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The jargon used to describe Internet fora and online discussions such as Blogs. While some concepts overlap with tropes, on TV Tropes we do not usually catalogue this terminology in the form of individual articles but only as a large glossary. For TV Tropes-specific terminology, see TV Tropes Glossary. Some concepts discussed here are also mentioned by Flame Warriors.

Forum terms with their own pages:

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    Banned 
Users are sometimes prevented, by the authorities of a website or social media platform, from contributing. They are prohibited by software from making posts or edits. This may be due to breaking rules you were not aware of, or even based on a false accusation. The justification for banning people, on the part of site admins, is that it's far easier to keep out some online users than to deal with them once they've made a mess. Not everyone who is banned will automatically know why their account has been suspended, and may assume it was a mistake.

Regardless if the ban was justified (you broke a rule) or mistaken (you didn't break a rule), the best way to handle the situation is usually to step back, compare your behavior to the rules, and then try to speak calmly to one of the website's managers to ask them what is wrong. If you didn't break a rule, you may still have been "stepping on toes" due to your lack of experience in a way that reminded other people of previous rule-breakers. Talking to the people in charge is still the best way to resolve the problem. Keep in mind that actual spammers, trolls and other scoundrels often pretend innocence, and that making a Sock Puppet for ban evasion is, in many places on the Internet, itself a bannable offense.

If you find yourself banned or suspended on this website, check What to Do If You Are Suspended and then post in the Edit Banned thread.

    Browser Narcotic 

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/rsz_3_1454.jpg

Browser Narcotic websites are any one that results in you opening a dozen tabs in a single session and using up hours of your time. An example of such is This Very Wiki. Ending up on a Wiki Walk is common at such sites, but not universal. The trope name comes courtesy of xkcd's alt-text on this comic.

Compare Archive Binge, which is linear in nature and does not require opening dozens of tabs.


Notable offenders:

  • One of the many ways TV Tropes will ruin your life.
  • Wikipedia
  • 4chan
  • reddit
  • Any porn site. Admit it, you know it to be true.
  • Cracked.com. Brazilians have a humorous blog that's just like Cracked.
  • Dark Roasted Blend
  • DeviantArt
  • Pixiv, thanks to its recommendation feature being a little too good, tends to induce Wiki Walks. Heaven help you if you start to browse for fanart of one of the more popular series, like Touhou Project, Hetalia, Pokémon, Vocaloid, or Inazuma Eleven, each of which will get you over 150,000 hits. Though the effect is lessened somewhat, as a large part of the website is in Japanese.
  • Digg
  • Everything2
  • Facebook
  • Tumblr
  • FanFiction.Net. The good ones at least... and badfic too, arguably. This also applies to most well organized fanfic sites like, say, Archive of Our Own.
  • Fark
  • Oobject
  • Damn Interesting
  • Forums can end up as these if there are enough interesting threads.
  • The Polish site Wyhacz.pl is was a news service devoted mainly to various instances of citizens being screwed over by bureaucratic incompetence or corporate dishonesty. It's surprisingly fascinating.
  • The Let's Play Archive: Oh, you've just discovered the Let's Play phenomenon and spent several hours following an LP of your favorite game? No worries, we can recommend LP's from the same genre / author that are sure to interest you. And once you're done with those, we have more recommendations...
  • The Cheezburger Network
  • The SCP Foundation can do this, as some of the most popular articles include experiment logs involving other SCPs. The site is trying to minimize this, however. Just watch your step, because you're walking through a minefield of really terrifying stuff.
  • Snopes
  • StumbleUpon
  • Twitter
  • Orion's Arm, hoooo boooy.
  • Uncyclopedia
  • Yahoo.com (the main page that features news articles).
  • YouTube
  • AniDB
  • Most estate agent/real estate websites tend to provoke this. If you've come to one looking for property to buy, you'll no doubt be opening plenty of tabs to compare different listings, and if you're not... you're probably opening loads of tabs to dream.
  • Hardcore Gaming 101. Hundreds of in-depth articles on a staggering variety of niche, overlooked, or import-only games? Updated semi-regularly? Not only are the articles a fascinating way to waste a few minutes hours weekends, a whole new level of procrastination can be reached if one decides to make trying the games featured on the site a regular habit.
  • Everything Is Terrible
  • WeKnowMemes
  • Imgur: That is, of course, if we are to believe The Daily Derp.
  • BuzzFeed, particularly the list pages. That being said, though, any clickbait site could count, really. Buzzfeed just so happens to be the most well-known one.
  • Sports fans can have this on Bleacher Report and Page 2 \ Grantland.
  • MapCrunch takes you to a random location on Google StreetView. You can navigate on it as usual, or press a button that takes you to another random location. Now try to stop exploring the world.
  • Not Always Right. The effect is lessened due to only adding 5 or 6 anecdotes a day (easily read in 15 minutes), but increased due to its massive archive and eight sister sites, Not Always Working/Romantic/Related/Learning/Friendly/ Hopeless/Healthy and Legal.
  • The Polish equivalent of Not Always Right, piekielni.pl .
  • Uberfacts, with a Website, two apps, and several Twitter accounts.
  • Any good webcomic with a big enough archive.
  • Fundies Say the Darndest Things i.e. an immense archive of all the insane things fundamentalists have said in this contemporary age. It even has an article on RationalWiki.
  • Most .io Games can easily waste large amounts of one's time due to the ease of joining a game and playing a few rounds... and another...

    Derailing 
Derailing takes its name from trains leaving their tracks, and is used as an idiom to say that a discussion is going on a tangent, a subject that is irrelevant to the main point being discussed. It may even occur intentionally by a Troll who wants to disrupt the flow of conversation because they enjoy chaos. Sometimes the change in topic is done by mistake, and the contributor merely needs to be corrected. It must be emphasized that a change in topic is not by itself a derail, because conversations naturally change.

A normal conversation might start with the subject of pit bulls, narrow to be about how dangerous pit bulls are, then shift to animal fights in general. This isn't a derail, as that is a natural outcome of discussion. A discussion about training pit bulls where someone starts posting graphic images of a pit bull mating with a Chihuahua, however, is getting derailed by the image poster. Some forums have strict rules about staying on a specific topic, and might forbid a thread that's supposed to be about pit bulls from discussing other animals, such as roosters. In such a forum, even the first example is actually a derail as the change in scope is against the rules.

Common methods of derailing often include various forms of Ad Hominem (such as poisoning the well), victim blaming, whataboutism (claiming a loosely related concern is important to the subject), Misplaced Nationalism, and outright Trolling. Comparing someone's argument to Nazis is akin blowing up a railway bridge, dropping the train into the sea and then pissing on the remains in derailing terms. Another common method of derailing is making threats, because it often shuts down the conversation or turns it into a discussion about the person making the threat rather than the original subject. This is one reason for forums to take a very hard line on making threats, often issuing bans immediately and having a policy of (if the threat seems credible) contacting local law enforcement.

Compare and contrast Change the Uncomfortable Subject, where someone steers the discussion away from a topic they find embarrassing or upsetting, without the disruptive motivations typical of a derail. Derailing can sometimes lead to a ban or the offensive post removed. On this wiki, removing posts are called a thump. Most of the thumps are self-explanatory; if you need clarification on something, ask a mod. Thumps are are directed at the person whose post was thumped and are accompanied by a PM to that person. Thumps are not the same thing as a forum suspension/ban, but accumulating a lot of them can lead to one.
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    Doublepost 
Typically, a Message Board thread is expected to resemble a conversation. People add their opinion in a post, and others respond in subsequent postings. The original poster may post again later, responding to the responses. A double post is when, for whatever reason, the first response to one post is by the same poster. Talking to oneself can get one odd looks in Real Life, but there are several reasons it may be seen on a Message Board:
  1. The same thing is posted twice by mistake, due to server lag or whatnot. Many forums allow a user to delete their most recent post in thread to clean this up. This sort of thing is especially common on Usenet, where the nature of NNTP causes a sometimes substantial lag in the propagation of new posts.
  2. One may have a thought that they want to add after posting, and the forum doesn't have an "edit post" button. Or they don't know about the button. Or else, the user doesn't yet have "editing privileges". Or the forum administrator has placed a time limit on the poster's ability to edit posts, and the time to edit has passed. Or they want to have a "hastily written afterthought" feel to their new comment.
  3. One may simply want to Bump the thread back to the top of the list, in the hope that people will notice the thread and reply to their post.
  4. Many forums have a strict limit on number of characters per post — sometimes, posts that exceed this are broken into two consecutive posts. The same often goes for image-heavy posts where there is a limit on the number of images.

Generally, one won't get in trouble for the first type of Double Post, but forum policies on the other three vary widely. One Double Post too many on the wrong forum can get one labeled a Spammer.
Double post, mods plz delete.

    Doublepost 
Typically, a Message Board thread is expected to resemble a conversation. People add their opinion in a post, and others respond in subsequent postings. The original poster may post again later, responding to the responses. A double post is when, for whatever reason, the first response to one post is by the same poster. Talking to oneself can get one odd looks in Real Life, but there are several reasons it may be seen on a Message Board:
  1. The same thing is posted twice by mistake, due to server lag or whatnot. Many forums allow a user to delete their most recent post in thread to clean this up. This sort of thing is especially common on Usenet, where the nature of NNTP causes a sometimes substantial lag in the propagation of new posts.
  2. One may have a thought that they want to add after posting, and the forum doesn't have an "edit post" button. Or they don't know about the button. Or else, the user doesn't yet have "editing privileges". Or the forum administrator has placed a time limit on the poster's ability to edit posts, and the time to edit has passed. Or they want to have a "hastily written afterthought" feel to their new comment.
  3. One may simply want to Bump the thread back to the top of the list, in the hope that people will notice the thread and reply to their post.
  4. Many forums have a strict limit on number of characters per post — sometimes, posts that exceed this are broken into two consecutive posts. The same often goes for image-heavy posts where there is a limit on the number of images.

Generally, one won't get in trouble for the first type of Double Post, but forum policies on the other three vary widely. One Double Post too many on the wrong forum can get one labeled a Spammer.
Double post, mods plz delete.

    Fannage 
"You got to love an encyclopedia that has a longer article for the lightsaber than they do for the printing press."
Stephen Colbert (No longer true, by the way.)

Fannage is a phenomenon where, in wikis, things relating to pop culture get more attention than more mundane topics, even if the more mundane topics are more relevant to real life. According to wiki law, this shouldn't be a problem, as it encourages a larger number of people to edit. Likewise the opposite isn't bad either, if a handful of people are hopefully interested in a single topic to make good entries even if hedge trimmers complain about superfluous articles being longer. On one hand, you don't have to look at the fan-tacular articles. On the other hand, Wikipedia's $12,000 funds drives every couple of years seem to be mostly going towards rewriting the Star Wars Expanded Universe in encyclopedia form.

The danger occurs when topics with high amounts of Fannage lead to a larger pool of unskilled editors. More importantly, things that attract fandoms can start getting filled with weasel words, fanon, and other mess in an attempt to fit into the format.

This is probably best represented in the often ridiculously detailed television episode synopses on Wikipedia, whose owners tolerate it mostly through fan stubbornness of editors despite being frowned upon by official rules. That they can exist for shows with negative continuity doesn't stop people treating it like they aren't.

It overlaps heavily with what Wikipedia calls "fan cruft" and is generally avoided by reminding editors that there are other wikis. Wikia, in particular, seems to exist as a network of wikis for bodies of fiction so grumpy Wikipedia editors have somewhere to evict fannage to.

Because of what this wiki is about, this doesn't really apply to TV Tropes, but a similar phenomenon can be seen in how works more popular among tropers get more wicks and become Trope Overdosed.

    First Post 
First!!

For large platforms, there is often a race to be the first to post in a new thread, while tending to not contribute to the topic at all. It's not limited to forums, an article or video that has comments enabled may commonly feature a "First!"-type declaration for users that find it, well... before most of the other users. This "First" or "Prime" placeholders (The Daily Kitten uses "Pounce!") might be expanded on later, by editing the post, but it is common to find just a single word declaration that the user was able to respond before anyone else.

This trend tends to annoy bloggers to no end, especially those who prefer there is some resemblance of civility in the comments zone. Some websites enforce rules or software to prevent their userbase from adding lack-of-effort responses, such as banning or removing "First!" posts. On the news-aggregator website Fark, they punish it with a word-filter. "First post" is changed to "Boobies", while "first comment" is changed to "Weener". If either of those phrases occurs in a post which is actually the first post in a given thread, the post's timestamp is moved 12 hours into the future, virtually guaranteeing that it will be the last post in the thread (or lost in the middle, for long-running threads).

The phenomenon of posting first is parodied in this video, and is generally discouraged on most forums, including this one.

    G.I.F.T. 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/dickwad_0.png
Just an average day out on the Internet.

The Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory ("GIFT"), first given a name by Penny Arcade, is a theory that tries to explain why many people seem to become anti-social Jerkasses online in spite of any in-person behavior.

The GIFT equation goes like this: "Normal Person + Anonymity + Audience = Total Fuckwad".

This phenomenon has been studied academically, and by all accounts, the comic's satirical analysis is spot-on; normal people become more aggressive when they think their behavior carries no real-world social consequences. When people do not have to worry about getting in trouble with their loved ones, school, or place of employment, or getting into a direct physical altercation with anyone, they feel they have nothing to lose by being shameless, insufferable jerks behind the veil of anonymity that is The Internet. Although... 

Sadly, this leads to a large number of people thinking that cyberbullying is funny, and that the Internet is the perfect place to spew all the bigoted, hypocritical, provocative, or otherwise hateful bile they would never say in-person. The GIFT also contributes to the pervasiveness of cyberbullying amongst children and teenagers. The academic name of the phenomenon is the Online Disinhibition Effect. It should be noted that the Online Disinhibition Effect cuts both ways; while some people take advantage of the anonymity and lack of consequence on the Internet to become jerks, other people discover that it allows them to be more honest and talk about issues which, under normal circumstances, they would be unable to address.

The idea of anonymity's irresistible corruption due to lack of consequences and escape from restraints caused by being watched is extremely pervasive. Think of the people who leave unholy messes and/or graffiti in public restrooms. Nobody sees them do it, and they almost certainly would not make such a mess in their own bathroom where they would have to clean it up. The basic idea was first proposed by Plato in The Republic, where he recounts the myth of the Ring of Gyges, one of the original Invisible Jerkass stories. At least one psychology paper has confirmed that Internet anonymity is attractive to narcissistic, psychopathic, and sadistic people who take pleasure in making others suffer.

The rise of social media networks such as Facebook and comment sections, in which people may have to attach their real name and maybe even other details about themselves to any posts they make, has caused a re-evaluation of the theory. Plenty of people seem quite willing to act just as obnoxious, rude, bigoted, and abusive while posting under their real identity as they would if they were posting under a pseudonym. A lack of anonymity might dissuade some people from being jerks, but it does not appear to effectively push people into good behavior as was originally thought. This may be because while social media discourages anonymity, it also doesn't offer any real consequence.

The only reason why the GIFT is not a law like Godwin's Law is because of the acronym.

Related tropes are Invisible Jerkass, Jerkass Dissonance, Loss of Inhibitions and Mask of Confidence.

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    IBTL/In before the lock 
Short for In Before The Lock. Somebody on a Message Board has made a thread that is just guaranteed to get killed off before it goes anywhere. It's inevitable. So, as a rather thinly-veiled attempt by other uses to boost their Post Counts, they simply post IBTL in the thread as it comes up. This is often looked upon with the same disdain as contentless First Post spam, but since most threads that get this treatment are doomed anyway, it's less likely any action will be taken. (Sometimes, IBTL-posting is a sardonic or sarcastic way of warning people that the thread is headed into lockable territory; this is not recommended, as it's a little too subtle for some people.)

If the thread in question gets deleted, then their Post Count spamming is all for naught.

    Implonkus 

Related to online commentary; implonkus is that feeling you get when you take a moment to organize your thoughts on a subject, then set the notions down as clearly as you are able, and the person who responds online starts off with "lol", uses "to" for "too" and ends every fragmented sentence with an emoticon.

The word itself appears to be a combination of "impetus" and "plonk"; the latter is a Usenet-born onomatopoeia for the notional sound made when someone is killfiled (i.e. added to a kill file, a Usenet-era ignore list).

First seen on the HBO The Sopranos forum.

    Internet Cold Reader 
“What proof is there that [Hitler] is an atheist? In Mein Kampf, he actually seems to be a believer.”
“I'm sure you are against classroom prayer and homeschooling as well, just like Hitler.
— Two editors of Conservapedia have a reasoned exchange of opinions

A particularly annoying Online Persona which practices Cold Reading. The Internet Cold Reader will read a four-sentence long post, use it to deduce your life-story, psychology and political/religious views and then use that as a basis for their argument. Sometimes they'll accept correction on these points, sometimes they won't. Common in fora and blogs.

Please note that most Cold Readers don't actually sound like armchair psychologists, but the ones who do are hilarious. Some actually do it on purpose.

Hypothetical example:

"I didn't think Twilight was too bad, if you don't think too hard about it."
"Ah! Obviously you are a closet misogynist and think that every woman needs to find a perfect, godlike, sparkly man to give her entire life and absolute obedience to! Also, you probably have anti-intellectual leanings, and feel threatened by the idea that there might be such a thing as quality literature outside of your little bubble."

Do try to give them the benefit of the doubt. If nothing else, they can help you to watch your posts for Unfortunate Implications.

For "readings" on some greater scale see also Conspiracy Theories.

Further Demonstrations:

  • Clearly, your desire to avoid the hypothetical "Flame Bait" stems from your own insecurities about the topic, as you are daunted by the prospect of unharmony and reject the natural human desire for intellectual discussion. This controlling nature probably stems from the same source as your anti-intellectualism, leading you to attempt to control the thoughts of others.
  • Why would you assume that people "naturally" desire intellectual discussion? While you might hold to the ridiculous theory that, because we live in a society with an intellectual tradition, people are born with some kind of drive towards reasonable debate and common understanding, it seems more reasonable to me to assume that you want this page to descend into mayhem and rage, and no doubt spend a lot of time surfing in search of innocent wiki pages to so destroy (as well as porn.) Nevertheless, if you think we can really survive...
  • Moreover, why utilize the nonexistent term "unharmony" instead of the commonly accepted "disharmony"? Clearly, the discrepancy between your calls for discourse and your own egregious error in style and vocabulary signifies a terrible mental dichotomy between intellectualism and anti-intellectualism within your poor, addled mind. Your confusion, no doubt, stems from a tragically divided upbringing. Your mother and father likely found themselves at different axes of the anti-intellectualism/intellectualism debate. I'm sure it's a very fascinating story, but in the interim we would all appreciate it if you sought therapy for your psychic fissure rather than excising your wounds with wiki-vitriol.

    Internet Detective 

Never Live It Down embodied in an Online Persona, the ID, also described in part as the Archivist on Mike Reed's Flame Warriors, seemingly fancies themselves to be the ultimate diviner of truth from lies, a righteous warrior fighting against falsehood on the Internet.

The detective will archive information on an individual or individuals from any period of time. Unlike the traditional Archivist, however, this extends well beyond one location, and may well reach into Real Life in more thorough "investigations." Internet Detectives may pose as someone else to get or compile information that is protected from the Internet public for one reason or another, or directly contact the "subject" of an "investigation" and/or his or her friends. Anything found or said will be subjected to intense examination, taken in the worst possible context (even if that involves removing it from its original context), and of course, applied with heavy doses of Never Live It Down to every Old Shame or even something that does not mean what the detective is absolutely sure it does. Even the slightest typo or perceived mismatch in facts or narrative will lead to a Conviction by Contradiction.

Unfortunately, being an obsessive stalker or jumping to conclusions both lend themselves very well to the Internet Detective persona, making it a great disguise for a Single-Issue Wonk whose single issue is another person (or group of people ) or a Troll. In the most supreme of irony, occasionally someone trying to defend a false claim or a series of false claims will become an Internet Detective under the assumption that no one will risk challenging their "authority." Sadly, it often works.

A particular tool of the Internet Detective is the Wayback Machine.

    Internet Tough Guy 

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/internettoughguy_8754.png

Internet Tough Guys are people who will threaten anyone online who bugs them enough with physical or legal harm. These threats are always empty. These bullies couldn't fulfill most of these threats even if they wanted to. If you ever find yourself on the receiving end of these threats, just remember that most of these people are morons who wouldn't even be able to figure out your IP address.

Not surprisingly, Trolls love these morons. Rants, ineffectual threats, and anger being the stuff trolls live on.

Common Internet Tough Guy threats include lawsuits (that would immediately be thrown out of court); extreme violence against one or more people; calling people's parents (works best against the young); use of the U.S. Constitution or US statutes against non-American forum owners; and calling for the banning of someone who expresses a viewpoint that they disagree with.

    Lurker 

A Lurker is the internet equivalent of that creepy guy at the party who stands in the corner all night, listening to other people's conversations, and no one can remember who invited him. Except somewhat less creepy (as you don't see him).

Some lurkers will sign up for a forum but rarely post anything even though they read most of what does get posted. Other lurkers, on publicly viewable forums, won't even sign up.

Sometimes lurking is a prelude to becoming a regular poster on the forum. Either the lurker likes what they see and decides to become an active part of the community, or they were intending to join all along and merely lurked to get a handle on the unspoken rules and zeitgeist of the forum. Thus, a period of lurking can help one bypass the noob stage of the forum poster life cycle. Lurking for this purpose is strongly encouraged as a survival mechanism on certain meme-heavy corners of the Internet, hence the phrase "Lurk moar". Then there are pay-for-entry forums, which means that there will be people interested on what happens on the forum but unable or unwilling to sign up due to the cost.

However, if one admits to formerly being a lurker, the registered users might be creeped out that the information they posted on a publicly viewable forum is being viewed by the public.

Related to the Unknown Troper.

Not related to the advanced/evolved form of a Zerg Hydralisk, nor the homeless people on Babylon 5, nor the enemy monsters in Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy.

Some sites, such as 4chan, will actually suggest that you should "lurk moar" if you prove ignorant of the etiquette, such as it is.

Sometimes the reason for only lurking on a TV-show's forum is that by the time the show airs in the lurker's country, everything useful has already been said.

While lurking is encouraged in these latter days of always-on broadband, such was not always the case. The term was first used in its present sense in the 1980s when the web didn't exist, and the Internet was still confined to governments and universities. People would connect their Commodore 64s and IBM compatible computers to bulletin board systems via modem. These were often hosted by fellow geeks in their own homes, and usually used a modem connected to a single phone line, meaning only one user could be on at a time. Finally, BBS's were often only online for certain hours each day. Thus, a lurker was someone who tied up the phone line without contributing to the community.

    Mediator 
The opposite of the Troll, the mediator is someone who tends to respond to most arguments online, particularly ones he or she is not directly involved in, by posting comments intended either to defuse the debate or simply admonish the debating parties for "fighting." Either way, there tends to be a certain amount of condescension involved. This can be particularly grating to people who were simply having a reasoned argument, and are being admonished for an animosity that does not, in fact, exist. Note that being a Mediator does not preclude someone from getting into petty squabbles of their own, particularly when their moral authority is challenged. However, sometimes Mediators can help defuse an argument, and make sure that everything in the board stays on topic. Good Mediators tend to become Shepherds over time. Others devolve into Small Name, Big Ego or even Well-Intentioned Extremist, and many of them commit the Golden Mean Fallacy.

The Mediator often combines with A Darker Me for those Mediators who would never get away with such chastisement in real life. Other times, they will play the same role in the real world as they do online.

    Me Too! 
"And posting 'Me too!' like some braindead AOLer
I should do the world a favor and cap you like Ol' Yeller
You're just about as useless as JPEGs to Helen Keller..."
"Weird Al" Yankovic, "It's All About the Pentiums"

A person, who when replying to a message on a forum habitually says nothing more than "Me Too". This can take any variation, such as "Seconded," "This," "Damn straight," etc. Often on Fora such as email lists and Usenet, they will include the entire contents of the message they are replying to.

Roundly decried for wasting people's time and, in places without broadband, bandwidth. Some Fora, with borderline support for the site's monthly traffic, will ban posts like this just to keep the site up and running!

AOL's subscribers gained such a bad reputation for this after getting access to Usenet in the middle 1990s that the use of AOL! or the pseudo-HTML markup <AOL!> is a widely known shorthand for Me Too.

"+1" is a modern Web-2.0ish variant; while it is sometimes a legitimate idiom for "I agree this is important", it is often used where it is not welcome.

One variant is a reply consisting solely of the auto-quoted text, trimmed to the agreed-with content in question. Some forums allow users to get away with this via Rule of Funny, though it is still frowned upon by many. A common equivalent, usually used in IRC, is to reply with a caret ("^") as to represent an arrow pointing to the text they agree with.

One accepted use is in discussions where a consensus needs to be established. In those cases a vote is all that's needed, and unless a new argument is presented, the text is just the same kind of filler.

A similar phenomenon is the poster who feels that posting the first response in a new discussion is a triumphant achievement, and will often post for nothing but the sole purpose of being that first response. Often followed up with cries of "second", "third" or "fourth" from other like-minded people who were a little too slow on the draw. This also applies to sites whose message boards have a pre-set limit on posts in a topic. When the topic is about to reach the post count where it will close, many posters will interject with meaningless posts just to be the one to 'kill' the topic.

More recently, the phrase #MeToo gained widespread use on social media to denounce sexual abuse, misconduct and harassment, particularly after several notable figures in entertainment, news media and political circles were accused of said behavior, often by people they had worked with and had come to trust them. The idea was that its users would use it to state that in some fashion they had also been victims, and not necessarily by famous people, and that they sometimes wished to remain anonymous with specific details. For details on the various figures accused of such actions, see Role-Ending Misdemeanor (even if it goes way beyond "Misdemeanor").

    Ninja Editor 
Seen on Message Boards and blogs and the like, the Ninja Editor is the type of person who makes a post, then almost immediately goes back to and then edits it quickly and without comment — like a Ninja. *cue rain of cherry blossom leaves*

This is usually innocent (like fixing typos, in which case it's customary to add something like "Ninja-edited for typo" just for clarity) but can also be used as flamebait, when a Ninja Editor's edit radically changes the content of the post. This can lead to an even more confusing situation where the earlier replies to a Ninja Edited post are replies to the original unedited post and later replies are replies to the new, edited post.

In the case of a total-post change, it may be deliberate trolling in order to bring about maximum confusion, or may be a newbie recanting after inadvertently running afoul of Internet Backdraft, in which case it may be extremely difficult for late-comers to the thread in question to figure out what exactly went the hell on in the first place. A more malicious application might be to ask a question, then once a few replies have been posted, edit the original post so that the answers now appear to be incriminating (i.e.: getting anyone to respond with a number under 13, then changing the question to "How old are you", resulting in an immediate ban under minimum age rules. This is why GameFAQs didn't allow editing for a long time, and while it is now allowed the above actions will get you banned.) Or even worse, make an offensive comment that tricks someone into angrily replying back at them, only to delete the post they made so that the person's angry reply is now orphaned and it looks like they made the offending comment. For this reason, the lion's share of these messaging application developers have made it so that replies to posts form parent-child trees, and if the original post is deleted, the replies also go away so that no one can be caught in this fiendish trap.

This can get really, really annoying in certain communities (especially LiveJournal) where you can now edit comments, as most people have settings that email the comments to them, so in the space of a few minutes you can have half a dozen of practically the same comment clogging up your inbox.

People that are afraid of this happening to a significant comment may quote them so that it's part of their quote. Though even quotes can be altered. (Usually just by moderators, however.)

This is the reason that some fora allow editing of articles only at certain times (let's say, one hour) after the post was made. Others only allowed editing until someone responds to the comment. More than a few popular web forum packages will, after a certain arbitrary boundary is passed (after X minutes, Y edits, edits after another user has posted, or in some cases the very first edit, no matter what) mention, in smaller text, that the post has been edited.

A somewhat related phenomenon is the Ninja Post, where during the time an entirely new message is being written or uploaded, one or more other corespondents will submit messages into the conversation where the aforementioned one was intended to go. In this case, specific references to location or primacy (e.g.: “Like the last post says…”, “I'm surprised nobody's mentioned…”) will be rendered confusing or misleading. This is one of the disadvantages of having a slower internet connection. A derivative of this takes a memetic form known as the Combo Breaker, where someone on a message board tries to post a series of images in sequence that form a larger image when pieced together, but someone cuts in with a post that interrupts the sequence. This is especially rampant on 4chan in attempts to taunt some for being too slow on the draw, and some users have even taken to making custom images that portray them destroying the offending combo breaker to preserve their collage.

When this gets really bad, you have a Serial Tweaker on your hands. Contrast with Internet Detective.

    Online Persona 
Crafting an online persona is becoming an art form. As with all other art forms, they incorporate at least a little fiction. It is possible to identify genres and — you guessed it — tropes. You may also be interested in our Troper Types page as well which focuses on the personas most found on our wiki.
    Orwellian Editor 
"Rewrites every story, every poem that ever was
Eliminates incompetence, and those who break the laws."
Megadeth, "Hook In Mouth"

Some people out there seem to think that out of sight really is out of mind. The extremist cousin of the Ninja Editor, this is the type of person that goes to great lengths to remove all evidence of a particular online activity in the hopes that the Internet will forget about it if it's no longer available. If someone criticizes their work, they respond by just simply replacing or flat out deleting it wholesale. If a forum allows editing posts, they'll gladly blank it out. If not, they'll demand the administrators cover up this embarrassment.

Of course, once they delete every trace of their embarrassment they can get in reach of, they will then proceed to deny its existence. They never wrote that incendiary racist propaganda thinly disguised as a Death Note fanfic where Light kills off the entire African continent. What the hell are you talking about? That post where they said Hitler was right? A forgery by the other members of the forum to ruin their good name.

People don't just try to hide their own actions, either. Just as frequent are the cases where a Message Board administrator attempts this on other people. For example, let's say a political debate ends up with the administrator's side flat out losing. This admin could choose to then delete the entire thread, every reference to the thread they can find, ban all the most vocal users that won the debate, and constantly police the rest of the members to ensure they never, ever talk about it again. This is an excellent way to drive away forum users. No one wants some Small Name, Big Ego type with an agenda policing their every word.

Either way, whether or not the person that partakes in this behavior is actually hiding something truly damaging is irrelevant (in fact, most of these deletions themselves weigh a lot worse on them than whatever was posted in the first place). What matters is that they think that all they have to do in order to mask something on the internet is to Delete Friggin' Everything.

The name refers specifically to the novel 1984, where one major aspect of the society was a total willingness to rewrite the past ("We have always been at war with Eastasia.").

    Post Count 

Post Count is, well, the number of posts a user of an online forum has made. However, many of the Fora out there have developed a mentality that it represents some form of status to have a high post count. They'll downplay people's opinions and make comments about the relative value of members. Obviously, this is fallacious logic (having a high post count only means, well, having a high post count; it doesn't automatically mean that those posts really contributed to anything), but due to the correlation that an active member of a particular forum will have a high post count, it's easy to see how people can make this mistake. This is commonly paired with Suffers Newbies Poorly, as a high post count is frequently seen as an indication that a member has been on the site for a long time, and is thus more "loyal" to the community (without taking into account any actual contributions the member has provided to the forum.)

Somebody who endeavours to raise their post count any way they can is called a Post Whore. Somebody who makes meaningful conversation but also keeps a careful watch on their post count can also be a Wholesome Post Whore, traditionally by boasting about their post count, but it may be less detectable, such as by them checking out the member list for the sole purpose of working out who's the next person they need to beat.

Wholesome Post Whores can actually be pretty productive on a board. The obnoxious kind may just turn into Spammers.

Depending on forum mechanics, it's perfectly possible to have a post count in the negative numbers.

Post Count as currency is the number one cause of First Post, Thread Necromancy, spamming, and other activities designed to boost post count without really having anything useful to say.

    The Shepherd 

Now you've done it. You've barely been on the board five minutes and you've triggered the Single-Issue Wonk, or the resident Hair-Trigger Temper has singled you out for punishment. You didn't mean any harm, but everyone on the board is determined to make you out to be a Troll of the worst order, twisting your own words in order to make you the message board's resident criminal. Even the Butt-Monkey of the board is sneering at you loftily. Better jump ship before you're made to walk the plank...

Except... Wait. Someone's taken your side. About two thirds down a long list of "stupid n00b" posts is one that reads "Actually (s)he has a point," or "Lay off. How was (s)he to know that episode 45 is a taboo topic?" And the thing is, the other members of the forum actually listen, posting sheepish apologies or half-hearted grumblings before seeming to forget the whole incident entirely. Come to think of it, your champion is the same person who was the first to respond to your "Hi, I'm new," post, with a "Welcome to the board!" and a list of useful links.

Lucky you. Your new forum has a Shepherd in residence.

The Shepherd is a rare and benevolent online persona. They make it their mission to greet the newbies, ensure everyone treats them fairly, and answer the questions that die hard fans find too inane to be worth answering. Usually a member held in high esteem, they're well liked by nearly everyone, even the one who Suffers Newbies Poorly, which is why your attackers shut up the minute The Shepherd entered the fray.

While the actual personality can vary from an affable "big brother" type to someone who's downright motherly, the definition of the Shepherd is someone who looks after the Newbies that might otherwise have a hard time being accepted. They're no pushover though — often, in their role of Defender of the Newcomer, they will challenge Mods or other "Old Guard" members determined to assume the worst. And they'll win, some times...Baiting or annoying this character is an automatic Kick the Dog. They genuinely have no ulterior motives (if they do, they're something other than The Shepherd), so other members of the forum will rally to their defense, especially if they were once Newbies who were welcomed by the Shepherd.

So you got lucky. The forum's given you the benefit of the doubt, and the slate is wiped clean. Don't abuse your benefactor's trust though... if you turn out to be a Troll, the Shepherd will hammer you twice as hard for betraying their trust.

Some especially rabid newbie haters will accuse the Shepherd of white knighting, but if the Shepherd is good enough typically these people will be scolded and admonished for attempting to tarnish the Shepherd's reputation, though it is indeed true that at some base level The Shepherd and the White Knight have very similar motives. In many cases can be a Good Shepherd.

Has nothing to do with any other character named Shepherd or some variation thereof. Or literal farmers who tend for sheep.

    Garbage Post Kid 
"Today, I could take a photo of my butt and put it online within five seconds, and while this is objectively a good thing (at least in my case, because I have a sweet butt), it comes with the side effect of making trolls lazier. Most raids now involve flooding sites with gore, porn, or various combinations of both. While you can't argue with the effectiveness of this method, there's zero effort there. Where's the love for the craft? What amusing story did you get out of this experience that you'll tell your grandchildren eventually?"

Grouped personality-wise with the Troll, the Garbage Post Kid not only delights in posting offensive and inflammatory text, but also punctuates them with vomit-inducing pictures and links to Shock Sites. These kinds of Internet riffraff usually have a personal beef with a specific group member or community, and will constantly flood their topics with all the filth the 'net can offer to get back at them; if it's against a single person, they usually don't care about ruining the day (or constitution) of the dozens or hundreds of innocent posters on the board, so long as they make sure that one guy knows he can't run or hide from the troll.

Naturally, these are one of the more egregious Internet offenders; sometimes, it can take hours for the mods to clean up the sewage the GPK leaves behind — sometimes requiring a temporary shut-down of the forum — and some of them are intent enough to not give up, and keep coming back for more as soon as they can. These guys can be very hard to shake.

Trope name comes from Garbage Pail Kids, a 1980s trading card parody to the Cabbage Patch Kids that depicted truly disturbing imagery on them.

    Hit-and-Run Poster 
The least dedicated breed of troll, this poster makes one provocative comment, then leaves, never to be seen again. Perhaps he is watching the Internet Backdraft smugly from afar, but not giving the victims the satisfaction of his response, perhaps he just doesn't care; the satisfaction of knowing someone is pissed off is thanks enough.

Contrast Drive-By Updater, in which the one-time poster actually makes a positive contribution to the wiki. Related to people who ask a question on forums but never bother to come back for the answer.

The Other Wiki has an article on these.

    Left Fielder 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/350Thump_1978.png
The Left Fielder is someone who will enter a discussion already under way and start talking about something completely unrelated. Sometimes, what they say will have nothing to do with the thread it's in, such as: "Have you ever noticed that a lot of rock stars from the '70s look like Jesus?" in a thread about whales.

The term comes from Baseball, though the exact origin of how the position of left fielder or that area of the playing field came to mean "unexpected" or "strange" is disputed. A commonly-cited origin is from the Chicago Cubs' old stadium at the West Side Grounds, where beyond the left field stands sat Cook County Hospital (now the University of Illinois Medical Center), a mental institution; thus, crazy things being screamed by patients could be heard coming out from left field by fans.

More often, the subject is switching to something that is loosely related to the topic, but not actually relevant. Such as when they post the same question in a thread about the life of Jesus. Either way, it's an invitation for the members of the thread to spend the next three pages blathering inanely about whether or not any of The Beatles look like Jesus, or, for that matter, whether The Beatles really count as a "'70s band" in the first place.

Eventually, it will get to the point where someone who hasn't been following the discussion will ask, "Wasn't this supposed to be about Whales During the time of Jesus' life, or something?" and all the other posters will look sheepish and go back to what they were talking about (with a few still passionately discussing whether Led Zeppelin was better than The Beatles). This is the reason many fora have strict rules against "off topic" posts.

Some Left Fielders are Trolls derailing threads for the sheer fun of it. Others are Single Issue Wonks who can twist any subject into a rant about their personal obsession. Most, however, are just Noobs who don't know any better and just really want to discuss the thing they are changing the subject to. Most message board users have thrown something from left field a few times without realizing it, and some do it constantly. Long time forum users generally learn to just start a new thread.

WebBBS-style forums partly solve this problem, as the appearance of a Left Fielder can't do more than simply split off a parallel subthread of the main thread; but it can still be confusing if nobody bothers to change the title of the subthread.

See Derailing for when this is done on purpose with the intent of changing a discussion, and Weird Aside for the non-Internet equivalent.

    Suffers Newbies Poorly 
"Show newbies the ropes! If we see a user we've never met before make some mistakes on the wiki, instead of berating or ignoring the user, we'll hunt them down and hang them. No one was a perfect wiki editor straight off the bat, but if you're dumb enough to get caught, you deserve to die."
The Urban Dead Wiki'snote  Project Un!Welcome

This odd online persona can be intimidating when first encountered. When you're entering the forum as a newbie, you'll notice this person's name, signature and/or handle all over the place. They're one of the main debaters, they've planted a few Epileptic Trees in their time, and their knowledge of the forum's series/topic is second only to that of the Fount Of Knowledge.

But they've not spoken to you once in the month since you joined the forum. When you posted your introductory message, they didn't even reply with a one word "Hello." When you replied to their post, they ignored it, replying to the two regular members who posted before and after you. They don't seem to know you exist.

Oh, wait a minute — they have spoken to you once. So they must know you exist, because they made some rather acerbic remarks when you asked a question about the first episode (the Font Of Knowledge answered that one), or when you wanted to know which forum to post fanfiction under (The Shepherd bailed you out there). Something along the lines of "How can any real fan not know that?" or "Isn't it obvious?" if memory serves. Not the most positive feedback in the world. Provided you're not disheartened enough to leave the forum, you'll probably ignore the negative remarks, thank the people who did help you, and continue to learn the ropes of the forum.

Then something strange happens. As the newbie gets better acquainted with the fandom, starts taking part in discussions and gets to know the other forum members, they'll find that this character starts to warm up to them. They start posting replies to the newbie's questions. They ask for their opinions. Eventually, they're chatting away as if they've known each other for years.

What happened? Well, the newbie stopped being a newbie and moved up a rank.

Once a newbie becomes a valuable sparring partner/ally/source of fanfic, fanart or information, this character becomes much more approachable. You see it's not that (s)he's nasty — (s)he just Suffers Newbies Poorly.

They don't intend to scare the new blood off (guess who's in charge of that?), but they find the more obvious questions (and initial blunders) made by newbies intensely irritating. In their opinion, if you haven't got something intelligent to add to the debate, you should just stay quiet. They have next to no patience, and it doesn't seem to occur to them that not everyone who joins the forum is a die-hard fan with encyclopaedic knowledge of the topic. They conveniently forget that they themselves were the newcomer at some point. Still, once won over, they're probably one of the friendliest and most active members of the board. Their bark really is worse than their bite, as most of the forum will be quick to reassure you. The fact that this character is usually pretty well liked among the regulars and old guard of the forum is testimony to that.

Despite not being genuinely nasty, this is one of the few online personas that clash with The Shepherd, since the Shepherd patiently mentors the same newbies that drives Suffers Newbies Poorly bonkers.

This can also apply to games, where the person in question, rather than ignoring the newbie was a forum goer, doesn't help at all in a game. If it's online they ignore the "peon" and actively avoid anything that could get them stuck with this annoying new player or refuse to give tips or help to the newbie as they should be able to get out of it if they deserve their respect, for single player games they refuse to give help, saying "it should be obvious to a skilled player" or "Figure It Out Yourself" if they deign to reply at all.

For in online games, if it's a game where skill counts just as much or more than levels (such as online shooters or other action games), it can be justified as there may be reasons for not joining up with somebody who might not be as skilled and thus mess up their own game. This puts them right with the forumgoers in terms of attitude, but if levels mean more than somebody's reaction time and button mashing (most World of Warcraft-inspired MMO systems can be this), they can easily come off as jerkish and elitist, because helping them would seem to not be as risky on their part. Goes Up to Eleven in MOBA games such as Defense of the Ancients, though slightly more understandably, as a newbie's tendency to die early and often not only holds them and their team back, it advances the other team, giving them extra gold and experience. This can create a nasty Catch-22 Dilemma where in order to be beneficial to teams and not incur your teammates' wrath, you have to be good, but to be good, you have to play and practice with your teams.

As a side note about the above, newbies are most often subjected to this in game for not understanding the Metagame rather than other reasons. This can mix with any time of the listed above, but MOBA games are most prone to needing metagame knowledge due to the fact that practicing on one's own is harder.

    Thread Hopping 

A term for what a person is doing when they read only the first and/or last post of a thread, then jump to the bottom and make a reply. Nine times out of ten, they'll repeat something that was previously discussed or that the thread has long since moved on from.

The cool thing about threadhopping is that if you spot a compulsive threadhopper, you can insert commentary about them into a thread which they will never read.

In general Internet etiquette, skimming the last page or two of a topic before entering it is considered minimally polite, as is asking if what you want to talk about has previously been discussed.

    Thread Necromancer 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/MTG-ThreadNecromancer_3198.jpg

"We have lots of points that we debate to death and beyond. Raise Dead is a 1st level spell on these forums."

So you are a forum member and you are reading some old threads. Suddenly you see an extremely interesting thread, maybe a few months old, sometimes even years old. You like it, you don't understand why it was abandoned... You want to revive it.

Now you are a Thread Necromancer! Supply your own Evil Laugh.

While some forums explicitly ask people to revive old topics instead of posting a new-but-similar one, other communities can and often will get pissed if someone starts digging up a number of ancient threads and parading the shambling corpses around. The threads died for a reason, after all, and dragging them back up without providing something new to add (and have other people discuss) will inevitably lead to the forumites grabbing the Torches and Pitchforks. They may also end up awakening something that was not meant to be awakened, especially if the thread was killed by a nasty Flame War. The hapless necromancer may raise the topic from the depths hoping to rekindle the original discussion only to have it burst into flames as the tangent reignites the posters. In particularly extreme, though not uncommon, cases of Thread Necromancy, a newbie will wind up attempting to strike up a conversation with someone who doesn't even visit the forum anymore.

Not to be confused with a Necromantic (although the two are quite similar in that they both mean well, but their actions are usually poorly received), nor with an actual Necromancer.

There are three exceptions to the above:

  • First, the hostile revival. Much like in real life arguments, you will often think of the perfect insult hours, days or even weeks after the argument in which it could be used has ended. In forums, though, you don't lose this opportunity, and those still simmering over the issue will bring back an argument specifically to post their belated assault. These individuals are rightly reviled, as they end up bringing back old hostilities best left undisturbed for the sole reason of self-gratification.
  • Second is the Story thread, where an author posts a story as a thread in order to get commentary on the story (common in certain kinds of message boards, particularly for Fan Fiction). Anybody bumping the thread months after the fact in hopes of getting more: one, probably isn't going to get it, and two, can expect cries of rage from people who liked the story and were taunted by the post which got their hopes up of a new installment (if you actually do have a new installment, however, it's generally fine to revive the thread).
  • Third is the Roleplay thread, in case a Roleplay thread had no participant or people left it inactive for weeks, the host may occasionally bump it to either allure the other to join or to remind the other players. Sometimes the players would demand the Thread Necromancer to revive it. This is a rare occasion which a Thread Necromancer can become beneficial.
    Timestamps Are Your Friends 
Sometimes, posts on a Message Board can happen in a thread months (or even years) apart, yet within a page of each other. Sometimes this is because the thread is merely slow, or the message board itself is slow overall, other times it can happen because someone revived a long-dead thread. Either way, you'll occasionally see someone respond to a post long after whoever posted it remembers what was going on in there. When this happens, timestamps are your friends.

Besides telling how old a post is this past year, it's sometimes useful to know how old a post is between years, and timestamps can help you there as well. Posting in a thread where two posts are literally over a year apart is rarenote , and often the result of extremely poorly thought-out Thread Necromancer tricks, but it can be very confusing if you're not looking at the timestamps.

In any online forum, it is highly advised that you pay attention to when the last conversation was taking place, and acknowledge any long delays in your message. It can greatly reduce annoyance for everyone involved, yourself included.

    Word of Mod 
A decision taken by fiat, an order by the Powers That Be of a website such as their owners. Users who don't comply tend to be blocked or otherwise restrained.

On TV Tropes, the tropers listed on Know the Staff have the authority to make such decisions. We also say "with mod hat on" for such statements. Such posts are marked with a red background colour in the TV Tropes Forum.

    YouTube War Expert 
Police Sergeant Deegan: Ah, this reminds me of Vietnam...
Father Ted: You were in Vietnam, sergeant?
Police Sergeant Deegan: No, no, I mean the films!

In Real Life, the study of war is a complex and difficult academic and practical discipline. Every contemporary military runs academies (such as West Point and Sandhurst) to train young officers in the art of war. This training touches upon numerous fields including psychology, sociology, politics, intelligence, logistics, tactics, operations, and strategy - and uses historical case studies as varied as the campaigns of Julius Caesar, The Duke of Wellington, and Konstantin Rokossovsky. At the end of several years the officer cadet is at the very least not Ignorant of Their Own Ignorance in these sub-fields of the study of war, and aware of the fact that becoming an expert in any one of them can take a lifetime.

...unless you're this guy.

The YouTube War Expert is a self-proclaimed expert in all aspects of war studies. Yes, all of them. How did they become an expert, you ask? Well, they read a book. Maybe even several.

The trope name itself comes from that fact that it is almost impossible to post a military-related video on YouTube without the comment section being flooded by this persona. Most YouTube War Expert (YTWE) debate will degenerate into proclamations of the superiority of a particular weapon or military. If about weapons, it will degenerate into technical detail despite the fact that actual soldiers are far more concerned with the context of a weapon's use (force ratios, ammunition, other weapons systems in use, etc) and the quality of its users. E.g.:

  1. Accuracy - "Y isn't worth anything when X can hit you between the eyes while you're trying to get close."
  2. Cost - "Y may be good, but a hundred soldiers with X would beat one soldier with Y."
  3. Killing / Penetrating Power - "X could drop you with 1 shot / go straight through armor that would stop Y."
  4. Range - "X could drop you from twice the distance Y can."
  5. Reliability - "Lets see how well Y works after a month in a swamp. X would still work just fine."

These can and will be applied to anything from knives to pistols to helicopter gunships. And don't expect actual situations to be a good counter argument; if something won't work from 10k away fired one handed during a monsoon in the jungles of Borneo, it won't work in the safety of your air conditioned, dehumidified, synthetic-planted suburban home. The reverse is also true.

When about entire militaries the debate will inevitably centre on "technology", culture, and race. "Technological", cultural, and racial posturing almost inevitably ensues, and often seguing quite neatly into general debates about cultural and racial degeneracy/supremacy. The two different levels of this posturing are:

  • Reductionism: the outcome of whole battles, campaigns, or wars was largely decided by a single factor.
  • Determinism: the outcome of whole battles, campaigns, or wars was completely decided by a single factor.

Particularly common is the tendency to see armed conflict as a form of Culture Clash in which the victor's race or culture is clearly vindicated as 'superior'.

All these debates tend to be fairly circular; thusly they almost inevitably devolve into yelling, insults, death threats, and comparisons to Hitler/Stalin/Mao.

YouTube War Experts usually come in one of several distinct breeds:

  • Fanboy - Obsessed with a particular weapon or set of weapons. Will often shoehorn them into an discussion regardless of relevance - interrupting a debate on shotguns to tell everyone how they're all inferior to their beloved assault rifle, on account of its range. They can also be obsessed with a certain person, and argues that they were the best general ever.
  • Feature Freak - Obsessed with one of the common debate factors listed above, crusading tirelessly to declare that that particular trait is the be-all and end-all of warfare.
  • Nationalist - Obsessed with constantly defending a particular nation's military establishment, while belittling all others over the fact they would certainly lose an actual war because their favorite nation has the best at everything, even when their claims are contradictory.
  • Anti-Nationalist - The equal and opposite counterpart of the Nationalist; obsessed with constantly tearing down one other particular nation at all costs. Typical based on 50+-year-old rivalries - US attacking Chinese and Warsaw Pact, British attack their former colonies (especially America and India), Japan attacking Korea and China, Germany and France attacking each other.
  • Arms Master - Obsessed not with modern weapons, but with medieval ones. This is an easy specialty, since there's almost no chance of an actual conflict providing hard data against your claim, so the argument can be decided purely on sophistry and CAPSLOCK use. Usual overlaps with one of the other categories:
    • Fanboy - Try to convince a pole-arm fan that there was ever any situation, including assassinations and tunnel fighting, that there wasn't a glaive variant that was the indisputably best weapon always everywhere forever amen.
    • Nationalist - a good percentage of Arms Masters insist that Renaissance-era Switzerland could have conquered the whole world all in one go if they had felt like it. Or the Mongols if the Great Khan hadn't died when he did.
    • Anti-Nationalist - Mention katana just about anywhere, and watch the doctorate-thesis grade rants roll in on how Japanese weapons were either more finely built than the "dull steel clubs" that European swords were, or how they couldn't have scratched even the worst of European armor, while even the worst European weapons would go through any Japanese armor like a chainsaw through warm butter.
  • Internet Tough Guy - These two personas are a common crossover. ITGs will obsess over the biggest, studliest weapons in a category - 12-gauge shotguns, napalm bombs, big stonking two-handed greatswords, those artillery cannons that shoot tactical nukes - while constantly peppering all discussions, including those about pastry baking, with impulsive and manly terms like 'Alpha Strike', 'Blitzkrieg', 'Lethality Radius', and 'Maximum Overkill'. Expect any disagreement to be met with "How 'bout I come to your house and see what you say when you're staring down the barrel of X."
    • A variant is the Internet Gun Expert, who knows all about which weapon has better characteristics. Why? Because he owns them all, sleeps with his USMC regulations book (he will rarely have been in the military) in one arm and his "Barret.50CAL" (he hunts white tails with it) in the other, and wishes for the day a home-invader will meet his Jackhammer full of incendiary flechette rounds and his 'Nam experience with the 3rd SOG. Naturally, such people seldom live up to the claims they make for themselves, and especially amusing is when they claim to own weapons or ammunition illegal in their point of origin. Another type is the Internet Vet who fondly reminisces about firing X weapon when they were in the military, or his service in Battle/War X, safe in the knowledge that no-one will be able to verify such grandiose claimsnote .
  • Technophiles - Technophiles are the heralds of the bleeding edge of battlefield technology, and place high-tech above all other considerations. They're most noticeable around settings with Schizo Tech, complaining about inconsistencies created by a weapon prototype announced a week ago and asking things along the lines of 'Why don't they just Nuke 'em?' And they won't take a legitimate in-universe explanation for an answer. The most dedicated will write "Setting vs Real World" fanfics which mainly just consist of "Iconic thing from Setting shows up, then CRUISE MISSILES!" Repeat until the entire universe has been cruise missile'd to death, then drop a nuke or fuel-air bomb just to be safe.

These types of people are sometimes known as "mall ninjas", after an internet discussion involving someone claiming to be a mall security guard that may or may not have been trolling.

Also note that there are plenty of YouTubers who cover Military History who aren't "YouTube War Experts"; either they are aware of their limitations and are more or less open about them, or they actually are experts in the field. Again, the name comes from the YouTube comments section, which is largely described by the phrase "Sturgeon was way too optimistic".

Compare and contrast Armchair Military.


Alternative Title(s): Thread Hopper, Online Persona, Thread Necromancy, Online Disinhibition Effect, Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory, Tab Explosion, You Tube War Expert, Timestamps Are Your Friends, Thread Necromancer, Thread Hopping, Suffers Newbies Poorly, The Shepherd, Post Count, Orwellian Editor, Ninja Editor, Mistakenly Banned, Mediator, Lurker, Left Fielder, Internet Detective

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