English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I'm not sure if rubbernecking is the term I should be using, but what do you call the act of commenting on an Internet discussion, just for the sake of letting other people know that you want to butt in, but not actually add anything to the discussion.

An example of this would be watching a heated argument on Facebook and you adding a comment, "Pass the popcorn", which is pretty annoying and does not actually add anything to the discussion.

share|improve this question
After looking at the definition of Rubbernecking, I think that it doesn't fit with your intended usage. – Dan D. Apr 28 '12 at 4:49
Yeah, but that's the closest thing I can think of. I'm not really good with vocabulary. – Terence Ponce Apr 28 '12 at 4:50
spamming. see also, next comment. – Kris Apr 28 '12 at 4:57
"Pass the pop corn!" – Kris Apr 28 '12 at 4:59
It's not for nothing that those starred-out/ double-slashed-out lines are called 'comments'. – Kris Apr 28 '12 at 5:05

Deliberately trying to irk people on the Net and trying to create controversy goes under the name of trolling.

To make a conscious attempt to provoke controversy or disagreement on the Internet (Chambers)

Any person who passes such uncalled-for remarks that are not in line with the discussion are called trolls. This Wiki link provides all details about trolling.

share|improve this answer
+1. Close but not correct. Frivolous, hollow, 'filler' comments as in OP's example may not count as trolling. – Kris Apr 28 '12 at 6:30
@Kris: Not according to the dictionary, but Wiki (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troll_%28Internet%29) does agree with me. Time for an update to the dict! – Bravo Apr 28 '12 at 6:47
But first an update to your answer right here :-) – Kris Apr 28 '12 at 6:57

The most obvious verb for such activity is to kibitz ("To chat; to gossip; to make small talk or idle chatter" or "To give unsolicited or unwanted advice or make unhelpful or idle comments, especially to someone playing a game"). Also consider to snark ("To express oneself in a snarky fashion", ie to make snide remarks or offer sarcasm), and aforementioned troll. I've also seen such comments referred to as drive-bys (things "done quickly or in a cursory manner") and as flame bait ("(Internet) deliberately provocative posting intended to start a flame war") or arson ("The crime of setting a fire with intent to cause damage").

share|improve this answer
+1 for kibitz -- that fits the bill. About the only word in your list that suits, in fact. – Kris Apr 28 '12 at 7:04
What we need is an e-kibitz, so to speak. – Kris Apr 28 '12 at 7:13

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.