Cheers & Jeers

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Jeers: to trolls. By now, most people are familiar with that legion of bathrobe-wearing basement dwellers, the Internet trolls. Hostile, bitter and with seemingly endless reserves of bile, they crop up in comment sections everywhere — and now, apparently, in scholarly research as well. Claire Hardaker wrote about her PhD thesis, “Trolling in computer-mediated communication: impoliteness, deception and manipulation online,” in a recent edition of Britain’s Guardian, explaining that there are actually several types of trolls — and that the most dangerous aren’t the most obvious. Trolls who write hateful things on memorial sites, she says, are easy to ignore; more dangerous are those trollers who seem partially credible, and who immediately defend their actions as “freedom of speech” when questioned. Unlike those who use the hammer of hatred, Hardaker writes these crafty trollers are “the insidious fine-tuned torture of doubt and misery.” And yes, her Guardian article got comments: 1,120 comments by last Wednesday, many of them from — wait for it —trolls.

Cheers: to slow-moving wheels. So, here it is July, and the fallout from the province’s budgetary layoffs has pretty much settled. The laid-off workers have vanished from the payroll, the Tory poll numbers have understandably plunged — and on the government website, Felix Collins’ photograph still beams out from the web page for the Intergovernmental and Aboriginal Affairs Secretariat, an office that the budget was supposed to wipe out, well, sometime. No announcement that cabinet has gotten smaller, apparently no change in the minister’s pay. Guess it must be not what you know, it must be who you know.

Cheers: to having better things to do.

The British media is having a field day with Diana Carney, the wife of former Bank of Canada head Mark Carney. (Mark Carney is now governor of the Bank of England.) Diana Carney blogged that she didn’t see the need for individually wrapped teabags: after an uproar developed, she has since had to tell press outlets “I am not anti-teabag.” Talking about your archetypal tempest in a teapot.

Jeers: to not helping Canada’s soldiers. New research from the Department of National Defence says that 13.5 per cent of soldiers who have been in combat areas are facing mental health issues like post-traumatic stress disorder — but DND is refusing to let anyone interview the DND staff who did the study, and outside observers are saying, given the methodology used to set the numbers, the actual figure could be closer to 27 per cent. Regardless of the number, one thing is clear: soldiers and former soldiers should get prompt professional care for any injuries, mental or physical. And a heck of a lot less nickel-and-diming. You can’t ask someone to fight in a war and then simply wash your hands of the aftereffects.

Organizations: Department of National Defence, Tory, Intergovernmental and Aboriginal Affairs Secretariat Bank of Canada Bank of England

Geographic location: Canada

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