Trolls and Forum Quality
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13-03-2014, 11:38 AM
Trolls and Forum Quality
The recent cascade of Miss Meng related threads have really frustrated me. I get annoyed from time to time on the forum, but not like this. This has made me genuinely angry.

When I signed up for this forum, I was really impressed with some of the posters here. Many of them contributed to my deconversion, the biggest and most wonderful life change I have ever made. I have a passion for well written posts and comments, because I hope to do for someone else what was done for me. I have a deep passion for what we talk about here, and I believe that is has real world consequences for those who show up to read what we have written.

It seems more and more often when I open the "Atheism and Theism" category, I have to wade through troll after troll just to get to a decent thread. We are plagued by a small but incessant group of religious trolls who spam their sermon feces and quotations of scripture like its a drive by shooting. They don't even pretend to promote discussion. They don't read what we write out of interest, but rather to spam responses of similar quality to their threads. They are either aware that they cannot win an argument with an Atheist, are afraid to try, or they post out of a need to feel that they have done all they can for the souls of us ungodly heathens. They are not contributing to this community, they are shitting all over it.

I can't possibly be the only person who feels that their experience here has lost some of its quality because these posters are allowed to continue. I do not know if anything can be done via moderators about this, but I believe there is something we can all do to improve the situation. For this to work, people would have to decide voluntarily to get on board.

1. I think everyone should utterly ignore troll posts. If it looks like a troll, leave it blank. Let't cast our vote for what kind of discussion we want to have here, and lets do it by leaving every single troll post fucking blank as a sheet of printer paper.

2. I think we should replace these waste of space threads with intelligent, well written, topical threads of our own. We can busy ourselves by promoting debate, discussion, research, questioning, and essentially learning. Honestly, I don't care if we go over the same issues multiple times. I would prefer a thousand well written repeats than a single troll post.

Is there anyone else who feels that this is a problem that needs to be addressed? Are my solutions worth a try? What do you think we should do?

Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness.

-Karl Marx
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13-03-2014, 11:46 AM
RE: Trolls and Forum Quality
(13-03-2014 11:38 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  The recent cascade of Miss Meng related threads have really frustrated me. I get annoyed from time to time on the forum, but not like this. This has made me genuinely angry.

When I signed up for this forum, I was really impressed with some of the posters here. Many of them contributed to my deconversion, the biggest and most wonderful life change I have ever made. I have a passion for well written posts and comments, because I hope to do for someone else what was done for me. I have a deep passion for what we talk about here, and I believe that is has real world consequences for those who show up to read what we have written.

It seems more and more often when I open the "Atheism and Theism" category, I have to wade through troll after troll just to get to a decent thread. We are plagued by a small but incessant group of religious trolls who spam their sermon feces and quotations of scripture like its a drive by shooting. They don't even pretend to promote discussion. They don't read what we write out of interest, but rather to spam responses of similar quality to their threads. They are either aware that they cannot win an argument with an Atheist, are afraid to try, or they post out of a need to feel that they have done all they can for the souls of us ungodly heathens. They are not contributing to this community, they are shitting all over it.

I can't possibly be the only person who feels that their experience here has lost some of its quality because these posters are allowed to continue. I do not know if anything can be done via moderators about this, but I believe there is something we can all do to improve the situation. For this to work, people would have to decide voluntarily to get on board.

1. I think everyone should utterly ignore troll posts. If it looks like a troll, leave it blank. Let't cast our vote for what kind of discussion we want to have here, and lets do it by leaving every single troll post fucking blank as a sheet of printer paper.

2. I think we should replace these waste of space threads with intelligent, well written, topical threads of our own. We can busy ourselves by promoting debate, discussion, research, questioning, and essentially learning. Honestly, I don't care if we go over the same issues multiple times. I would prefer a thousand well written repeats than a single troll post.

Is there anyone else who feels that this is a problem that needs to be addressed? Are my solutions worth a try? What do you think we should do?

I agree and try not to give too much trollbait. I have way more fun in discussion threads rather than trololo ones. Part of the problem is the fact that even a hit and run troll will get 120+ replies when a well thought out and reasoned thread gets 5. This is not a new development, it is something that this forum nearly always does (for whatever reason) and it is irritating. I find myself enjoying the rest of the forum far more than the A&T section because the trolls tend to flock here.

(31-07-2014 04:37 PM)Luminon Wrote:  America is full of guns, but they're useless, because nobody has the courage to shoot an IRS agent in self-defense
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13-03-2014, 11:47 AM
RE: Trolls and Forum Quality
I couldn't agree more.

If you see a thread or post that you think is the work of a troll... ignore it, don't post in it, don't try to engage the poster. If you keep posting in it, it'll just keep getting pushed to the top of the page.

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13-03-2014, 11:49 AM
RE: Trolls and Forum Quality
I usually check out the first post, then just ignore the rest. I don't feed trolls, I don't abuse trolls, I ignore them and move on for the most part.

As for recent round of trolls.....after reading the first post of Ming-a-ling nutjob- I have ignored the rest.

SlimJim says he/she is genuine in her questions and in our answers. If so, she came off as very troll-ish, and I probably would have ignored future posts and that would not have helped and actually worked against what brought you here.

I like posters like Charis- that aren't necessairly atheist, agnostic or theist that are truly here to learn. (FYI- I am not calling Charis a troll)

I think there's a difference between a theist who is here to convert people and one who comes to discuss topics. Its a shame more of them don't see it that way.

I get what you are saying, and for the most part I agree, each person has to choose whether or not to feed the trolls.


"Life is a daring adventure or it is nothing"--Helen Keller
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13-03-2014, 11:53 AM
RE: Trolls and Forum Quality
Totally agree DP. I have felt there has been a lull in interesting threads, and figure it goes in cycles from time to time. It is frustrating that these loons get 100+ posts in a day while more interesting topics get ignored. Maybe it is the lack of good threads that causes most of us to explode on the stupid ones just to feel like we are involved and doing some good. I am up for a change for the better, and those idiotic posters should be ignored or banned when they are obviously not up for any meaningful discussions from the get go.

“Truth does not demand belief. Scientists do not join hands every Sunday, singing, yes, gravity is real! I will have faith! I will be strong! I believe in my heart that what goes up, up, up, must come down, down, down. Amen! If they did, we would think they were pretty insecure about it.”
— Dan Barker —
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13-03-2014, 11:56 AM
RE: Trolls and Forum Quality
I think if ANYthing at this forum seriously upsets you - you're taking an internet forum too seriously. Cause -- honestly - it's a forum. It's not your life.

BUT
Having said that - Yes constant trolling by the likes of MengThing is aggravating to say the least. Yes we could all ignore them But....also they are genuinely asking to be poked at - with a rather large stick. That plus........ where are our toys if not the proselytizing trolls?
I don't mind theist who are genuine and here to be part of a community. They are greatly unlike those who show up to FIX each one of us; which is condescending, arrogant and straight-up fucking rude!

Generally, I poke at trolls a time or two then I'm bored with their presence and look for better things to do with my time. It's nothing to simply close the lid of my laptop and get on with real-life stuff that needs doing.

When is there NOT laundry?
Right.


*giggle snort*

When I want your opinion I'll read your entrails.
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13-03-2014, 11:56 AM
RE: Trolls and Forum Quality
True say, but troll OPs have also lead to some of the longest and most involved threads here.

You never know.

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13-03-2014, 12:07 PM
RE: Trolls and Forum Quality
Please don't send the religious trolls away! Many of us atheist trolls find them a substitute for Heaven!
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13-03-2014, 12:13 PM
RE: Trolls and Forum Quality
I don't know why some people have named SlimJim as a troll... Of all her posts I haven't seen anything I would consider to be trolling.

Lets not make the mistake of labeling anyone who disagrees as a troll... that's that road to dogma, the sort of thing we as atheists are supposed to be opposed to.

As Aristotle said... "It is the mark of an educated mind, to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it."

Some threads and posts are obviously trolling, but when someone posts who appears to be a theist with genuine questions/doubts or just curiosity, we should at least give them the benefit of the doubt.

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13-03-2014, 12:16 PM (This post was last modified: 13-03-2014 12:23 PM by Reltzik.)
RE: Trolls and Forum Quality
(13-03-2014 11:38 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  The recent cascade of Miss Meng related threads have really frustrated me. I get annoyed from time to time on the forum, but not like this. This has made me genuinely angry.

When I signed up for this forum, I was really impressed with some of the posters here. Many of them contributed to my deconversion, the biggest and most wonderful life change I have ever made. I have a passion for well written posts and comments, because I hope to do for someone else what was done for me. I have a deep passion for what we talk about here, and I believe that is has real world consequences for those who show up to read what we have written.

It seems more and more often when I open the "Atheism and Theism" category, I have to wade through troll after troll just to get to a decent thread. We are plagued by a small but incessant group of religious trolls who spam their sermon feces and quotations of scripture like its a drive by shooting. They don't even pretend to promote discussion. They don't read what we write out of interest, but rather to spam responses of similar quality to their threads. They are either aware that they cannot win an argument with an Atheist, are afraid to try, or they post out of a need to feel that they have done all they can for the souls of us ungodly heathens. They are not contributing to this community, they are shitting all over it.

I can't possibly be the only person who feels that their experience here has lost some of its quality because these posters are allowed to continue. I do not know if anything can be done via moderators about this, but I believe there is something we can all do to improve the situation. For this to work, people would have to decide voluntarily to get on board.

1. I think everyone should utterly ignore troll posts. If it looks like a troll, leave it blank. Let't cast our vote for what kind of discussion we want to have here, and lets do it by leaving every single troll post fucking blank as a sheet of printer paper.

2. I think we should replace these waste of space threads with intelligent, well written, topical threads of our own. We can busy ourselves by promoting debate, discussion, research, questioning, and essentially learning. Honestly, I don't care if we go over the same issues multiple times. I would prefer a thousand well written repeats than a single troll post.

Is there anyone else who feels that this is a problem that needs to be addressed? Are my solutions worth a try? What do you think we should do?

I agree something needs to be done about the trolls, if possible, without the cure being worse than the disease, but I'm distrustful of your proposed methodology. Here are my problems with it.

1: Who gets to make the determination of trollitude? Will there be one or two designated troll-detectors, and if so, who and why? Will it be that everyone makes the call for themselves, in which case some people keep feeding the troll not thinking it's a troll?

2: What are the chances of a false positive? That is, how easy is it for us to look at a genuine poster, perhaps coming from a religious viewpoint and not as "hip" to things as we are, and mistakenly identify him/her as a troll? Or a Poe? If anything, I'd say that's almost as big of a problem here on this forum as the frequency of the trolls themselves, except they're linked. I can think of a few examples where what seemed to me to be genuinely questioning theists with genuine questions were attacked and driven off by our more rabid membership, operating almost on a broken clock "at least I'll be right two times a day" mentality. Is it that there are more trolls, or fewer non-trolls? Animals typically migrate to where there's good feeding and fewer competitors, after all, and trolls are no exception.

3: You say promoting reasonable discussion, debate, and research. Admirable goal, I'm with you on that. How do we promote those things?

For myself, I think the big fix won't be ignoring the trolls. That just lets them post crap unanswered, and also invites false positives. If anything, I think the solution is to not ask whether they're trolls. If they post a halfway-logical argument, break it down on its merits and show its flaws. Do that whether they're a troll or not. If a thread devolves into ad-hominem insults rather than a discussion of ideas, we should call the offenders on that. Call them on that whether they're trolls or not. Whether they're atheists or theists... and yes, there are quite a few atheists to call that on. (Banter might get a pass, though... KC and Chas sniping at each other can be fun.) If these are directed our way, we just need a stop and redirect, rather than a rise and counterattack.

But doesn't that feed the trolls? Well, feeding them can produce something of value. Let's say a troll posts a variant on the presuppositionalist argument to get a rise. We respond with a breakdown of the argument's flaws, either original or linked. Have we fed the troll? Yes. But we've also produced something of value. And in balance, I think doing both is better than doing neither... in part, because a measured, cool response is a pretty slim diet for a troll. (Of course, responding with attacks instead is a wonderful troll diet and produces absolutely nothing of value, so yeah, I agree, blank that out.)

The problem is the free-riders, so to speak, the people who want to enjoy this forum without working to make it better. Or the ones who just enjoy being combative for its own sake, and prefer that to producing something of value. I have no idea what to about them.
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