It was 3am and all she could do was stare at the ceiling. She gave up trying to sleep at 2am when it was clear sleep wasn’t in her immediate future. All she could think about was how her day unfolded in such an unlikely manner. The internet isn’t typically a kind place when it comes to comment sections but today was different. The collection of vile that had gather below her most recent story was rarely seen outside of a Republican National Convention. You would have thought she praised satan the way they reacted. She didn’t get into journalism to deal with an out of control comment section and that’s what she ultimately spent most of her time doing. Her complaints to her editor always fell on deaf ears. Any time she complained he would simply respond “I get how annoying they are Jay but those angry people in the comment sections drive traffic to our site.” This isn’t what she signed up for and it had become draining. The angry villagers had spread to her social media turning her various accounts into a war torn wasteland. Even the most benign tweets would incite a digital riot in her mentions. Who would have guessed tweeting about your hair would upset so many people? It didn’t even seem like they were upset at anything she specifically said, they were just looking for any excuse to be upset with her. She was already branded the enemy. It no longer matter what she did at this point.
This incident taught her something important and unexpected about how people use the internet. Comment sections are more or less Elephant Graveyards for ideas. Few good ideas generated in a comment section make it out of the endeavor alive. In theory, comment sections should be a place to debate ideas and discuss the topic of the story. Unfortunately in practice it was just a collection of people who seemingly lacked basic reading comprehension arguing over things that only technically related to the topic at hand. It’s not if these kinds of people had never existed before, they were simply incapable of gathering in such large numbers before the internet invented the comment section. Pre-CS these people would complain and only occasionally send a letter to the editor. Now you can send an angry email devoid of proper grammar and spelling to any journalist you want without even putting on pants. This made work for journalist frustrating. These angry internet people had a great deal of access to her but she did not have the same access with them. This gave her a devious idea. She would single out her most vocal of critics and hire investigators to learn what kind of people they really are behind those keyboards. I’d be lying if I said she hadn’t just considered showing up at their front door and slap them a few times but on the off chance they were about that life, she decided against it.
The first one was a guy by the name of Oliver Trent. Oliver commented under the pseudonym WhitepowerRanger. Oliver didn’t understand why anyone would think he was a racist despite the many creatively racist things he would post in every comment section. Oddly enough Oliver wasn’t a white guy, he was a black man who happened to be a big fan of the power rangers. Can you guess which one was his favorite? However don’t be mistaken, Oliver was a trash human being who clearly had some unresolved issues with black women. He was also a kindergarten teacher in a minority majority school district. Once he was outed, he would need a new job.
The second one was a women named Sarah Sam who used the pseudonym SSOfficer. Sarah and her unfortunate initials was in the Navy. Apparently she had been warned repeatedly about make SS jokes. Once she was exposed she was given a dishonorable discharge. Sarah now works for a Free Speech advocacy group that had a habit of supporting white supremacist groups.
The third and final exposed commenter was named Trevor Greer who used the pseudonym TGreeedy. Trevor was an odd man. He acted like a complete ass in the comment section of her newspaper but everywhere else you found him he was espousing some shockingly progressive ideals. In real like Trevor was actually in charge of a progressive organization. He had organized more than a few protest of the various inhumane things Republicans has done. His weird internet persona seemed so out of place from the rest of his life. Why would such a left leaving man act so ridiculous on the internet? Turns out Trevor had some well hidden racist tendencies. Being exposed didn’t really hurt him long term. At worst he had to issue several apologies but he was more or less forgiven in his circle, though Jay wasn’t exactly shocked by this.
After her public shaming of three of her trolls, Jay became a living folk hero among journalist. A few had even followed through with similar actions. One even traveled the country handing out fades. She has a pending trial but swear it was worth the catharsis. The trolls mostly vanished from her life though a few brave ones who were essentially begging to be exposed remained. Now she was able to get back to doing what she loved free from distractions.