Oh hey, have you guys maybe heard of this super trendy pastime called “trolling?” All the kids are doing it these days by logging on to their anonymous social media accounts and harassing people who disagree with them about one thing or another or just happen to be public personalities (even those of the C-list variety).
We thought you might be familiar.
Now, two ad agencies with unusual &-based names have joined forces to help discourage the practice altogether with a new project called the “Troll Tax.”
In short, social media fans can donate to charities of their choice on behalf of those who choose to troll. Here’s a video for the project, created by North Carolina’s Baldwin&, New York’s Hunter S. & Thompson, creative consultant Seth Callaway and developer Kevin Haight.
To get more specific, one simply has to plug a particularly offensive tweet into the Troll Tax page, choose a non-profit organization from a list and then automatically respond to the troll in the form of a tweet announcing that you’ve made a donation in his or her (screen)name!
“Trolling is in the eye of the beholder,” said Callaway, who came up with the idea. “In our opinion, trolling ranges from comments meant to derail constructive online conversations to deliberately offensive posts that have the aim of eliciting emotional responses.”
We were, frankly, skeptical. The entire reason for trolling is to get a rise out of one’s target. It is quite possibly the least productive of all human activities. The list of charity organizations also indicates that some people will be less inclined to participate:
- American Civil Liberties Union
- Planned Parenthood Federation of America
- Human Rights Campaign Foundation
- Electronic Frontier Foundation
- International Center for Journalism
- American Refugee Committee
- National Public Radio
- Zacharias Sexual Abuse Center
- Conservation International
“It won’t stop them from trolling, it’ll re-channel the hate into something positive,” on the part of the person who was trolled,” said Baldwin& founder David Baldwin in response to our critique.
As dedicated libertarians, we believe all taxation is theft.* Even the taxes proposed on pharmaceutical advertisers, which are obviously violations of major drug-makers’ First Amendment rights as corporations … according to a statement released today by the Association of National Advertisers.
*We don’t believe this at all. Hopefully that was fairly obvious.
Creative Director: David Baldwin, Bob Ranew, Hunter Simms
Developer: Kevin Haight, Seth Callaway
Designer: Nate Hinners
Writer: Seth Callaway, Michael Barbano, Chad Temples
Producer: Liz Stovall, Seth Callaway
Project Manager: Lindsay Barnes