A Meerkat Rants: Identifying your troll subspecies

As often seems to happen in these days of seemingly endless inspiration, what I’d planned on Ranting about gets pushed aside by a more immediate ARGH that needs to be ranted about.  And because the universe is a giving entity, I have an entire LIST of shit that I want to rant about, from people who don’t fucking turn on their headlights when it’s snowing (YES people, you turn your headlights on so we can SEE you in nearly white-out conditions, even in the afternoon, you stupid Darwin Award wannabes) to the utter and absolute lack of communication in human groups and sweet mother of dog, how hard is it to CC all the relevant people on an email?

Ahem.

But the rant that’s bubbling up inside of me was triggered by something some of you may have been following on my Facebook page.  Which is the common presentation of the troll species of circular tapdancis minor.

You’ve no doubt encountered this species in your own travels.  They are closely related to the whataboutis and the goalpost movitis, but can be differentiated by the pale yellow swatch down their back, and the lack of an identifying call, preferring to be as vague as possible in their noises, for fear of being pinned down.  When startled or challenged, they are often known to perform the move that earned it its name, ‘tap-dancing’ away from anything it feels is a danger to itself while disgorging a noxious ink of poorly-sourced “evidence” in an attempt to distract enemies.

Normally, such a minor troll species would be easily ignored, save for the behavior that earns it the first part of its name – the insistence on making continued runs at the topic under discussion, despite their unwillingness to engage with facts and their refusal to accept any other viewpoint as valid or indeed been reasonable.  This behavior has the perhaps intended result of ensuring the troll has a steady stream of goats (as they term their targets) who wander by without realizing that the topic has already been discussed, thereby forcing one or more former goats to take the role of goatherd, and alert newcomers to what they’ve just stepped in without feeding the troll further.

And, in the event all goats are removed from their vicinity, the circular tapdancis minor will continue to perform its courting dance, in the hopes of enticing one of the goats to return, either out of curiosity or ire.

In short, these fuckers are exhausting.

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About Laura Anne Gilman

Laura Anne is a recovering editor-turned-novelist, with an Endeavor Award, a Nebula nomination, another Endeavor award nomination and a Washington State Book Award nomination under her belt. Her most recent series is the award-winning "Devil's West" trilogy, starting with SILVER ON THE ROAD, and her same-universe story collection, WEST WINDS' FOOL, AND OTHER STORIES OF THE DEVIL'S WEST. The novella GABRIEL'S ROAD was published by Book View Cafe on April 30th, 2019. Her Patreon, featuring original fiction, writing advice, and original Rants, is at https://www.patreon.com/LAGilman Learn more at www.lauraannegilman.net, where you can sign up for her quarterly newsletter.

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