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About the trolls

Published July 12th, 2011 by Bobby Henderson

 

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There’s something of a troll problem in the comment discussions.    I think the BigGest offender has now finally been convinced to find another venue, but there will be more in the future who are bent on being disruptive.  

Short of moderating all comments before they’re published (meaning it may be hours before they become visible), the options are a bit limited in what we can do.  We have a few options but some trolls are persistent at getting around the obstacles.

One thing I wanted to make clear is that there is no opinion filter.  The whole spectrum of opinion is welcome here – and especially when commenters are representing a minority view (strongly religious, for example) I feel obligated to give them the benefit of the doubt.  What I am saying is, unpopular opinions are as welcome as popular opinions, but all comments must be somewhat civil. Commenters who are only disruptive will be asked to find a new venue. This last trouble-maker was ejected because he was trying to ruin the peace (and succeeding), not because he was religious.  Many people asking for his removal were in fact Christians who felt he was giving Christians a bad name with his ranting.

The question is what to do with the comments left behind.  It was argued that we should leave them in place to avoid any precedent of deleting comments.  This makes sense to me.

For those looking for a more structured discussion forum, the FSM Forums are available and run a much tighter ship.

Thanks to everyone for the suggestions about the troll and for your patience.



201 Responses to “About the trolls”

  1. JB says:

    I’ve read some of the archived comments (thank you for keeping them) and I don’t see that letting someone demonstrate their confusion is actually a problem. He did seem to get into the spirit of it all, and at times seemed to be trying to satire the satire, even if he didn’t express himself well. I haven’t yet found where he became abusive in such a way that it couldn’t be shrugged off as having no substance.

    I always worry about possible censorship, when the comments were, apparently, at least on topic.
    Surely his comments provided the counterpoint, the see-what-we’re-talking about, the shadows to make the light brighter, that this site should enjoy. For that matter, seeing his comments in the aggregate, it is hard to be sure he isn’t a Poe.

    Though, out of context like that, it is hard to determine how intrusive they were.

    I support your decision to keep your site orderly in whatever fashion you deem necessary, but I do caution against the risks of silencing even one voice, no matter how annoying. We can learn as much from those who annoy us as from those who agree with us (probably more) even if what we learn is how much we disagree with them and how annoying they are.

    • Encyclodpedia Brit says:

      JB,

      I really actually agree with you but for mostly less noble reasons. I enjoy his absurd ramblings. And I think its good to keep in perspective all the opinions that are out there no matter how unintelligent they are. I really don’t like people telling me I can’t respond or to ignore him, I’m a big girl (despite my tiny stature) and can decide for myself who to comment on and who to ignore.

      I leave you all with a quote that was on our debate t-shirts in high school.

      “We respect your opinion no matter how wrong it may be.” -Hardy 04′

      • Keith says:

        If you want to unclog a drain, don’t put the muck down in the first place. BG was clogging the site. Now it runs freer. I have no doubt that he/she/it will be boasting to any friends he (etc) has that he (etc) made a huge impact on this site.

    • TiltedHorizon says:

      “I always worry about possible censorship, when the comments were, apparently, at least on topic.”

      A topic could be a hanging plant which resembles FSM he would post that “FSM AKA Osama Bin Laden is dead and buried at sea”. He would then take his own post and paste a variant of it across unrelated threads.

      I do agree it’s hard to appreciate his level of intrusion from the aggregate but rest assured his aim was to derail every topic and make the discussion about himself. Unless your a psychologist there is nothing to learn from his behavior.

      • Atsap Revol says:

        Ramen to that, Tilted Horizon.

        Atsap

  2. Lisa says:

    Thank you, Bobby.

  3. Encyclodpedia Brit says:

    P.S. I just think that troll picture is so darn adorable.

    xo
    B

    • L6313 says:

      I agree! If all Trolls were that cute, I’d want to feed them more often!

  4. Dr. Astronomer says:

    Thank you Bobby. It seems like there is fresh air in the room now. While I am generally against censorship, there needs to be an exception when there is an affront to all that is decent and good. Hopefully, those that left will return, but may his Noodlyness watch over them where ere they are.

    RAmen,
    Dr. Astronomer

    P.S. I wouldn’t mind trolls so much if they were as adorable as the pic.

  5. kingoflondon says:

    I never really understood why people responded to this guy? The website already has a function to hide posts which are voted down. If people would have just ignored him, he would have got bored soon enough. Every time he posted something, people always had to say something back. What’s the point? It’s not going to do any good, you were just doing EXACTLY what he wanted. Probably the most well-fed troll I’ve ever seen!

    • wulff says:

      Actually, on the several occasions when no replies to him were posted and we just greyed him down, he would then proceed to post rants about how he was ‘wining’ by being sent to ‘grey purgatory’. He was determined to be as disruptive as possible, not because he was a ‘x-tian warrior’ but because he doesn’t want other people to have fun. I have dealt with too many people like him in my life. They make themselves as obnoxious and irritating as they can to provoke negative responses so they can feel vindicated by being persecuted.

  6. Atsap Revol says:

    Bobby,

    Thank you for separating the “odious” troll from our site. It’s good to see people back to commenting on the subject of a thread and displaying the wit and humor of the past. We will never know for sure if BG was putting us on or if he was really as nuts as he seemed. But who cares…we are rid of him.

    Ramen,
    Atsap Revol

  7. Omnipotent Zombie says:

    Thank you Bobby for intervening on everybody’s behalf. BG’s constant banter really eroded the level of civility around here. Now, the site can return to its former glory! ps- somebody give Toni Rigatoni and many of the other site veterans the good news!

    • stylusmobilus says:

      They’ll see he’s gone, and return home where they belong.

  8. CrisisMaven says:

    See, if a troll were a bad thing, would’ve the Flying Spaghetti Monster allowed it (ok, not sure about troll sexes, maybe they have four, or seven more than us humans; I mean: four out of three people are arithmetically challenged). And what about all those trolls that disguise themselves as sensible and treacherously place comments? I think we should call convocate an Assembly of the Divines (vines are creepers, by the way and much in line with tentacles thusly).

    • stylusmobilus says:

      Yes, He would have allowed it and did, because in His wisdom He left man to his own devices, to fix the problems he created. As we can see here His Noodlyness, drunk though He may be, has been vindicated.

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