It takes a village idiot: The jerks of online forums

Discussion forums are magnets for some of the jerkiest people on the 'Interwebs'. We profile a dozen of the most common and annoying forum jerks--from 'The Antagonist' to 'The Conspiracy Theorist'.

8. Smarty Pants

If the Peacekeeper is on a search-and-destroy mission against offensive content, the Smarty Pants' goal is to find and expose inaccuracies--no matter how insignificant--solely as a means to demonstrate his intellectual superiority. A Smarty Pants constantly runs a fine-toothed comb through both a site's original articles and its comments in search of nits to pick: factual errors, grammatical errors, typos--it doesn't matter. The instant he finds one, he pounces on the offending poster, thrashing him with the wet capellini of his erudition.

Some of these hair-splitters will spend their days doing the spadework necessary to prove a minor mistake in someone else's words. The most obnoxious--and yet most grimly satisfying--kind of Smarty Pants, though, is the one who bases his corrections on his own "infallible" knowledge base. He might, for example, summon his Univac-like powers of recall to dispute an author's mention of when a particular piece of software came out.

"DOS 3.0 was not around in 1985," an actual comment from Digg reads, referring to a story that mentioned various points of computer history. "I bought my Tandy 1000 in 1987 and it came with DOS 2.11."

DOS 3.0 actually came out in 1984. This gomer, it would seem, simply got ripped off late-80s style. But as you introduce a Smarty Pants to his richly deserved comeuppance, you can't help noticing that you have just increased the online population of this particular scourge by one.

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