Trolls: What are they? What is a troll in the Sciforums context? What should be done? Introduction 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.) Issue: 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.