What is the difference between being a "Devils Advocate" and a "Troll"?

self explanitory

Personally, I think it depends. If the “devils advocate” has something meaningful and thought-provoking to say then I think the difference is clear.

I think jonpluc is referring to my posts in this Pit thread, where I use the term “Devil’s advocate” at one point in an exchange with him.

I was using the technique to provoke some clear answers, and it worked. Had I been a troll, I would have said something along the lines of “yuo yankee scum coboys jsut want to show teh world how big yuor nooks are”, or something.

So mostly, the difference is intent. I didn’t do it to get a rise out of you, I did it to clarify the debate somewhat.

Ah, I see. That makes sense.

HELP! It appears im being stalked by a moderater :slight_smile: Coldie although you did mention being a Devils Advocate its fairly presumptious of you to assume i was talking about you or anyone else. To be perfectly honest with you when you said that about D.A. it sparked the question in my mind although not at any time did i believe you were even remotely being a troll nor did i take anything you said in even an ounce of negative light. In fact i honestly enjoyed the conversation… It was a generic thought and posted as such and i take mild offence that you presume to speak as to my thoughts and not to any statement i made or certianly in this case didnt make.

Meatros, do you mean to say that trolls don’t have anything meaningful and thought-provoking to say? I realize, “the battle is not always to the strong, nor the race to the swift, but that’s the way to bet it,” but don’t trolls have the ability to espouse a meaningful, thought-provoking, really irritating opinion, just to see people froth?

Hmm…Interesting point, if it’s obviously just to see people froth then I agree and my stance has to change to include that.

And so the line between troll and devils advocate blurs slightly…:smiley:

Fair enough. I’ll then, with mild frowning of the eyebrows, direct you to the first words of my previous post: “I think jonpluc is referring to…”. :wink:

LOL ok ill give you the “i think”…but that evil "i think"directly leads Meatros

…to a false conclusion based on your faulty assumption…so there :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Meatros, jonpluc meant that the OP was self-explanitory, not that the answer was self-explanitory. I know, my impulse was to reply “Yes”.

Uh… It’s early in the morning and I might be misconstruing this, but my original answer was the difference between a “troll” and a “devil’s advocate”.

I would think a “troll” would be a person who posts just to get a heated reaction out of others, without caring substantively about the actual topic. They may or may not agree with the statement they make - that’s not relevant, the heated reaction is.

On the other hand, a “Devil’s Advocate” is a person using a debating technique where they temporarily take the opposite stance to the one they are supporting (or take the role of disagreeing with another’s stance, even if they don’t have a strong interest in the matter) for the purpose of drawing out debate in order to strengthen the opposing argument by weeding out the weaker parts of the argument.

They differ mostly in intent, and in tone. The troll intends to get a heated reaction, and uses an argumentative tone. The Devil’s Advocate intends to improve the argument they are arguing against, and uses a debating tone.

That’s the usage I’m used to anyway.

Also, a devil’s advocate usually admits that he does not (necessarily) hold the views which he is presenting, so as to keep everything out in the open. A troll, on the other hand, will generally present his remarks as his own views.

A troll is an ember-poker espousing views he may not hold with the intent of eliciting emotional responses from others. IMHO, very little good has ever come from a troll and precious little ignornace has ever been abated by one. Many troll statements actually attempt to advance the cause of ignorance, which is diametrically opposed to what we are supposed to be about.

Trolls are disingenuous. Disingenuous means “bad.”

A Devil’s Advocate will identify himself for what he is trying to accomplish. For a troll to i.d. himself, that would take all the “fun” out of it, would it not?

I’m not sure that we could come up with a definition of the distinction, but there is a distinction. There’s black and white, although one can argue that there are lots of shades of gray. We know it when we see it, I guess.

Dex, Dex!! What are we going to do with you? That sounds like the godlike moderators and all-knowing administrators make judgment calls. 'Twould have been far better if you had said “We simply apply Stewart’s Law,” after Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart’s standard for obscenity: “I cannot define it, but I know it when I see it.” :slight_smile:

We actually use a multiple regression test, with Planck’s constant as a variable and the modular exponent of the coefficient of friction as an independent variable. A simple application of n-differentiable variables on an m-manifold gives us a homotological equivalence, whence a bare bodkin doth creep in this petty pace from day to day.

Meatros, when I read your original response, it sounded like you were disagreeing that the distinction between the two is self-explanatory. Upon further review, I parse the sentence more clearly. I was just thrown of by your quoting “self-explanitory”. You seem to be responding to that, and not the question itself, which is why I was mislead.

Yeah, that wasn’t too bright of me. I knew the moment I posted that there was a potential for misreading. Shoot, I don’t even know why I qouted the OP. It’s not like anyone would have had trouble knowing what I was refering too.:smack:

A devil’s advocate tries the validity of a stance by proposing contrary arguments.

A troll tries everyone’s patience by being a contrarian jerk.