Friday, September 29, 2006

So your listserv has a troll (or five)...

This was posted to a mailing list about a year ago:

Totalitarians use misfits to disrupt free speech on the internet. This procedure will destroy the totalitarian's most effective method of disrupting free speech on the internet. Please pass this around. Permission to add this to web pages is granted.

What is a troll?

An Internet "troll" is a person who delights in sowing discord on the Internet. He tries to start arguments, and upsets people.

Trolls see internet communications as convenient venues for their bizarre game. They are actually afflicted with a form a sadism; in that, they take joy in hurting people. A sadist gets sexual pleasure from causing pain. The troll is engaging in "cyber sex" for the sadist. Many trolls are bigots. Bigotry is a good cover for sadism.

Trolls feel no sorrow whatsoever for the pain they inflict. Indeed, the greater the suffering they cause; the greater their joy. For the moment, the relative anonymity of the net allows trolls to flourish.

Trolls are utterly impervious to criticism (constructive or otherwise).

Arguing with a troll is like playing Russian roulette with a dead man.

The troll's usual reaction to a response will be amazingly similar to the adolescent phrase:

"I know you are, but what am I?"

When the trolls become very desperate, they will resort to insulting the normal member; by name, AND IN THE SUBJECT LINE, OF THE MESSAGE.

Trolls are quite predictable. Within a few hours of the first time, that that this message was posted , one of the internet's most active trolls posted a message, with my name in the subject line, saying that I am the ultimate troll.

After this message was first posted, many people asked if there was a web page; which gave a list of known trolls. If you want the trolls to identify themselves, just post this message, and see who takes offence, and pops in to comment.

It is safe to conclude that if one were to throw a rock into a pen full of pigs, and one of them squealed, that the one that squealed, would be the one that you had hit.

You cannot negotiate with trolls. You cannot cause trolls to feel shame or compassion. You cannot reason with trolls. Trolls cannot be made to feel remorse. You can say:

"Why don't you take your silly bickering to the chat room, and stop filling up everyone's mail box with drivel?"

BUT THEY NEVER WILL.

The reason that the trolls refuse to take their silly bickering to the chat room is that then everyone would see how few people are interested in what they have to say, by the fact that NO ONE would go with them to the chat room. NO ONE, BUT THE TROLLS, WOULD BE THERE! ALSO, then they would not be filling up everyone's mail box,
with drivel; which is their real goal.

Trolls do not feel they are bound by the rules of courtesy or social responsibility.

Perhaps this sounds inconceivable. You may think, "Surely there is something I can write that will change them." But a true troll can not be changed by mere words.

The only way to deal with trolls is to limit your reaction to reminding others not to respond to trolls.

When you try to reason with a troll, he wins. When you insult a troll, he wins. When you scream at a troll, he wins. The only thing that trolls cannot handle is being ignored.


Taking out the trash:

There is a scenario which repeats itself continuously on the internet egroups.

A group, which was originally formed for a specific purpose, loses it moderator, and is taken over by trolls. The trolls bully the normal members, and drive many of them out, with insults and personal attacks. You could put the troll into your "blocked sender" list, but then you would not know what he is saying about you. If the normal members leave then they have turned the list OVER to the trolls.

There is a simple solution:

The list decides on one "Designated Driver for the garbage truck". The "garbage truck" is for hauling away the trash, from list trolls.

All but ONE member, of the list, puts the troll into their "blocked sender" list. The "Designated Driver" for the garbage truck reads the troll's garbage, and notifies the list, or notifies any individual members PRIVATELY, of anything that might interest them. Then the rest of the list can operate at peace. No one is worried about what the troll in writing about them, AFTER they put him into the blocked sender list..

No one EVER responds to the troll's message.

If you think that someone might have read the troll's insults and slander, then just make a general post, that does not mention the troll, but addresses his slander. This should NEVER be posted as a reply. Replying TO THE TROLL will cause those who have put him into their blocked sender list, to have to see his message.

OF COURSE, the list trolls can create new ID's, that are not blocked, as long as they like, but that is fine. It only takes one click, with the mouse, to put the new ID in "blocked sender" also. The troll will get ONE POST PER ID. IF YOU REPORT THE TROLL, eventually he will lose each of those ID's.

Trolls are a way of destroying freedom of speech.

See Information Warfare on the Internet

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