inverarity: (Default)
[personal profile] inverarity
We all know the ancient wisdom of the internet: "Do not feed the troll." I.e., don't respond to trolls, don't let them bait you, don't give them the attention they so desperately want. If everyone just ignored a troll, it would eventually get bored and go away disappointed.

And this never, ever works.

In all my years on the internet, I've never seen a dedicated and persistent troll actually fade away by being ignored. Why? Because there will always be someone who just can't ignore it. It's just not realistic to think that on a newsgroup or email list or forum with dozens if not hundreds of people, every single one of them will be able to refrain from responding.

I withdraw increasingly from online interactions because the urge to want to punch people through the internet is too strong.

Why not ban the troll?

Date: 2010-10-10 01:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ray243.livejournal.com
I would think that the reason why trolls continue to be around in forums is mainly due to the lack of proper enforcement by the moderators than anything else.

If a moderators and administrators can adopt a zero-tolerance policy, you can ensure that the trolls are ignored by everyone else, and continue to ensure valid and thought-provoking discussions in the forum.

Re: Why not ban the troll?

Date: 2010-10-10 10:55 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
It seems like a good idea but I don't think censorship is the way to go. If you believe trolls are uneducated people that respond in an aggressive manor, then potentially you could have an ignorant moderator who deletes a valid post or poster. Troll awareness (ie How to ignore/respond to trolls) is the approach being preached right now, and I'd like to see this practiced a little more before moving on to other measures. (In my opinion)

Re: Why not ban the troll?

Date: 2010-10-11 01:47 am (UTC)
ext_402500: (Default)
From: [identity profile] inverarity.livejournal.com
A troll isn't just an uneducated person being aggressive (though those people make me want to punch them through the internet, too). A troll is a deliberate shit-stirrer who's just trying to push buttons.

I've got no problems with "censorship" in privately-owned spaces. However, having been a moderator myself, I can also tell you that when you do start making judgment calls about who's being an asshole and should get banned, who just needs a warning, etc., it just brings on another level of drama. (I've gotten flack here just for occasionally telling someone to chill the fuck out...).

Date: 2010-10-10 04:47 pm (UTC)
swissmarg: Mrs Hudson (Default)
From: [personal profile] swissmarg
I'm the mod of a forum that is plagued by a troll, but am not allowed to discipline him in any manner (I wouldn't even have the permissions to ban him) because the forum is owned by a company that has set a policy of allowing anyone to post, as long as they are not posting pornography or anything really offensive. All of the longstanding forum members know to ignore him, but the sad thing is he always makes a very unpleasant "welcome" for any new posters, and it takes a very tough skin to get through it. So it's sometimes a tough situation, where on the one hand you want to allow freedom of speech, but it can end up being a matter of interpretation whether someone's posts are productive or not. I basically think he's an elderly guy, lonely, and sees his provoking as the only way he can get a reaction or someone to interact with him, and he's probably that way in real life too, which is why he has to resort to the internet for a "social life". I have to admit, we went a couple of weeks without any posts from him, and I was already feeling relieved that maybe he had died. But then he came back. >.

Date: 2010-10-10 10:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] malinbe.livejournal.com
In all my years on the internet, I've never seen a dedicated and persistent troll actually fade away by being ignored.

I have. Pottersues has had several painfully dedicated trolls over the years, and they always just end up fading away. Then again, Pottersues bans them (and in one ocassion, got her in trouble with her university for using a campus based computer), has a zero-tolerance policy and a lot of veteran members who just roll their eyes.

I know sometimes you want to punch people, but seriously, roll your eyes and just don't read the interminable fights between trolls and other members. You shouldn't refrain from posting just because other people are stupid.

Date: 2010-10-11 01:49 am (UTC)
ext_402500: (headdesk)
From: [identity profile] inverarity.livejournal.com
Don't worry, I'm not really going to disappear off the internet or anything. I'm just whining because some people are being really, really, really fucking annoying right now. (Not here, in case anyone was worrying.)

Date: 2010-10-11 11:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fpb.livejournal.com
Luckily, if it's right now that it's happening, that means it isn't me. But that does bring up the question - a lot of people do see me as a troll. I see myself as a person with a hot temper and certain principles (and to make a long story far too short, hot temper = bad, principles = good) who sometimes goes off the deep end and has to apologize. There are people whom I think look for trouble for its own sake - I remember an unbelievable individual in a Catholic blog, now defunct; I would suggest - if that does not sound too self-serving - that a willingness to apologize for insults and withdraw statements that are wrong in point of fact is probably the dividing line. The people I see as trolls never, for any reason, apologize or accept they are wrong.

Date: 2010-10-12 03:29 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] indigo-mouse.livejournal.com
Its hard not to react sometimes...

I post on a couple of health support group websites and we occasionally get people who mean well, but are either too needy (the same issues posted over and over and over - and there is always someone new to lend a sympathetic ear) or too strident in their belief that they know the one and only *right* way to do things (get rid of gallstones by natural medicine - sure, IF your healthcare provider agrees, but see them first before you try the grapefruit & olive oil cure - blech - people have and will continue to die of gallbladder disease).

People get banned - not often - because they violate the rules (if it ain't supportive, don't post it) and then everyone on the site goes into a tizzy about *gasp* censorship. As if the mods aren't people with the same health conditions who have gone through the same hell...

The cycle occurs about every year and a half...

Date: 2010-10-12 06:20 am (UTC)
swissmarg: Mrs Hudson (Default)
From: [personal profile] swissmarg
Apparently it is illegal to be a troll in England: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1319080/Unemployed-man-faces-jail-leaving-obscene-messages-internet-tribute-sites.html?ITO=1490

I wonder what exactly he was charged with?

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