N-word tweet has briefly silenced the 'Shinnerbots'
The most striking feature of the Gerry Adams N-word controversy over recent days was not the fact that the Sinn Féin leader kept digging; it's that his army of online militants fell silent.
For a long time, Sinn Féin has had a difficult relationship with the media but the advent of social media opened a window for a more sinister element to try to hijack debate completely.
The 'Shinnerbots', as they are commonly known, are well organised, nasty in the extreme and often twisted in their views. They have no room for facts or old-fashioned analysis of the situation - instead they attack based on instinct.