Trolling for trolls... a running documented list of IDs?

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bbacq
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Trolling for trolls... a running documented list of IDs?

That Turd even had to bother with a post like this one is a sad testament to what happens at the end of the Keynesian Experiment.  There is confusion and divisiveness, as well as cooperation and community.   The main discussion board comments were getting kinda infested with troll-talk around this time, rather than the variously funny, interesting, informative and potentially profitable information we come here to share and enjoy (and hopefully profit from).

I am guilty of arguing with folks on the main board, those that I think are wrong, and whose thoughts can be refuted through reason.  But sometimes - ever get this feeling? - you run across someone who seems evasive, un-genuine, negative, unwilling to accept reasonable argument, or even to agree to disagree, and who resort to name-calling and my-resume-is-longer-than-yours-so-I-must-be-right?  Maybe that's a troll.

The moderators here have stated they like to run a very light hand when it comes to censorship, and I applaud that.  But, I recall a time on some Yahoo stock boards paying attention to what was being posted, by whom, what they had said previously, when IDs were created and messages sent relative to market events etc and determined to my satisfaction that some of the IDs were not only posting drivel, but were actually fake IDs, used by real people to disrupt discussion.  And they had lots of them.  I began to track the IDs carefully, and assisted the board in their maintenance of ignore-lists so that the board became readable again.

There was no censorship involved, just a lot of people cooperating on achieving a consensus view not of who spoke truth and who falsehoods, but who was posting with an agenda, under false pretense, and who was not, based on analysis of the poster's entire post history.  Documentation can be provided, and users can then decide for themselves whether to ignore the user or not.  People can argue who belongs on the list, and which version is the list.

(I think it should be a built-in blog function, actually: automagic sock-puppet detection through packet analysis, content, and user-feedback.  Expect it in a blog near you soon, you heard it here first. ;-)

With such a list, real newcomers can check to see if a suspicious comment is from a suspected troll.  It might be hard to maintain the list, as it becomes a game of whack-a-mole as sock-puppet IDs appear and need to be added, should the blog actually be under attack, but if in fact there are folk out there actively trying to sabotage the truth, it is worth the effort, as it makes the board so much more readable if done in concert.  I remind all that this is not censorship.  It is free self-organization and specialization of function.  The same principles that make pencils.

I'll lead off by excluding myself from the list (feel free to put me on it!) but I don't think I am close enough to the action to speak with certainty about who belongs on the list.

The list is thus currently null.  Anyone want to nominate me?  Anyone else?

Perhaps someone with more site familiarity could point out the ignore_user function and how to use it?

Might I also be so bold as to suggest to the moderators that troll and sock-puppet discussion be directed here if they get out of hand and begin to pollute the main board?

Good luck to all those non-sock-puppets out there.

bbacq

[Moderator Note: Moved to the Site Feedback forum]

Edited by Moderator Jane on 05/22/2012 - 11:55
Moderator Jefferson
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bbacq, I believe I remember seeing your alias on the old blogspot site. Was it bacq2bacq? In any case, welcome on board, thanks for your perspective. I realize your suggestion is not directly the same as the points discussed below, but I do believe it has bearing on the topic.

On the one hand, I am aware of and agree that active disruption of the site (let alone deliberate, systematic disinformation) is potentially harmful. But flooding the Main Street thread with nothing but invective and attacks against speakers' MOTIVATIONS vs. the content of their speech is also very capable of ruining and destroying the community and thus the site. Today was a reasonably good case in point.

Those who are determined, can easily create multiple identities and keep their physical location cloaked. Those who don't bother to do so are, in this day and age, not worthy of the title 'Troll'. Silencing/snuffing conversation has NEVER been the method of choice here, and I hope it never will be.

Please take a moment to read this thread to the end: http://www.tfmetalsreport.com/forum/2542/troll-busters

The majority of the participants were knowledgeable, arguably very well-meaning folks, who had brought a lot of value to the site. But in taking up arms against a 'shadow enemy' with flamethrowers also themselves did some (IMHO unintended, but nevertheless real) damage to the furniture and other residents. And that doesn't even begin to cover those who may be fake 'counter'-trolls, egging on those with justified/'righteous' indignation to lose their heads, and go far beyond the bounds of civil discourse.

Call out BS. Ignore idiots. They will always outnumber sane/thinking people. But hunting/fighting 'trolls' of whichever stripe (hobby or pro) almost always equates to feeding them. Who ends up the victor in an excrement-fight? The one who could care less, b/c he (or she) is ALREADY FULL OF IT.

Ad hominem is just that, attack against the person rather than the message. Calling someone a troll does not make their argument any less compelling -- decimating their BS with reason and proof usually does a much better job. It also benefits the community by teaching/showing new information. Humor earns bonus points, vitriol will turn EVERYONE off -- EXCEPT THE TROLL.

Additional posts on the topic:

http://www.tfmetalsreport.com/comment/159671#comment-159671

http://www.tfmetalsreport.com/comment/128514#comment-128514

http://www.tfmetalsreport.com/comment/115972#comment-115972

There is an entire forum section dedicated to boxing matches -- have at it here:

http://www.tfmetalsreport.com/forums/turds-fight-club

Excalibur
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Feeding the Trolls

Whether they are really disinformation agents or just awkward so and so's, I think it is best to ignore them.  Shame on them for a crappy post, shame on me if I facilitate 10 further crappy posts from them. That's what drives newbies and oldies from Main St. 

There are occasional facts to be challenged, but trolling usually is full of opinions and short of facts.  Nothing like ignoring them, for them to be on their way.

I don't think newbies need protecting. Let them read Turd's blogs and the comments for a few days and weeks, and they will be able to judge. 

Keeping the community feel, welcoming  new comers whilst being vigilant for spoilers is a vital balancing act for the survival of the Turd experiment. With Turd's open heart, clarity of purpose and lack of tolerance for the EE and its minions, I feel sure the community will survive without troll hunts because of the moderators that Turd has been able to assemble. They are by far the best I have encountered on the Web, with their willingness to discuss and explain in a firm, fair and reasonable way.  Credit to them and to Turd for attracting such talent and the no doubt regular back and forth communication behind the scenes.

bbacq
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Thanks!

Not sure who I was bacq then, Jefferson, but yes, I have been around since the dawn of turd-time, first lurking, then posting, then going AWOL, then... now this.

Thanks for directing me to other threads, I should have known it would have already been hashed out.  I'll have a look.

I too believe and have written that the best thing to do is skewer the troll's mind on reason's sharp sword.  As I wrote in the Speak: "- the ideal censorship is self-induced immolation when persistently presented with reason."

best to all

bbacq

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