How to stop trolls from closing threads?

A “troll” on this MB seems to me to be “someone who expresses views I don’t like, and too well and often”. :stuck_out_tongue:


No, those are not “people with strong views that are contrary to the majority on the board”. They are posters deliberately ignoring the posted rules.

If someone posts that they are in favor of the Death Penalty, then that would be “ strong views that are contrary to the majority on the board”. If said poster said “if you woke assholes disagree with me, then I hope you get murdered in your sleep”- then that is a rules violation.

Or the reverse, an exclusion list per thread, established by the OP if they so desire. Maybe only in GD and P&E. There would be one of those blue “official announcement” boxes at the beginning listing folks who were not allowed to participate in the thread.

OK, that’s probably not a good idea nor a feasible one, but if someone wanted to have a discussion without the usual suspects shoving in their oars, I could see the appeal. Taken too far, of course, such an approach would produce very sterile discussions.

I’m on board with moderators splitting off threads, telling posters to drop the hijack, etc. But why automatically “shunt the hijacks to the Pit where such things can be responded to appropriately”?

Just because you, or the board consensus, disagrees, doesn’t make the argument worthy of the treatment that goes on in the Pit.

Of course, you can Pit people yourself, but why have the mods move things according to your whims?

It’s possible that somebody is going to call someone a troll for that, you can call someone a troll for any reason in the Pit, but you’re unlikely to see much support for that. There is push back against that sort of thing all the time. Yes, sometimes people do rant and call someone a troll because they’re unhappy with them, but that’s basically using the term as an insult, not as a legitimate label.

The “trolls are always just people who don’t conform” line is fiction. We have people who really do troll. Much of the time (maybe most of the time) it’s a banned person returning with a new username. (Maybe a mod can confirm or deny if that seems accurate.)

I agree on this. We’ve had some of course, but not as many as people seem to think. Forcefully disagreeing with someone doesn’t make you a troll.

This is the big problem. I’m sure many of us could tell who’s going to derail a thread just from reading the title, because they do it every time on a certain subject.

Another part of this problem is that other posters just cannot seem to ignore the poster causing problems, which just adds to the mess. Posters need to stop engaging one horse ponies every time they post. Put them on ignore if you have to, just don’t reply. Let them have the conversation with themselves.

If the 20-plus years of these boards have proven anything it is that “this ain’t going to happen”. People can’t help themselves, plus there are always new people who don’t know.

That’s why I favour the “you are to cease this hijack” approach from mods. It’s the neatest solution because:

  • it is non-punitive and avoids mods having to make a controversial decision about whether someone is trolling or being deliberately offensive or whatever and just goes straight to the heart of the immediate problem ie it’s derailing the thread

  • it avoids deleting posts - personally I find it very irritating when something I’ve put time into gets “wished into the cornfield” - move my post if you will but don’t throw my work away! It’s undeservedly punitive especially if I’m responding to the hijack and I’m not the original hijacker

  • it’s justifiably escalate-able - if the hijackers ignore the mod requirement to cease the hijack then warn/ban them for that not the hijack. This is not only procedurally fair, it is also easier to defend - the mods don’t have to justify their sanction by reference to vague concepts like whether someone was hijacking or trolling or being offensive or whatever - they can simply say “you aren’t being sanctioned for that, you are being sanctioned for failing to comply with a mod direction” which is always justified.

That’s my two cents worth.

I can think of a couple of posters like this, posters I actually like and agree with most of the time. People who aren’t trolls and are a benefit to this place. But if a thread is covering a particular topic, it’s like a werewolf when the moon is full.

Yep, you are absolutely right on that. And it’s always the same few people and the same arguments. I just don’t get the appeal of rearguing the same subject with the same persona hundred times. Neither are going to change their minds, it’s just a waste.

Me too, but I think it really has to happen early in the hijack or so many people have already lost interest in the thread that they have abandoned it and stripping out the hijack posts is too difficult.

I’ve seen a couple times lately where a mod has split off posts and started a new thread with them. The few times I’ve seen it done, it seems to be working better than mod notes. For reasons I don’t understand, even general mod notes seem to put a damper on conversation.

You’re talking about me aren’t you? :grinning: Yes, I know what you mean. By now I’m pretty good at skipping threads I know are going to go that way.

No, but now that I think about it, yes. :wink:

(Take that as a compliment.)

I did, thanks. :smile: