I've had a long standing prejudice that if you rely on WIRED magazine in order to understand Internet culture, then you probably are not particularly WIRED.
But two things have happened since I've made this conclusion : WIRED has become a much better magazine (I'm talking since the days from when they would lovingly profile venture capitalists and worship corporate heroes). And I've become older and (more) out of touch.
The article that made me come to this realization is from February issue of WIRED (16.02) and is called Mutilated Furries, Flying Phalluses: Put the Blame on Griefers, the Sociopaths of the Virtual World. Before this article, I knew that griefers existed but didn't know much more about them than that. After this article, I'm shocked to say, that I have now some small sympathy for their cause : the battle against "The Internet is Serious Business." I can't and won't excuse the worst of their behaviour (the death threats, for one) but now I can see the humour in the crassness and the method in the madness.
This deeper understanding has helped navigate the world of the very offensive and very amusing forumwarz [waxy]. In this role-playing game about the Internet, I'm playing a Troll. Who knew being a griefer was so much fun?
[cross-posted on NJL]