| To Live is to War with Trolls...|
|2 Aug 2006 @ 04:07, by D|
To live is to war with trolls in heart and soul. To write is to sit in judgment on oneself.
The interest of a writer and the interests of his readers are never the same and if, on occasion, they happen to coincide, this is a lucky accident.
—W. H. Auden
Once in a while a new member will join NCN and tentatively post an essay on his or her blog with the intention of generating a dialogue about a topic or another. While such efforts are usually more or less encouraged by some of the members of NCN who have been trying to promote dialogue and diversity and make new members welcome, there is also typically on NCN (and I do not believe this to be exclusively an NCN problem) people who, because they dislike the topic, or what, in their opinion, a poster stands for ("the Establishment," "the Lonnie-left," "Conspiracy theories,"...) or just on general principle (just because they "know better" and they feel that it is their mission to – quoting from a recent example – "drum the truth" into - quote - the "institutionalized persons"," or whomever it is that they think they are talking to, and teach him or her a "lesson"), have been making it a game of doing just the opposite by making such new members unwelcome. Their purpose is not to take part in any dialogue, or even in a debate, but effectively to "kill" the thread (quoting from another recent example: "leave us...[you]...slow down our work here!")
While all of us, I am sure, have observed or been part ourselves of meetings that accomplished nothing, discussions that lost sight of what was being discussed, or debates that were crammed with irrelevancies and much heated emotion—there is often considerable hyperbole, overreaction, and confusion; arguments break out; the personalities of the participants, not the topic itself, is what is at stake; and there is rarely a harmonious resolution to such arguments—there is a fundamental difference however between this (a basic problem of communication and interpersonal relationship) and the situation above, which is that of people who deliberately target a thread for disruption, because (by their own admission) they just want some member to "leave."
As already pointed out, further above, that kind of behavior is not exclusive to NCN, nor is it particularly recent.
(Relevant entries: The Destructive Troll and Who is afraid of NCN?).
"Why do they do it?"
"Theories abound," we are told.
"Attention seeking, personal vendetta, ideological antagonism toward a chosen 'target.'"
"Some pride themselves in being Trolls," or claim to be Anarchists or some Ubbermen of one kind or anoter.
"Some are buttons pushers...who claim they are doing it "'For your own good'"
In that regard, NCN has been compared to an RPG:
"I see many roles being played and many people using more than one character ( ID) so could this be seen as a role playing game of sorts. I see a lot of improvising, free association, trolling, and imagination so in that way it is like an RPG. I would imagine in the more structured role playing games the plots and schemes get quite elaborate and people get wrapped up in their roles. After a time they might even begin to think they are real. There are the Devil's Advocates, the Trickster, the muses, the trolls, the meanies, bullies, peacemakers, and on an on."
While I certainly can appreciate how there is an element of whimsy and possibly nourishment in Role Playing, Destructive Trolls however clearly belong to a different category altogether.
— SWAN: Sacred Whimsy And Nourishment: Is NCN an RPG?
While Destructive Trolls can be looked at, in a certain way, as Role Players (and sometimes are Role Players,) not all Role Players are necessarily Destructive Trolls.
The Destructive Troll is recognizable by the fact that he or she has no real interest in "sacred whimsy and nourishment" or in contributing constructively or creatively to the topic at hand on any given thread – he or she simply wants to utter flame baits (postings intended to trigger a flame war, or ones that invites flames in reply.) If people on a thread do not take the bait and try and stick to the topic or if anyone tries to do anything which will interfere with the troll's efforts to trash the thread, he or she can become very nasty.
Trolls are utterly impervious to criticism (constructive or otherwise). You cannot dialogue with them, you cannot reason with them, their purpose is to trash or to kill a thread, or even to try and hurt a commenter or a member’s feelings to get their target sufficiently upset so that he or she might eventually "leave" the network as a result, which is oftentimes their intended purpose.
As Rishi once put it (15 Oct 2003 @ 19:34 by rishi : Reality and Fabrication):
"You see, persons such as this are not here to discuss, or reason, use logic or have any concept of spiritual progress. They're not interested in evidence of any kind, nor do they offer anything that stands on its own merit. They make fantastic statements which everyone is apparently expected to accept at face value without evidence, and then proceed to build on those false premises to make even more false conclusions… So you see, what you're dealing with here is a head game, and a rather sick one at that if I may take the liberty of saying so. What XXX is saying here has nothing to do with honest discussion. It has everything to do with creating conflict…"
When Destructive Trolls are ignored they step up their attacks, and their messages become more and more foul and outrageous. Alternatively, if people on a thread do not fall for the bait and do not react in anger, the Trolls will go on and try to stir up trouble by turning the table around and attempt to pursue the same game of "uproar" by playing the part of the offended party, instead. By the same token, if a moderator tries to intervene, Trolls will protest that their right to free speech is being curtailed and that the moderator is "over-controlling" or is "acting like a dictator."
This is all interesting to me not so much because of its ill effects on NCN or the regrettable hemorrhage of good-will it sometimes has on some networks (people get turned-off and leave - i.e. the trolls win), but because of what the internet represents as a new frontier in term of freedom and collective intelligence and because the troll phenomenon, and other like it, are a test of that freedom and of that intelligence, and sometimes a challenge—not so much on blogs and chatrooms such as on this network and elsewhere on the net, but especially where collective endeavors (such as wikipedia) are concerned.
What has been achieved on the web so far, in spite (and sometimes because) of those challenges, is truly something to be in awe of. The fact that so many people are willing to volunteer their time to contribute constructively to various large-scale collective projects on the Internet is a tribute to the human spirit and an encouraging sign of greater things to come. The fact that so many people are also willing to volunteer the same amount of time for destructive purposes is the other side of the coin, and very much part of humanity as well.
The challenge of the Internet is the challenge of the Human Spirit. The openness is a means to an end and if it can sometimes become a problem in certain areas, new ways of dealing with things always manifest. It’s a constantly evolving process.
Insofar as blogs and chatrooms are concerned different people have been dealing with trolls in different ways, depending on the environment under which they operate, and the extent and the nature of the harm being caused.
People who run a blog on NCN have the ability to allow or disable the posting of comments on their blog and can also be very specific as to how open or restrictive the comment option is (the ability to comment can go from being open to practically anyone—NCN members and outsiders alike—to being just open to a selected few from a group of people entered on their contact list), if one finds oneself the object of persistent unrequited attention from another member of NCN, one also has the option of blocking the unwanted visitor so as to deny him or her access to one’s blog. This is a variation of what now exists pretty much everywhere under one form or another on most networking websites, such as MySpace and many others like it.
Ming (Ming.tv), whose emphasis recently has been focused more on the content of the entries he posts, than on the follow-up thread such entries might generate, has been content to go for a "laissez-faire" attitude and will mostly ignore the occasional innocuous irrelevant or irreverent comments, though he will sometimes take a look around and delete some of the spam that seems to have found its way to his blog.
Juan Cole (Informed Comment), who has come under severe and constant attacks on the part of organized groups who have been trying to undermine his work and his person, has had to adopt a more demanding and quite specific Comment Rules:
The editor is looking for messages with a certain tone, of civility and a willingness to share ideas and information in a non-dogmatic way. Strident messages, and those that are simply insulting or libellous, will not be posted. Messages that even sound as though they are a form of trolling will not be posted. Rejections are final and non-negotiable.
On the other hand, the editor, having few enough prerogatives in life, may in fact persistently reject messages of people whom he simply does not like.
I have no issue with either attitudes or with any of a variety of compromises between those two extremes.
A blog is only a blog and there is no offence, to oneself or to anyone, whom one decides to work with or not. Not everybody can be interested in everything; not everybody’s approach to a problem is the same; some people are heavily into heated argumentative debates and some other definitely are not. And in so far as NCN is concerned the only rule is for people to do their own things, and collaborate with people who share an interest with them in whatever that thing happens to be. This could take the form of some collaborative writing, or the creation of a database of information on any given topic (spiritual, political, scientific, technical, etc.), or it could take the form of something more complex and more involved.
Administering a thread is a demanding task. When one does it seriously and in earnest every question raised, every new information or opinion contributed, is one that one examines as much for oneself as one does for the commenter who contributed it. To me, first and foremost, it is a dialogue with myself as much as a dialogue with the author of the comment who posted on my blog. It is an interrogation that goes inward as well as outward. Any suggestion or feeling of competition, of being in a win-lose contest is a certain sign that dialogue has not been achieved.
What passes between the author of a an essay and his readers on a blog, or the communication that ensues as a result on the follow-up thread, is part of the "laboratory of life" where the theories and practices of human interaction are being tested. Our self-image and esteem is influenced mostly by those who are closest to us. In the openness of their blogs, I have had the privilege of coming close to many people on the Web a few of which are members of NCN, some, I have met in person, and others I have never met, and…one of them is no longer with us.
A lot has been written already, and again and again, about what NCN means. What it means to its founder. What it means to some of its members. Some of the basics are expressed in the NCN FAQ.
But if I had to pick up one rule and only one, and let everything else go, I would think that regardless of what one’s spiritual, political/apolitical positions might be—and I don’t think that NCN is about spirituality or about politics, nor do I think that NCN is not about spirituality, nor do I think that NCN is not about politics—NCN is about all of those things!—the one rule that I would pick would be this:
Do No Harm!
In other words, paraphrasing a famous saying:
"Battle not with Trolls lest ye become a Troll."
How is one to live a moral and compassionate existence when one is fully aware of the blood, the horror inherent in life, when one finds darkness not only in one's culture but within oneself? If there is a stage at which an individual life becomes truly adult, it must be when one grasps the irony in its unfolding and accepts responsibility for a life lived in the midst of such paradox. One must live in the middle of contradiction, because if all contradiction were eliminated at once life would collapse. There are simply no answers to some of the great pressing questions. You continue to live them out, making your life a worthy expression of leaning into the light. |
Category: Conscious Evolution
27 Mar 2010 @ 10:31 by Richard Joseph Ryan @220.127.116.11 : Andrew Bolt
Andrew Bolt! Pauline Hanson---in drag.
13 Dec 2014 @ 01:52 by oakleysunglasses @18.104.22.168 : sadasd
21 Feb 2015 @ 05:26 by @22.214.171.124 : http://www.diabloautobot.com
Aim for a higher progress and development and work your way from those goals and plans. Interesting in here indeed. thanks for the share.
23 Feb 2015 @ 16:11 by @126.96.36.199 : Things are very open and intensely clear
Things are very open and intensely clear explanation of issues. Was truly information. Your website is very beneficial. Appreciate your sharing.
21 Mar 2015 @ 07:11 by @188.8.131.52 : If you would like to get a good deal fro
If you would like to get a good deal from this article then you have to apply such methods to your won website.
19 May 2015 @ 05:17 by @184.108.40.206 : Great tips and very easy to understand.
Great tips and very easy to understand. This will definitely be very useful for me when I get a chance to start my blog. Thanks for sharing such a great content with us.
2 Jan 2016 @ 10:21 by @220.127.116.11 : juegos online
Juegos gratis, minijuegos online y multijugador. Juegos sociales y con logros en internet, juegos en flash y Unity 3D para pasarlo genial. Con y sin registro.
25 Jan 2016 @ 11:38 by @18.104.22.168 : aanrechtblad
Thanks for a very interesting blog. What else can I write that kind of information in such a perfect approach to get? I have a company that I'm just now working on, and I look for more of these.
13 Mar 2016 @ 09:38 by @22.214.171.124 : plak bh
I just read the regularly one particular subject material. Beautiful articles or reviews, thank you to suit downloading and sharing an article content with all of us.
Other entries in Conscious Evolution
3 Jul 2006 @ 01:48: Where is Abel thy brother?
5 Dec 2004 @ 02:04: A Report on the Banality of Evil
23 Aug 2004 @ 01:20: Imagination vs. pride & nationalism
17 May 2004 @ 13:20: We And They
31 Mar 2004 @ 11:47: And we, who are we anyway?
2 Dec 2003 @ 13:19: Wayfarers
30 Nov 2003 @ 16:40: Wayward
19 Sep 2003 @ 22:38: Evolve