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Strollin', trollin' and Baader-Meinhof

Paul MacCormack


Posted ImageHave you ever noticed that once something catches your attention, similar things start popping up everywhere? When you buy a new car you start to see that model everywhere, or when your wife is pregnant, it seems as though every second woman you see is pregnant. There is a name for this phenomenon. Psychologists call it the Baader-Meinhoff Phenomenon, and as Alan Bellows explains, it was exactly what happened to me following my last blog post. 
"Anytime the phrase 'That's so weird, I just heard about that the other day' would be appropriate, the utterer is hip-deep in Baader-Meinhof,"  Bellows explains.
Innocently enough I began my last post with a reference to strolling around on the internet, only I misspelled it 'trolling' by leaving off the s. A pretty innocuous mistake, or so I thought until my intrepid editor (and beautiful wife) pointed out the meaning of the word in the Urban Dictionary. 
According to them, a troll is "someone who posts inflammatory messages in an online community, such as a forum, with the primary intent of provoking readers into an emotional response".


...a troll is someone who posts inflammatory messages in an online community, such as a forum, with the primary intent of provoking readers into an emotional response.


Later that very morning I was listening to a popular radio show on CBC (Canada's version of PBS) called Q. The host Jian Ghomeshi was interviewing a fella buy the name of John Scalzi. Now Mr. Scalzi has been having a bit of trouble with a troll visiting his website, so he decided to do something about it. He pledged to donate $5 to charity every time this unnamed person made a derogatory comment about something on his site. A pretty clever form of public shaming!
Posted ImageHis story got me to thinking more about our problem with chronic complainers on the golf course. They could be likened to these online trolls, except they do their dirty work at our place of employment instead of online. Their complaints are meant to provoke us into an emotional response and they will gladly spread their poison to anyone who will listen.
What an interesting experiment it would be to set up a sort of 'swear jar' for chronic complainers. Each time someone made a foolish comment or said something derogatory about the golf course, staff or Superintendent... $5. I wonder how long it would take before you had enough for a staff barbecue?

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