18
   

In the A2K playground: Play the Synbot game today!

 
 
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Sun 5 Oct, 2008 12:03 pm
@DrewDad,
I don't see RG's thread as a "protest." I did that by my "ignore" of "that" schizophrenic. I see RG's thread as more of a study of personalities on a2k and Abuzz.
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  4  
Reply Sun 5 Oct, 2008 12:19 pm
@DrewDad,
That scenario isn't any different on other sites, but I just don't see the same pervasive suspicion anywhere else. I think the pervasive suspicion is bad for the community. I'm not saying the curiosity is "pathetic" or "disgusting". Those are projections onto my very clear statements that simply contain none of that disdain.

On this site, people seem to want to "out" each other more than any other site I know of, and manage to get it very wrong at a curiously high rate (the overwhelming majority of the time by my estimate). I find that curious, and find the sway that trolls from 6-years ago hold over some to be curious. But I just don't have any of the disdain I've been accused of for this kind of thing.

If people want to make trolls legendary more power to them. I think it's also more power to the troll and that the pervasive suspicion is bad for the community but that's nothing more than my opinon on the effect this has on the community and just doesn't contain the emotional content that has been projected onto my opinion.

Like I've already said, I just find it odd and counter-productive. There's a lot much more odd and much more counter productive things for me to get my panties in a twist about if I were so inclined but I just don't take the a2k dramas this seriously (for the sake of sanity).
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Sun 5 Oct, 2008 06:20 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Robert Gentel wrote:

No, some of the liberals here think all conservative trolls are "Massagato" but that list is not the work of one person.

Well, you have of course extra possibilities to check into people's identities that we dont have. Though even you can't definitely know, right? 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?

I do feel pretty confident about my list, though. The only exception is Barackman, really - on that one I've just followed the consensus that it's another of this guy's personas. There's also one or two IDs that were used for only a small number of posts (eg Renatus), so I'm more likely to be wrong on those. But almost all the non-Barackman ones, definitely including Synron, I am sure about. 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. Razz

All of the characters on the list eventually ended up phrasing practically identical and highly characteristic disparagements. I mean, if someone starts telling me, in that unique style of deranged pomposity, that what do I know, Hungarians are so primitive, they have outhouse toilets -- well, that alone almost clinches it. I mean, thats just so odd and quixotic a line of disparagement, if it comes from ever new, temporary poster IDs, it's almost gotta be the same guy!

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. Cool

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. Cool 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.

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 Cool
Foxfyre
 
  3  
Reply Sun 5 Oct, 2008 06:45 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Robert Gentel wrote:

That scenario isn't any different on other sites, but I just don't see the same pervasive suspicion anywhere else. I think the pervasive suspicion is bad for the community. I'm not saying the curiosity is "pathetic" or "disgusting". Those are projections onto my very clear statements that simply contain none of that disdain.

On this site, people seem to want to "out" each other more than any other site I know of, and manage to get it very wrong at a curiously high rate (the overwhelming majority of the time by my estimate). I find that curious, and find the sway that trolls from 6-years ago hold over some to be curious. But I just don't have any of the disdain I've been accused of for this kind of thing.

If people want to make trolls legendary more power to them. I think it's also more power to the troll and that the pervasive suspicion is bad for the community but that's nothing more than my opinon on the effect this has on the community and just doesn't contain the emotional content that has been projected onto my opinion.

Like I've already said, I just find it odd and counter-productive. There's a lot much more odd and much more counter productive things for me to get my panties in a twist about if I were so inclined but I just don't take the a2k dramas this seriously (for the sake of sanity).


Thank you for this. A few here have accused me of being somebody else on more than one occasion, but at least you know there is absolutely nobody here that is me other than me. (Years ago I did help one person sign up for A2K in my office and I think it was on my computer, but she used her own thereafter.)

I don't worry about empowering trolls though I agree that ignoring them is far more effective than egging them on by giving them attention. I do feel bad for those who are accused of being 'reinventions' when they are not. And I feel bad for those who got off on the wrong foot and try to obtain a fresh start by re-entering with a new persona. The obsession with 'outing' people can be discouraging to participation.


0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  3  
Reply Sun 5 Oct, 2008 06:50 pm
@nimh,
nimh wrote:
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.

Quote:
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.

Quote:
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).

Quote:
I do feel pretty confident about my list, though.


I'd agree with most of it as well.

Quote:
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).
Quote:
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. Razz


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.

Quote:
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. Cool

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. Cool 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).

Quote:
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 Cool


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.
Robert Gentel
 
  5  
Reply Sun 5 Oct, 2008 06:57 pm
@Robert Gentel,
One last thing, I recommend voting the trolls down. Enough people do that and their posts are collapsed by default.

We only need a handful of people to ignore these trolls and use the tools we have made (and continue to make) to help reduce their disruptive ability. On the internet, as the famous meme goes, nobody knows you are a dog. I don't bother trying to vest much interest in newbie's identities, if they are spouting flame bait I already know what to do.

I'm getting off my soap box now but I wish a couple of you would join me in voting down and ignoring disruptive behavior. We are also going to be building a couple of new restrictions shortly limiting the number of posts anyone can make on one thread in a row to prevent the trolls from disrupting them so easily. That's an example of the freedom/troll tradeoff but as long as the members here are rising to their bait, there's no technological help we can give to the community to minimize their disruption.

At some point the members themselves need to take matters into their own hands and do what they all know they need to do to minimize the troll's effect on the community. I hope this community gets there before the number of trolls is overwhelming and the community is forced to do so or give it up entirely.

The troll in question is taunting you guys about ignoring him for a reason.
nimh
 
  2  
Reply Sun 5 Oct, 2008 06:58 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Robert Gentel wrote:

Anywho, I'm sorry if I'm being a wet blanket on any fun you are trying to have with them.

No, no dont worry about it -- I totally get your concern. I already noted in the opening that I wasnt necessarily doing the smart thing... I totally get the exasperation with people engaging the troll instead of ignoring them, and I've been kind of uneven with that myself.

Quote:
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.

Yeah, that was kinda my take. Like, this thread was about nothing but homeboy in the first place - it might not be smart in terms of encouraging a troll, but it doesnt spoil anything. It's safely sequestered (or whatever that word is) from any substantive discussion anyway, so I didnt feel too guilty about that. Responding to a troll within a thread that was actually about something is a different thing, and where the real trouble begins. And again, I've been guilty about that too, but that I do feel bad about. Wink
0 Replies
 
JPB
 
  1  
Reply Sun 5 Oct, 2008 06:58 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Quote:
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


I must have missed that one. Care to give a link?
nimh
 
  3  
Reply Sun 5 Oct, 2008 07:04 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Robert Gentel wrote:

I'm getting off my soap box now but I wish a couple of you would join me in voting down

Yay, I do that already Cool

Basically, I have this one on ignore ... and only when I'm bored or acutely procrastinating do I open posts up that are marked as being from ignored users to see what they're up to. And then I vote 'em down if they're posting obnoxious stuff. So I get double brownie points. Wink

One thing I was thinking about the other day though - if you've got someone on ignore, you dont see their posts - so you wont vote 'em down either. So how's that work? If enough people put someone on ignore, then basically their posts wont be voted down anymore, and wont collapse by default etc either, right?

Is there some kinda mechanism in which 1 "ignore" = 10 down votes or something? Or is it just a question of that one can be sure that there will always be enough ignorers and non-ignorers alike that both systems will still work?
Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Sun 5 Oct, 2008 07:07 pm
@nimh,
nimh wrote:

All of the characters on the list eventually ended up phrasing practically identical and highly characteristic disparagements ... it's almost gotta be the same guy!


Are you implying that all the screen names who use similar verbage to voice objection to Robert's tendacy toward an abrassive abruptness are all the same person? Wink

Hey, maybe all the troll hunters are also the same people!
Robert Gentel
 
  4  
Reply Sun 5 Oct, 2008 07:09 pm
@JPB,
I'm guilty of exaggerating the scale for sure, it's probably about 10 pages of everyone doing (including myself a couple of posts) it but Rockhead was the main one I read who just wouldn't let go of the troll. I was guilty of rising to the bait as well and feel the need to add a bold disclaimer that I'm not condemning Rockhead as a person for doing it.

For example he'd probably had a page or so of posts to him before saying that he and others shouldn't feed the troll here and then perhaps a page or two more (I'm just guesstimating, I'm not counting to see how many posts he's making) afterward.

I know he means well, but the inane back and forth with the troll ruined the thread (for me, others may well feel that I ruin threads for them of course) and I wished he'd take his own advice and stop feeding the troll.

No matter who it is, if they are ruining the thread for you I think that responding to them isn't going to make it any better.
JPB
 
  1  
Reply Sun 5 Oct, 2008 07:18 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Then I suppose you have the right to ignore those you perceive as troll-feeders, yes?

Unless there's a blanket troll alert that the admins decide to flag and expect everyone to follow then the rest of us are free to converse with those we choose to converse with. Since when does a thread here get channeled to one where members aren't allowed to converse to any one poster or another of their choice?
nimh
 
  2  
Reply Sun 5 Oct, 2008 07:19 pm
@Butrflynet,
Yes nimh, what about you, everyone knows you're like, at least four of the posters on this thread!


Oh **** am I still signed in as myself? Wait a second...
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  3  
Reply Sun 5 Oct, 2008 07:28 pm
@nimh,
nimh wrote:
Basically, I have this one on ignore ... and only when I'm bored or acutely procrastinating do I open posts up that are marked as being from ignored users to see what they're up to. And then I vote 'em down if they're posting obnoxious stuff. So I get double brownie points. Wink


I personally never use the ignore feature (just do it manually) but if I happen across it I vote it down to save time.

Makes the threads much cleaner for me when I come back to them later.

Quote:
One thing I was thinking about the other day though - if you've got someone on ignore, you dont see their posts - so you wont vote 'em down either. So how's that work? If enough people put someone on ignore, then basically their posts wont be voted down anymore, and wont collapse by default etc either, right?


Yeah, and Joe brought that up in our first week or so. It's been something I'm thinking about a lot.

Some forum software have features to make the whole community ignore the troll, I don't want to do something like that top-down but am considering how to make a feature that allows users to ignore the trolls that enough other people recommend ignoring.

I'm not near a solution yet, for example the user reputation ranking still aren't anywhere near where they need to be to be useful (which is why non-developers don't see them now) and there's not enough ignore history to draw any algorithms up but I'm looking into ways that the users can provide useful recommendations to others.

I'm not very optimistic that it can be done on our scale just yet, so I think the solution is going to be vote-based for now.

Quote:
Is there some kinda mechanism in which 1 "ignore" = 10 down votes or something? Or is it just a question of that one can be sure that there will always be enough ignorers and non-ignorers alike that both systems will still work?


There's no great technical solution implemented or even designed yet to be perfectly honest. We need to lay a lot of groundwork before we can even consider it, but we've shifted some of our priorities to address the groundwork (meaning PMs are further away, we need to nail some basics and some navigation issues first).
Robert Gentel
 
  2  
Reply Sun 5 Oct, 2008 07:31 pm
@JPB,
JPB wrote:
Then I suppose you have the right to ignore those you perceive as troll-feeders, yes?


Yup and I do my best to do so. I've not been as consistent as I would like but that's a big reason I tend to just move on if a troll has successfully baited enough responses.

I don't want to have to dig for non-troll interaction there so I ignore it as best as I can and if it becomes too much I move on.

Quote:
Since when does a thread here get channeled to one where members aren't allowed to converse to any one poster or another of their choice?


They clearly can and do, and if I want to say that I find it counter-productive I clearly can and do. <shrugs>
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Sun 5 Oct, 2008 07:31 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Quote:
(for me, others may well feel that I ruin threads for them of course) and I wished he'd take his own advice and stop feeding the troll.


I disagree. I'd never heard before that thread that possum spelled backwards was mussop. Whoda thunk?
Robert Gentel
 
  3  
Reply Sun 5 Oct, 2008 07:34 pm
@Robert Gentel,
nimh, there's a specific idea I've actually wanted to bounce off of you.

Pre-launch, we'd actually designed the ignore function to be mutual. That is, if you ignore someone they couldn't respond to your posts and threads. We ditched that because we weren't sure it would have been a community-healthy difference but I'm still considering similar solutions.

What do you think about users having the ability to moderate their own threads for example? Or to ban people from replying to them?

I can see abuse of even this kind of feature, but had been meaning to ask some of the more thoughtful forum members what they think of it.
JPB
 
  1  
Reply Sun 5 Oct, 2008 07:37 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Quote:
if I want to say that I find it counter-productive I clearly can and do. <shrugs>

And so you have but until you come up with a mechanism to establish official trollism (in lieu of blocking their access to the site) then you shouldn't be surprised or put off when people choose who they wish to respond to.
Robert Gentel
 
  3  
Reply Sun 5 Oct, 2008 07:39 pm
@JTT,
I understand. Well I don't really understand but I accept that.

That's a specific freedom that would be infringed upon to get rid of the troll exchanges, not all people feel the same way about them.

I think people should be free to do that if they want to, but I also think I should be free to say I think it makes the community worse to do so.

And look, I'm certainly not a shining example of someone who can avoid rising to bait all the time, so I'm not trying to condemn Rockhead as a person for doing so. I understand it can be hard to do, I'm just saying that I don't think it's productive and that was a prominent example in my recent memory.

On the same pages I linked to, you can find an example of me doing it on a smaller scale. As soon as I made up my mind about the utility of engaging the troll I gave up on it, but I rose to the bait for a couple posts as well.
Robert Gentel
 
  3  
Reply Sun 5 Oct, 2008 07:40 pm
@JPB,
JPB wrote:
And so you have but until you come up with a mechanism to establish official trollism (in lieu of blocking their access to the site) then you shouldn't be surprised or put off when people choose who they wish to respond to.


I have no desire to run that authoritarian of a site JPB, but that doesn't mean I no longer have a personal opinion on the matter.
0 Replies
 
 

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