Reply Guys: Documenting This Responsive Online Craze

A Reply Guy sitting behind his Apple Mac computer.
“LOL! The use of a past participle isn’t accurate in the denominational sense to which you apply your notions!”

Whether it’s softbois or far-right lunatics, the online world is a crazy place these days. And now there’s this new phenomenon to add into the mix.

What’s a “reply guy”?

It’s a type of geezer on Twitter who likes to respond to tweets (typically from women) in a weird way. Usually by:

  • Mansplaining.
  • Flirting inappropriately.
  • Becoming verbally abusive.
  • Being a pseudointellectual.

He’ll usually do so in know-it-all fashion, whilst failing to realise he’s making a predictable argument. Or imagining he has the same/superior expertise to someone who’s actually qualified.

For example, one reply guy responded to American politician Alexandria Oscasio-Cortez on Twitter:

"Ms Ocasio you may be very sexy but you are a Dudebro and so I can never vote for you!"

NB: Now, on a tangent, a "dudebro" seems to mean someone who's overprivileged and a "douche".

It may seem a message you’d just normally ignore, but the problem here is there are so many reply guys.

If your responses fill up with hundreds or thousands of the above, it gets a bit exhausting and depressing.

To be clear, this isn’t solely an issue for women. As reply guys will target fellow geezers as well. In fact, one of the most terrifying things to behold online is when two reply guys try to debate each other into defeat.

However, women are also capable of reply guy mentality and lower themselves to this level.

But in most instances, a woman of some stature will tweet something. And then a small army of reply guys will descend on her, leaving condescending comments en masse.

We guess the real problem with social media is it provides everyone with a voice. No matter how toxic, bigoted, dumb, or delusional. Now anyone can find other halfwits out there for positive confirmation.

Surely there’s some psychological reasoning behind all this!? Previously we’d read online deindividuation was responsible for toxic trolls hiding behind their anonymity.

But, typically, on Twitter you can see who the person is rambling on.

These dudes clearly don’t care they’re not anonymous. And, in fact, revel in the sense of smug satisfaction of talking down to folks. Nice.

What’s Wrong With Reply Guys?

In essence, not much really. They’re just annoying and smug.

Given the hellish nightmare Twitter often is, with so much (usually right-wing) belligerence flying around it’s unreal, that’s kind of a welcome novelty.

Although not every man sending a message response is a reply guy (duh), it’s easy to spot the ones who are. Telltale signs include:

  • They have few followers on Twitter.
  • The way they respond to people is overly familiar (i.e. like they know the person).
  • They have a habit of responding to women a lot.
  • They often target women in science/journalism/politics and are eager to throw in their opinion to a tweet.

Emlyn Crenshaw wrote a Reply Guy Constitution in 2018 to lay down the law for all men out there:

"We, the Reply Guys of Twitter, in order to form a more perfect Internet, establish Dominance, insure Our sense of Superiority, provide Our every two cents, promote Our general welfare, and secure the blessings of Our Mental Agility, to Ourselves and Our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the Guild of Reply Guys."

It’s also become such a problem Twitter is right now attempting to curb reply guys. And this is its concept:

If that goes well, it’ll roll out officially and then this whole issue may become less annoying.

Next step, Twitter, you just have to deal with millions of far-right lunatics sending death threats. Hurray!

The Types of Reply Guy

Scott Barolo and human female neuroscientist @shrewshrew did a science thing and now we can identify the nine types of reply guys:

Ultimately, we feel a reply guy is a mansplainer. He’s just one on Twitter with a particularly virulent addiction to mansplaining.

How to Become a Reply Guy

As men, we’re always eager to debase ourselves. Here’s another fantastic opportunity to do so!

To become a reply guy, we recommend following the following recommendations:

  • Abandon all of your hobbies.
  • Embrace social media addiction.
  • Sign up to Twitter.
  • Scout around on Twitter looking for women (also known as “dames” and “babes”).
  • Have a 60 second scan over some esoteric topics. Wikipedia is a great resource for this.
  • Chat some shite.

Congratulations, you’re a reply guy! That’s something to add to your CV/resume to indicate you’re a bit of an annoying jackass.

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