Normal Person: I hate you [webname].
Normal Person: Forever.
Freak: What? Why?!
Freak: Because whatever it was, I didn't do it
Freak: It's certainly not MY fault that you pee blood.
Freak: -I mean, that you clicked that link.
— A genuine forum chat conversation with a Resident Freak setting themselves up for some abuse. The chat can only go downhill from here...
Many large forums have one or two Online Personas
who take on the role known as the Resident Freak. In their most basic form they are the Butt Monkey
of the entire board,
and revel in the knowledge.
More specifically, they are a member of The Old Guard who puts on a Jerkass Fašade
of stupidity, perversity or a Hair-Trigger Temper
. They may fake Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!
and switch their avatar every few weeks. Many strive to be seen as a Loveable Sex Maniac
, and turn the act of being a disgusting pervert into a fine art. They may come off as a Real Life Cloud Cuckoo Lander
. In any case, rather than cause trouble for other people, they do their job by drawing animosity towards themselves and they are usually incredibly amicable; there is almost nothing you can say that will genuinely offend them. They are by their own designs the Butt Monkey
of the entire board and are almost always an Acceptable Target
... at least to their faces. Despite this, they're pretty high in the Forum Pecking Order
They are not merely a Troll
passing through, but a long-time member of the board, sometimes from almost the origin of the board's history, often with a high post count boosted by their tendency towards being the more benign kind of Post Whore, keeping a careful watch on raising their post count without actually Trolling. Their goal is to ensure that Hilarity Ensues
in whatever topic they post in, and they strive to make other posters feel more intelligent. The average Resident Freak is an appalling Attention Whore
. If it's possible to change your name on the board, a Resident Freak... won't, for the purposes of more attention.
Their tactics vary. One is deliberately displaying huge ignorance about the topic - perhaps getting some fundamental facts wrong or expressing a controversial view on a topic. A tactic for experienced freaks is to post BEFORE reading the link to the article being discussed. Another is displaying weird behaviour such as sexual fetishes and strange hobbies that they encourage other people to mock. They will NEVER ignore any attention, positive or negative, and they are frequent and vocal posters.
They are not always direct friends of the board administrators and moderators - in fact the best ones don't need
to be, integrating themselves seamlessly into the new community despite being almost a complete stranger to all on the board, going from one post, to hundreds without anybody noticing.
However, just because everybody makes fun of the Freak, doesn't mean you can be spiteful and vindictive. One certain way to lose board popularity in a hurry is to badmouth them behind their backs. Since they will put up with so much for such a long time, it's easy to think they'll never complain - but they're not made of stone, and on the day somebody does get them to snap, they have a tendency of evoking considerable pity. And you who brutalised this harmless nutjob enough to actually upset them - well, enjoy your victory while you can, because you've just done something crueller than breaking trust with The Shepherd
, and the entire board will tear you apart for it. This is one doggy you don't want to kick.
Be wary of banning them! Despite a lack of official power, the Freak can contribute hugely to the popularity of a board, and skilled Freaks are not easy to come by. In rare cases, a particularly experienced and popular Resident Freak may be banned by a particuarly naive Moderator. Thanks to their role as an Acceptable Target
, the Freak has an uncanny talent for neutralising Flame Wars early and spotting Trolls. The board may find that it collapses into anarchy without somebody who finds it fun to take the brunt of the board's abuse, and even large forums have been known to collapse without them within weeks.
A Freak gains near-immunity from being banned at the sacrifice of official power - Freaks do not become Moderators or Admins. If they do, then they must stop being a Freak and get serious. They must also be prepared to be ridiculed on a regular basis by members old and new alike, become the targets of jokes, and rarely be supported by other posters. The most likely start to somebody agreeing with a Resident Freak is "I can't believe I'm agreeing with them" or "He/She is actually making sense for once."
However there's a good reason that skilled Freaks are rare and valued beasts - becoming one is a one-way trip, and if the journey is successfully completed they must accept they may never be taken seriously on that board again. A Resident Freak In Training must be cautious when they are new to a board, as leaping into a board just to insult people or derail topics is not advised and may well result in a hasty ban - the accomplished Freak however becomes weirder and more hilarious over time, with other posters eventually deciding they are either comparable to a favourite pet, or a strange rash that you can't remember ever not having. In either case there's a compulsion to give it a scratch.
When arguing with a Freak it is wise to remember that they have incredible stamina and are not going to give in as long as you're giving them attention. The Freak is also good at spotting and encouraging Bright Young Things.
Compare A Darker Me
, and the GIFT