A website displaying an image considered by many to be extremely gross - namely, of a guy spreading open his anus to impressive dimensions. Especially the effect on people with even rudimentary homophobia is obvious.

It was at one time a very fashionable game on slashdot and other online discussion fora (especially on games) that allow the usage of HTML to write postings that pretend to link to some interesting site, but in fact mallink to http://goatse.cx. This in turn has resulted in the expression goatse to become a widely-known meme. In fact, "goatse trolls" became so pervasive that Slashdot had to (AFAIK mainly for this reason) add a feature that appends the domain of a link URL to the link's text. The trolls reacted by finding ingenious ways to have people redirected to goatse.cx through various respectable-seeming domains.

Nowadays, "goatse links" are not anymore commonplace but are strongly remembered and still crop up from time to time.

(for background, those not familiar with the concept, you might want to check out goatse.cx for some background.)

One interpretation of the abstract troll - the concept of useless content. Offensive to the mind, soul, and authorities.

It's like taking a goatse link and giving it to children *

But what is a goatse link? Is it really a link to that place? Is it a link relating to that thing? Is it the more abstract concept of a intentionally misdirected link? No ... the concept of goatse is a type of troll. Not one that wants to piss people off or incite a flamewar...

goatse is porn

What is porn? It makes some people happy, it offends others. goatse makes the poster happy, and offends the reader. The troll gets what they want out of it, the feeling that they shocked someone, and doesn't feel any repercussions for that act.
Today, because of your curse thingy, you can't sleep with anyone or else you might feel a moment of true happiness and lose your soul, become evil -- again -- and kill everyone.

That must be what it feels like to be a goatse troll. They find the perfect thread, pick the perfect link, post it in an ooh-so-disguised message, and kill everyone (well, sorta). In their mind, this isn't real life, it's just a fantasy, and we're all caught in their personal landslide, and message boards are their escape from reality...

My god... I can't believe I just said that. That has to be the cheesiest thing I've ever written.

What can we do about goatse? Nothing. In a free environment with anonymous access, people will always have the strange urge to freak people out. So take that and shove it.

* that's supposed to be a quote from the somethingawful theme song, but I couldn't find it for reference.

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