Online communities, etc.
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06/10/09 11:06 AM

It's been an interesting experiment over the last couple of years or so. Faced with leaving the infrastructure of traditional record labels and figuring out what the right thing to do is in this new world - I found myself realizing that for me to have any concept of how to interact with the community and know what they might want / what they find appropriate, I need to immerse myself in that world and live it for a while.
The reason no record label knows how to market anything to new media is they don't live there. They don't get it because they don't use it. What you've seen happen with the marketing and presentation of NIN over the last years is a direct result of living next to you, listening to you, consuming with you and interacting with you. Directly. There's no handlers or PR people here, it's me and my guys - that's it. There's no real plan, even - it's just trying to do the right thing that respects you the fan, the music, and me the artist. That's the goal - a mutual and shared respect.
When Twitter made it's way to my radar I looked at it as a curiosity, then started experimenting. I thought it through and in light of where I was / am in my career I decided to lower the curtain a bit and let you see more of my personality. I watched some of you get more engaged because you started to realize there's a person (flaws and all) back there, and I watched some of you recoil in horror because I'm not what you projected on me. All expected. I'm not as concerned about "breaking" your idea of NIN at this point. It is what it is and I am what I am. The relationship between artist and fan is changing if you haven't noticed, along with the way we consume and experience music and even communicate since the internet arrived.
The problem with really getting engaged in a community is getting through the clutter and noise. In a closed environment like a lot of this can be moderated away, or code can be implemented to make it more difficult for troublemakers to persist. It's tedious and feels like wasted energy doing that shit, but some people exist to ruin it for others - and they are the ones who have nothing better to do with their time. Example: on, there's 3-4 different people that each send me between 50 - 100 message per day of delusional, often threatening nonsense. We can delete them, but they just sign back up and start again. Yes, we are implementing several changes to address this, but the point is it quickly gets very old weeding through that stuff.
Back to Twitter. I approached that as a place to be less formal and more off-the-cuff, honest and "human". I was not expecting to broadcast details of my love life there, but it happened because I'm in love and it's all I think about and that's that. If this has bummed you out or destroyed what you've projected on me, fair enough - it's probably time for you to leave. You are right, I'm not the same person I was in 1994 (and I'm happy about that). Are you?

Looks like the Metal Sludge contingency has discover Twitter! Finally! For those of you that don't know what this is, please let me explain. Metal Sludge is the home of the absolutely worst people I've ever come across. It's populated mainly by unattractive plump females who publicly fantasize about having sex with guys in bands. Kind of like a role-playing game where people NOBODY will fuck make up stories about their incredible sexual encounters with people they WISH they could fuck. It would be kind of funny in a sad and pathetic way except the fun doesn't stop there - hate and good old-fashioned outright blatant racism are also encouraged to spice things up and remind you how truly ugly these scourges are. TRULY ugly on the inside (the outside is obvious).
Cutter's tip for my friends there: remember to cut along the length of vein, not across. Bigger payoff.
So when you see the new accounts that pop up daily on Twitter spewing exactly the kind of thing I just discussed, usually from picture-less creatively named profiles, spewing hate at Mariqueen and I, take a moment to visualize the sad couple people behind them.
A few years ago some people tuned me in to that world and when I figured out who these people were, I was amazed that I'd been seeing them in the front rows of the shows for months. I really don't understand what kind of "fan" spends that kind of time and money to travel across the country seeing a band, to then dedicate an incredible amount of time and energy into non-stop hate diatribes online. That one puzzles me a little.

Anyway, I'm bored on a long bus drive and there's no real moral to the story here, just writing. I will be tuning out of the social networking sites because at the end of the day it's now doing more harm than good in the bigger picture and the experiment seems to have yielded a result. Idiots rule.

I had thought a while ago about attempting to start a mainstream public forum that required real verification of it's participants for purposes of context. The idea was to have a place where you can actually discuss whatever and have some idea of who you're conversing with. For example, if we were discussing drumming techniques and you can see that someone participating in the discussion is a drum instructor vs. a 13 year old kid Googling answers, you'd have the proper context in which to have a potentially valid discussion. If we were discussing EDLC's heart condition and a real cardiologist speaks up, I'd value his opinion over, say FredFuckFaceWhateverHisLastFuckingNameIs's "opinion". Know what I mean? Anyway, we're in a world where the mainstream social networks want any and all people to boost user numbers for the big selloff and are not concerned with the quality of experience.

With all of that said, I have business in the real world to attend to including wrapping up the live version of NIN, DOING some cool new shit and spending as much time as possible with the most amazing woman in the world.


06/10/09 11:14 AM

It sucks that people suck, but it also is completely expected when you are as well known as you are.

Have fun doing whatever you do after this tour! Make sure and come back sometime!


06/10/09 11:15 AM

OH Trent, your Metal Sludge comments make me laugh. So true.

Hey, not everyone in the front row (repeatedly) is a psycho. Hope you realize that.

As for the rest, people will always ALWAYS profess to hate and be disgusted by that which they most deeply wish to be part of. It's a defense mechanism to let them pretend they wouldn't want to be in your place or in the place of those close to you. Just ignore them. Answering any of them only gives them what they want.

Do what makes you happy. Fuck all the rest.


06/10/09 11:15 AM

Even though some people acted like morons, I (and MANY others) really liked seeing more of you as a person, and I appreciate that you've taken the time to interact with us as a full community. btw, the June 2nd Toronto show was easily the highlight of my year so far. I still can't believe that I got to see Now I'm Nothing in person. tongue sticking out smiley


06/10/09 11:18 AM



06/10/09 11:18 AM

MOD EDIT: If you're on Twitter, follow @blocksunday and report anyone you feel is a troll there. Don't send the account's name but instead send a shortened link to the offending account. If we can get a large amount of people to block these trolls, they will be violating the site's Terms of Service as spammers.

Naw, this isn't ammunition it's an explanation... And more on my thoughts after I read the thing.

Here's my take on online communities especially with social networks. A great guy by the name of Nick Yee who works for PARC has been doing some groundbreaking research & analysis of gaming, guilds and social interaction. What he has figured is that online gaming of the MMO type is very much like a skinner box. You initially reward someone quickly, increasing difficulty and period between rewards. If anything, my off the cuff analysis of social networking is that it functions very much like a gaming environment.

There are direct measurable rewards and penalties for behavior, however in a radically open environment the rewards become twisted. A self re-enforcing loop begins when someone is penalized for behavior, this comes in the form of admonishment, account cancellation, etc. But, when you cannot control a medium, and can only broadcast admonishment versus executing a real punishment, the actual process of penalizing behavior is turned on its' head. It becomes rewarding to be admonished, a game of sorts. One of the large things about the internet is watching behavior go wild. In the land of the anonymous the asshole wins.

Phil Zimbardo's The Lucifer Effect details how de-individuation and anonymity combined with a social environment that is conducive to abuse generates things like Abu Ghraib, the Stanford Prison Experiment etc... Although, the internet obviously doesn't involve physical abuse, it's highly conducive to psychological and/or emotional abuse. People in and of themselves aren't sadistic, and generally aren't psychotic. However, allow people to be anonymous or pseudo-anonymous combined with an environment that functionally rewards bad behavior and you have what Trent is seeing. Also, what a lot of us see with trolling. Some of this is good natured, and hilarious at times, the overwhelming majority is bad.

If you were to ask someone "would you say this in person" online, they consistently will say yes. However, you actually stick them in an environment where they can say it, they won't. You're not forced to see the various visual cues, impact of a persons behavior online. All of the social cues that indicate proper behavior in "real life" simply disappear online. Your average person who isn't a racist readily becomes one. Another person who is quiet and reserved becomes violently angry online.

All of this of course is easily confusing and incredibly difficult to parse for the average person. "How can this guy be that much of a fucking asshole?", easy: anonymity. I'm not talking about using a nickname, I'm talking about the medium itself.

Example: there are about a half dozen 'Jarrett Wold's' online. I've put myself out there as a real person, and with the frequency I use my real name and location it separates my ability to be one of the Jarrett Wold's and elevates it to being something unique among the crowd.

If I were to remove my last name and use nicknames such as "jarrett3434rocks" not only do I differentiate my online identity from my 'real world' identity to others, I do so to myself as well. I can be a complete fucking asshole online, then divorce that behavior offline and go give Mom a hug or something.

None of this excuses behavior that anonymity grants, however, it does present a conducive and rewarding situation for bad behavior. You're getting a rise out of people, there's a sense of power of controlling an engagement online. I can tell you as 'SUPERMAN45343' to go fuck yourself, and then in person plead ignorance as to posts being attributed to me.

If you look at all of the accounts that have spent spewing racist and illiterate horseshit at Trent and Mariqueen as well as the rest of the band (except two I think)... You will see that their nicknames are either completely anonymous, used as a descriptive caricatures, or abbreviations of real names. Someone may list their real name in their description, however it's the nickname that counts. It's what you type. You're not going to go "gee that Jarrett L Wold in Minot, North Dakota is such a complete asshole at the age of 28" you're going to type "jarrettwold is a fucktard". It's shorter, associates the nickname with the behavior and is a direct reference to the persona versus the real identity.

There are various available solutions. There's filtering, moderation systems, whitelisting, blacklisting, and communal trust.

Filtering has the downside of using natural language analysis and frequency matching to determine what to filter. It's why everyone still gets spam at some level or another. Viagra spam turns into poetic quatrains of randomness. There can be false flags raised when specific patterns *are* matched.

Moderation Systems
These tend to work well on messageboards, and news sites. Slashdot is a good example of this, however what you will find is that peer moderation rewards individual agreement with the moderator rather than an independent analysis of the content itself. Which has an insularly effect so the entire system ends up being polarized based on common views of many rather than independent views of the few.

One of the things about whitelisting and blacklisting is well the black and white nature of it. You are either in or out, it doesn't account for you having one bad day, or crabby ass day versus 300 good ones. Once you're blacklisted you're done. Period. No option for any kind of redemption. It's also relatively arbitrary. Whitelisting is difficult because you're surrounding yourself with people that you approve of initially, and over time can fall out of grace with. You're creating an "in" club. While it's effective, it doesn't allow those stray opinions in.

Communal Trust
This is based on groups forming and deciding on how they treat as friends. This tends to be more effective in that, you can one person or several people that combined use the stacking of the previous solutions to create groups that they like. If you pick one person who is trusted or appreciated by many and tap into their direct group then usually you have a fairly solid extension of them. Nobody likes having a person they hate on their contact list/mailing list/friends 'in real life'. So that is relatively powerful.

Good EXAMPLE LIST (re: not complete) on if you followed my list based on communal trust you would have:


then could also view the inter-relations between all those people on that list
"don't trust"

in the trust dept
so it would be like jarrettwold --> ninpolite <----- kinetiknails

in the don't trust dept it would be
jarrettwold --> angiezherself <---- everyone on this site.

So you run a couple passes you can figure out who is scum of the earth vs who isn't just by analyzing communal trust patterns.

So, there's my long long fucking analysis.

Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 06/13/2009 02:20PM by leo3375.


06/10/09 11:18 AM

i'm glad you aren't the same person anymore. continue being happy and God bless.


06/10/09 11:21 AM

i've never heard of metal sludge but now i want to check it out, out of perverse curiosity. hope you don't break my brain with that one, tr. if there are people only into you for the doom and gloom and think you should stay that way forever and ever and ever OR ELSE... that's really kind of crazy. for as much as what you've put out over the years is beautiful, nobody can really expect you to stay like that, right? i don't know. weird shit right there. but, i'm glad you're happy, i don't get why people wouldn't be. keep on it, man. we love you.


06/10/09 11:22 AM

Well I hope for myself (and other fans of the band and the man) that you don't completely drop out of the community/social networks. Some of the shit you post is too damned funny/entertaining to not see it anymore.


06/10/09 11:22 AM

The Internet is full of stupid people. Not much to do other than deal with it, or walk away. I did that with a major forum I visited and helped form for over three years--finally it just became too much bullshit, so I left.

Now I go back and troll the hell out of people, but I get to do it because I'm buddies with the admins.


06/10/09 11:23 AM

Don't be discouraged.

Just keep making that rad music (when the time is right).

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 06/10/2009 11:24AM by toodef.


06/10/09 11:23 AM

Good for you! Fuck 'em if they can't be supportive that you've turned over a new leaf. You deserve to be happy like everyone else and never ever let anyone take that away from you.

Although I personally never interacted with you, I enjoyed seeing your interactions with others and really liked seeing your personality shine through. If you feel you can't do this anymore due to some lonely be's your prerogative...but I know we would miss it terribly.

BTW...the 6/5 and 6/6 shows...amazing!

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/10/2009 11:34AM by Isabelp24.


06/10/09 11:24 AM

interesting. your opening passage reminds me of the things said in this blog article. you might enjoy reading it. either way, all great points - thank you.


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/10/2009 11:25AM by ripe_libido.


06/10/09 11:24 AM

The only thing that destroyed my projection on you was the tweet about the romantic comedies.LOL.Oh Trent's a big softy yea it's great your not the same person you used to be.Who in there right mind would want that.Besides your music now is just as good or even better than it was then.So no more social networking sites for you(Sigh).Well just please don't stop making music and sharing with your fans.Pretty pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaase.


06/10/09 12:24 PM

Trent, you're a fantastic guy, smart, and open. More open than I ever expected. Seeing you on Twitter was a fantastic treat, but I knew it wouldn't last long because of all the idiots.

I can tell you that the mature, loving, and caring fans appreciate the time you spent with them. Thanks again. I hope you've not been COMPLETELY dissuaded from interacting with us, as some of us have got a lot more to give than others. thumbs up

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/10/2009 11:26AM by matthewrex.


06/10/09 11:24 AM

Carbon beats silicon. Always.

Very best.


06/10/09 11:25 AM

Trent - I just want to say thank you for being so open and engaging with your fans. You've made your music much more meaningful to us by showing us that you're more than just a guy who plays with keyboards and a mic.

Re: not being the same person you are now that you were in 1994: Thank goodness. The person you are now - as far as I can tell from reading your posts, that is - is someone worth looking up to. Someone who's been through some pretty shitty times, done some pretty harsh things, and has conquered every one of them and come out as an incredibly successful person. You have a true musical gift, and I'm thankful that you've got the integrity, the motivation, and the dedication to share it with everyone in the ways that you do.

Thanks for everything.


06/10/09 12:25 PM

Ignore the trolls, let them wallow in their own misery. Keep doing what you want to do without giving a flying fuck what they think.

And while we're at it, social sites like Twitter need better reporting and blocking systems. For example, allowing you to put a Block list on your @replies so you can't see replies from those you block.


06/10/09 11:26 AM

wow. It's been fun seeing glimpses of the 'man behind the music' but I can understand the decision to tune out twitter. I've read only a small amount of the uglyness spewed at you and the people you care about and it turns my stomach that people can be so hateful to someone they don't even know.

Well, enjoy the rest of the tour Trent and thanx for giving the fans that appreciate you a little peek into your lifesmiling smiley


06/10/09 11:26 AM

Thank you, Trent, for sharing yourself with your audience. Yes, it takes away from the mystique of you as this untouchable force behind your music, but you shared a lot of insight to the fact that yes, you are a real person and not a god like some people like to think. It's a shame that a few bad apples have to ruin it, but at the end of the day, mental health and happiness takes priority. I hope you continue to share with us bits and pieces of your life, even though if it's not with the same frequency or frankness.


06/10/09 11:26 AM

I really hope that this backing off of social sites isn't going to be complete. I, for one, have really enjoyed getting to know more about the "real" you on Twitter. It's made me feel like I can understand what you and the band do much better.

It seems that people, especially in the past 5 years or so, have started viewing a band as a non-human entity, something that makes music and that's it. They don't realize that there are real people behind the music, who are writing the words and the music and making it. Thus it's hard for people to watch musicians change, especially when it changes what they do. I am also glad that you've changed, and I love being able to hear it in your music. It makes NIN all the more interesting to me.

I have to second all the hopes that you will be back, at least to visit, once in a while. Best of luck to you and Mariqueen!

PS, your "cutter's tip" made me LOL, by the way!

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/10/2009 11:28AM by Nitrous.


06/10/09 11:26 AM

Things that don't change are pretty damn boring.

I'm glad you haven't released 9 versions of Pretty Hate Machine, and that every NIN album stands apart from the others in structure and tone.

It's your work, I'd appreciate more of it, but only when it's what you want.


06/10/09 11:26 AM

Very well said. Now go on do your thing and BE HAPPY!! You deserve it!


06/10/09 11:26 AM

Thanks for the note TR. I enjoyed peeking behind the curtain for the time you allowed us to. Fuck Twitter. You've got a pretty mature, dedicated fan base here and at ets anytime you want to know what we are thinking.

Thanks again for all of your efforts.


06/10/09 11:26 AM

The internet's been like this as long as I've been on it (1988). It's filled with some very good, hard-working people, but unfortunately, they're outnumbered by the anonymous douchebags that try to make their pathetic lives better by starting flame wars, just to get a rise out of people.

In fact, I'm sure a lot of it has to do with people either being an outright asshole, or reading what they want. I had someone flame me on my board because he didn't comprehend what it was I was trying to say. So the point misses the mark, and I get flamed for something I didn't say or mean because someone with ADD thinks I'm an asshole. So be it. Fuck him.

I suppose there are ways to limit how you interact with fans and still have a positive experience. It's a shame you get the feedback you do when you (and others like you) pour so much time and energy into something which is seemingly taken for granted.

I hope that over time things change and that you interact more with the community. Or maybe find some way of weeding out the douchebags and let them run around on their own playground.




06/10/09 12:26 PM

I agree, it's really not ammunition. Anyone who would fail and try using any of that as ammunition would only create an argument that would remind people they're nuts.

I concur with it having been nice seeing behind the curtain for a bit.


06/10/09 11:26 AM

Sounds like you've got it mostly figured out, so I won't bother with much more of a reply than this-

Good for you. And go live your life, you deserve it. We'll see you when you get back. smiling smiley


06/10/09 11:27 AM

Just googled Metal Sludge for the first time. Trent, reading your post I thought you'd invented or maybe just exaggerated the thing.

Jesus Christ I can't believe yours was an accurate description. The human animal is a strange one.

I enjoyed you being on Twitter and I liked seeing you in your "natural habitat" as it were. Shame it didn't go the way we (and by that I mean the majority of normal NIN fans) wanted it to.

Shit happens, as the saying goes.


06/10/09 11:26 AM

As someone who's been in the front row for a few shows it makes me wonder who I spent hours in line with who has also been giving you shit this whole time. Messed up. Anyway, I guess I'm in that group of folks who are actually happy for you and your new found love. No one can ever take that feeling away and I know how great it feels. Shit, I would have less respect for you if you WERE the same person you were in 1994. People grow up and that's that. Your music career continues to have my respect and admiration. I aspire to follow in your footsteps. Hopefully, I will be able to see you again soon!


06/10/09 11:27 AM

Thanks Trent.

Will be kind of weird not hearing from you every day again but I want that for you.

Can't wait to see what you have in store for us in the future.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/10/2009 11:28AM by russizm.

nin forums : Official Member Threads : Online communities, etc.
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