The Mancunion

Britain's biggest student newspaper

“You’re a total cuck mangina”

We take a look at some of our favourite comments

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We all know them. You watch a video, you read an article, you foolishly scroll down and there they are — the comments.

On The Mancunion comment section you can use any username you like, and you do not even need to use a real email address. We have had our fair share of ridiculous, abusive, and just plain bizarre comments. Not all of them are trolling, or being deliberately provocative, many clearly just disagree with our writers and choose to voice their frustration in a petty, personal way, but many are worth reading. Here are some of our favourites:

‘guz’ on ‘A response to ‘Dear fresher females studying STEM’’: “It’s hilarious how you can sense the indignation and anger of this prissy writer grow through the article. By the end she is starting to realise that being born with a vagina entitles her to nothing… Shameful article overall and shows just how conceited feminist has made many women.”

‘Rachel’ on ‘Are celebrities ruining Sport Relief?’: “Harry Newton, how you could write this is beyond me. What Eddie is doing is utterly inspiring. I feel dirty even commenting on this because you were quite obviously controversy-fishing when you wrote it. But I cannot stand by and watch a bored, and to be quite frank, boring student write this in the hope of losing his virginity tonight. Harry, Sport Relief is a fantastic cause and it is people like you who detract from it by writing such sceptical garbage, not people like Eddie.”

‘tonysprout’ on ‘The Executive Team doesn’t need a Men’s Officer’ (an article from 2011): … “‘men are already vastly over represented…’ Yes, by patriarchs that believe that women are special snowflakes and therefore need more protection than men. IOW, women can’t hold their own and will never be equal. They are to be treated and protected like children. I see I’m a little late, but the date at the top of this page is Nov 22, 2016. Today’s date, so I’ll post anyway.”

The election of Trump has also attracted many commentators:

‘firstpostcommenter’ (who was second) on ‘Two slogans that define our world’: “I am not saying that all Muslims are Terrorists but all Terrorists are Muslims

Why arent politicians like Hillary saying openly that All Terrorists are Muslims….

People dont [sic] want to hear Political correctness…they want to hear ‘actual’ correctness i.e. to say things as they are”.

‘NosSig’ on ‘Harvard suspends men’s soccer team over sexual comments’: “Hey JM… just a friendly reminder, no one cares about your attempts at virtue signalling”.

‘eric strickland’ on the same article: “you’re a total cuck mangina,i bet you wear your wifes dresses when she’s at work .lmao at you”.

One inexplicable comment thread is this frankly bizarre incident where somebody impersonated one of our writers and… her mum:

‘P’ on ‘53% of University of Manchester students in favour of monarchy’: “What a well written article”.

‘Stevie’: “Thanks Mom – yours truly Stevie”.

Why would anyone bother doing that? However, perhaps more damaging was when someone pretended to be Naa Acquah, the SU’s General Secretary. Or rather, it might have been damaging, if they could spell her name properly:

‘Naa Acqua’ on ‘Response to SU apology’: “There is nothing to settle. You made a colossal blunder and you can’t even apologise with dignity. This article just makes you look bad. Off to a great start guys.”

Opinion naturally gets by far the most comments and debates, and so by extension the most trolls. However, these trolls appear to be a cut above, at least in their eloquence and seeming lack of blind rage:

‘John Smith’ on ‘Can The Labour Party sell 21st century socialism?’: “I must say I loved this article, my favourite kind of opinion piece is so often the type that gives me about as much information as i would obtain from the back of a penguin wrapper! Kind regards John Smith”

‘Catmanface’ on ‘Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell’s disrespect for the student body’: “The only thing we deserve in this situation is better journalism. Aside from the author’s apparent use of this article to practice for his Key Stage 2 ‘how to use analogies’ homework, he clearly isn’t in the real world. Another anology might pertain to Mr Nicholas reminiscing of an inept Brutus, stabbing his friend in the back but failing, with neither grace or charm, to kill her, and instead biting the hand that feeds him.”

‘John Marchant’ on ‘The fight for the European Union is not over’: “Oh stop whinging. If you really want to be in the EU then take the opportunity afforded you now. Move to the EU country of your choice and settle and establish yourselves there.

In 2 years or whenever we leave you will have the time to take residency and then its pretty much guaranteed you can stay.

Its simple really, or is this just Remoaners or Remainiacs having a whinge who will never actually get off their arse and do it. Oh i forgot its Manchester, of course it is.”

Although this relative politeness sometimes slips:

‘Student’ on ‘An NUS women’s officer is unnecessary’: “#I’mHolierThanThouTriggered
#DoesNotUnderstandTheMeaningOfOpinionArticlesTriggered
#EditorsAreBiasedAsTheyLetOpinionArticlesContrayToMineBePublishedTriggered”

However, whilst trolls are often largely harmless, pointless rage, they can commit terrible acts. Research by CiviliNation found that 12.9 per cent of people have been physically threatened online, breaking the barrier between online and offline life. Trolls are also becoming more dangerous — both because they are getting more aggressive and because we are putting more and more of ourselves online. According to trolling expert Professor Joseph Reagle simply saying “don’t feed the trolls” is “no longer sufficient. The trolls in the 90s are not the same trolls we have today.”

One example of just how dangerous trolls can be is Gamergate. A movement ostensibly about improving ethics in videogame journalism, in practice it has seen online trolls carry out a systematic, blatantly sexist campaign of abuse. It has led to several women being forced to flee their homes after their personal details were published online and they received countless threats of rape and violence.

“Next time she shows up at a conference we… give her a crippling injury that’s never going to fully heal… a good solid injury to the knees. I’d say a brain damage, but we don’t want to make it so she ends up too retarded to fear us” was one such threat, aimed at developer Zoe Quinn, one of the women who had to change address. Another, Anita Sarkeesian, had to cancel a planned talk, after an anonymous threat that “a Montreal Massacre style attack will be carried out against the attendees, as well as the students and staff at the nearby Women’s Center” – referring to a 1989 antifeminist massacre where 14 women were killed. Even controversial conservative commentator Milo Yiannopoulos, who was a supporter of the movement, had to cancel an event after a bomb threat.

But what makes people become a troll? According to a variety of recent studies, there appear to be two main reasons. Firstly, the anonymity provided by many websites removes people’s inhibitions along with their identity — something called deindividuation. Just as crowds can turn into violence and rioting, people online feel they are free to do as they please, with little real consequence.

Secondly, trolling makes people feel better about themselves — an act of digital narcissism like the selfie. Trolls are likely unable to command the same attention or get the same sense of power and control in real life, so they exert it as much as possible online. The average troll is young, male, white — look at Linford House, who burned a poppy in protest against “squadey cunts,” or Sean Duffy, who trolled the Facebook pages of dead teenagers. Of course there are exceptions, but in the bulk of situations these trolls are individuals wanting attention. They are scared by the slow ending of their traditionally dominant position in society and the increasingly poor economic prospects of our generation and so they lash out.

So, while trolls are often hilarious, they can just as often be terrifying. What they are not, however, is evil — the ones who commit the more despicable acts are just deeply troubled and desperate for attention in order to feel good about themselves. So next time somebody calls you a “total cuck mangina”, tell them to engage in some more positive digital self-love, to whack out that Snapchat dog filter and take some selfies. But do not try to respond to them seriously — you would not want to feed the troll.

All usernames and comments appear here exactly as they were originally posted

  • A deeply concerned individual

    ‘Trolls’ are the last people in this world who still care about the truth, they have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. I can tell you exactly why people troll and why people are angry though. Its the same reason Brexit and Trump have happened. Because people of your ideology (judging by this article) have shut down debate so disgracefully and policed people opinions so much that anger is now the only recourse. I would be the first the talk to you about issues, but your mind is locked shut and the key is gone so it’s pointless. The comments you have highlighted as ‘troll’ comments are amazing, I’m staggered, beggars belief how obvious your agenda is. Beggars belief you think gamergate was about improving ethics in videogame journalism, it was a reaction against having Anita Sarkeesian and Zoe Quinn force themselves down your throat and tell you’re a sexist pig if you don’t agree with every word. Beggars belief every ‘troll’ comment you chose only touts a position (yes – angrily) contrary to the lefty, liberal agenda we are all sick and tired of. You also make a straw man out of them all by taking them out of context. Half the comments can’t even be considered troll comments, they’re just critical. This year The Mancuncion has been a real mouthpiece for the lefty agenda and people are angry when they’re forced to read about it, again, like a Guardian lite, so it’s no wonder you’ve seen more ‘troll’ comments. How many more Brexit, Trump, Le Pens, Milo’s, etc. will it take until you take the plank out your own eye? The left is in tatters and it is because of the attitude, displayed here, that people are reacting with anger. When someone is incensed by an article and writes an angry comment, votes to leave the EU or elects a dangerous demagogic buffoon your first reaction to not to find out why. Your reaction, ironically, is to fight back with just as much hatred and anger except you do it self righteously and historically you’ve had a broad consensus to support you. You have been impenetrable and you’ve exploited that for much self gain and built an ivory tower. Indeed, and as you very clearly articulate trolls are all just troubled, cowardly, narcissistic straight white males who are desperate for attention. The sad thing is the attitude exhibited in this article has been instrumental in creating the angry, swing to the right we are now seeing. I want that as little as you do. But you need to take a good, long, hard look at yourself. Because it’s the same attitude displayed here that has caused those events. And you risk undoing decades of progress that, I can assure you, nobody wants to undo. But that’s all you do when you call people sexist, racist and ‘trolls’, as above. Not even not bothering to understand them, but consciously and flagrantly rubbing their faces in whatever problems and discontents they percieve. Really I don’t know why I bothered writing this, I’m even crazier than you because you just want to be right, I’m actually trying to persuade you to think, or even reply and tell me why I’m completely wrong. Who knows. For as long as there are trolls I’ll have confidence that this world still posseses individuals who, if it all does go to pot, will stand and be counted and fight. Trolls give me hope.