Trolls I have known and ignored

Seems like some interesting trolling’s been turning up of late, in library lists and posts.

Which might make this a good occasion to offer some irrelevant thoughts on the Annoyed Librarian(s).

Plural, because of what I see as the history–probably falsely, but that’s OK: when you’re dealing with a pseudonym, you get to make up your own story.

Back in the day, here defined as “early in AL’s blog, and before it had the imprimatur of Library Journal,” I once thought that I knew who they/he/she/it was/were. That may have been naive, and was based in part on one or more people coming up to me (that is, either one person or a group of people at the same time) and informing me that she/he/it/they were/was the AL, and swearing me to secrecy.

At one point, there was a popular guessing game as to the AL’s identity. One library person came up with the same guess as my thought. I did not, of course, confirm it.

Different AL entirely, or a remarkable split personality?

Here’s the thing, though: to me, the LJAL (Library Journal Annoyed Librarian) doesn’t seem to be the same person or group as the AL (pre-LJ Annoyed Librarian).

I can think of both of them as AL in much the same way that Darrin Stephens was always Darrin Stephens (those of you who don’t get the reference, get offa my lawn)–entirely different actor, very different persona, but the same name.

I had some respect for the pre-LJ AL, at least some of the time. I can’t say the same for LJAL, who I regard as a troll and attractor for LJ ads.

Heck, LJAL could even be a retired LJ editor, for all I know… (Say, now, there’s a rumor…)

I can only assume one of three things:

  1. I never actually knew who or what AL was, which is quite possible.
  2. LJAL really is a different group/person/thing than the original AL.
  3. It’s the same group or person, a group or person that incidentally has a very respectable blog or group of blogs, and that group or person has evolved a distinctly split personality and writing skill. (The good writing is saved for the respectable blog(s).)
  4. There is no AL. It’s the result of a clever algorithm put together by some librarian, most probably with the first name Pete.

What? Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition.

4 Responses to “Trolls I have known and ignored”

  1. Michael Golrick says:

    Hey Walt-

    Your list of three things actually has four!

    Oh, and I am not the Annoyed Librarian, and I’m pretty sure that neither you nor Karen Schneider are either.

    I do agree with your assessment about the split personality, and, if I actually cared, would go back to evaluate whether it is really one voice on LJ or more. I don’t by the “retired LJ editor” bit, either. The person I think you are thinking of has way too much ego, and besides I asked that person straight up (and I know him pretty well), and he said no.

  2. walt says:

    Michael: Re your first comment: Read the last line of the post…or maybe you aren’t a Python person. (Monty, that is.)

    No, I’m not really suggesting that J. Berry is AL–although the suggestion that the Three John Berrys are, in concert, the AL would be amusing, if wholly improbable.

  3. You do know that there is a fourth librarian named John Berry…he is in Australia.

    For, oh so many reasons, I would say that your remark on the three American Library Association John Berrys working in concert is worthy of being classified as a GROSS understatement. I was actually present at one of the few times when all three chatted together — back when “D” was on ALA Council and before “W” was President.

  4. Jeff Scott says:

    I found it interesting that the tone changed on some of the AL posts. In some cases it was especially snarky, in others, it was especially tame (which resulted in some long time librarian haters to agree with AL.)

    Also, some of the trolling seems coincidental on many fronts….?