Trolls - A Soap Box Derby

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CyberLN's picture
Trolls - A Soap Box Derby

There are a lot of accusations of trolling being bandied about. Let’s talk about it.

There are different types of trolls...a description of many can be found here:

According to this list, any number of us could fit in one or more of those categories. Stop and think about this.

My use of banning is, I think, judicious. It’s not my favorite thing, but I will do it when I think it’s appropriate. I will not, however, ban folks for saying things that others simply disagree with or dislike (unless I consider that it overtly breaks the forum guidelines).

IMO, one of the most effective ways to deal with someone you think is a troll is to ignore them. Name-calling and fighting with them sure as hell doesn’t work. In other words, don’t feed someone you consider a troll. Debating or disagreeing with someone is what we’re here for. Debate forums invite, by their very nature, dissension. If one has great difficulty dealing with that, then perhaps hanging out in a debate forum is an inappropriate form of recreation.

And, btw, in case any one person thinks this is an attack or aimed directly or solely at them...not the case, just me doing my regularly scheduled soap box speech. ;)

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chimp3's picture
I think cyberlyn is fair and

I think cyberln is fair and balanced!

Aposteriori unum's picture
Duly noted.

Duly noted.

Old man shouts at clouds's picture


Tin-Man's picture
Yes, Ma'am. Understood.

Yes, Ma'am. Understood.

mykcob4's picture
According to Urban Dictionary

According to Urban Dictionary "troll"
"One who posts a deliberately provocative message to a newsgroup or message board with the intention of causing maximum disruption and argument"
That being the case it is obvious that a "Troll" is someone that disrupts a community for the purpose of causing discord. I dare say few are guilty of that actual behavior on this forum. The fact is an honest thread is started and people reply accordingly but one always tries to hijack the thread with preaching, insults, proselytizing. We ALL know whom that person is. It is an error to consider responding in-kind to this person as trolling.
Hijacking threads to proselytize is a violation of the forum guidelines as such an act is off topic. We all understand that we can and should just ignore the TROLL but sometimes action is called for to put this person in their place. When almost the entire forum community is in basic agreement about this person, it is obvious that the person is disrupting the forum and therefore qualifies as a troll.
There are all sorts of problems that stem from this person. Everything from misrepresenting themselves for the purpose of access to the Atheists Hub to preaching and belittling people. To ignore it is to condone it.

chimp3's picture
I have been a moderator on

I have been a moderator on another forum unrelated to this topic. It required hours of me daily - unrecompensed and often unwelcomed- to keep things civil and the trolls/ socks at bay. Kudos to our moderator cyberln! I wish I could help more!

mykcob4's picture
I am not opposing CyberLn in

I am not opposing CyberLn in any way. I am just stating the situation.

Tin-Man's picture


For starters, I do not envy your job in the least, and I want to thank you for the services you provide here. They are not taken for granted. And if I understand things correctly, I do believe Nyar is also deserving of a nod of gratitude. As this is the first debate site I have ever joined, I am still having to catch up on a few things relating to proper etiquette and such. What's more, I do not have any experience on any other sites to use as a comparison. That being said, it is my humble opinion that this site is very well run, and the debates and discussions on here these past few weeks have allowed me get my beliefs and feelings out in the open and organize my jumbled thoughts better than I have ever been able to do before. The small group of regular members on here form a foundation that provides a wealth of knowledge, insight, and camaraderie that give a person a feeling of being in a "family atmosphere", and that appeals to me very much. And when it comes to those persons I accept as family and friends, I am a very protective person. That is simply the way I am "hard-wired". With these things in mind, I would now like to respectfully address the main topic of this OP.

As crazy as this may sound, prior to joining this site, I was totally unfamiliar with the term TROLL as it relates to the "internet world". (I actually had to get my step-daughter and wife to explain it to me. *chuckle*) With that, I came away with my own understanding of a troll being a person who intentionally and maliciously interrupts/interferes with legitimate dialogues/debates for the primary purpose of being a nuisance and causing unwarranted distractions, and they offer no beneficial or relevant input to the discussion. Anyway, to cut right to the chase, we all know who the particular individual is who has drawn so much negative attention to himself lately. No big secret. However, there is obviously still some controversy as to whether he is a troll or simply some poor guy in need of a good psychiatrist. During my first encounters with him, I admit I had my suspicions that he was a troll, but I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, especially since I was so unfamiliar with the site at the time. Therefore, I tried to treat him in a polite and helpful manner and offer him advice when I could. After awhile, I began to wonder if he was perhaps somebody with a legitimate mental disorder that prevented him from being in full control of his actions. (I've actually dealt with people like that many times in real life over the years.) If that were the case, then his behavior on here could almost be forgiven to some degree. However, he totally crossed my personal line the night he "attacked" Koukla on her debut thread of "When religion gets thrown at you b/c you have cancer. What to do?" In that particular exchange that night, I recognized the individual making the comments was in FULL control of what he was typing, and his subtle jabs and insults were intentionally and precisely aimed while feigning an "innocent" demeanor. I recognized it because I am fully capable of doing the same thing myself. And - on a side note - I believe I saw Nyar say on one of the threads that our subject in question often switches his profile name/pic around at different times. (If I understood that correctly.) To me, that seems to show a blatant disrespect to any and all other persons on the site. (Again, my personal opinion.) As bad as this may sound, I honestly do hope the guy is really just an obnoxious little troll, because I would feel truly and sincerely bad for any person whose mental faculties are as severely disrupted as his are made to appear. That is no way for any person to have to live a life.

Now, obviously, the question remains of what to do about him and others like him? And, again, I do not envy your position, because - quite honestly - despite how I currently feel about the little pest, I am afraid I have no definitive solution to offer. As for anything he may say to or about ME, I most often find it to be terribly amusing and (this may sound horrible of me, but....) I confess with a twinge of guilt that it can be really good fun messing with him sometimes. *grin* Truth be told, often when I notice him trying to interrupt a discussion, I intentionally try to get him distracted and focused on me so that the others don't have to deal with him. *chuckle* (Hey, it's cheap entertainment.) On the other hand, whenever he pulls a stunt like he did with Koukla that night, my initial reflex/impulse/instinct is to jump in to protect and fight. (Again, that is simply how I am hard-wired.) I despise bullies and cowards, and that is exactly the way he was acting. All amusement goes out the window at that point. And to reiterate what Myk said, to ignore such actions by someone like that is the same as condoning it. Nevertheless, you are the "moderator" of this site, and I fully respect your position and will abide by your directives. For the most part, I can ignore his petty little interruptions if that is what you prefer (despite how much fun they are to shred). However, with all due respect, I cannot promise to hold my tongue should I see him intentionally "attacking" the character of others on this site.

Cronus's picture
Alternative - in the US, the

Alternative - in the US, the state of Michigan - a troll is how a resident of the Upper Peninsula refers to the residents of the Lower Peninsula - as those trolls live " under the bridge". (Macinac Bridge, which connects upper and lower peninsulas).

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