ASCII by Jason Scott

Jason Scott's Weblog

Grr Guy —

I love Grr Guy. Grr Guy is awesome.

Grr Guy’s messages are (usually) short, snappy and to the point. If you could translate them from whatever language Grr Guy writes in to useable english, it’ll look like this:

TO: Jason Scott
FROM: Grr Guy


Now, granted, Grr Guy can sometimes take many paragraphs to say this, or just a few lines, but this is the gist of it.

Grr guy has to be considered separate from Wronged Guy or Guy I Called a AssMunch, people who I am specifically targeting or bothering or otherwise in conflict with. No, Grr Guy actually has very little direct interaction with the subject at hand. It’s not about being mistreated by me; it’s about being incensed and not approving. Disapproval is Grr Guy’s fuel for his anger engine, which he is revving very menacingly at me.

BBS days had less Grr Guys simply because the barrier to entry was higher; you were calling a BBS and leaving messages and sending one directly to the person meant that you had to be, with few exceptions, a member of that BBS, had been doing stuff on it, was a part of it. Like I said, Grr Guy’s about disapproving something he has no direct pain from. That was pretty rare, back then.

But now, you can go to a website, read a paragraph, and bang out some half-assed Grrrr within seconds. You don’t have to know anything about the paragraph-writer, the site, or even the subject being discussed. Just drop a bomb and move onto the next waiting target. It’s very easy, very simple, and the resultant waves of response don’t really wash over you because Grr Guy is Gone.

When I get one of my little prominence bursts, Grr Guys come out from all sorts of places, and the next thing I know everything’s up for grabs. The result, often, is a decision to ignore all incoming Grrs until they’re gone.

This is sort of a mistake. Sort of.

Even though the signal to noise ratio is like running your ipod through a degaussing magnet, there are very occasional bursts of useful information in the pool of Grr. One of the things I love doing is browsing a slashdot story at “show me every last bit”, because sometimes down in the sewer of anonymous assery is a real insight that’s simply been pounded down into obscurity by overzealous on-topic cops.

Unfortunately, the method of deployment for a Grr and for a totally-nails-it, cut-out-the-bullshit assessment is the same. People make brilliant insights in short, snappy writings, often doing so with a dash of insult and a hint of dismissal. This is the same container as a Grr but the payload is precious. Devoid of context, missing the vital personality-cult veneer friends and fans make, someone is potentially going to give you some really good advice, although delivered with all the panache and love of a claw hammer. But that advice, it’s vital! Or it’s a Grr.

For all his annoyances, for all his propensity to be a time waster, I really do like Grr guy. I can hear him late at night, disapproving, dismissing, running away.


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  1. anonymous says:

    Actually it is people like that (and outright trolls, etc) who have really been driving me away from the internet. I am quickly getting to the point where I use the net for email and for finding technical information needed for my job and nothing else. My participation in online forums has really dwindled.

    Most decent forums are way to small and insular for my tastes. Sometimes a larger forum comes along that can sustain a good signal to noise ratio (the SomethingAwful forums nad The Well) but sooner or later they too die and become engulfed by petty cliques and groupthink.

    Maybe if I am looking for social interaction I need too look to places other than the internet.

  2. Flack O'Hara says:

    Another reason “Grr Guy” was a bit more rare back in the BBS days is to get an account on a lot of bulletin boards, you had to provide a real name, and more importantly, a real phone number. Being an anonymous Grr Guy is pretty easy. Being a Grr Guy when a sysop knows your name, phone number, and lives within driving distance takes a bit more balls, something many Grr Guys are lacking.

  3. The short and snappy part is the result of your Grr-guy simplifying things because of the lack of knowledge and understanding of the subject matter. Like a child with its honest simplicity can have such profound effect, so does the simplicity of a “Grr”. It can be a good thing or a bad thing and in case of a “Grr” am I calling it “Luck” if if happens by accident to be a good one.