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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

To Allow Trolls, Or Not

to allow trolls, that is the question. For example, the Regular Troll:
This guy is openly 180-degrees opposed to the purpose and/or ideological orientation of the blog. Whatever you're for, he's against, and vice-versa. If you're doing a free-market blog about tax policy, he's yelling that tax cuts are evil, "globalization" is wicked, and throwing in snarky anti-Republican messages, even though the blog is expressly about policy, not politics.
A troll is to be distinguished from someone who simply disagrees. Disagreement is welcome, but the troll seeks to take over the blog by inflaming others, not merely making a point. The distinction between disagreement and trolling leaves a gap wide enough for a troll to drive a truck through.

One such regular troll here is DaveMartin7777 who wanted to post this comment in response to my post about the NAACP anti-Tea Party resolution:

Not all Republicans are racists, but all racists vote Republican.

Republicans don't all fit into any single mold but they are intolerant of others in general.

By nature, Republicans are suspicious of others, even more so of minority race groups.

And of course the Republicans Sean Hannity debate trick is to find equivalents, called "Tu quoque" by listing some minority racist groups or persons whom they perceive to be racist in order to prove that two wrongs make a right.

Republicans also declare no racism exits within their party so any charge of racism that is exhibited is not racism since racism can't exist within the Republican party.

Btw, Republicans are not conservative, they are authoritarian.That's how they ruled in the past and that's how they will predictably rule in the future.

Tu quoque: the argument states that a certain position is false or wrong and/or should be disregarded because its proponent fails to act consistently in accordance with that position.

So allow trolls, or not?

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42 comments:

  1. NOT! I have a rule, no trolls. By posting such thoughts, we're aiding and abetting wrong thinking people.

    Just my never-to-be-humble opinion. :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. NOT. Let them establish their own blog.

    ReplyDelete
  3. No trolls. The blog commentators here are smart enough that they won't take the bait, but no need to give them the voice here, IMHO. Let them troll elsewhere! Thanks for watching out for us all, professor!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Since everyone is against allowing it, am i technically trolling if i say you should let him?

    I think the problem is with real trolling is the issue of sincerity.

    Like sheesh, i love the kind of guy who comes in here and says, "i was a republican until George Bush came along. Now why can't we nationalize all industries and create a worker's paradise." okay i exaggerate, but you have all run into the fake dissatisfied republican troll. you know that 99% of these guys are just complete liars.

    Anyway, i say you should only rarely exclude a person for trolling. i would rarther rip this idiot apart. But then i love to argue.

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  5. I have to disagree. The trolls are giving the lowest denominator in thought, bu this thought is what slowly drifts into the mainstream. Unless we know what the arguments are, we are not ready to respond. And a well argued response is the best way to defeat this misled ideology.

    ReplyDelete
  6. No Trolls!

    One chance to prove their foolishness beyond any doubt. Then, throw the ban hammer!

    Easy and clean. No residue. No guilt whatsoever.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I think it's widely expected or experience that sooner or later, everyone will meet someone who will want to challenge you, one-up you and disagree with you. No intention for a lively discussion, but they use it to thrash their points around.

    But when it gets to the point where someone is attacking and not making constructive comments, I think it can be extremely distracting to the author's post and intention and people often get too caught up in that instead. As tactless as some posts may be, I think it's unfair to completely ban them. Maybe it's just the part of me that hopes to see the best in everyone that's saying that ... Some people never change, though.

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  8. By the way, here is my response to Dave.

    > Not all Republicans are racists, but all racists vote Republican.

    Given that your party is mourning the passing of a Grand Exalted Cyclops, I’ll take that assertion as seriously as it deserves to be.

    And for that matter, Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann are both clear racists, and I doubt they voted for McCain. Not to mention those Obama supporters from the Black Panther Party outside of the polls in Philadelphia. When they said that the crackers were about to be ruled by the black man, that was just outreach, right?

    > And of course the Republicans Sean Hannity debate trick is to find equivalents, called "Tu quoque"

    And then you describe tu quoque as

    > the argument states that a certain position is false or wrong and/or should be disregarded because its proponent fails to act consistently in accordance with that position.

    Well, bluntly its only a fallacy in certain contexts. For instance, when Al Gore says he sincerely believes the world is going to end due to AGW, it is perfectly appropriate to question his carbon footprint. When a person denounces the other side in the debate as all racists, its perfectly appropriate to point out the racists in their ranks.

    > Republicans also declare no racism exits within their party so any charge of racism that is exhibited is not racism since racism can't exist within the Republican party.

    Care to produce even one quote of a single republican stating that there ware no racist republicans, at all. The correct answer is that racists join both parties and they are about as hard to get rid of cockroaches.

    > Btw, Republicans are not conservative, they are authoritarian.That's how they ruled in the past and that's how they will predictably rule in the future.

    Right. Deregulation = authoritarianism. No one does Orwell like the left. It wasn’t republicans who shoved a takeover of health care down my throat. It wasn’t a republican president who dressed down the supreme court for daring to stand up for freedom of speech. America has never seen a president so eager to regulate each and every one of us.

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  9. Not - I agree with you that this guy is one of those idiots playing games with blogs because he's a bitter Leftist.

    ReplyDelete
  10. There are many other places where trolls can hang...no trolls here please.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Agree with RightKlik - A good can of trollicide is the best RX when dealing with trolls. Over at the Left Coast Rebel I always ask myself (when confronting a critic vs. a troll), "is this person trying to debate or just looking for a fight?"

    A solid 'no.'

    ReplyDelete
  12. I don't respond to those I disagree with on their blogs. I write my criticisms on my own blog and if no one sees it...who cares? Hell, who finishes to the end of a troll rant anyway? I don't.

    That said...some of the funniest laughs of my day come from troll posts...

    I say feed the trolls.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Actually, that guy's pretty damned tame for a troll -- there's no name-calling and zero foul language. As long as he can keep the dialogue free from both, I'd leave his posts up and let your commenters have at him. (Besides, you and your readers are smart enough to run rings around this guy any day.)

    ReplyDelete
  14. And here I thought trolls were people who live in the lower peninsula of Michigan, below the Mackinac Bridge.

    Ban him.

    ReplyDelete
  15. mmmm Trolls! I eat them for breakfast. I invite them to my site because it is fun to shut them down. Even better is when the readers pile on. It brings a tear to the eye.

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  16. That's not trolling, that's projection.

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  17. No trolls, but is that guy a troll? He's fairly well-mannered, and his thoughts are mainstream in the liberal swamps. In fact, I'd say he's actually on the right shore of the swamp.

    My vote: Allow non-abusive comments like this and encourage your commenter community to stay on topic and not to swallow the bait when others go off-topic. If a comment is blatantly off-topic, remove it, but because it's off-topic, not because it's trollish.

    ReplyDelete
  18. If you let the trolls in, do you also let the gremlins in? What about the hobbits? Leprechauns?

    It's a slippery slope.

    My view is if you're willing to link to commentary from Count Frankula, then anything written by a troll is an upgrade.

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  19. Trolls are funny, and usually demonstrate their own clueless groupthink for what it is. I say allow them, unless any particular one gets too pesky and/or long-winded. Then, cut him off at your discretion.

    ReplyDelete
  20. No trolls. That's the worst kind of trolling. Stuff that's obviously false, deliciously vague, and off point.

    But since it's somewhat polite, people derail discussions honorably trying to address it. I say no: let them eat Daily Kos!

    ReplyDelete
  21. You could take the Hillbuzz approach and reveal the troll dropping then get the readers to dissect and respond :)

    As for my own blogs... I do not allow troll comments. They get rejected.

    ReplyDelete
  22. My vote is to not allow Trolls. While their posts are amusing, Trolls don't bring any intellectual honesty to the discussion. Trolls should stay under their bridges --- where they can't be seen or heard.

    ReplyDelete
  23. "Not all Republicans are racists, but all racists vote Republican."

    So klansman Robert Byrd secretly voted Republican? Or has the KKK repudiated racism?

    It's your blog, but trolls that simply lie to create their point out of vacuum wouldn't get any electrons if it were my blog.

    -brian
    www.linkedin.com/in/bdpaasch

    ReplyDelete
  24. Compromise. If the comment is inflammatory, offers no valid points, or is just name calling, then reject the comment. If the comment can provide intellectual discourse or serve as an example of a deranged thought process then by all means post it for dissection.
    Most don't want a sterile echo chamber, because that feels like a dishonest facade. Look at the comment composition of other successful blogs that you are striving to compete with and take examples from those as to how many trolls and dissenters compared to those who support the general wavelength of the site. Make sure there is sufficient idiocy to laugh at in other words.

    ReplyDelete
  25. New Jersey is famous for it's tolls. The Turnpike, the parkway, all the bridges (only sate you have to pay to get out of) Nobody likes them, but we can't get rid of the
    As for trolls, just look at our Senators.

    Am I off topic?

    ReplyDelete
  26. Allow the trolls, and let A.W. respond to them!

    ReplyDelete
  27. This guy is mild compared to a few trolls I get. I wouldn't ban him unless he starts calling you and your own commenters RAAAAACIST!!!

    ReplyDelete
  28. I have to agree with Freddy Hill. As long as they are not being personally abusive towards another commenter(s), let them have their say. If you have nothing to fear from someone who raises an honest, well-reasoned dissent, why should you worry about somebody who is just a wanker. Besides, they can actually be fun, if they have a sense of humor. The trick is not to let them under your skin.

    Full disclosure-I troll as a hobby, on places like Yahoo Answers, where I once asked advice on whether a regular bullet would kill a guy I was pretty sure was a werewolf if I shot him before the full moon, since I couldn't find silver bullets.

    But there's a big difference between that kind of trolling and the kind of asshattery that involves name calling and insults, and most especially threats. Those kinds of clowns should ideally be turned in to law enforcement.

    ReplyDelete
  29. If the trolls are banned, they won't be paid the $18 per post by MoveOn.org, causing them to become jobless, thereby driving up the unemployment rate even higher in advance of the November elections.
    Ban the trolls.

    ReplyDelete
  30. I'd support banning trolls... but IMO one or two trolling comments does not necessarily a troll make. Three strikes and you're out?

    ReplyDelete
  31. lmao, if that's the level of troll logic you are exposed to . . . um, not.

    I don't allow them on my blog (you know unless they're really loopy, then I keep them there for the funny).

    ReplyDelete
  32. The problem with a guy like Dave is that his opposite argument habit can often take over the comments section and deprive the site from solid, intelligent expressions from those that simply become bored with the back and forth shots. Based on the one response you have posted, I would suggest that you could summarize his message as "I'm right, you're not and that's the way it is." In other words, no value.

    ....Or Maybe its just that his debating technique reminds me of my first wife.

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  33. Don't give the weasels a forum, they already have academia and the media to proselytize. And certainly don't give worthless trolls a forum to spew their gibberish. Its not why I read the comments or visit a blog.

    ReplyDelete
  34. I also think the manner and tone of expression of ideas merit some consideration. Keeping a civil tone while making an argument is hard to do, and a civil troll is a neutered troll, almost childish in their language and logic. In Dave's post, he failed to make the tea party-Republican connection.

    I also agree with syd B., in that the back and forth arguments become a major turn off. They usually evolve into caterwauling.

    Your blog, your choice. Like bad literature and art, badly expressed comments can be a learning experience.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Come on Professor, without idiotic trolls who make absolutely no sense, blog readers would have no reason to check out the comment section and laugh out loud. Besides, I've always loved to debate trolls...

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  36. Trolls like Dave actually help drive your own arguments, Professor, by virtue of the obvious absurdity of what they write. Virtually no one who is not already in thrall to left-wing ideological nonsense will credit what he writes -- and none of your regular readers will be misled by him. On balance, it's probably a plus to have comments like his that make clear just how contrived are the charges of "racism" here and there and everywhere. A troll who makes vicious ad hominem attacks on you, other commenters or public figures is another matter, one I'm sure you deal with case by case in moderating.

    On the down side, it is true that a persistent troll (even a civil one ) can attempt to hijack the comment discussion and distract it from the points made by your posts. Even so, you'll come out ahead with your readers -- and as the guy you took as a model for reaching a million blog hits in a year, Stacy McCain, would say, hits is hits.

    ReplyDelete
  37. My policy over at The Camp Of The Saints is to ignore them, not ban them.

    They do their thing.

    I don't respond - they don't get a rise out of me.

    The thrill is gone for them.

    They go away.

    It has worked every time.

    ReplyDelete
  38. "Not all Republicans are racists, but all racists vote Republican."

    Bullcrap. My parents have a friend who is a life long Democrat voter, who is about as racist as they come.

    If this what the left is reduced to? Ridiculously large and impossible to know for a fact blanket statements? What about "nuance?"

    ReplyDelete