In Mandarin Chinese there is an internet slang, literally keyboarder, which refers to people (especially internet users) who express a lot of groundless and irresponsible opinions but disguised as reasonable critiques. Those speeches are usually much more logical and lengthy than common trolls, but at the end they are based on wrong assumptions and trickery reasoning and are not constructive at all. Sometimes media uses this word to comment bad but real-life (as opposed to internet) criticisms.

Is there a similar word/phrase/internet slang in English?

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    This might be better addressed on english.stackechange.com. – JMB May 2 '15 at 17:49
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    I do think this question would be fine on ELU, but I also think it's okay over here. – snailplane May 2 '15 at 19:30
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    "Flamer" is an older term with a somewhat similar meaning. – RBarryYoung May 2 '15 at 22:25
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    @RBarryYoung There is a more modern meaning to flamer which overshadows the "one who engages in flame wars" sense. An inapplicable meaning. – Dan Bron May 2 '15 at 23:04
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    @DanBron actually, it's an older meaning, but in any event irrelevant to my post. – RBarryYoung May 3 '15 at 0:16

I think a phrase that fits here is Armchair warrior. From Wikipedia:

Armchair warrior is a pejorative term that alludes to fighting from the comfort of one’s living room. It describes activities such as speaking out in support of a war, battle, or fight by someone with little or no military experience.

This differs from slacktivism in that no action needs to be done by an armchair warrior beyond stating a point of view versus an act to give the appearance of making a difference from a slacktivist.

Or closer still: Keyboard warrior. From Urban Dictionary:

A Person who, being unable to express his anger through physical violence (owing to their physical weakness, lack of bravery and/or conviction in real life), instead manifests said emotions through the text-based medium of the internet, usually in the form of aggressive writing that the Keyboard Warrior would not (for reasons previously mentioned) be able to give form to in real life.

I'd say both are informal, but fairly well-known.


You could also say "armchair critic" or "know-it-all."


The word pundit is often used sarcastically in a similar manner.

Internet pundits is almost a pejorative term.

  • From dictionary and wikipedia, my understanding is the word is used to describe people with publicity. Is it so? Can I apply the word to a common internet user? – NS.X. May 2 '15 at 23:26
  • Internet pundits typically opine on matters of government, public policy, business, culture and the arts, under their own byline, which sets them apart from the "common internet user" who offers his or her opinion on a discussion forum, say, often under a fictitious name. – Tᴚoɯɐuo May 2 '15 at 23:47
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    I wouldn't try to use "pundit" this way, as an ELL. People might not understand the sarcasm. - - - And to answer the question "Can I apply the word to a common internet user?" No. Pundit basically means an expert or very smart person. – aparente001 May 3 '15 at 6:13
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    @aparente001: If you'll re-read my comment, you will see that I am saying that the word can not be applied to the "common internet user" but to the people who have opinion blogs in specific areas. On the internet, anyone can be an expert, even on sites with "ratings" by visitors; public approbation is no measure of expertise. – Tᴚoɯɐuo May 3 '15 at 11:48
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    @TRomano: yes, I see it now. Sorry! - - - So I guess I'll say only, it can be hard for others to receive sarcasm from a non-native speaker of a language. (Speaking from the experience of having struggled in three different countries, with a varying level of mastery/pidginhood of the languages.) – aparente001 May 3 '15 at 13:47

I know you said "beyond common trolls", but I really feel that "troll" is the best perjorative term here. It's at least the most ubiquitous, and though "troll" is a much more informal word than anything else suggested so far, it needs no explanation.

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