David Murphy has a problem. It's not a big problem, but it's a problem. It's his license plate. A lot of people think that, after looking at it, he's a troll. Wrong! His license plate, which reads "TROLOLO," is actually in reference to Mr. Trololo, the onomatopoeic nickname of Eduard Khil, a Russian crooner turned internet meme. And Murphy, a tech writer in Silicon Valley, has a singing voice that resembles Khil's, which prompted his pals to give him the personalized plate for his birthday. Sweet, right? Well, not to the many rabid Reddit readers who foolishly mistook Murphy's plate as a proud proclamation of trollism.

Murphy writes about his experience in an article for BuzzFeed:

The Reddit post was not a compliment. The title: “This guy cut me off today in Palo Alto. At first, I was mad...then, I was totally okay with it.” It hyperlinked directly to an Imgur-hosted photo of my car, taken during my drive home from work from earlier that evening.

The image had more than 160,000 views. The thread, more than 182 comments. (Today it has over 424,000 views and over 200 comments.)

I have thick Internet skin. I live a fairly open Web life. I don’t lock down my Facebook. I don’t care who sees what I post on other social media. So it wasn’t the occasional Reddit comments about my driving skills that bothered me — apparently, “Trololo” has been more of a California driver lately than a grandmother. Or comments that I was “ probably a total db” and a “scumbag. Or even the Internet Tough Guy who thought someone should “smash [my] fucking windshield in.” Suck on a downvote.


Soon after the post went live, some Reddit readers suggested forming a hit squad "to track [Murphy] down," collecting data on all sightings of the car, keying his vehicle, and (worst of all) figuring out where he lives and works. Close readings have never been this scary. In the end, though, Murphy got rid of the license plate out of understandable fear. "I turned my plates into the DMV two days after the post hit Reddit. Now it’s the next Trololo's problem to deal with," he writes.

In an interesting twist, the original Reddit poster was also a tech writer. Read all about it.