Laughing at trolls

by Giles Turnbull

That John Dvorak trolls Mac users is not news. That he is happy to admit doing so is slightly more interesting - it's more than most newspaper editors will ever do.

I say that because Dvorak's method of generating readers for his employer's site is age-old in publishing. For a long time now, newspapers have paid op-ed writers and columnists to be controversial. Annoying readers is one of the best ways to get them to respond - traditionally with a letter, and these days with an email or a posted comment.

It's also a good way of getting readers to talk to their friends about the publication: "Have you seen what Dvorak's said this time? I can't believe he came out with that!" The word spreads. In Dvorak's own words, it's good for the numbers.

He writes the way he does because that's the job of a pundit. To be opinionated, especially if that opinion is going to get people all steamed up.

So I'm almost in admiration of Mr Dvorak for standing up and being so honest about his role. And the best thing of all is that next time he starts baiting the Mac-owning community, we can just sit back and smile and nod our heads and say: "Yeah John, we suck. We know."


2006-06-12 07:55:59
Ah Dvorak. I would have said he was a nutcase before. Now I am not sure what to say.
Chris Tyler
2006-06-12 08:27:38
Whenever I hear the name John Dvorak, I think of a very old column of his where he ridiculed someone "domainist" e-mail addresses that someone was pushing as a business-card e-mail standard (you know, those silly addresses with "@" in them, like ""). Dvorak instead argued in favor of numeric addresses such as "525488,2712", which one of the (island-like) e-mail systems of that day used -- MCImail or CompuServer, I can't remember which. Even then the absurdity of his argument was apparent.
2006-06-12 10:25:00
Joy of Tech said it best, several years ago: