Discussion: Develop "troll" proposal

Discussion in 'SF Open Government' started by Tiassa, Jan 27, 2004.

  1. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member


    What are they?
    What is a troll in the Sciforums context?
    What should be done?


    One of the most-abused words around Sciforums these days is "troll." Ne'er, of course, does the word seem to have a positive connotation. But the behavior leading to accusations of trolling include:

    • Provocateurism
    • Spam
    • Divisive isms

    Not all conditions leading to accusations of trolling, however, are intentionally negative:

    • Dyslexia, and its natural effects
    • Linguistic and cultural differences
    • Formal education

    Thus we see that some measure of responsibility must be invested in the accuser; one cannot simply go around calling everyone they don't like a troll.

    Links discussing trolling

    • Internet Trolls (AOL): http://members.aol.com/intwg/trolls.htm
    • "troll" (Webopedia): http://www.webopedia.com/TERM/t/troll.html
    • "troll - as used on the internet" (WhatIs): http://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/0,,sid9_gci213222,00.html
    • "Troll Definition": http://c2.com/cgi/wiki?TrollDefinition

    (Feel free to post any links to relevant discussions of trolling; the more info for discussion, the better.)


    From even these four links, it becomes clear that the issue of trolling is controversial; much as most agree that good is good and bad is bad, or right is right and wrong is wrong, the debate really starts when one decides to start qualifying things according to such labels.

    Almost everybody agrees that trolling is a bad thing. But what is trolling in the Sciforums context? Are there different facets of trolling that need to be addressed? (e.g. What I call a "provocateur," referring to a specific behavior, some others generally call "troll".) A couple of the links above include harmless behavior (see Webopedia def. 2, 3, also WhatIs def. 2.)

    So what I would like to create here is a discussion intended to establish:

    • What is a troll in the problematic context at Sciforums?
    • Nature of offenses?
    • Response to offenses?
    • Policy conflicts?

    In the end, then, I would hope that we might discuss and agree upon some general guidelines whereby we might propose for a general vote a policy by which people might appeal for moderation against "trolling." We must consider at the very least the criteria for the label, the penalties of trolling, and also consider--in general and specific--what to do about inflammatory abuse of the accusation, which might in itself become a form of trolling.

    But troll is as diversely applied a word around here as ignorant, variations on the word f@ck, and the word terrorist in United States.

    So come together, ante up your two cents, and let's put SFOG toward a better use than the Ban Wars.
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  3. Undecided Banned Banned

    I think the problem is who can we objectively call a troll? I mean I have my trolls, you have yours. To everyone, everyone else is a troll. What should be the severity level? I think the most blatant trolls are those who post complete irrelevancy or come into conversation as if they have some moralistic crusade, or the ones who simply flame. I think the first thing is to create a list of those posters who have a propinquity for trolling, and they should be warned.
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2004
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  5. 15ofthe19 35 year old virgin Registered Senior Member

    The Nazi's were big fans of lists, as are most paranoid, despotic types.

    If you figure out some way to have open forums, but make trolling impossible, you clearly are too smart to be wasting your talents cruising around the internet looking for arguments.
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  7. Joeman Eviiiiiiiil Clown Registered Senior Member

    My defintion of a troll is the green monster which lives under a bridge in Scandinavia. *Smirk*
  8. Undecided Banned Banned

    "That man's silence is wonderful to listen to"

    That is what I do to thwart irrelevants...just ppl who contribute literally nothing on ignore! As of this moment I only have one, and I don't think they realize it.

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  9. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

    a “Troll” is a person who comes to a forum to start fights about a specific issue or topic. This is not the same as a “Flamer” who simple trys to start fights on any topic or issue. The to can easily be confused though but distinctions are not needs as both type deserve the same punishment.
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2004
  10. Undecided Banned Banned

    Does that mean that the person who starts the act is guilty or what?
  11. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

    Not necessarily, for example here at sciforums we have “Kook”s these are like troll in that they come here only to start a specific discussion that few if any will agree on, the difference is the Kook is well mannered, civil and obeys rules of society, for example craterchains (Norval is a Kook in that he comes to argue his theory that crater chains are cause by alien wars, no one seems to agree but he does not go ape shit on them and through feces, those that attack craterchains (Norval violently are at fault not craterchains (Norval. Now lets take adullabomber he was a troll in that he came here claiming Jews are pure evil and that Islam is a victim of them, he would not follow the rules of civility and caused many fights, he was at fault. In conclusion I give the following diffinitions:

    Come here only to start a specific discussion that few if any will agree on, are well mannered and civil.
    They should be argued against in the same manner, but will rarely if ever agree with you, you can keep arguing, give up on them or laugh at them secretly, but because of there nice behavior they can’t be banished and should be lived with.

    Come here only to start a fight about a specific argument that few if any will agree on, are rude, violent and insulting and love to pick a fight. They will commonly hijack threads and stock members that have argued against them.
    DO NOT FIGHT AGAINTS A TROLL, it what it wants, you can argue against it in a nice manner then wait for it to spit fire and acid at you, its best to stay calm at all times with a troll this usually angers or frustrates the troll or sometimes even causes them to declare victory in a attempt to piss you off, don’t fall for it. The best thing to do is report their behavior and hope their banished, on this forum though usually the troll has to piss off a mod or admin directly to get banished, but thanks the SFOG we can now vote to banish them! Afterwards it is best to have a “burial thread” for the troll where we can publicly ridicule it and laugh at it, this will anger the troll to its bone as it can do little about it now that it is banished, with a little luck the troll will give up trolling after having being humiliated like this (negative re-enforcement, psychology)

    All the same as the troll except very indiscriminate, will do anything, say anything to piss other members, mod or admin off. Usually don’t last on the forum as long as a troll. After banishing they should not have a burial thread as these people may even enjoy the attention of being laughed at!
  12. SkinWalker Archaeology / Anthropology Moderator

    I'd like to see more active moderation in curbing some of the "troll" activity.

    I must say that I'm against "censure" in general, but there are times in which I'd like to see threads of the same "troll" merged or closed to leave only one thread... or moved to more appropriate forums. It seems apparent that this thread http://www.sciforums.com/showthread.php?t=31677&page=1&pp=20 would me more appropriate in the Pseudoscience section, based on the OPs contention.

    I also think rules against direct insults to other members could be enforced effectively if they were in place and if a forum, like pseudoscience had active moderation (is Banshee gone?).

    In the pseudoscience forum, for instance (where a number of "trolls" gather like moths to a bug light) this rule exists: "Posts that interrupt a serious thread with ANY inane comments that in no way, shape, or form relates to the original topic, will be deleted. Threads that repeat a previously posted theme may be merged together or deleted in its entirety." Modifying this somewhat to point out that ad hominem comments are subject to deletion/modification and that "Sciforums members typically embrace scientific method by profession or study and extrodinary claims or alternative science will likely result in one or more responses of a questioning and challenging nature."

    It seems like the alternative science proponents are frequently surprised when their "theories" aren't well received in a "science" forum.

    I'm also convinced that many come here from other forums of the "alternative science / pseudoscience / new age" genre seeking credibility or trolling for a challenge to their metaphyisical explanations to the universe. They then go back to where they can be pat on the back and told how "scientific-minded" or "revolutionary" they are.
  13. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member


    I think any logical fallacy not just ad homs should be deleted on site, unfortunately that would remove a majority of the post on this forum!

    Also you reminded me of some things that can be done to Kooks: their threads should be merged or deleted to just one, and move to the appropriate sub-forum if needed.
  14. sweet Pentax Registered Senior Member

    Now lets take adullabomber he was a troll in that he came here claiming Jews are pure evil and that Islam is a victim of them

    bullshit , you just haven´t read enough ...
    what about his bbc-thread ? ( yes , he was a racist --- but at the same time , nobody banned dolts like zero )
  15. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

    I'm sorry Adulla was a troll: no matter where he went he would always say something about the evil "Joo", "Amerika", ect. he was trying to piss people off into fighting him, he was valgur, insultive and filled with appeal to emotion fallacies... all this is troll behavior. It does not matter if sometimes he says things that are true.
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2004
  16. Undecided Banned Banned

    I think for this thread to avoid trolling and flamming, names I think should not named.
  17. sweet Pentax Registered Senior Member

    i´d rather have honest people then some slimy weener like xxxx , xxxxxxxx or the infamous xxxxxx

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    what he said was his opinion ; not an attempt to piss innocent people off !
  18. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

    then why did he use appeal to emotion fallacies? why then did he have to bring it up on so many post even ones not related to the issue? Why then did he insult people directly?
  19. Pollux V Ra Bless America Registered Senior Member

    Trolls are persons who use any kind of ad hominem attacks in their posting under the serious forums, i.e, anything but Free Thoughts.
  20. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

    why just a ad hominum? Why not one of the many other wonderful fallacies (like how adullabomber used appeal to emotion fallacies)
  21. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    A couple of notes regarding ad hominem.

    First, a usage note from the American Heritage Dictionary, according to Dictionary.com:
    It has been mentioned recently by another poster that we might seek a forum free of ad hominem; as the usage note suggests, that would be a difficult feat to accomplish that would require a remarkable amount of hair-splitting for something that most if not all of us find irritating to various degrees.

    Interestingly, the classical ad hominem is a useful but superficial tool--e.g. politics, as the example suggests, has use for this form of argument.

    Furthermore, the failings of the adversary are, occasionally, fair game. There are some posters here who rely on their perceptions of the failings of others, and largely the argumentative body of our more subjective fora doesn't distinguish between mere pursuit of the failings of an adverary and fair consideration of the failings of an adversary; it's all useless ad-hom to folks around here.

    By the time we get down to the Gingrich example, I'm wondering about the folks who praise O'Reilly or Scarborough or Hannity. These guys capitalize on fallacious appeals to emotion and popularity in order to maintain a constant stream of ad hominem disapproval in such a manner as to be covered by the context agreed upon by ninety percent of the usage panel. Rush Limbaugh? Do we have any real dittoheads around here? (I'm just wondering.)

    But if we move over to "ad hominem abusive," or the classic personal attack--which usually corresponds to a breakdown of the discussion toward outright mudslinging--I think we're looking at what could become the centerpiece of a discussion on ad hominem.

    To address Pollux's point directly, I look to the page on Personal Attack, linked in the preceding paragraph:
    The problem here is that even legitimate questions of validity can be labeled ad hominem, which condition can be construed to protect those who post negatively in other forms.

    Yet even in this form, the ad hominem is weak; there must be a functional relationship shown between the question of validity and the issue at hand; the relevance of the question of validity to the issue must be established in order for the argument to have any real strength.

    And while trolls seem to thrive on "ad hominem abusive," I think we might need a more specific consideration as the basis for an anti-trolling standard.

    I mean, some people do set out looking for discord, and seem to get away with treating the issue as if it doesn't exist as long as nobody puts the specific label to it.
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2004
  22. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

    Excellent argument Tiassa,

    I would like to add that we all make fallacies in our argument and statement here on this forum, if we had to implement punishment for each fallacy committed there would not be very many members left.
  23. lixluke Refined Reinvention Valued Senior Member

    A person deliberately trying to destroy a site. Posts over and over again, saying nothing. Starts topics over and over again for no particular purpose.

    A person trying to cause discord in a site.

    A person who wants attention.

    a person who delights in sowing discord on the Internet. He (and it is usually he) tries to start arguments and upset people.

    To deliberately post derogatory or inflammatory comments to a community in order to bait other users into responding.

    the practice of trying to lure other Internet users into sending responses to carefully-designed incorrect statements or similar "bait."

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