|1.6180339887 4989484820 45868...: The Destructive Troll|
8 comments11 Jun 2006 @ 17:14 by ida : Newsgroup, Newslogs & Discussion Forums
A newsgroup is a repository usually within the Usenet system, for messages posted from many users at different locations. Newsgroups are technically distinct from, but functionally similar to, discussion forums on the World Wide Web.
The terms are somewhat confusing, but they all can usually qualify as "discussion groups." So do Newslogs and more specifically Workgroups where comments are invited and threads on a given topic are generated.
11 Jun 2006 @ 17:25 by ida : Moderated Dicussion Groups
A Moderated Discussion is almost impossible to troll.
It works and is a traditional usenet method of solving the problems of troublesome newsgroups.
It requires a team of moderators. It requires a very well written charter, with specific moderation guidelines, otherwise the moderators will end up accepting or rejecting posts on personal preference. The Trolls will try to become moderators, and cause mayhem.
11 Jun 2006 @ 17:30 by ida : By Invitation Only Groups
If things get too rough an existing group of posters could move to an invitation only Group, or create a private Workgroup.
The Trolls can be effectively kept out.
It is a closed-system. In the longer term, the Trolls have effectively won, and the newsgroup might even wither and die unless new members are found.
11 Jun 2006 @ 18:21 by ida : Ignore them and they will go away.
This is the traditional usenet method of dealing with Trolls, and is regularly suggested.
If you are confronted with a minor attack by merely Irritating Trolls (the kind who merely craves attention, as opposed to the Destructive Trolls who target a site for sabotage and/or destruction,) or inexperienced and disorganized Trolls, this may work.
If you are a participant in a network that has been specifically targeted by some co-ordinated group, this is impossible, as up to 90% of posts may be trolls. As the intention is to sabotage and/or destroy the Targeted Network, they will *never* go away.
11 Jun 2006 @ 18:53 by ida : A fine line
Not all Trolls are Destructive Trolls.
The old definition of a Troll is one who posts to generate the maximum numbers of follow ups. These are a very minor irritation, and can be considered to be advantageous to newsgroups. There is sometimes a small point of general interest in Troll posts. Careful snipping and follow ups can create interesting threads.
Posts about "ideas" are generally okay on most Networks, so is "honesty" and openly expressing oneself. So a poster being offensive or bigoted doesn't necesarily makes the poster a Troll - non of these actions occurring singly or in moderation indicate a Troll attack. When they occur in combination or large amounts they may indicate a Troll attack.
Trolls use such grey areas to exploit the ambiguity in what constitute one type of behavior over the other.
7 Jul 2006 @ 01:03 by ida : Trolling... why do they do it
Attention seeking, personal vendetta, ideological antagonism toward a chosen "target"...
Some Trolls are retired persons, with a good pension and little to do with their lives... Some are adolescents with an attitude and too much time on their hands...
Some Trolls are just frustrated people who are thwarted, in one way or another, by the circumstances of their life. They can however disrupt usenet with relative impunity...
Some pride themselves in being Trolls.
Some are buttons pushers who do not even think of themselves as Trolls...they just do it "for your own good".
12 Jul 2006 @ 21:56 by ida : Conflict Resolution
When a troll or a group of trolls gets going, no form of conflict-resolution process is going to work, because trolls are not interested in resolving conflicts. Indeed, the more understanding and patient one is, the worse things will get, because trolls use other's people's emotions, patience and understanding as opportunities to further their goal:
"Under ordinary circumstances, when people are involved in a misunderstanding, a careful explanation of what went wrong can sometimes (not always) go a long way toward resolving the tensions. But this won't have the desired effect if the person is a troll. If you dialog with a troll and say, "This act led to this damage; this statement caused that argument; you misunderstood me in this way, which caused this difficulty," it verifies for the troll exactly what worked and what didn't. Such an approach tells the troll precisely which strategies can be used to his or her advantage. If you say, "We can resolve the problem by doing this," you've told the troll what to avoid. Trolls are willing to invent any justification to obfuscate the issues or make any promises which are needed to lull their target into a sense of unwariness; then they're good at finding justifications for breaking those promises, or finding ways around them to further their goal and get to their target. Particularly if other people are involved, they are also very good at deflecting any discussion away from the central issues involved - such as the troll's own actions."
12 Jul 2006 @ 22:00 by ida : Staying or leaving?
When a News Group is troubled by Trolls it is always possible to just leave.
From a purely selfish point of view this is by far the easiest thing to do. You can happily transfer your membership to less troubled networks. Problem solved!
From the point of view of a network as a whole, it is absolutely the worst possible course of action. Whether the trolls are the infantile kind with a strange sense of fun, or the evil kind intent on destruction, the result will be the same. No "on topic threads," lots of ridiculous troll posts, dead newsgroup.