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Internet Troll / Forum Troll

"Netiquette Guidelines"
Troll, internet troll & forum troll
What is an Internet Troll/ Forum troll?

  • An "Internet troll" or "Forum Troll" or "Message Board Troll" is a person who posts outrageous message to bait people to answer. Forum Troll delights in sowing discord on the forums.  A troll is someone who inspires flaming rhetoric, someone who is purposely provoking and pulling people into flaming discussion.  Flaming discussions usually end with name calling and a flame war.
     
    A classic CureZone troll is trying to make us believe that he is a genuine skeptic with no hidden agenda.  He is divisive and argumentative with need-to-be-right attitude, "searching for the truth",  flaming discussion, and sometimes insulting people or provoking people to insult him.  Troll is usually an expert in reusing the same words of its opponents and in turning it against them.

    While sometimes, he may sound like a stupid, uninformed, ignorant poster, do not be deceived!  Most trolls are highly intelligent people trying to hide behind a mask of stupidity and/or  ignorance!  They usually have an agenda. Very few trolls come to CureZone out of pure skepticism.

    A CureZone Troll is generally a person who is extremely skeptical of the main forum subject.
    He is generally interested to make other forum members look stupid. A troll will sometimes use insults to provoke other people to insult him. Then, he will complain to moderators of being insulted and will request that his opponents get banned from further discussion.

    It is generally very easy to troll any one of several hundreds of support forums on CureZone. As the majority of support forums on CureZone are about alternatives to commercialized medicine, all you have to do to start a flaming thread questioning the main subject of discussion and to provoke insults from hard core proponents.  It has been done every few weeks.  It is strictly against our rules!

    Initiating debates on CureZone support forums is strictly against the rules.

    CureZone has plenty of debate forums where those interested in questioning can have free reign.

    Even debate forums on CureZone can be trolled by name calling and by provoking name calling. Those trolls are quickly banned from CureZone.

    He (and in 90% of cases it is he) tries to start arguments and upset people.

    Sometimes, he is skeptical, trying to scare people, trying to plant fear in their hearts. Many curezone trolls are people trying to promote Quackwatch / ratbags agenda through fear mongering.

    For many trolls, lack of hard evidence about any therapy equals "DANGER". He will try to scare people from even trying the therapy just because there is no hard evidence that therapy is more effective then placebo.

    Sometimes, Internet troll is trying to spin conflicting information, is questioning in an insincere manner, flaming discussion, insulting people, turning people against each other, harassing forum members,  ignoring warnings from forum moderators.

    Trolling is a form of harassment that can take over a discussion. Well meaning defenders can create chaos by responding to trolls. The best response is to ignore it, or to report a message to a forum moderator. CureZone moderators usually delete troll messages or block trolls.  Negative emotions stirred up by trolls leak over into other discussions. Normally affable people can become bitter after reading an angry interchange between a troll and his victims, and this can poison previously friendly interactions between long-time users.

    Finally, trolls create a paranoid environment, such that a casual criticism by a new arrival can elicit a ferocious and inappropriate backlash.

    When trolls are ignored they step up their attacks, desperately seeking the attention they crave. Their messages become more and more foul, and they post ever more of them.

    Alternatively, they may protest that their right to free speech is being curtailed. 

    Perhaps the most difficult challenge for a webmaster is deciding whether to take steps against a troll that a few people find entertaining. Some trolls do have a creative spark and have chosen to squander it on being disruptive. There is a certain perverse pleasure in watching some of them. Ultimately, though, the webmaster has to decide if the troll actually cares about putting on a good show for the regular participants, or is simply playing to an audience of one -- himself.

    Next time you are on a message board and you see a post by somebody whom you think is a troll, and you feel you must reply, simply write a follow-up message entitled "Troll Alert" and type only this:

    The only way to deal with trolls is to limit your reaction and not to respond to trolling messages.  It is well known that most people don't read messages that nobody responds to, while 99% of forum visitors first read the longest and the largest threads with the most answers.
     

  • Troll Message is an outrageous message posted to a message board, newsgroup or mailing list to bait people to answer.
     
  • Trolls of Scandinavian Mythology:  another Troll, internet troll & forum troll Once upon a time, evil dwarfs were living in hills, forests and mounds. They were stumpy, misshapen, humpbacked, with a long nose, long hair and a long tail.  Trolls were inclined to thieving, and fond of carrying off children. They would substitute one of their own offspring for that of a human mother. They were called "hill-people", and they were especially averse to noise, from a recollection of the time when god Thor used to fling his hammer after them.  Not all trolls were evil!. Some trolls were helping people.  Some trolls were only playing games.  But, evil trolls were the one that kids were most afraid of.  Some trolls were small, other were giants.



Special Forums on CureZone



Excerpts from the article
"Internet Trolls"
Copyright © 2001 by Timothy Campbell
July 13 2001 Edition
http://members.aol.com/intwg/trolls.htm

What is an Internet Troll?

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

Trolls see Internet communications services as convenient venues for their bizarre game. For some reason, they don't "get" that they are hurting real people. To them, other Internet users are not quite human but are a kind of digital abstraction. As a result, they feel no sorrow whatsoever for the pain they inflict. Indeed, the greater the suffering they cause, the greater their 'achievement' (as they see it). At the moment, the relative anonymity of the net allows trolls to flourish.

Trolls are utterly impervious to criticism (constructive or otherwise). You cannot negotiate with them; you cannot cause them to feel shame or compassion; you cannot reason with them. They cannot be made to feel remorse. For some reason, trolls do not feel they are bound by the rules of courtesy or social responsibility.

Why does it Matter?

Some people -- particularly those who have been online for years -- are not upset by trolls and consider them an inevitable hazard of using the net. As the saying goes, "You can't have a picnic without ants."

It would be nice if everybody was so easy-going, but the sad fact is that trolls do discourage people. Established posters may leave a message board because of the arguments that trolls ignite, and lurkers (people who read but do not post) may decide that they do not want to expose themselves to abuse and thus never get involved.

Another problem is that the negative emotions stirred up by trolls leak over into other discussions. Normally affable people can become bitter after reading an angry interchange between a troll and his victims, and this can poison previously friendly interactions between long-time users.

Finally, trolls create a paranoid environment, such that a casual criticism by a new arrival can elicit a ferocious and inappropriate backlash.

The Internet is a wonderful resource which is breaking down barriers and stripping away prejudice. Trolls threaten our continued enjoyment of this beautiful forum for ideas.

<...snip...>
The Webmaster's Challenge

When trolls are ignored they step up their attacks, desperately seeking the attention they crave. Their messages become more and more foul, and they post ever more of them. Alternatively, they may protest that their right to free speech is being curtailed -- more on this later.

The moderator of a message board may not be able to delete a troll's messages right away, but their job is made much harder if they also have to read numerous replies to trolls. They are also forced to decide whether or not to delete posts from well-meaning folks which have the unintended effect of encouraging the troll.

Some webmasters have to endure conscientious users telling them that they are "acting like dictators" and should never delete a single message. These people may be misinformed: they may have arrived at their opinion about a troll based on the messages they see, never realizing that the webmaster has already deleted his most horrific material. Please remember that a troll does have an alternative if he has something of value to say: there are services on the net that provide messaging systems free of charge. So the troll can set up his own message board, where he can make his own decisions about the kind of content he will tolerate.

Just how much can we expect of a webmaster when it comes to preserving the principles of free speech? Some trolls find sport in determining what the breaking point is for a particular message board operator. They might post a dozen messages, each of which contains 400 lines of the letter "J". That is a form of expression, to be sure, but would you consider it your duty to play host to such a person?

Perhaps the most difficult challenge for a webmaster is deciding whether to take steps against a troll that a few people find entertaining. Some trolls do have a creative spark and have chosen to squander it on being disruptive. There is a certain perverse pleasure in watching some of them. Ultimately, though, the webmaster has to decide if the troll actually cares about putting on a good show for the regular participants, or is simply playing to an audience of one -- himself.

What about Free Speech?

When trolls find that their efforts are being successfully resisted, they often complain that their right to free speech is being infringed. Let us examine that claim.

While most people on the Internet are ardent defenders of free speech, it is not an absolute right; there are practical limitations. For example, you may not scream out "Fire!" in a crowded theatre, and you may not make jokes about bombs while waiting to board an airplane. We accept these limitations because we recognize that they serve a greater good.

Another useful example is the control of the radio frequency spectrum. You might wish to set up a powerful radio station to broadcast your ideas, but you cannot do so without applying for a license. Again, this is a practical limitation: if everybody broadcasted without restriction, the repercussions would be annoying at best and life-threatening at worst.

The radio example is helpful for another reason: with countless people having a legitimate need to use radio communications, it is important to ensure that nobody is 'monopolizing the channel'. There are only so many clear channels available in each frequency band and these must be shared.

When a troll attacks a message board, he generally posts a lot of messages. Even if his messages are not particularly inflammatory, they can be so numerous that they drown out the regular conversations (this is known as 'flooding'). Needless to say, no one person's opinions can be allowed to monopolize a channel.

The ultimate response to the 'free speech' argument is this: while we may have the right to say more or less whatever we want, we do not have the right to say it wherever we want. You may feel strongly about the fact that your neighbor has not mowed his lawn for two months, but you do not have the right to berate him in his own living room. Similarly, if a webmaster tells a troll that he is not welcome, the troll has no "right" to remain. This is particularly true on the numerous free communications services offered on the net. (On pay systems, the troll might be justified in asking for a refund.)

Conclusion

Next time you are on a message board and you see a post by somebody whom you think is a troll, and you feel you must reply, simply write a follow-up message entitled "Troll Alert" and type only this:

The only way to deal with trolls is to limit your reaction to reminding others not to respond to trolls.

By posting such a message, you let the troll know that you know what he is, and that you are not going to get dragged into his twisted little hobby.

Read whole article:
http://members.aol.com/intwg/trolls.htm


 

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