People like to pretend on the Internet. Men pretend to be 13-year-old girls, Nigerian scammers pretend to be millionaires who need your help, dumb people pretend to be smart and cats pretend to be people.
Certain people take it a little further and play an actual character, like a wise mom or a cartoonishly wild frat boy. You can't get away with putting on a totally new personality in real life, what with pesky facial expressions and body language and body odor giving you away, but when the only thing people can see is typing, you can get away with some outrageously fake characters, which might fool people. For a couple of paragraphs.
Unfortunately, I think the people who pull this shit buy into the illusion more than the people they are targeting. They want to be this cool character as badly as they want other people to think they are that character. Here's some popular roles people like to play:
This person likes to give advice along the lines of "Kick that bitch in the teeth and ask her to make you a sandwich!" in response to statements like "My girlfriend wants us to spend more time together."
He always implies an additional "Because that's what I do!" or just straight out says it, even though he does not actually discipline his uppity girlfriend this way, because he does not have one.
In his imagination, he keeps bitches in line, and they like it. He slams things on the counter when a cashier talks back to him, and they gulp and ring up the rest of his order respectfully. Recreationally, he lives a very similar life to Vladimir Putin.
Putin has some rad rec activities, but he is still a terrible person.
If he has any guns, or a real Japanese katana from Japan and totally not the Home Shopping Network, he will let you know. He might film a video of himself using these things and post it, depending on his level of self-awareness.
In any given discussion, his approach will involve cartoonish violence, unrealistic profanity or a bafflingly non sequitur devil-may-care attitude in response to an imaginary lesser person's concerns (often a woman or a parent).
This can be really weird and inappropriate when it comes to certain subjects, like politics. "If I were Obama, I would have smashed Mitch McConnell's head through a wall and stuck a pipe up his ass, and said SMOKE THAT, BITCH! Then he'd be all crying and screaming and I would sit down and read a Maxim."
"I love your work, you're doing great stuff, really, but I've just got a few tips for you that I think could really help you achieve your potential." Very encouraging words from a teacher, or mentor, or parent, or maybe even a colleague. Less so from a random person on the street -- or the Internet.
I'm not just talking about unsolicited advice ("You need to read The Secret!") or weird criticism ("You use the word 'the' too much!"), which is bad enough already, but all of that plus putting on a weird artificial character I picture as Coach (from Coach).
You younger kids might recognize him better as the voice of Mr. Incredible, or I think he is on Parenthood now or something.
The difference between a normal person going around giving unwanted advice to people and a Coach type is whether you can easily add "champ" to their statements without it seeming out of place. "I've read a lot of your writing, champ, and I'm really encouraged by how you've been improving. I don't want you to take this the wrong way, sport, but there's a few problems you really need to tackle to become that awesome writer we both know you can be. I know you can do it, so keep at it, tiger!"
As you can see, it's more than pushy -- it's a little delusional. We all know about fans who lose touch with reality a bit and imagine themselves as best friends of their favorite actors or celebrities, and address them in public like they know each other and are entitled to their friendship.
This is the same thing, except the Coach types imagine themselves not only as that person's friend, but also as that person's Morgan Freeman -- benevolent, wise, experienced and plausible in the role of God. The target will naturally be anxious for the Coach type's approval (hence the reassurances that they're "doing great" and "really improving") and value the nuggets of wisdom.
"I want to see you tone down your use of the passive voice, son."
Which they wouldn't if this were some random douche off the street. But the Coach knows he is not some random douche off the street. He knows writing/acting/drawing/relationships. He has really thought about these things and can see what's really going on. He needs to let the target know quickly that he is Morgan Freeman bringing genuine insights and not Johnny Anonymous complaining about some petty stuff he doesn't like.
So he goes really heavy on the Coach language, with all the champ/buddy/sport/tiger talk he can muster, short of using the actual terms. Like a lot of Internet persona players, he usually fools himself, too, so if his target turns his advice down, he really thinks he is "saddened" by his Daniel-san being too impetuous and immature to take his wise Miyagi-like advice.
#5. A Real Character
There are genuine "what a character" personalities in every community, online and off; people who naturally think differently or have a charmingly distinctive way of expressing themselves. And then there's people who pretend to be those people.
People trying to get attention on the Internet is nothing new. Back when it was the ARPANET, some Department of Defense researcher probably emailed made-up stories to other research groups about how he totally just had sex in the lab.
This guy just drew the first ASCII boobs.
Nowadays, people continue to brag about made-up sex stories, post shocking pictures or try to "troll" people into arguing with them, but even worse, some people basically try to be Internet Jim Carrey.
In place of goofy faces and exaggerated voices, they use a lot of folksy, idiosyncratic slang ("sayin'" instead of "saying," "whaddya," etc.) and pretend randomness.
Sometimes the fake randomness is sprinkled throughout their spiel. Perhaps they open with "BOOBS! Ha ha! Bet that gotcher attention, dinnit? Nah, I'm joshing ya. What I really wanner talk about is ..."
I guess they're going for some kind of a cross between a grizzled prospector and a wisecracking slacker?
A lot of times it takes the form of painful, forced analogies. Sometimes it's funny and enlightening to have someone explain serious concepts like politics or philosophy using an analogy to something totally incongruous, like pop culture or penis jokes. Maybe you compare the Romney campaign staff to the Soprano crime family, and it helps people understand who's in charge of what part of the operation.
Or maybe you heard someone do that and saw that it was well-received, so you try to explain supply-side economics using Sonic the Hedgehog, even though you can't actually think of any connections. But economics doesn't have anything to do with Sonic! Only a cool out-of-the-box thinker like you would have come up with that connection! It's not important to have any substantive parallels! You can just recite whatever you were going to say about economics, replace random terms with Sonic and Tails, and bam! You're the teacher from Dead Poets Society!
"Alright, alright, alright, listen to me. So this economics bidness is about supply and demand, right? BO-ring! How's about we say Sonic the Hedgehog represents supply and Tails represents demand. Crazy, right? But hold your horses, fuckos, and hear me out. Supply-side economics, or Sonic-side economics, as I like to call 'er, is all about decreasing taxes (or rings) so that suppliers (Sonicers) have more money (Sega Genesis consoles) they can use to expand (jump off a ramp) and hire more workers (Dr. Robotniks), who share in the wealth (Marios and Luigis). BOO-yah! That right there is supply-side economics in a nutshell, my friend!"
If you don't understand economics after this, I don't know what I can do for you.
This is kind of sad, if you think about it. The fact that someone thinks it's that easy to create a charming, offbeat personality implies that they think all the real zany people out there are putting it on, just like they are.
Did that work? No? OK, moving on.
Nobody likes being singled out for some stupid thing they did, and this person's coping mechanism is to create a fantasy where it's not just them. They imagine a whole group of oppressed compatriots they are bravely standing up for.
Say a guy complains about how George Orwell's Animal Farm should no longer be part of high school curriculums because it was about the Vietnam War, and is no longer relevant. (Unlike the other all-animal treatment of the Vietnam War, Apocalypse Meow.)
I make this photoshop and then I find out it's actually a thing. Well.
When he is inevitably informed of how stupid he is, he might figure it out and laugh it off, he might cry and run away or, if he is a Spartacus type, he will create a cause around it. This isn't some people laughing at him for his individual mistakes, this is oppression against newbies, or outsiders, or Orwell haters.
This way he's not a sad little dude who is all hurt and vulnerable, he is a brave voice speaking up for the imaginary throng of new people who, like him, came to this online community looking to express their opinions on how the best scene in Star Wars is when Han Solo has to outrun a boulder. For all the misunderstood people out there quivering in fear, who dared to say Brave New World was better than 1984. Or that Prince's "1999" was better than Apple's 1984 commercial.
It's an easy way to try to convince themselves (and hopefully others) that this is about something bigger than themselves -- a fight for justice -- and not about themselves and getting their feelings hurt. Even though it is.
When he finally makes his impassioned speech about the unfair treatment of newbies/outsiders/men/women/Honda owners/furries that he's decided is endemic to this community, the Spartacus raises his metaphorical fist with a rallying cry of "Who's with me?" and the result is usually dead silence.