The Brief: Reply guys are men who consistently and zealously reply to tweets to give their unsolicited opinions.
On Twitter, reply guys are men who constantly respond to tweets with their unsolicited advice, opinions, and/or insults. They’re known to reply mostly or exclusively to women.
The behaviors of these Twitter users can include harassment, stalking, trolling, or other actions that are directly abusive. They can also include compliments, comments, or suggestions that may be directly or indirectly harmful, regardless of whether or not they were meant to be benevolent. Replies can also be flirtatious or sexually suggestive in ways that are unwarranted and inapropriate. Other classic reply guy behavior includes mansplaining, condescending comments, and #notallmen sentiments. Stereotypically, these guys are bearded white men with few followers who may target several women or other public figures with their replies.
Dictionary.com defines relply guy as:
A man who frequently comments on tweets or other social media posts in an annoying, condescending, forward, or otherwise unsolicited manner–especially posts by women. It can also refer to a person who frequently and zealously responds to posts from famous people on Twitter.
Two scientists, @shrewshrew and Scott Barolo created the Twitter account “The Nine Types of Reply Guy” which outlines the characteristic behaviors of these men on the internet. The nine types are the life coach, the tone police, the gaslighter, cookie manster, himpathy, the sealion, the mansplainer, the prestige, and, lastly, trolls, creeps, and fools. These archetypes are based specifically on the types of men that women in STEM have frequently encountered in their Twitter replies.
People who frequently reply to public figures may also be known as “reply guys” and their replies may be encouraging or negative. For example, any given tweet from Donald Trump will be met with replies from enthusiastic supporters and people looking to dunk on him, both of which could be considered reply guys.
While much of their behavior is ostensibly harmless, reply guys are known for harassing women online and inserting themselves into conversations about which they have no expertise or understanding.