Why banning anyway?

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Delusional, fuckwit fruitbats.
Does sci have a big billboard somewhere saying 'Delusion, fuckwit fruitbats, follow the link?'
So three people here, at least, have even bigger bugs up their asses than I do. We should just shake hands and call it a draw, because you don't have that good a reason to get rid of me and I am contributing. Show me some integrity here, and some maturity.

I say this with the full realization that people get more incensed when I behave rationally than when I screw around.
Since James brought it up:

Nonsense claiming that animal rights activists and the RSPCA are people-haters

Is it right to put people first?
Split: Environmentalists don't care who they kill (Multi-page thread 1 2)

I gave evidence, with numerous links.

Nutty theories
Do women feel entitled because they are female?
A solution to child rape
High temperatures a result of global cooling?

Actually well-reasoned even if they go against the grain. There is a form of sexism that favors women. People should do what it takes to prevent themselves from having sex with children and an alternative does exist. Hot earth is hot AND dry, thus it has a much lower specific heat and it takes less heat to make it hot. Nutty? Not hardly.

Miscellaneous Hissy fits

Metakron is Leaving Sciforums
I hate this place

There are people who want to make me feel this way. Sometimes it works.

MetaKron is a global warming denier.
He doesn't believe the HIV virus exists.

True. How is that a problem?

He supports pedophilia.

I do not. I simply don't believe in some of the definitions of pedophilia and I don't believe it's the end of the world for the child if others don't make it that way. It's a practice that should be avoided at all costs.

He thinks that anybody who even considers giving rights to animals must be out to kill or hurt people.

There is all too much factual support for that viewpoint, even if James's version is exaggerated. Thing is, for animals to have rights that can be expressed in human society, they would have to have rights over humans. That can hurt people.

He spends the majority of his time and posts on the forum complaining about moderators, or about how "unfair" it is that he is not allowed to spam the forum with nuttiness and or hissy fits.

Inaccurate, and "nuttiness" is prejudicial and inaccurate.

Like others before him, he says he doesn't like sciforums. He claims he hates everything the forum and its administrators stand for. He continually threatens to leave. And yet, strangely, he never does.

Some people here know how to discuss things in a rational manner. Not many, but some. There are moderators here who like to start fights and abuse moderator powers to finish the fights that they started. I used to have teachers and principals who did exactly the same thing.
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I do know that members need protection against false accusations of trolling that are aimed at provoking them and excusing the bans that amuse BenTheMan so much. Crowing over it, Ben?

James just accused me of trolling for posting a very relevant comment in a thread about the environmental consequences of eating meat. It is very much on topic to say that I can't believe that that little piece of pseudoscience caught on, the idea that cow farts cause global warming. Some people who declare statements to be off topic do this when the comments are actually off topic and not to excuse getting rid of someone they don't agree with. I believe I've seen too many spurious accusations of trolling around here.

I warned you not to troll, and asked you to provide evidence, if you have any, that cows do not produce methane, carbon dioxide and other gases that contribute significantly to global warming.

Instead of posting the evidence, you go to a different thread and complain (again!) about being called on your nonsense.

This is not a "false" accusation of trolling.
What, exactly, is "trolling"? I've never fully grasped that concept, even though I've been accused of it on occasion.

Baron Max

Whatever it is, a short, relevant comment is not trolling. What might be trolling is all those personal attacks that no one seems to do anything about. I've been banned for responding in kind to personal attacks and the people who originated them don't ever seem to be punished or told to stop.
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It's a broad definition

Baron Max said:

What, exactly, is "trolling"?

Trolling is the broad art of wasting your time and everyone else's via internet media by pretending that you care about what you're saying, or anyone else should.

For instance—

MetaKron said:

Whatever it is, a short, relevant comment is not trolling.

—one might attempt to make the assertion that responding to someone by calling them an asshole is both short and relevant, and therefore not trolling. But that argument won't fly.

Here, Max, take a look at our neighbor MetaKron's contributions to "Dead Scientist Invents Green Fridge". Note that it takes until his ninth post before he makes a substantial contribution to the discussion. If he'd started off with that, instead of his first post in the thread, a certain amount of stupid digression could have been avoided. Those first eight posts are an example of a form of trolling.
Trolling is the broad art of wasting your time and everyone else's via internet media by pretending that you care about what you're saying, or anyone else should.

So, tell me, Tiassa, how do you know when someone is "pretending" anything?

Baron Max
Notes on trolls

Baron Max said:

So, tell me, Tiassa, how do you know when someone is "pretending" anything?

As you're well aware, Max, nothing can be known absolutely. Beyond that, though, there are some strong indicators.

In the first place, while the idea of caring about an issue is subjective, one measure is what one is willing to put into an argument. For instance, one might assert a contentious issue on sex equality, offering a thesis that is not by any means self-evident, and then, when challenged to provide some sort of support demonstrating the validity of the argument, fall back to the claim that this controversial opinion is, in fact, "common knowledge". The person might well care about some specific aspect, but if the broader consideration is of no concern, how important, really, is the issue? For instance, one might characterize an unpalatable perception of gender relations as depending on the mere fact that women have vaginas, while refusing to consider historical, sociological, or psychological implications. If, indeed, one can provide a single specific example that appears to support the contention, any number of questions apply. Is that single example representative of a larger trend? In that specific case—or, in terms of a larger trend—what contributes to, or shapes that example? If one wishes to claim that an outlook is unwarranted and inappropriate, ought we not explore those influences in order to determine the form and nature of the objectionable outlook?

How deeply a community might wish to explore such issues is variable, both from community to community and from one person to the next, but why should an advocate of any particular thesis wish to evade rational scrutiny of the core assertion?

Or one might start off not only with a controversial argument, but one intended to offend or denigrate. If, in response to inquiries about what that person wants or needs in order to explore the issue further, he ducks the question and effectively refuses any standard of scrutiny or evidence, what do we expect people to think? This can be said to be the case of the example I cited in my prior post. Opening with the notion that someone can shove it up their ass is certainly an attention-grabber. But to then rely on a non-affirmative argument—to exploit questions without seeking data that might answer it—and then rebuke inquiries about standards of evidence only suggests that the argument is not intended in any constructive manner. There are many who consider themselves some sort of cynical hero, but most of these fail to recognize certain things about their role models.

While we cannot necessarily determine this particular member's role models in cynicism, there have been many, for instance, who have tried and failed to walk the path of George Carlin. Their first failure, in such a case, is usually to recognize that what they are cheering and imitating is, in fact, a comedy routine. Their second failure, as such, is to recognize that Carlin was capable of serious and sober discussion. We might consider, for comparison, the vanished influence of Denis Leary. I mean, the guy can be really funny, but he tended to stay closer to his performance persona whenever the public eye was upon him. Where Carlin often ranged from the wise to the profound, Leary is more consistently known as acerbic. And while acerbic works for comedy, and sometimes in politics, it doesn't translate effectively as rational persuasive rhetoric.

Returning to the example of the "Dead Scientist" thread, the member's ninth post, as I noted, is a much better outing in consideration of rational discussion and trolling. While there are, of course, certain points subject to fairly obvious questions (e.g., okay, so volcanoes and oceans contribute large amounts of free chlorine to the environment, so this means, what, that humans should maximize their contribution, as well?) the post does affirmatively suggest some boundaries for a range of exploration. While some might disagree with the argument presented, at least we can say it is constructive, that it contributes.

Some members, however, will post deliberately offensive or denigrating theses and then refuse every counterpoint on the basis of their opinion. For instance, a member recently compared a class of people to animals, and at every challenge, ducked the point. If what one perceives as a vital difference really is inane, why? That argument was never made. And faced with assertions historical, sociological, and anthropological, the member responded by taking up a personal issue with another. Rather than assessing the relevance and importance of the academic issues, the member tried to make it a question of belief and hypocrisy.

The reality is that any arguable thesis is going to annoy someone. That's the way it goes. And in the case of an arguable thesis, the offended folks must simply deal with it, and make a rational case to the other. However, in the case of a contentious and conventionally insupportable thesis, it becomes the burden of the advocate to support the assertion; in the case of an arguable thesis, that support is generally present in some form. I should not have to break out fourteen dictionary and encyclopedia definitions in order to assert that justice generally pertains to an abstract notion of equality between people. But if I want to say, for instance, that we are unequal unless I am acknowledged as your superior, that would seem somewhat contradictory unto itself, and one would be right to challenge the foundation of that assertion.

These are somewhat calculated formulae for trolling. But the common factor between them is that the argument is not worth actually advocating; rather, it is simply put up to be contrarian, offensive, or arbitrary.

In the end, there are easier ways to troll an internet forum, but those methods tend to stick out rather apparently. But almost all trolls, in some way, make their action about themselves. In some cases, this is purely internal, a process to fulfill some psychological need. But most tend to wear their egotism fairly visibly.

For most people, the definition of trolling, like art or pornography, is self-centered and vague. It could be said of any of them that, "I can't give you a precise definition, but I know it when I see it". From a community policy perspective, of course, this is insufficient. To the other, it is also generally the trolls themselves demanding a specific definition, most likely in order to calculate new routes around the rule. While many people are given to troll once in a while, not all of them specialize in this dubious art. And, in the end, the difference is a matter of good faith. Some people have their say, have their fun, or whatever, and go back to what they were doing before—e.g., rational discussion. From the policy standpoint, these are of considerably less concern, as they also tend to contribute to the community in good faith more often than not. Of the genuine trolls, there is little good faith to be found, unless they are openly and forthrightly representing themselves as miserable bastards.
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