Well, you have of course extra possibilities to check into people's identities that we dont have.
Not as much as we used to, the old forum software had an IP search available to all moderators, on this software we haven't bothered building it yet (and might not, because other than curiosity it doesn't really change our ability to do our jobs, it will only become an issue for us if we need to find out what IPs spam bots are using when their scale requires us to address whole IP blocks).
I can see that the IPs are different if I'm curious enough to look into it but most of what I based my opinion on is what I see as very obvious and hard to fake differences in writing.
Though even you can't definitely know, right?
Nope, not the way we currently run the forum. Of course we could easily get rid of all this kind of behavior, but the tradeoff is less privacy and freedom for all.
When we make custom user groups, users will be able to create their own sub-forums of the site and be stricter about forum identity if they want but for the main site the vision is something much more open than that so we can't know and we can't care too much about it either.
I mean, if people dont just register with different email addresses but also post from different computers (internet cafes or whatnot, I dont know how common those are over there but here there's one in every fifth street), there's no way to know for sure, right?
Yeah, but there's really no motivation to do that and sometimes the only possible case would be if they lived in different cities at the same time.
Using proxies would make things easier but if you have something like two well known residential IPs in different cities it's a lot less likely but yeah, still possible (a guy could be remoting into a friend's computer in another city, or have a network of compromised zombie computers).
I do feel pretty confident about my list, though.
I'd agree with most of it as well.
The only exception is Barackman, really - on that one I've just followed the consensus that it's another of this guy's personas.
Since he's a troll I really don't care but I think that one's one that the community has wrong. The reason I think this kind of thing is bad for the community is because in other cases it's not a troll.
Many times in the past, newbies asking about a very personal problem were assumed to be a previous relationships forum troll and were "outed".
Getting Barackman wrong is not a big deal to me because he's a troll, but I felt pretty bad for the relationship newbies when it happened to them (thankfully I haven't seen that in ages, but then again I avoid those topics now).
Simply because Italgato somehow developed a particular interest in my posts, and developed a couple of very specific and particular, and - shall I say - highly
uniquely phrased lines of attack.
I agree. One other very specific MO is his trolling tactics of speaking to others once you decide to ignore him. So if you ignore him he starts talking to the audience about you, making it difficult to continue. As you note, the only way he's not going to be able to take over the site is when enough users start to ignore him.
For that reason I have mixed feelings about threads like this, they are useful to make people connect the dots faster if that helps them move toward just ignoring the disruptive activity but less so if it just gives them more attention alone.
That's just one examples of course. Basically I've just been afforded this unique opportunity of tracing this guy's verbal tics from up close. It's mostly just funny. Ideal entertainment if you're just really bored.
Now no doubt it's a quixotic quest to keep a list like that. There's no practical upside whatsoever! It's just a quirk of mine - just one of many.
If you feel particularly indulgent, do tell me which poster or posters in the list you think are not actually the same guy, I'd be curious. Again, for no practical reason really, just curious.
Off the top of my head I'd say Barackman doesn't sound anything like the others and is simply not as intelligent. He was also much more patient with the trolling. But I've already forgotten the names that match with the posts I looked up yesterday (as soon as I identify these trolls I ignore them so I don't tend to remember the names for long if they don't become folklore).
Robert Gentel wrote:
On any other forum I use the trolls are just nuisances like spam. I suppose getting entertainment out of them is better than irritation though.
Exactomundo - hence this thread
I hope I'm not disrupting the fun to much to advocate not giving these trolls the attention. I'm not concerned about threads about them so much as the direct respones to their bait.
I don't think starting a thread about trolls is that harmful to the site (any more than any navel gazing is) but I do think letting interesting threads suddenly stop being interesting sucks. The bailout is dead thread now is separated into two rough halves. The first half of the pages are pre-troll, and the second whole half of the thread is one troll and the responses to them.
Seeing Rockhead and a troll going back and forth for more than 10 pages isn't something I find useful or interesting and that's just one example (out of dozens) of threads one troll was allowed to kill because a handful of people refuse to ignore them and rise to their every bait. That sucks and trolling is very effective on this forum because of it. I think it's the community's loss for it, and wish the community weren't so obsessed with its trolls.
Anywho, I'm sorry if I'm being a wet blanket on any fun you are trying to have with them.