Just this side of trolling. Solutions?

I was advised to start a new thread. I think this is important and hope I’m not alone, so here goes.

We have a few posters here who repeatedly skate juuust up to the line of trolling and are quite good at it. It’s very frustrating to those of us who come here for substantive debate done in good faith–a hallmark of the Dope.

The question is what can we non-mods do about it? We can’t accuse someone of trolling outside The Pit (where some trollish types never go). We can’t urge others not to respond to a poster who’s clearly trying to tick people off. And we can’t junior mod. All excellent rules, but what does that leave us?

We can individually and independently decide not to respond. After all, these posters feed on angry responses: it’s the motivation of trolls with the deviousness to avoid anything mod-able. But the silent approach hasn’t been very effective. These bad-faith posters are very, very good at posting stuff that’s incendiary enough to compel others to respond. And after all, aren’t we supposed to fight the ignorance of those who are reading the Dope online?

Maybe there are no other possibilities. Maybe these people will continue unabated, and the rest of us will just have to suffer or leave. But on the off-chance there’s an effective way to fight the good fight here, I thought I’d toss this out.

There is no collective way to deal with the trolls that toe the line. The mods allow a lot of leeway to the detriment of the Dope.

GD especially should come down harder on the serial bad actors that in thread after thread bring up off topic points to derail the debate.

It’s true that you can’t say ‘do not feed the troll’ or in some other way actually accuse someone of being a troll. But, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with saying ‘just ignore [poster], you’re not going to change his mind’ or ‘don’t bother arguing with [poster] he’s just trying to trap you’ or in some other way suggest that someone stop engaging another poster without outright calling them a troll.

The problem is, even if we, as a whole, ignore all the ‘known’ trolls, it’s not going to get anywhere since you’ll never get 100% compliance. Between people that didn’t get the memo, new members and posters that just can’t help themselves, they’re always going to find someone to argue with. And, to make it worse, often times you don’t even realize you’re playing right into their hands (I’d say until it’s too late, but you can always stop responding).

I don’t think there’s going to be any way to prevent stop posters that always stay just this side of the line unless we move the line or the mods decide they’re going to start warning those posters as well. Remember, your brother stopped putting his finger an inch from your face and saying ‘I’m not touching you’ when your mom/dad finally told them to knock it off.

Particularly when a moderator has decided that a bad actor has contravened another moderator’s instructions in the same forum but fails to give a warning for doing so.

Non-mods can do nothing about it, aside from expressing their displeasure at the state of the board and hoping that eventually the problem will get big enough that the mods decide to do something about it. No rules necessarily need to be changed. For example, I would argue that a poster who behaves as you describe, repeatedly skating just up to the line, is actually quite clearly in violation of rule #1:

Emphasis mine. I think it’s pretty clear that, while no individual post by such a poster would violate any rule, when taken IN CONTEXT (which, the First Rule reminds us, is critical) this behavior is absolutely an example of “being a jerk”. As the first rule explains, even if there isn’t another rule which is being violated, if the overall context reveals the poster to be a jerk, then this may result in various levels of sanctions. The mods have this power; why they choose not to wield it is frankly beyond me. The posters in question are clearly not arguing in good faith. Their behavior here alienates women, LGBT people, and anyone else who believes in treating other human beings decently. It alienates people who just want to debate all sorts of issues without having every conversation devolve into one of the same few arguments. It ruins the entire experience for so many people, and for what? So we can pretend to “fight ignorance” when the people we’re debating aren’t even genuinely interested in the discussion? Enough is enough. Seriously.

And when they’re finally suspended, but come back and go right back to toeing the line? WHY are we putting up with this? :smack:

Oh joy, I get to be the star of three simultaneous ATMB threads at once. That’s got to be some sort of record.

To answer your question, I’ve given you a solution to rid yourselves of this troublesome HD right over here. All you have to do is help JohnT succeed in his campaign to make the financial cost benefit analysis of individual posters the basis for moderation, and I’ll go away.

I wish I had a good example at hand of someone who constantly tries to derail threads.

Wow! That’s amazing! Your wish came true retroactively!

I specifically said “posters”–plural. I see you decided that shoe fits you. But my question was not about getting rid of such posters but how to respond to discourage that kind of posting. Are you saying there’s no way to get you, a self-identified skate-to-the-line trollish poster to change your ways, and therefore the only option would be to get you off the Boards somehow? I hope that’s not true, either of you or anyone else who cops to that behavior, as you’ve done here.

At least give some credit for consistency?

To wit:

Perhaps a mod will respond, but someone recently got a warning–changed to a note–for urging other posters not to bother responding to someone’s posts.

Also there’s this:



So I doubt you could say any of your suggested comments and not get modded.

Just to set the record straight, I do NOT self-identify as a “skate-to-the-line trollish poster”, but I am aware that a certain group of posters routinely accuse me of that, and posting in bad faith, and trying to rile people up, etc. and so when members of that certain group start a discussion about ‘some posters who’ do those things, it’s pretty clear to me that I’m the topic of conversation, even if I vehemently disagree with their assessment.

I’m convinced that a significant amount of vitriol directed towards me has more to do with personal animosity than the content of my posts. For example, the drama over my mentioning of Eric Ciaramella. Other posters said his name. There was even a thread trying to identify him. Nobody cared. I mentioned it, in response to a question, and the mod loop blew up with reports that I was trying to get someone killed or putting the board in legal jeapordy, etc.

So no, I don’t know what would end that personal animosity. I don’t think it has all that much to do with the content of my individual posts.

Reported for attempting to derail a thread.

I’m normally on your side, but I think it is unnecessary to the point of being a jerk that you continue to mention the whistleblower by name in ATMB threads that do not necessitate the mention of that name.

You could just have easily written “the whistleblower” for an extra two key-presses. I don’t particularly care but when I see you write out the name, it seems like you are asking for trouble, or just un-empathetic.

It’s like if people asked me to be politically correct with certain subjects unless the subject itself is about what terminology to use, and I simply refuse to change my ways. I wouldn’t be making any friends like that.


My bold.

There’s not much you can do, the mods are on their side. You need to understand that at the outset. Apart from that… do what they do. Just ask questions.

I don’t think that is true, I do think the Mods try to stay very impartial and give more leniency to the handful of active righties on the board. Also they mod a post at a time more than the actual poster. So it appears they are taking sides, but it is a method of modding.

What does it mean if I’m normally on the side of someone who I literally describe as a trouble-seeking, unempathetic jerk? Asking hypothetically for a friend.

I meant when people accuse HurricaneDitka of violating some rule, I generally find myself thinking HurricaneDitka had not violated the rule. What you mean by the same words may be different.

If this is a rhetorical question, it has gone right over my head.