A Hacker News commentator wrote:

if you open up moderation then you'll get Tyranny of the Majority [1]. But in the internet age it would actually be tyranny-of-the-people-with-a-chip-on-their-shoulder-and-time-to-burn.

[1] : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tyranny_of_the_majority

I wonder if there is a better or at least shorter term for "tyranny-of-the-people-with-a-chip-on-their-shoulder-and-time-to-burn"?

  • 1
    It could be reworded, but not much shorter.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Feb 3, 2021 at 1:31
  • 3
    Why would you want to shorten it? It's a wonderful phrase. Commented Feb 3, 2021 at 1:32
  • 2
    Tyranny by the many angry and bored sums it up if you have to. Commented Feb 3, 2021 at 1:35
  • 1
    Endless interference by those idle, bored and bitter. Not many words fewer but sells it.
    – Elliot
    Commented Feb 3, 2021 at 1:48
  • There are a lot of words for such people, such as neckbeard, basement dweller, and troll. I'm not aware of a commonly used -ocracy-style word if that's what you're looking for, but you could coin one: neckbeardocracy.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Oct 9, 2021 at 23:45

6 Answers 6


I would say it's the tyranny of the outrage mob....

The only definition I found was on UrbanDictionary.com, and it's not entirely satisfactory, so I will paraphrase it:

a group of people who attack whatever will provide the maximum amount of virtue signaling, attempting to silence and punish people who disagree with them by harassment, bullying, and shaming.

Examples of usage:


The Entitled Idle.

There is some nuance that may capture much of what is being said.

The idle implies time on their hands and denotes laziness. It also implies people who are not constructively solving problems themselves.

Chip on their shoulder is defined as

to have an angry or unpleasant attitude or way of behaving caused by a belief that one has been treated unfairly in the past


Entitled is defined as

believing oneself to be inherently deserving of privileges or special treatment

The two differ largely in the attitude of the offender. This can be smuggled back in as

the irate, entitled & idle


Full of or characterized by extreme anger; enraged


This trades brevity for a more explicit accounting of the disposition of the offender.


The term "vocal minority" is a common phrase used in political discourse, used to refer to a group that is small in number but disproportionately vocal within the field of public discourse. Perhaps Tyrany of the Vocal Minority would fit here.


I would say no, there isn't a better way to phrase this. It's a nice bit of writing. The author has taken three well-known idioms - "tyranny of the majority", "chip on the shoulder", and "time to burn" - and combined them in a clever way to make a point.

The point they are making is not exactly brand-new, but it is pretty recent, and there isn't any well-established phrase or idiom for it.

The idea could be expressed directly, without the idioms. For instance, I could say "Unmoderated discussions on the internet tend to be dominated by people who are angry about some issue and have the spare time to argue about it." That might be better in something like an academic paper. But in a news article, it would be less effective at getting the reader's attention.

  • There's often a significant overlap with "trolls".
    – Barmar
    Commented Oct 14, 2021 at 21:36

Chattering Classes is a shorter phrase which encapsulates the idea. But for the specific quote you give the longer phrase works better because it draws out the contrast between pre-Internet and post-Internet moderation.


"The tyranny of the people with a chip on their shoulder and time to burn"?

One is reminded that it is the chip in this case that has brought us to this point.

So successful has the computer been that we have brought instant world-wide communication to the very fingertips of the most exquisitely misinformed people you could find. They have done nothing but show up. They swarm in their dozens to spout off the most on what they know the least about, learning nothing along the way. This takes up much of the air and bandwidth in the room leaving the rest only enough to sigh.

If they were engaged in the world they would have some relatable experience. Alas, when they succeed only at typing their confidence mounts as their hair and fingernails grow. They are wastrels, the electronically dissipated.

Not so pithy but to sum up this will be:

The tyranny of the minority with the time to pack the world with the loudest opinions. The roar of ignorance.

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