Friday, February 15, 2013

Attribution Troll Doesn’t Learn Lessons or Understand IP Addresses

Yesterday, Techdirt broke a story about what they called a “bizarre attribution troll,” a person or persons with a series of Twitter accounts that tweeted at users who posted a sentence-long poem by a poet named Shaun Shane. Last night, the troll decided that I would make a good target for its ire.

A little background: the entire poem is “"If only our tongues were made of glass, how much more careful we would be when we speak.” – less than tweet length.  If someone tweeted it, he or she was barraged by a series of @ messages where one of many different accounts would tell him/her that the poem was by Shaun Shane, post a link to a video, and/or tell users that their accounts would be terminated for copyright infringement. (Image below from TechDirt.)


And of course, I couldn’t leave well enough alone – so I, like a hundred other Twitter users, posted the poem, as well as a comment and a link to see what would happen.  


An hour or so went by, I taught Copyright section, and I returned to only find a polite note from some random Twitter account linking me to a video. Screenshotted, since the tweet is now deleted. image

And then, around midnight, I got the following comment on an unrelated blog post from two weeks ago:


Note the marginal grammar and very odd placement – really, you can’t address this on Twitter? You needed to dig up an old post about books? Also, the gigantic misunderstanding of copyright law. The irony is that I did attribute the poem - I had linked directly to Techdirt, which had an in-depth discussion of the authorship.

I tweeted at Techdirt that its troll had shown up in my comments, and that started the deluge.


Read from the bottom (As of this morning, the account had changed to OnPress, and then as of this afternoon, all the tweets had been deleted. I took this screenshot last night.)


Then, another blog comment, this one from “OnPress 17,” who happened to be at the exact same IP address as the previous commenter. (And judging by the last sentence of the comment, using a fake email address.)


Just goes to show that even if On Press has started to play nice on Twitter, it still hasn’t learned its lesson about persecuting people who quote the poem for the purposes of commentary and reporting.