s why I have compassion for him.

He said that he wants “an information economy that reports objectively and employs trusted and respected professionals”.

Other classic quotes:

“Who am I to say that people in China shouldn’t blog”
“Journalists should be more arrogant”
“If you’re being paid and someone is editing you, then you’re a professional journalist”
“I don’t like the idea of humility”
“Tell me a blogger who’s better than Polly Toynbee”

stop. sniggering.

The story I took away is that he went to foocamp and got the wrong end of the stick. From the reports I’ve seen, foocamp does not represent what the majority of us are doing on the web no matter how much Tim O’Reilly would like it to. Its exclusivity goes against all of the openness that makes our experience here worthwhile. foocamp’s greatest contribution is the Barcamp movement which was created in reaction to it. Does Andrew know what Dave Winer looks like when he gets mail from Tim?

When Euan called him a troll, and then asked him if he knew what that meant, he said “No”. I said “Liar” I kinda hope the mic picked it up, though that’s not the behaviour I aspire to.

Struggling with my conscience, I whispered to Adriana next to me “How do you handle trolls offline without resorting to physical violence?”. The Simpsons, of course, has the answer – Treehouse of Horror VI – The Attack of the 50ft Eyesores in which Homer steals a giant donut from a collossal Lard Boy advertising statue prompting Lard Boy and several other promotional likenesses come to life and terrorise Springfield. Lisa asks an ad man what to do – he explains that the advertisements need attention to stay alive and so aided by a nifty jingle performed by Paul Anka, the townsfolk’s attention is ironically drawn away from the misbehaving mannekins who all fall down dead.

Tom Coates thinks Andrew should go on the naughty step. My positive experience of parenthood has come from encouraging the desirable, ignoring the undesirable, and getting them in the kitchen making some donuts.