SOUR DICTIONARY: PLATFORMIZATION OF PLAYFUL PARTICIPATORY CULTURE & TROLLING PRAC TICES
"A drink which I feel like I have to drink every day even though I know it is
something like acidic, blackish and even cooled and watered-down molasses;
especially a drink of adorability in its glass form. (bkz: lipton ice tea lemon)"
SD plays an essential role in Turkish online culture for susers
(slang derived from sozluk, or dictionary, plus “user”).
It was founded in 1999 in Turkey. SD immediately turned
into a place where people engaged in geeking together on
technology, coding, games, movies, music, and politics.
Alternative Media: Playful collaboration
From the interviews:
“For example, let's say it is about Byzantine history. When you post
something about it, somebody else will find something to add to there; some
other suser would share a link, another suser who absolutely knew nothing
about it would google it and add humbly, saying that there is something like
this too. Because this is how you used to contribute.”
“There is a continuous effort to improve yourself if you are a suser, you
always think how you could enunciate this better…you start to own what you
say and pursue further research to educate others. And, if you are convinced
otherwise through discussions, you go back and edit your original post to
Alternative Media: Earlier forms of discussion
The below entries are susers defining sociology:
Entry 1: In other words, it is the engineering of society. But, people mostly do not
appreciate it enough. This is the discipline which most of the intelligence guys and
human resources people love.
Entry 2: It is a discipline which is absolutely not something like social engineering. It
does not attempt to change people; it observes them.
Entry 3: This is one of the most exciting disciplines. It tries to understand what is
going on in society by analyzing everyday lives. It is obviously not social engineering,
but it is surely a terrain where those people take their data.
Early “Playful” Trolling
Title: “how anti-Islamists groups beat praying Muslims and
Trolling logic: meant to trap people (readers) into their ad hominem
logic so that they would see the internalized oppression, racism,
sexism, and othering practices.
The key for expert susers to understand that this was a trolling
practice was that 1) there was no source 2) whenever there was a
source it was a doctored news website claiming breaking news.
Initial User Agreement
“Nothing written on this website is correct. It might be legally problematic if you try to be a suser
under 18 years old (what the hell are you doing here if you are younger, drop the internet and go
out, travel and have someone travel with you). By posting here, susers are assumed to transfer
copyrights to Michael Jackson. Those who copy, paste and send what’s been written here without
citation, to their friends with topics such as “fw: alternative Turkish astronaut and Houston
dialogues! Veryyy funnyyy” are shabby, roundabout, hincal and uluc*. Suser identities are
protected except when needed by law. It is just maybe admins can browse them a little with
some “important” reasons until they could eventually find out that suser is "unfortunately a
man." If someone knocks on our door some day and asks "who are these susers," we can just say
"just a sec, in the shower now!" and escape from the kitchen window.”
*Hincal Uluc is a Turkish journalist who was disliked by some of the SD population.
Selected Sentences from the
New User Agreement (circa 2010, updated 2016)
Sour Dictionary belongs to Sour Technology and Information Company (Eksi Teknoloji) and is a service
provider for the content of the registered users. Following are the rules and other laws that are going
to be applied when you are registered to the Sour Dictionary.
Your content must obey the law and the Sour Dictionary rules. As there is no moderation to detect
content prior to their publication, you are responsible for what you create, please be sure to follow the
law when you are posting. When your post is published, your legal responsibilities begin; even if your
post is deleted by you or after a complaint, etc. you will still be responsible for it.
Your information could be shared with legal authorities when required by the law. According to the
current bylaws, the registered user's IPs are recorded for 12-months.
This user agreement can be changed without an announcement. We advise you to check the
agreement text frequently as the publication of the updates will mean the changes are approved by
Under any disagreement that may arise through relational aspects of this contract, Sour Dictionary
records (e-mail, internet traffic information, logs, etc.) can be official evidence under the Turkish law,
and you agree that this article of the contract can also be processed as a contract of evidence.
Professionalization of Content Moderation
On August 8, 2012, a suser posted an entry* that criticized the way Webrazzi works. Webrazzi
is a professionalized technology blog, and the current owner of the SD (Basak Burut) has shares
in it. The SD law team took down the entry with the following reason: "this post is taken down
as it may jeopardize the company's commercial status." According to some susers, this was the
application of a rumor that had been on SD's agenda for a very long time. All the moderators
issued a joint statement on September 1, 2012 about their resignation following the mid-August
Webrazzi incident on SD. In their joint statement, they stated:
“SD is not a place that is worth our labor anymore for us 12 people who served/have been serving as
moderators. The current dynamics within SD does not make us feel like moderating anymore. Current
instantaneous flow on SD makes it more similar to Twitter/a random forum/wall posts on Facebook, and
it is very far away from to be moderated by its current shape. Maybe this is what it is supposed to be,
but it is not something that we want to be a part of as mods or admins.”
*September 1st, 2012, https://eksisozluk.com/entry/30029153.
Contemporary SD: Promotion
Title: 29 december 2017 netflix Turkey scandal (350)
TV Show Black Mirror promotion account on SD created by Netflix and SD together. The
account called @iamwaldo sent a message to susers telling "we know what you did. You
should watch and see what we are capable of” which triggered anxiety among the susers.
One suser posted that:
It is told that people receive messages from @imwaldo saying “we know what you did. you
should watch and see what we are capable of". if this is correct, it is a very big scandal. who
do you think you are to scare people in the middle of the night just to promote a half-ass tv
show? what kind of promotion is this?
edit: the title is now banned on the left frame.
edit 2: the title is now back on, but so many susers are kicked off and downgraded to
rookie status. i guess abusing power is just routine in this country.
135 favs, 29.12.2017 02:03 ~ 19:42 cathars
Contemporary Mainstream SD:
Disruption of information flows
Title: the reasons why there are no women poets (170)
Women ease their pains by making love with other men; men write poems. so, the women,
those you wrote the poems for, will forget you in some other men's arms. wtf, if a woman
comes back with a poem, umit yasar oguzcan’s ayten would return in the first place […] so,
the bottom line is, women make love instead of trying to be a poet and fail, women are more
rational than men. (213 favs, 18.10.2017 19:22 ~ 19.10.2017 01:10 biyolojik saat tamircisi)
On the top of my head now: gülten akın, füruğ ferruhzad, didem madak, nilgün marmara,
yaşar nezihe, birhan keskin, and we can just extend the list forever. i do apologize for those i
missed here. i think this is a very meaningless conversation. another similar conversation is
that only men fall in love. these are all popular culture. (75 favs, 18.10.2017 19:33 hejiro)
This practice leaves disconnected entries under a title that do not add anything
to the topic in question. When rechecked on February 2, 2019, one can see that
the first entry and the several other entries that support the biased claim
disappeared, but the title and the rest of the entries stayed. This issue suggests
that, without the definition format, when an entry is deleted there are only some
traces of information left under the titles without any context (as the other
susers replied to the first entry as if they are in a forum). This blurred
conversation also makes the environment susceptible to misinformation, as it