Linked by Howard Fosdick on Wed 25th Jan 2012 06:58 UTC
Editorial Why do people troll? Can we prevent trolling or limit the damage trolls do? Here are some thoughts on trollology derived from academic studies and web research.
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Flame the trolls!
by theosib on Wed 25th Jan 2012 14:11 UTC
theosib
Member since:
2006-03-02

They say not to feed the trolls, and sometimes you just have to let it go.

But there have been a few cases where my response appeared to be effective.

For instance, there are grammar/spelling nazi trolls. My response is something along the lines of, "The guy made a common mistake, this forum is not a peer-reviewed journal where you have to be particularly careful, and the rest of us were smart figure out exactly what he meant. Are you too stupid to work it out for yourself?"

Then there are the party poopers, and I respond with something about them being responsible for taking the fun out of having discussions in comments on forums. "It's people like you who make the internet suck. Why do you have to make it your role in life to suck the fun out of everything for everyone else?"

In none of the cases where I have said such things have I gotten a response. However, It's possible that I was being trollish a bit myself. I'm not sure. I don't do this often, but a number of times, someone has just stuck out to me as being especially jerky and needed to be put in their place. No idea if it really had any positive effect.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Flame the trolls!
by jhartzell42 on Wed 25th Jan 2012 18:00 in reply to "Flame the trolls!"
jhartzell42 Member since:
2007-06-13

I would actually find such a response extremely helpful if I ever got myself in such a situation, and would probably apologize for the original offense.

Reply Parent Score: 0

RE: Flame the trolls!
by Fergy on Thu 26th Jan 2012 13:35 in reply to "Flame the trolls!"
Fergy Member since:
2006-04-10

For instance, there are grammar/spelling nazi trolls. My response is something along the lines of, "The guy made a common mistake, this forum is not a peer-reviewed journal where you have to be particularly careful, and the rest of us were smart figure out exactly what he meant. Are you too stupid to work it out for yourself?"

If the person can't help making grammar mistakes it is alright. But often times the writer could write perfectly well but doesn't care to put in the effort. This is not some throw away chat session where are few mistakes are okay. This will be read by a lot of people and it makes a statement that you actually don't care that much about the discussion.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Flame the trolls!
by theosib on Thu 26th Jan 2012 17:42 in reply to "RE: Flame the trolls!"
theosib Member since:
2006-03-02

I completely disagree. I try to write correctly because I'm obsessive, but that's my problem. The main thing is to not write total rubbish, so if you want to say something and you want to be understood and you want to not be a jerk, you'll put a modicum of effort into making what you write presentable. BUT the fact is, forums like this are of only slightly more value than a chat session. They truly have no long-term value, or if they do, then the writer will turn around later and write a blog article about the same thing.

Posting to online forums is nothing but absolute faffing about. One may learn something now and again, and some of the comments are indeed insightful and interesting, but it is PLAY. This is not work. We do not earn money or even any kind of meaningful browny points from doing this. We're just here to have a good time, like shooting the breeze at a pub or your local gaming club. The articles may be serious, but for most of us, reading them and especially for commenting on them, this is done purely for the enjoyment of it.

So if someone decides not to make a second pass over their comment to fix a mistake or two, then people just need to let it go. Especially if their point is still CLEAR. And even if it's not, why do we care? Just ignore it and move on.

Personally, I have another dozen or so CS and EE departments I have to submit employment applications to, so I'm going to stop mucking about and do that now. ;)

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Flame the trolls!
by theosib on Thu 26th Jan 2012 17:49 in reply to "RE: Flame the trolls!"
theosib Member since:
2006-03-02

So, in other words, "putting in the effort" is the last thing we should be worrying about, because most of us have lives and work and stuff to do. While it can be edifying to participate in these discussions, obsessing over minor details of form is a complete waste of time and energy.

Of course, if you choose to expend your energy that way, that's entirely up to you, and those of us who do read your comments will appreciate the cleanliness. But it isn't anything I would recommend.

Reply Parent Score: 2