Thread: An Appeal
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Old 05-16-2018, 04:41 PM
Budget Player Cadet's Avatar
Budget Player Cadet Budget Player Cadet is offline
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 8,494
Originally Posted by Guinastasia View Post
Doesn't this happen every time some long-time poster is banned? "So and so should've been given another chance, it's not fair, so what if they broke the rules, they brought a lot to the boards, blah blah blah, they should be allowed extra special super lee-way?"
It's particularly galling here. If I had to name one thing that really stood out about the poster in question, it was that their contribution to any given thread was, with astounding regularity, the worst thing in said thread. I think that was intentional - or if it wasn't, it doesn't matter.

Lemme explain.

A disturbing number of threads where they posted followed the following pattern:

<Discussion about topic A>
<Poster in question says something phenomenally dumb>
<Large number of other posters respond to debunk/insult poster in question>
<Poster in question ignores substantive rebuttals, focuses on insults>
<Discussion turns to shit>

This is classic troll behavior. It's just not immediately obvious, and very much possible to do without explicitly breaking any rules.

Seriously, it's so easy. Anyone can do it. Here's how.

Pick literally any thread. Post something at least slightly related to the topic which is blatantly wrong, or at least so unpopular that you know you're going to get immense pushback on it. Put the least amount of effort possible into it, preferably keeping things very vague. Do so in a manner which does not overtly break the rules. Then, when people comment on it, and you inevitably get a mix of people all over Graham's Scale, from those who directly refute your central point to those who just call you an idiot, focus entirely on the latter while ignoring the former, and watch as the thread devolves. And this will happen on a forum dedicated to fighting ignorance - an ignorant, low-content statement is really grade-A bait for the kind of people who are interested in what the tagline suggests. It's a chance to show off how smart you are easily - who doesn't want that?

Do this long enough, and the forum will inevitably filter for the people who reach for the ad hominems (because the people willing to spend the time to debunk your bullshit have long since learned that it really isn't worth the trouble - hi there, NotCarlson ), and this only becomes more and more effective.

At no point here does the hypothetical troll break the rules, mind you. Not a single post they make is actually worth warning! That's why it works! If their posts were obviously offensive, they couldn't keep the con going. You have to pay attention to the larger pattern, and notice that it keeps happening again and again.

Now, some might make the defense that the poster in question wasn't doing this on purpose, that it was unintentional and a result of their stupidity. Over and over and over again. But the overall effect on the board is... the same drastic drop in thread quality whenever anyone engages with them. At that point, "intent" seems like a very odd hair to split.

Seriously, this thread is... bizarre. Please don't demand extra appeals for someone who was by far the single worst poster on the entire forum. If they weren't a troll, they were acting completely indistinguishably from a troll, and making the entire forum worse by their presence.

There's exactly one good thing I've learned from this guy - not to throw around the term "troll" lightly. Because if you start calling any idiot with a mouth bigger than their brain a troll, you miss the nuance in what makes an actual troll a problem on sites like this.

Last edited by Budget Player Cadet; 05-16-2018 at 04:41 PM.