Jump to content

Create a Free Account or Sign In to connect and share in green living and alternative energy forum discussions.

FYI... Beware of Trolls. (Your response appreciated)


 
27 replies to this topic

#1 tigerlily78

tigerlily78

    Activist

  • Global Moderator
  • 250 posts 71 rep

Posted 10 March 2012 - 12:29 PM

You may have noticed the recent change in the reputation system on the website from "likes" to the "up/down" vote system.

The moderation team decided to institute this change to allow the community to decide for itself whether the posts of a certain individual were offensive or detracting from the atmosphere of the community.

It would be simple enough for the moderators to ban this person, as we had already identified him weeks ago as a previous trouble maker dodging a past ban. But of course once we ban him, it is very likely he will crop up again as another identity... as he has done on altenergy shift and NUMEROUS times on the now-defunct Treehugger Forums.

This same individual has been doing the same sort of trolling for about 2 years in my personal experience. His MO and tactics have changed very little in that time frame... which makes him so easy to re-identify.

To me it is remarkably sad that someone would spend this much time and energy just trying to be a nuisance. Which is why over time I have begun to contemplate his motivations... he must have something to "gain" by continuing to harass environmental communities.

Either money is a motivation (I would not be surprised if he is straight up paid as a professional troll across multiple platforms by some industry group), or he has real pyschological problems. You don't devote 2 years of your life to harassing the same group of people for simple kicks and giggles... he should have grown bored with it by now, if that was the primary motivation.

What do you think?

Is a serial troll likely to be motivated by money? Do you think the guy is just crazy? Are there other possible motivations you can think of that could be driving this behavior?

And in light of the motivations, how do you think the moderators should deal with this individual going forward?  Should we immediately re-ban this person everytime we even suspect it is him?  Or should we continue to rely on the up/down vote system to allow the community to institute discipline and a ban when this person starts to reveal their negative influence on the board (posting intentionally misleading information, being rude to other members, etc)?

We are simply trying to handle this situation in a way that limits the negative influence of this troll (and others) on the board, without undermining the opportunity for open, fair, and honest discussions on green issues.

#2 Hayden

Hayden

    Admin

  • Global Moderator
  • 1,489 posts 71 rep

Posted 10 March 2012 - 01:16 PM

TL, I have to say I'm with you as well. Its either one or both of the reasons you mentioned. Of all the times I've dealt with trolls and trouble makers on various forums this user is really different. It's as if his 9 to 5 is posting anti-green and denier-type messages and links on forums. Even though not a single member ever agrees with him, he continues. Sad really, but you have to hope he's at least being paid and is just not that crazy to devote years of time on so much negativity.

But deniers are fighting a loosing battle. Trolling forums motivates those trying to make a difference and fuels our convictions.

Call it persecution for our resolve to shift from oil companies and to move towards alternative energies, a greener planet and greener living.

#3 Sarah C.

Sarah C.

    Regular

  • Shifter
  • 87 posts 8 rep

Posted 10 March 2012 - 02:35 PM

I really don't think someone is paying him to do this. I think he has nothing better to do, and in his mind, thinks he is somehow doing a righteous thing. I vote for banning him the minute you are pretty sure he is back to his old tricks.

#4 Shortpoet-GTD

Shortpoet-GTD

    Shifted

  • Global Moderator
  • 6,995 posts 520 rep

Posted 10 March 2012 - 03:20 PM

The up/down vote can be beneficial against trolls, but (and this may off topic) there is the possibility
of hitting the wrong button through distraction, a "typo"  type situation or kitties too close to the keyboard. :blush:
Can up/down votes be reversed?

Ok, back to topic. Outright banning quickly is really not a good option. tigerlily and I both know from
experience, we banned this particular person (and a few others) over at the old treehugger forums,
and they kept coming back. (This one in particular even changed "sex" to get in) :laugh:

It's difficult to deal with because as Hayden said above, we can ban these types, but they come back.
If we don't ban them, then we risk the ire of our regular members by allowing no action to be taken.

And IP's can be quickly changed, or hidden if they know their stuff, and most trolls know how to game
the system.

As for tigerlily's question, I'd vote for continuing the up/down system for now. Trolls are like roaches-
they live through the toxins to bug you another day. (And I'll be extra careful with which button I hit.) :tongue:

#5 Hayden

Hayden

    Admin

  • Global Moderator
  • 1,489 posts 71 rep

Posted 10 March 2012 - 05:06 PM

Well said ShortPoet.

And about the vote buttons strange enough the Like system can be reversed (like/unlike) but while testing on your above post with the up/down system, I can't reverse my up vote. I haven't tested down. Will do so on myself with a test account later.

#6 mariaandrea

mariaandrea

    Activist

  • Veteran Shifter
  • 722 posts 146 rep

Posted 11 March 2012 - 12:39 AM

Know thy enemy.

Seriously. I think the community should vote on people like him. We all pretty much preach to the choir here and while we see what's going on in the world with deniers and dirty politicians, I think it's useful to actually have to deal with them personally, because you never forget what the stakes are when you do. It's good to see first-hand what the world could be like and what people could be like if we lose. That dude was a great example.

#7 Sandra Piddock

Sandra Piddock

    Activist

  • Pro Shifter
  • 329 posts 34 rep

Posted 11 March 2012 - 01:27 AM

Actually, by keeping him as a member but altering the reputation system, you are probably ticking him off much more than by banning him. Trolls feel clever when they game the system, but if he's not banned, he can't come back in another incarnation and congratulate himself that he's got one over on the 'stupid treehuggers and whale savers' again - because that's probably how he sees us, although he's the stupid one.

Whenever I come across someone like this, I just thank my lucky stars my life is not so meaningless that I have to spend my days consciously upsetting and annoying strangers. Let's treat him with the contempt he deserves, because he's not important enough to be banned.

#8 MakingCents

MakingCents

    Activist

  • Pro Shifter
  • 335 posts 23 rep

Posted 11 March 2012 - 06:17 PM

There are companies who pay people to post on sites that they agree with so I could see there being companies to post on sites that they disagree with.  Is it possible to block him but so that he doesn't know it?  Therefore he thinks he is responding and trolling the boards but none of us have to see what he writes?

#9 Hayden

Hayden

    Admin

  • Global Moderator
  • 1,489 posts 71 rep

Posted 11 March 2012 - 09:28 PM

Thanks Shifters, for the feedback! This helps us gauge the community's' view of users like this. We will do our best to keep this site free from trolling. From the responses its clear you see users like this for what they are. Thus, as a reminder please use the "report" button for posts which conflict which our efforts of positive changes toward all things green.

With everyone's help we'll be able to simply ignore these types of users and continue to enjoy our efforts.

#10 Hysssss-teria

Hysssss-teria

    Regular

  • Pro Shifter
  • 99 posts 18 rep

Posted 12 March 2012 - 02:14 PM

I agree with everyone’s statements here, and appreciate that you seek member input. Since I am relatively new, I haven’t had the dubious “pleasure” of encountering said troll. I do appreciate the heads-up, though, and agree that knowing the enemy is indeed helpful to the community.

I do like the up/down arrows, and tried to UP the comments that I found particularly helpful. However, “You have reached your quota of positive votes for the day” won’t allow me to do so! I guess that helps prevent “ballot-stuffing” :tongue:

#11 Hayden

Hayden

    Admin

  • Global Moderator
  • 1,489 posts 71 rep

Posted 12 March 2012 - 03:02 PM

Restrictions will change slightly when you get to the Pro Shifter group above. But still won't be able to vote twice on a user's post. Also restricted are relaxed based on the reputation level of the user who's voting.

Here are the reputation levels:

Bad -10 points
Poor -2 points
Neutral 0
Good 5 points
Great 50 points
Excellent 100 points
Elite 1000 points

Hope this helps.

#12 ConservativeGreen

ConservativeGreen

Posted 15 March 2012 - 10:20 AM

As I believe firmly in the Constitution and free speech protections, I would have to support letting them post away.  An idiot who is allowed to speak does more harm to themself than any authority silencing them ever could.

#13 tigerlily78

tigerlily78

    Activist

  • Global Moderator
  • 250 posts 71 rep

Posted 15 March 2012 - 10:34 AM

View PostConservativeGreen, on 15 March 2012 - 10:20 AM, said:

As I believe firmly in the Constitution and free speech protections, I would have to support letting them post away.  An idiot who is allowed to speak does more harm to themself than any authority silencing them ever could.

But do you feel there is something disingenuous about posting/re-posting mistruths for the intended purpose of forcing other people to address the misinformation and counter it? It's clearly much easier to regurgitate nonsense someone else wrote than it is to construct an intelligent and insightful counter argument based on real facts.

That is the tactic which I think bothers most of the members here. It's like when a spoiled child acts out just to get attention... it wastes everyone else's time and energy to deal with it.

#14 Shortpoet-GTD

Shortpoet-GTD

    Shifted

  • Global Moderator
  • 6,995 posts 520 rep

Posted 15 March 2012 - 10:35 AM

View PostConservativeGreen, on 15 March 2012 - 10:20 AM, said:

As I believe firmly in the Constitution and free speech protections, I would have to support letting them post away.  An idiot who is allowed to speak does more harm to themself than any authority silencing them ever could.
Agreed but this particular troll (and a few others with the same mindset) can be very rude, sarcastic and
disruptive to the community. Often, people like this come to sites like this (and other green or discussion sites/blogs)
just to start a fight.
It's not just the disagreement. That's fine. We have to debate issues. But it's often the language posters
like this use-demeaning and hurtful.
It's the old argument of -yes, we have freedom of speech, but we shouldn't yell "FIRE" in a crowded theater
just to prove it.
And I also think that the up/down vote is a better system for that reason.
Previously, we could only "like" a post. But we had no where to "dislike" or "disapprove" of someones
statements. Now we do. And we let the community decide. :wink:

#15 Sandra Piddock

Sandra Piddock

    Activist

  • Pro Shifter
  • 329 posts 34 rep

Posted 15 March 2012 - 04:01 PM

I think the new system is more helpful for new members in recognising trolls and troublemakers. I've been on other forums with an 'upgrade/downgrade' system, and the timewasters stick out like a sore thumb. This encourages other members to ignore their posts, which of course they hate. Trolls feed on the meat of attention, and when the attention is removed, they usually go hunting elsewhere.

#16 dissn_it

dissn_it

    Regular

  • Pro Shifter
  • 183 posts 6 rep

Posted 21 May 2012 - 07:09 AM

Being new here and also being new to what a troll is, it sounds like you are doing the right thing with the new system that you now have in place. I don't think banning would work because a troll could just reappear later or a different one would come along. Forums are a community of people so I think getting help from all the members is a great and also very effective idea.

#17 Shortpoet-GTD

Shortpoet-GTD

    Shifted

  • Global Moderator
  • 6,995 posts 520 rep

Posted 21 May 2012 - 10:09 AM

View Postdissn_it, on 21 May 2012 - 07:09 AM, said:

Being new here and also being new to what a troll is, it sounds like you are doing the right thing with the new system that you now have in place. I don't think banning would work because a troll could just reappear later or a different one would come along. Forums are a community of people so I think getting help from all the members is a great and also very effective idea.

.........Seen leaving in a huff, mumbling under their breaths- "I'll be back" as they often do. :laugh:
Some determined ones we've had even changed gender. :huh:
Quoting Willow from the movie Willow to Val Kilmer's character- "I hate trolls."

#18 artistry

artistry

    Activist

  • Veteran Shifter
  • 852 posts 60 rep

Posted 21 May 2012 - 03:35 PM

My thought is that the individual should be named outright, so that others are aware of their behavior.  Sunlight should be put on the subject. I have read negative opinions, on here, which people are allowed to have. But contunuous comments against everything, are a waste of time to read. So I suggest when they are uncovered, there shoukd be a list  of names included as a specific topic:."Watch  out for these trolls!" Just like warnings given for storms. See  if they like their name in lights. Don't give them cover. Just a thought. Cheers.

#19 eds

eds

    Shifted

  • Global Moderator
  • 1,531 posts 206 rep

Posted 22 May 2012 - 08:53 AM

Better yet, promote them to be a Blogger :declare:

#20 SpiroFlo

SpiroFlo

    Regular

  • Pro Shifter
  • 181 posts 12 rep

Posted 22 May 2012 - 11:13 AM

View Postartistry, on 21 May 2012 - 03:35 PM, said:

My thought is that the individual should be named outright, so that others are aware of their behavior.  Sunlight should be put on the subject. I have read negative opinions, on here, which people are allowed to have. But contunuous comments against everything, are a waste of time to read. So I suggest when they are uncovered, there shoukd be a list  of names included as a specific topic:."Watch  out for these trolls!" Just like warnings given for storms. See  if they like their name in lights. Don't give them cover. Just a thought. Cheers.

I disagree, because if the disagreers agree, then it's not consistent disagreement to them. I think that's the strength behind a message board -- diversity of opinion. An occasional threadlock can help when things get real unruly.

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users