This week, there was a big controversy on Tech Twitter when someone said “Women shouldn’t code”. The person in question went on an “unhinged rant” where he explained his “world views”, which I am not going to repeat for various reasons.
In response, both men and women got upset and started engaging the man in question. And by doing that, they sprung the trap card of the person with their bold statements. They gave him exactly what he wanted. He rage-baited them into engaging with his Twitter account.
Rage-baiting? Okay, I’m not sure if it’s an actual term, but it’s what I call behaviour that is crafted to evoke an angry response from people. If you look at the post of this article, you’ll see a statement that might make a few people angry. Why shouldn’t women read this article? Why should they not be coding? They can do whatever they want! You’re right. I’m trying to rage-bait you into reading this article!
You could also call it “provoking” if you prefer using old school terms. By posting his seemingly “unhinged rant”, he got people to interact with his series of tweets. With the way how Twitter works, this signal boosted both his tweet and his accounts.
For Twitter, there’s no such thing as “bad engagements”. The more interactions it sees with tweets and accounts, the more important it considers them to be. The platform doesn’t take sentiment into consideration. That would probably be a job for human moderators, and we all know the moderators on Twitter are too busy ignoring blatant trolls and harassment to also do that sort of thing.
Just like there’s no such things as bad publicity, there’s no such thing as bad interactions. Since the “tech persona” has been playing this game for a very long time, he also knows this and made use of it to create extra buzz around himself. The proof is in the very end of the series of tweets. At the end of a seemingly unexpected rand about women and coding that comes out of the left field, he announces a video that he made on the topic. Were you surprised? I certainly wasn’t, because he just created a perfect viral marketing campaign on Twitter for his videos and everyone took the bait.
I certainly didn’t hear about his or his channel before Women-Shouldn’t-Code-Gate and after checking out his channel and content I wish I hadn’t. The entire persona of this person is built around creating low-value clickbait content that is used as a funnel for the products he is peddling. It will surprise very few people that he’s into crypto so much that he started his own coin, which are by definition ponzi schemes where you can only generate money if other people get lured into buying the coins which have no inherent value.
But before crypto, there were other typical profit channels that you would associate with sketchy figures who are peddling things online. To nobody’s surprise, he is also using these channels to generate money. He is selling courses on various topics he’s supposedly an expert on (programming and “interviewing”) to anyone who is interested in making money just like him.
I haven’t bought his courses, but he is following the classic templates of selling online courses to the letter. If he is anything like the early tech bro’s whose templates he is copying, that learns us that he’s probably not particularly skilled in either of the things that he teaches courses on. These teachers never are. They’re all mediocre dudes who realized they’re good at one thing: selling their mediocre content to suckers that believe that they’ll get rich quick when they buy their content.
You don’t have to be a genius to understand the following concept: if they were excellent at the thing they’re claiming they’ll teach you, they wouldn’t be writing courses on them whom they try to market through the typical semi-legal cookie-cutters methods that are at least a decade old. Who in his right mind would be writing a course on a topic if he was skilled enough to make a lot of money by applying his skills? I’m not saying that there aren’t any excellent teachers out there, but excellent teachers usually don’t rely on shady marketing tactics such as rage-baiting people into their content funnel.
I could write a detailed post on this type of tech bro but I feel like this post is losing track. There’s other things that aren’t very cool such as leaning heavily into alt-right and incel logic to sell their stuff to people that look up to it, but I don’t want to spend another paragraph on that type of person. Instead I want to teach you a way how you can avoid giving him what he wants – your retweet, reply and interactions.
Don’t interact with their tweets
The key to combatting these type of rage trolls, is by not to feed the rage trolls. This is easier said than done, right? You are probably genuinely upset about what is being said (which, again, is their goal) and you might even want to discuss this on social media. Perhaps as a warning to other people, genre “Don’t follow this person!”. Or maybe you want to get some sort of discussion going.
What I would suggest doing, is the following: create a screenshot of the tweet in question. Yes, screenshots can be deployed against crypto bro’s in more than one way (screenshot all the NFT’s).
By taking a screenshot, you grab the content and perhaps even the context of a tweet, but you’re cutting off the engagements at the root. If you post the image instead of retweeting them, they aren’t getting any new interactions. Not from you or your followers, anyway. Replies, retweets and even quote retweets would all just help to further their goal – to enrage as many people as possible to boost their Twitter account and to lure people in their shade funnel.
I’m not telling anyone what to do, but if a person genuinely upsets you, screenshotting their tweet(s) really is the best course of action. Of course you’ll have the risk that some people will read the username and decide to interact with them, but that’s not on you. You’ve done your part in not feeding the trolls. You can’t help it that you happen to stand in a grocery store where the troll food is freely available to everyone you’re talking to.
TL;DR Don’t feed the trolls.