Among the countless phenomena brought about by the Internet, comment trolls are undoubtedly among the most anomalous. These curious creatures make their way across the Web leaving a trail of unintelligible “flame bait” in their wake, often making it impossible for others to engage in intelligent conversation. We know them well. While most would be hard-pressed to find a use for these trolls, a pair of artist-coders have managed to turn the ridiculous hate-filled ramblings of thousands of YouTube comment trolls into a series of plays that are now available as eBooks.
“Tugba: 2:19 soooooooooooooooooooo funny,” a play entitled Alot was been hard begins. “Song: gay gay gay so gay. I like Davedays way better. HeHe =^.^= .”
Two programmers, Germany-based Luc Gross and Austria-based Bernhard Bauch, are responsible for the series of plays, which were compiled by custom bots that assembled dialogues using comments left under YouTube videos. The bots are creating hundreds of eBooks according to a press release, though many of them have already been removed from the Kindle store by Amazon.
“We programmed the bots to be completely autonomous,” Bauch wrote in a press release, “They are working uninterrupted through dislocated, anonymized accounts. We are not even able to track the exact amount of generated books infiltrating the Amazon Kindle library. The results are self-published, human-readable ebooks in form of classical dramas ready to be sold and enjoyed by a multitude of global readers, defining a new generative genre of digital literature: the ‘slang of YouTube’ – a digital Esperanto that emerged out of millions of users worldwide.”
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Technology Review blog interviewed both creators of this project, and the full interview can be found on their site.