The Macalope Daily: How to care for your troll

The perennial argument about trolls and their care and feeding rages on.

Instapaper creator Marco Arment weighs in this time (foul language warning), noting that writing dumb things about Apple appears to be a growth industry.

Apple is popular and the dominant player in many industries, so anything that attacks it will attract attention.

People have always written stupid things about Apple (heck, people probably write stupid things about everything), but now that the company is top dog it does appear to be an easy way to generate clicks. Take Forbes, for example (please). Forbes’s business model over the last ten years seems to have gone from “executive jet in-flight reading” to “maximum number of dumb articles about Apple per square inch of Web space.” The Macalope believes that Katherine Noyes, on the other hand, truly believes what she writes. As amazing as that sounds.

Arment wants to stop feeding the beast.

We think we’re taking them down, but we’re just taking the bait. And then all of our readers and followers take the bait, and we support the bull**** by sending pageviews.

Not one to shy away from a fight, Jim Dalrymple has a different take (again, foul language alert).

The mainstream media often writes complete s*** articles that are factually wrong. Ignoring it won’t make it go away. The average consumer often believes the crap these people write, so taking them down a peg or two may help.

The Macalope’s philosophy is, not surprisingly, akin to Dalrymple’s. Usually, if he thinks someone genuinely believes what they’re writing, he’ll link to it in the process of dismantling it. If he thinks they’re just swatting the hornet’s nest, he’ll still comment on it, but not provide a link. If someone believes that Apple really is doomed because Steve Jobs would never have shipped a product as flawed as the iPad mini Smart Cover, then maybe they could learn a thing or two from being pantsed in public.

So, the horny one thinks there is value in the deconstruction. You can’t stop these pieces from being published, and you can’t stop everyone from linking to them. That’s just life on the Internet. To leave them there unchallenged is to tacitly agree with them. We are, after all, supposed to be Apple specialists, right? Would you ask Buzz Aldrin to stop punching moon-landing deniers? Of course not. Any right-thinking person would not only laud his actions but offer to drive him to the houses of other moon-landing deniers so he can punch them in the jaw.

Not a pummeling. No. That would be excessive. Just one solid sock right to the jaw. The man went to the moon, for crying out loud.

But apart from the economic and moral issues, these folks are also just funny. There’s a reason why people love fictional dumb guy characters like Homer Simpson, Señor Chang, and Rob Enderle. People like to laugh at idiots. It’s in our nature.

Arment concedes that silly pundit takedowns are the Macalope’s job, and with a rack like this it’s hard to disagree with that. Seriously, just look at these things. Sometimes the Macalope will stand in front of the bathroom mirror for hours just flexing and …

Uh, well, anyway.

It’s a fine line to walk, and we all have our own personal limits. But the Macalope does take his job and his responsibility seriously. It’s just the silly pundits he doesn’t take seriously.

[Editors’ Note: In addition to being a mythical beast, the Macalope is not an employee of Macworld. As a result, the Macalope is always free to criticize any media organization. Even ours.]

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