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When Shutting Up isn't Cowardice

 
 
Thomas
 
Reply Thu 19 Oct, 2006 04:05 pm
Recently, a member known for obnoxious postings has been blighting the political threads even more than he usually does. For two reasons, I won't mention his name: First, the person in question changes its moniker every couple of weeks. Second, everyone I'm trying to address knows whom I'm talking about anyway.

Also, it isn't this member I want to talk about in this thread. I want to talk about you, the good guys: the polite, interesting, regular posters whose behavior can be changed with arguments. Many of you, I'm afraid, waste lots of precious time arguing with the bad guy's recent incarnation. You act as if you were trying to make him own up to his sins and behave well in the future, even though you know that's impossible.

I can only guess about the reason for this stunning irrationality. Apparently you "good posters" can't get out of your real-life chivalry routines when you're online and they no longer work. In real life, you can hope to discourage rabble-rousers by confronting him and telling them off. But online, your confrontation cannot reach them effectively. Barring a ban by the moderators, you have nothing to back your confrontation up with. On the contrary: Your reaction is probably just what these people are trying to provoke. In most cases when your gallantry breaks through, you are giving the bad guy exactly what he wants.

It even gets worse: A disrupter with lots of energy and too much time is annoying enough. But even he can only derail a thread for so long. But when five "good guys" chime in each time he posts, telling him what they think of him, trying against all odds to make him stop, the thread ends up being permanently derailed. And for the most part, it isn't the bad guy who does it, but you, the public-spirited, courageous interventionist. As bitter as it sounds: your chivalry's unintended consequences frequently add more clutter to the thread than the aggression that provoked you.

So the next time your thread gets disrupted, please swallow your pride and don't confront him. Instead, if it's a clear terms-of-service violation, call in the moderators. If not, ignore the disruptor. Just continue the conversation with whoever you find worth conversing with. Contrary to what your instincts might tell you, this isn't cowardice. It's the only way you can deny the bad guy what he is trying to get from you. And the thread will stay worth reading longer for it.

Thank you for considering my request.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 5 • Views: 27,512 • Replies: 598
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dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Thu 19 Oct, 2006 04:11 pm
Amen.
0 Replies
 
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Thu 19 Oct, 2006 04:36 pm
Neener neener.
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Thu 19 Oct, 2006 04:37 pm
Hey, he's the only guy who consistently reacts to my posts. I've never had a fan before..
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Thu 19 Oct, 2006 04:46 pm
Thomas' basic message is "Don't feed the troll." He's absolutely correct. I also happen to know that he practices what he is preaching here. It is very difficult to ignore this particular troll, the more so as it now appears in these fora under two separate identities. I try very hard to ignore it, and largely succeed--but i do succumb now and again.

Thomas is right, and we all should heed his message.
0 Replies
 
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Thu 19 Oct, 2006 04:49 pm
nimh wrote:
Hey, he's the only guy who consistently reacts to my posts. I've never had a fan before..


That's not true... Embarrassed

Cycloptichorn
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 19 Oct, 2006 04:54 pm
The troll in question once told me on an Abuzz thread he was going to disrupt a2k. He has had more success than I'd anticipated.
0 Replies
 
snood
 
  1  
Reply Thu 19 Oct, 2006 05:03 pm
It'll be challenging Thomas, but well worth the effort. Excellent post.
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Thu 19 Oct, 2006 05:05 pm
Cyclo, aww... now you got me blushing ;-)
0 Replies
 
gustavratzenhofer
 
  1  
Reply Thu 19 Oct, 2006 05:07 pm
Am I the only one who doesn't know who Thomas is talking about?

Is it DrewDad?
0 Replies
 
dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Thu 19 Oct, 2006 05:25 pm
I deny everything, Possum is my buddy.
0 Replies
 
gustavratzenhofer
 
  1  
Reply Thu 19 Oct, 2006 05:25 pm
nimh?
0 Replies
 
gustavratzenhofer
 
  1  
Reply Thu 19 Oct, 2006 05:26 pm
Surely they speak not of dyslexia.
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Thu 19 Oct, 2006 05:37 pm
With ya all the way Thomas.
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  2  
Reply Thu 19 Oct, 2006 05:59 pm
OK, the rate this thread is going I'll soon feel socially compelled to join in the ignoring... when I was just having fun... it can be quite meditative, you know, talking with this guy. Sorta like with Herberts.

Yeah, Herberts - wait - let me dig in the archive, and make that my contribution to trying to answer Thomas's bemusement... I'm not saying that any of this makes me look good, but there you go... there is a rational (sorta) reason behind the rhyme. Herewe are:

nimh wrote:
Lord Ellpus wrote:
The trouble is though, Steve, if everyone actually engages him in debate, it just gives him more jerking off material.

You're right of course, me Lord. And yet I can't seem to stop myself.

Why ever? Well, one thing is that we've long gotten used to his antics over in the related Dutch thread, so I'm not as shocked as one might be first encountering his rants. [..]

That also means I've had some time to reflect on my motivations, and there's more or less three of 'em, I think - none of which, to be sure, are in any way honorable.

* For one, there is a vague, or rather: vain, gratification in bantering with him. Why? Because it's so much like, I dunno - shooting fish in a barrel. As such, it's a form of entertainment more than anything else.

* There's almost a sense in comfort in knowing that he will respond in exactly the same way, saying the exact same things, every single time. I dunno. Its kinda like why some dark-spirited people have this person at hand to kick around every day. You kick it, and it makes the exact same sound - day after day after day. There's a pleasant sense of predictability, of routine, in that, in a world otherwise so fraught with change and unreliability. He's very reliable that way.

* There's also a zen-like meditational quality about talking with someone whom you have zero illusions about. That can save you a lot of frustration. With other folks who are mostly on the other side, but are yet, quite obviously, open-minded and intelligent, I can get all worked up sometimes, when they suddenly go all short-sighted or stubborn-headed about something, resorting to rhetorical nonsequiturs. Argh! Furiously frustrated, is what it makes me sometimes. But with Herberts, there's no such frustration, because you know from the start that there's nothing whatsoever to achieve there. So you're really just talking for the sake of talking, for your own gratification in it - there is no point, or target, and neither can there be. That, too, is kind of calming and comforting.

Yeah, some kind of combination like that. Cool
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Thu 19 Oct, 2006 06:05 pm
oooooooooh speaking of Herberts, I found something the other day

Quote:
I finally decided on a new tactic: Before wasting my time on nutting-out 20 or so posts only to find this all go to waste as a result of soon being banned... I now started off my new membership by ripping the sh*t out of the administration to test their mettle and bait-the-bear, so to speak, to discover if they had a reasonable amount of Teflon coating or were the usual mob of sob sisters who banned anyone who showed a bit of 'mongrel' and 'devil-may-care'.

In my earlier posts I gave the administration at http://www.able2know.com/forums/
a few pokes in the eye with jibes and insults about believing they wouldn't have the balls to countenance any rightwing opinions... blah blah blah... but they've surprising weathered the storm of my initial abuse and haven't once interfered with all the rest of my 'controversial' 'rightwing' posts. oo_

(And for that I sincerely congratulate them for having the wit and the wisdom to let the membership itself decide whether to engage me in discussion or ignore me as someone beyond the pale).


http://s4.invisionfree.com/debaterelate/ar/t646.htm

(nimh, you get an honourable mention further down that page)
0 Replies
 
hamburger
 
  1  
Reply Thu 19 Oct, 2006 06:08 pm
i guess it's like spray-painting , the more attention being paid to it , the more there is of it .
i understand cleaning up spray paintings almost immediately works quite well because the message is gone quickly .
we'll need someone with a bucket of soapsuds on a2k :wink: .
hbg
0 Replies
 
dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Thu 19 Oct, 2006 06:11 pm
It's far more interesting to me that foxfyre and ticomaya are supportive of Possum than what possum has to say.
0 Replies
 
gustavratzenhofer
 
  1  
Reply Thu 19 Oct, 2006 06:19 pm
Who, or what, is Possum, and who, or what, did he or she used to be?
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Thu 19 Oct, 2006 06:28 pm
ehBeth wrote:
oooooooooh speaking of Herberts, I found something the other day

Well, well.. you do get around :wink:

ehBeth wrote:
(nimh, you get an honourable mention further down that page)

Wowee. My penchant for dirt-digging, mud-slinging and character-assassination? Because of copy/pasting the one article that made me LOL, about a politician of the anti-gay BNP turning out to have starred in a gay nudie pic? He musta taken that one quite personal, huh.

That said, I saw that post of his (that he quotes), and I would never have thought that was what got him banned. Ive seen much worse here, even directed at me. I mean, its not like he called me the scregs of humanity or anything :wink:
0 Replies
 
 

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