Ever wonder what an internet climate science troll is like in person? Here's your chance to find out.
Internet researchers at George Mason University recently found that when it comes to online commenting, throwing bombs gets more attention than being nice, and makes readers double down on their preexisting beliefs. What's more, trolls create a false sense that a topic is more controversial than it really is. Witness the overwhelming consensus on climate change amongst scientists—97 percent agreement that global warming is real, and caused by humans. But that doesn’t settle the question for Twitter addict and Climate Desk perennial thorn in the side Hoyt Connell:
"If you allow somebody to make a comment and there's no response, then they're controlling the definition of the statement," Hoyt says. "Then it can become a truth."
We first encountered Hoyt, or as we know him, @hoytc55, several months ago on our Twitter page, taking us to task for our climate coverage. And the screed hasn't stopped since: In April alone, Hoyt mentioned us on Twitter some 126 times, almost as much as our top nine other followers combined. So we did the only thing we knew how to do: track him down, meet him face to face…and ask a few questions of our own. So we did, in Episode One: Trollus Maximus
The results were surprisingly and refreshingly civil. In fact, West and McDonnell admit, "we kind of like [Hoyt]." You can watch Episode 1 up top; for Episode 2 ("The Troll Slayer") and 3 ("The Showdown"), visit The Climate Desk.