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Trolling - Redux


Smallc

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Part of the definition of trolling involves intent.

 

There are some posters that will have a tendency to convince themselves that other posters have some hidden evil intent in order to accuse them of being trolls in order to dismiss their arguments or opinions.

 

There are different types of trolling. Some forms of trolling, such as trying to deliberately drag a thread off-topic are easy to recognize and deal with.

 

However, other kinds of trolling, such as someone pretending to be a socialist teacher or a nazi skin-head can be indistinguishable from someone's genuine political position. This second group is basically impossible to get rid of without eliminating political discourse on a political forum.

 

I guess one option is to have some ultimate arbiter to decide what political positions are genuine and what positions are 'troll' positions. I suspect some individuals, such as Waldo or Cybercoma, would be willing to be such arbiters in order to get rid of opinions that they believe are 'troll' opinions. Maybe this is what smallc wants.

Edited by -1=e^ipi
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I'm not getting a consistent message here as to what is trolling or if there is too much of it going on.

As it is, we get a lot of complaints about locking threads/hiding posts for off-topic, wouldn't that get worse if we had to action more posts ?

Also, there is a lack of understanding that we are not on here 24/7, which means there are periods for which we can't act on reports or posts that we see.  My conclusion is that people would have to report more, and be willing to wait for action rather than responding.  

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11 hours ago, Altai said:

Stubbornness is also a kind of trolling because its an illogical move which is done to disturb someone. Strong basis makes an opinion "strong". The opinion is not strong as long as you dont back it up with valid/logical evidences and as I say always, the logic based on the same informations does not vary from person to person, its the same for everyone. 

Demonstrably false.

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6 hours ago, Michael Hardner said:

I'm not getting a consistent message here as to what is trolling or if there is too much of it going on.

Well, how about constantly making derogatory, dismissive and insulting references to Canada even when Canada is not in any way the subject of the discussion? Especially by someone who claims to be a foreigner?

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19 hours ago, bcsapper said:

I notice you had the word "Troll" deleted from another thread, after it was used to describe a none too flattering post about the current PM.  That's where I have problems with the term.  I don't regard such posts as bothersome if they describe people I like in that fashion.  It's just someone's opinion, after all.  I don't like Justin Trudeau, particularly, so I didn't mind that at all.  But if it had been something derogatory about Stephen Harper, who I did like, I wouldn't have worried about it too much. 

It's not the content of the post, it's the context.

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1 hour ago, bush_cheney2004 said:

Of course, it is only "trolling" when derogatory, dismissive, and insulting references are made about Canada.   Derogatory, dismissive, and insulting references about the U.S./Americans or other nations are perfectly acceptable and to be encouraged.   /sarcasm

You can make all the derogatory comments about Canada, Canadians, and the government that you want. It's just too bad you never make them in threads that are actually about Canada, the Canadian government, or Canadians. That's why it's trolling. You know you do it; you've admitted it. So don't act all surprised.

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2 minutes ago, cybercoma said:

You can make all the derogatory comments about Canada, Canadians, and the government that you want. It's just too bad you never make them in threads that are actually about Canada, the Canadian government, or Canadians. That's why it's trolling. You know you do it; you've admitted it. So don't act all surprised.

 

Thank you for your permission when none is required.   If such "trolling" was only confined to relevant threads, you might have a case, but it isn't, and you don't.

Edited by bush_cheney2004
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5 hours ago, Argus said:

Well, how about constantly making derogatory, dismissive and insulting references to Canada even when Canada is not in any way the subject of the discussion?

Click the Report button associated with any post that you perceive to violate the forum rules and explain your judgement. 

 

 

Quote

Especially by someone who claims to be a foreigner?

Irrelevent.  Moderation is not racist.

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I've toyed with the idea of removing the "Report Post" feature for years now, which might surprise some of you.

The idea that you can immediately report any perceived infraction to the authorities the second it happens is, in my opinion, a bit of community killer.  It undermines that idea that there we as a community, and I'm speaking broadly here, are required to moderate not only ourselves but also the people around us through our actions.

Right now if someone feels they've been slighted they can immediately cry foul and report the incident to the moderators.

Now imagine that type of scenario occurring on your way to work this morning -- someone cuts you off, and then has the audacity to not acknowledge their mistake!   You immediately slam your hand down on the "Report Infraction" button the government installed on your dashboard and report that son-of-a-bitch for their ignorant snd illegal behaviour.

It's a slightly ridiculous example, but I hope you get my point.

The "Report Post" is being overused and I going to give serious thought to changes to how it's used.

Additionally, some of you need to treat each other with more respect and others need to not be so sensitive of what others say.

I encourage everyone to continue to use the Report Post feature, but before you do ask yourself if there is a better way to handle the situation.

And Reddit has its share of issues with moderation - there is no way to please everyone.

 

 

 

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18 minutes ago, Greg said:

Reddit has its share of issues with moderation - there is no way to please everyone.

Ellen Pao was the CEO of reddit and the issues with her had little to nothing to do with the subreddits I mentioned. Invoking that drama is disingenuous and I'm being generous to you calling it that. Take a look at r/Canada, r/CanadaPolitics, and r/politics. There's issues but they run a far tighter ship than this and they're very consistent in how they moderate. There's zero tolerance for disrespect and trolling.

At the end of the day this is the issue. It's your forum. Moderate it or don't however you want. The problem is inconsistency. If you want this to be a forum for respectful and reasoned debate, then put the work into making that way. If you want this forum to be a soundboard for whatever the hell people want to say, then I'm cool with that too. What I'm not cool with is someone trolling the shit out of the forum without a word from the moderators, then getting told I'm trolling because I paste a link to an on-topic video from my phone. Granted, the mods are human, mistakes happen, but it's been several years now of people complaining about the same inconsistent approach. Particularly the bizarre and personal definition of trolling that Charles has.

You want a solution, instead of complaints? I say do away with any pretense of moderating trolling. Just come out and say people can talk about whatever they want, as long as it's not illegal and as long as they're not posting NSFW stuff on the forum and be done with it. We can be a gathering place for all of the conspiracy nuts and white nationalists on the web.

Edited by cybercoma
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1 hour ago, Greg said:

I've toyed with the idea of removing the "Report Post" feature for years now, which might surprise some of you.

The idea that you can immediately report any perceived infraction to the authorities the second it happens is, in my opinion, a bit of community killer.  It undermines that idea that there we as a community, and I'm speaking broadly here, are required to moderate not only ourselves but also the people around us through our actions.

I have no problem dealing with people when I feel insulted, but my experience here is that when I do that I have an unpleasant likelihood of finding myself suspended. I have tried, over the years, to understand the moderating policies. The written rules are sufficiently broadly stated that they can be interpreted, except in extreme cases, just about any way the moderators choose (witness this topic). So I base my interpretation on my understanding of how they are being interpreted by the moderators using the evidence of what I continually see being posted without being deleted. That sometimes fails, obviously. Every time I have been suspended it has been a surprise to me as I had not thought what I had posted had crossed the boundaries of the somewhat indistinct rules. The last time was for replying to someone else's post which the moderator considered to be off-topic. 

The continual refrain from the moderators is that they do not read everything, so if I think the person is violating the rules I should not respond, but instead click the report button. To avoid being suspended by replying in turn, I now do that.

Edited by Argus
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2 hours ago, Greg said:

I've toyed with the idea of removing the "Report Post" feature for years now, which might surprise some of you.

 

I don't know if the software can be configured to support this feature, but if multiple (say 3) report posts need to be accumulated before a specific post is escalated to the moderators that may help reduce the cases of knee jerk reactions on someone feeling slighted. Personally I never flag/report posts, no matter how offensive they may be, except in the case of obvious spam. I'm not sure if I have ever even used that feature at mapleleafweb, because there seems to be a very low spam content (I think I remember one post a few months back). 

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On 11/17/2016 at 0:36 PM, Argus said:

I have no problem dealing with people when I feel insulted, but my experience here is that when I do that I have an unpleasant likelihood of finding myself suspended. I have tried, over the years, to understand the moderating policies. The written rules are sufficiently broadly stated that they can be interpreted, except in extreme cases, just about any way the moderators choose (witness this topic). So I base my interpretation on my understanding of how they are being interpreted by the moderators using the evidence of what I continually see being posted without being deleted. That sometimes fails, obviously. Every time I have been suspended it has been a surprise to me as I had not thought what I had posted had crossed the boundaries of the somewhat indistinct rules. The last time was for replying to someone else's post which the moderator considered to be off-topic. 

The continual refrain from the moderators is that they do not read everything, so if I think the person is violating the rules I should not respond, but instead click the report button. To avoid being suspended by replying in turn, I now do that.

I decided to check and see where this thread was after cooling off for a few days.  It was never my intention to bitch, but to get clarification for a question that many of us have been asking for a very long time.

That's the thing isn't it - when I was most recently accused of trolling, I didn't think I was - it was never my intention to troll.  I simply directed another member to read the posts of a third member on the same page, since that was the answer to the question that they asked.  Looking back now, even the second time I was accused of trolling (that day) wasn't anything worth even contacting me over.  That the moderator knew where I was going with my comment, speaks to the problem that exists with the particular member that my comment was addressed to (meanwhile, in Canada - ask Kimmy how she feels about this btw.  It's encouraging that at least one of the moderating staff knows what trolling is, even if it's changed nothing).  I don't think I'm being sensitive in asking for a clarification, and quite frankly (which I'll address below) I resent that.

There are people like you who are able to make good reasonable posts so that even when I disagree with you I'm able to understand where you're coming from.  You add to the discussion here in a very big way, even if I think that sometimes you're completely wrong.  Then there are other people.  And in my opinion it's getting worse.  The alt right and the fringe left have taken over this forum (those are things - fringe and alternative - that we're not even allowed to say here, btw).

On 11/17/2016 at 10:51 AM, Greg said:

The idea that you can immediately report any perceived infraction to the authorities the second it happens is, in my opinion, a bit of community killer.

You want to know what kills a community (which this place was)?  Allowing every niche view from every corner of obscurity to be put forward beside reasonable discussion kills a community.  Locking threads over and over again because they're 'off topic' (this is, btw, the only forum I visit where this happens.  The moderators in other forums either heard the discussion back on topic, realize that the line of discussion has changed and don't inhibit it, or create a new thread with the off topic discussion line that people are now taking part in and let the original thread die the organic death it was almost always going to anyway - that's why things go off topic, generally). when people are simply having discussions is unhelpful (there are of course, exceptions).  Having a moderator run around the chat room trolling discussion saying things like BURN IT TO THE GROUND and such also isn't good for a community.  This forum has lost several prolific posters, many of whom I disagreed with, and it's much less rich for it.  

Here is a huge problem - "trolling" is addressed far more than trolling by the actual definition.  

Another, is this:

From the guidelines; 


If you are stating a fact, be prepared to back it up with some official sources (website links etc). It is also important to structure your post in a way that everyone can understand. That means writing complete sentences and paragraphs with the appropriate grammar. If for some reason, you enjoy writing long confusing sentences and paragraphs riddled with poor grammar and spelling mistakes, your post, and therefore your opinions, will likely be discarded.
 
Therefore, it is in your best interest to make sure that your post includes sufficient sources and contains a well-researched and well-organized argument.
 

From 'How to Question Sources in a Civil Manner' (btw, making Michael be the one to post that is hilarious, being as it's certainly not his opinion):

From time to time, we are asked to remove posts due to the content of a post being - in the complainant's opinion - invalid, unsupported, a 'fringe' viewpoint or using what some see as invalid sources. This type of content is also sometimes referred to as being a 'conspiracy theory' or something similar.

If you DISAGREE with this kind of material, then we encourage you to discuss those posts and challenge them civilly as you would with any post on MLW.

----

But it says right in the guidelines - we're required to use official sources and to back up our arguments - with actual facts, and we're to be prepared to back them up as actual facts.  This is not Above Top Secret.  This is not Coast to Coast AM.  I shouldn't have to argue with creationists, 9/11 truthers, or a host of other nonsense material (and it is nonsense). This is a political discussion forum.  Or at least it was.  I've stopped bothering with sources in most cases, since the Journal Nature is now equivalent to WND in the eyes of the moderating staff.  This stifles actual political discussion.

Do with this what you wish.  I used to enjoy this place.  I came back for the discussion even when I disagreed with the moderation.  The discussion is now largely gone, and the moderation has not improved.

 

Edited by Smallc
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14 hours ago, Smallc said:

 I shouldn't have to argue with creationists, 9/11 truthers, or a host of other nonsense material (and it is nonsense). This is a political discussion forum.  Or at least it was.  I've stopped bothering with sources in most cases, since the Journal Nature is now equivalent to WND in the eyes of the moderating staff.  This stifles actual political discussion.

I understand where you're coming from with this. I also understand where the moderators are coming from. To you (and me) there are a lot of wackos here with preposterous and idiotic ideas we do not intend to flatter by taking serious. Whether it's that Turkey is the world's freest country or Jewish bankers control the world I simply cannot reply respectfully to the posters. I have a couple of conspiracy types on ignore for this. I just get in trouble when I reply so why bother? The moderators, on the other hand, are clearly taking the position that it isn't up to them or anyone else to decide what is or is not a legitimate point of view or opinion. I accept their position, in theory. Unfortunately, like a lot of stuff that sounds good in theory it doesn't really work very well in the real world. 

Not sure how that fits in with trolling, though, other than the moderators giving troublesome people way too much leeway.

Then again, some wold consider ME troublesome.

 

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On 2016-11-17 at 11:51 AM, Greg said:

The "Report Post" is being overused and I going to give serious thought to changes to how it's used.

Additionally, some of you need to treat each other with more respect and others need to not be so sensitive of what others say.

I encourage everyone to continue to use the Report Post feature, but before you do ask yourself if there is a better way to handle the situation.

 

 

 

I would love to see your data re: number of posts being reported, and the political affiliation of those posters.

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17 minutes ago, cybercoma said:

It sure is strange that the moderators are so lenient on unsubstantiated fringe beliefs. I wonder why that is.....

Lol

How can a Moderator, who is a conspiracy theory "enthusiast" (some might use "nut"), be an arbiter of what is reasonable? 

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3 hours ago, OftenWrong said:

I can understand if it annoys you that someone is different, but would you have them 'silenced'?

The problem lies in how to deal with their idiotic claims when they simply denounce all evidence as being produced by coerced media controlled by the Illuminati or something, or maybe aliens from Alpha Centauri, and insist that the real evidence can only be found on obscure web sites run by people who are clearly in desperate need of psychological treatment, or clearly government controlled propaganda from authoritarian states. They are largely immune to logic and reality, and treating their statements with 'respect' is virtually impossible, given the nature of those statements.  You cannot engage with these people constructively, so they just clutter up the web site. And some of them, left alone to spew, can influence others. We have one individual here who constantly cites 'Brother Nathaniel' who Wiki describes as  'an Orthodox Christian street preacher and anti-Semitic conspiracy theorist'. He has lapped this stuff up, believes it and regurgitates it, like someone infected and passing on the infection. Should we simply ignore this stuff, because you cannot engage with factual information? Then you have the 911 conspiracy buffs, who again, get read by others and believed. I had to argue a person I know out of this crap not that long ago because they'd read it on the internet and it had sounded coherent and logical (given that it was lunatic lies and ignored context and evidence). 

Still, I recognize the danger of giving moderators the ability to restrict discussion based on what they 'the moderators' believe is a credible argument, especially given the possibility the moderators might not be anything like centrist people with a good grasp of what is or is not credible. Maybe we should have the ability to downvote certain topics, with a 75% majority required to exile a given discussion to a special forum on loony ideas.

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