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Old 05-29-2013, 09:42 PM   #1 (permalink)
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"No practical solution" view of TROLLING at SLU: Accurate?

It's been claimed about troll posts in Politics, Religion, & Society, recently, that:

Quote:
Originally Posted by a poster View Post
Short of increased moderation, there is nothing to be done.
Quote:
Originally Posted by a poster View Post
The only guaranteed solution is heavy moderation.

A slightly differing viewpoint--still assuming that long threads full of conflict are inevitable, but taking the tack that "let[ting] them know" is beneficial (and that, presumably, 'heavy moderation' would be counterproductive):


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Originally Posted by a poster View Post
The only possible way to deal with people like that is to let them know how despised they are and that they are not welcome.

Both approaches take the position that forum regulars are, basically, helpless to prevent trolls from getting their cherished Lulz. Whether it takes a forum full of people willing to post insults as strong as they can imagine, or a moderator willing to delete posts wholesale (which is bound to be less fulfilling for the troll--yet would still be accounted a Victory)--the troll will win.

But is that truly the only option?


Could it be possible that forum regulars could fully discuss any topic of their choice---yet still deny trolls their triumphant Lulz?


It is. Here's an illustration of how it would work, taking off from a recent (real) thread in PR&S. Many regulars there would agree that these two propositions are factual:

A: On 17 May 2013, screenname "Karen" made a thread with the ungrammatical--and unspecific--title "Some People think that they have bad in the United States....." Karen's opening post contained this ugly remark:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karen
When I hear of someone killing themselves over being called a name in school, I always think (besides how emotionally weak that they are) "if you think you have it bad here... look at how people are treated in other countries."

B: Responses began with measured and reasonable objections to the cruelty of the characterization of suicidal people as "emotionally weak," with post #1:
Quote:
Why should somebody care about how things are so much more worse in other countries, if what affects them directly, and ruins aspects of their own life are the (to them) much more real events right around them, which are targeted straight at them?
…and continued in that vein for a while. But quickly the responses changed to the type that trolls crave and adore: the type that labels the OP as a body part; the type that characterizes the OP's probable life and background; and the type that abandons straightforward description in favor of sarcasm and mockery.
The OP's post was nasty and indefensible. No fair person would claim that the OP deserved to be treated with anything like admiration. He or she certainly did not deserve to be treated approvingly. But the option chosen by many for their response--the mockery, ridicule, and insults that some people soon started feeding into the thread--gave the OP (assuming here that the OP was trolling)* exactly and precisely and in abundance, WHAT HE OR SHE WANTED.

Why would those who genuinely cared about the horrendous pain of those considering suicide and those left behind, want to spend their time--not in discussing the topic and providing mutual support to others wanting to discuss it--but instead, in providing a troll a full buffet of lulz? Why would that be anyone's choice?

Here's what those who prefer to DENY trolls their lulz, and desire to discuss a serious topic seriously, COULD have done. I'll call the hypothetical first responder to "Karen's" OP "Bodhi." On reading the post with which "Karen" began the thread "Some People think that they have bad in the United States.....", this first responder could have posted something like this:

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Originally Posted by Bodhi
I am repelled by your claim that those who commit suicide--for whatever reason, including being bullied at school--are "emotionally weak." It's possible that this is your sincere belief and that you genuinely want to discuss your belief and the reactions that people here will have to it.
But it's also possible that you are a troll who is hoping for a huge uproar, with many posts and many insults and lots and lots of emotion.
Either way, I'm going to begin a new thread on the topic of suicide by people bullied in school and the sometimes-callous reactions that people display toward them. You are welcome to join in if you have an honest desire to discuss the topic seriously. But you should know: we don't feed trolls, here.
Bodhi then makes a new thread with the title "Suicide after bullying: Why are some callous and dismissive of victims?" Bodhi remembers a recent case that seems relevant, and posts a link and a paragraph from the news story. Soon others are posting in the new thread.

Meanwhile, "Karen's" thread isn't attracting much attention---because regulars in this folder don't like to gratify trolls. They don't like to please them, cater to them, or make them happy. They don't like to give trolls "points" with fellow-trolls, who judge them based on how many posts appear in the troll thread, how many people start fights among themselves, and so on. Regulars in this folder simply don't enjoy indulging and delighting trolls in this way. So they don't feed them.


(tbc)
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Old 05-29-2013, 09:48 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Continued:

………………………I'm guessing that some who hear of this idea will....object to it. Some of the possible responses:


It's not possible to make a new, competing thread, because duplicate threads are prohibited:
It's true that no well-run forum will encourage thread duplication. However, this actually is NOT duplication, for two reasons: One, in this very real case from PR&S, the original thread had a title that no reader would associate with the topic of suicide. Hence, no duplication. And two: if the original thread is plainly troll bait, then it isn't a legitimate thread to begin with. A legitimate thread on the topic would be an original--not a duplicate.


No one will post in the new 'serious' thread--they'll stay in the troll thread, and everything will be the way it usually is:
That is not inevitable. It depends entirely on whether regulars genuinely want to discuss the serious topic seriously, and on whether regulars genuinely want to deny trolls their cherished lulz.
To be brutally frank: If site members are serious about a topic, then they will post about that topic; they won't be sidetracked by questions of how big a [insert body part name] the OP is.
And if they DO engage with the troll, then they are not seriously interested in discussing the topic. That is the bottom line.


Trolls must be greeted with insults and mockery because that is the only way they will learn not to troll here:
This is obviously a ludicrous argument. It's backwards. Trolls are not shamed when you post insults and ridicule and mockery and contempt-------they are deeply and profoundly thrilled. Trolls don't "learn" when you fill the threads they make with emotion and hostility-------they are overjoyed and encouraged to make even more threads, and to bring their friends along to help.






This is the dirty little secret, symbolized by the frequency of the advice "Don't Feed the Trolls": the advice has to be repeated again and again and again (and again!) because so many people LOVE feeding trolls.


Anyone who posts in a troll's thread, and feeds the troll all that yummy yummy aggression and belligerence and profanity and anger and ridicule and mockery and 'irony' and sarcasm----any such person, no matter how loudly and how often they proclaim that All They Want Is To Be Able To Discuss This Serious Topic With the Respect It Deserves----that person is lying. To himself or herself, possibly, but certainly to everyone else.


If they really wanted to discuss the topic seriously----they would. They'd make a thread and discuss it.
(But what fun would that be???)






note: though of course anyone is free to post here (that's what this place is for, after all), I'm anticipating that this thread won't receive any posts. It's not that type of topic. I've found some interesting research on bullying, trolling, and the whole phenomenon in general that I'd like to post links to (with Cris' permission) as I get it summarized and organized. This may take a few days to get done, so posts will appear slowly; to any readers, thanks for your patience.
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Old 05-29-2013, 09:51 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Old 05-29-2013, 10:05 PM   #4 (permalink)
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And the score is now 320 points for Karen if this is the game in question:

Critical Miss: Issue 9 (Troll: The Provoking)

I swear, if I ever play that, I'm coming here.
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Old 05-29-2013, 10:11 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I predict good things for this thread
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Old 05-29-2013, 10:15 PM   #6 (permalink)
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People get their fun in different ways.

Is this yours?

I'm genuinely interested. Can you tell us more? Why is this fun for you? When did it begin to be fun--can you remember?
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Old 05-29-2013, 10:19 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Polo View Post
People get their fun in different ways.

Is this yours?

I'm genuinely interested. Can you tell us more? Why is this fun for you? When did it begin to be fun--can you remember?
What I don't understand is why it's fun to create an entire thread that is obviously directed at one particular poster. Even if you find that poster to be an objectionable person, why glorify them by starting a thread on them?
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Old 05-29-2013, 10:21 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Polo View Post
People get their fun in different ways.

Is this yours?

I'm genuinely interested. Can you tell us more? Why is this fun for you? When did it begin to be fun--can you remember?
I'm sorry - you are starting a new thread to have a meta-discussion about another thread in which a troll was (albeit lightly) trounced but the entire thread then devolved into a mini-meta-discussion of the handling of trolls and now you want to scratch that boil with a new thread devoted to discussing what happened in that other thread?

And you ask ME where my fun began?

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Old 05-29-2013, 10:26 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Old 05-29-2013, 10:32 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Old 05-29-2013, 10:34 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bard Jameson View Post
I'm sorry - you are starting a new thread to have a meta-discussion about another thread in which a troll was (albeit lightly) trounced but the entire thread then devolved into a mini-meta-discussion of the handling of trolls and now you want to scratch that boil with a new thread devoted to discussing what happened in that other thread?
And you ask ME where my fun began?

The bolded bit is incorrect, in two ways:

One: I started a new thread here because of the many calls in the "Karen" thread for an end to all discussion in that thread of trolling-and-how-people-respond to it.
Has that call now been revoked? Do people now want to discuss the trolling/response topic back in the "Karen" thread?

Two: I didn't begin this thread as a commentary on/meta-discussion about one particular thread (the "Karen" one or any other). I began this thread because I have been quite genuinely and sincerely interested in the topic for a long time. (Hence my questions to you, personally. Answers would be delightful, but I don't think you owe it to me or anyone else to provide them. I was just curious how much you might want to discuss your own interest in the topic.)



Oh, and: you seriously believe that that troll was "trounced"...??? Really? I think that troll probably calls that thread a massive victory for troll-kind (though I really like Desmond's suggestion in one of the most recent posts made there).
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Old 05-29-2013, 10:36 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Old 05-29-2013, 10:38 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
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What I don't understand is why it's fun to create an entire thread that is obviously directed at one particular poster. Even if you find that poster to be an objectionable person, why glorify them by starting a thread on them?
Who do you mean? "Karen"?

If so, no: this thread isn't directed at that person (who I continue to believe was trolling, though I'm open to alternate theories).

That person wouldn't like the premise of this thread at all.




(If you meant some other 'one particular poster,' who?)
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Old 05-29-2013, 10:38 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Must resist urge to post lolcat.
Why resist? I love lolcats. Please post many!
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Old 05-29-2013, 10:41 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Old 05-29-2013, 10:42 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Quote:
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Who do you mean? "Karen"?

If so, no: this thread isn't directed at that person (who I continue to believe was trolling, though I'm open to alternate theories).

That person wouldn't like the premise of this thread at all.




(If you meant some other 'one particular poster,' who?)
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Old 05-29-2013, 10:44 PM   #17 (permalink)
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A cat who can type (even if it looks like that one) will always win my respect. I would never direct anything other than catnip and tunafish at such a poster.
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Old 05-29-2013, 10:52 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Old 05-29-2013, 10:54 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Old 05-29-2013, 11:22 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Karen's a twat, however I believe starting threads to "call someone out" is a no-no.

Starting threads mentioning them BY NAME is not how "denying trolls the attention they crave" is done.

To properly deal with trolls: use them for lulz, ignore them and follow up with completely random unrelated crap, like I'm gonna do to this worthless thread.
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Old 05-29-2013, 11:25 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Old 05-29-2013, 11:26 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Old 05-29-2013, 11:27 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Old 05-29-2013, 11:32 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Must resist urge to post lolcat.
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Old 05-29-2013, 11:34 PM   #25 (permalink)
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