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Perl The Internet Technology

Disarm Internet Trolls, Gently 417

Shlomi Fish writes "The best way to react to people trolling on Internet forums is not to feed them, right? Wrong! 'Don't feed the trolls' is also usually ineffective. Luckily, however, there is more effective approach, inspired by the book Feeling Good by David D. Burns."
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Disarm Internet Trolls, Gently

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  • Pfft (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 06, 2011 @06:01PM (#35400388)

    Sounds pretty gay.

    • Re:Pfft (Score:5, Funny)

      by Kell Bengal ( 711123 ) on Sunday March 06, 2011 @06:06PM (#35400420)
      What exactly do you mean by "gay"? We accept you here, no matter your orientation. I agree, sometimes the artical can sound gay. Perhaps we can meet an accord?
      • Re:Pfft (Score:5, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 06, 2011 @06:12PM (#35400468)

        An accord? Now that's a gay car -- and it's the kinda car Hitler would drive if he were around today.

        • Re:Pfft (Score:5, Funny)

          by ciaohound ( 118419 ) on Sunday March 06, 2011 @07:03PM (#35400932)

          I'm sorry, sir, but this is the "Dealing With Trolls" thread. You're looking for the "Godwin" thread, which is the next door down.

      • Re:Pfft (Score:5, Funny)

        by countertrolling ( 1585477 ) on Sunday March 06, 2011 @06:28PM (#35400630) Journal

        We accept you here, no matter your orientation...

        Oh that's right! Go after the Asians!

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by thr13z3 ( 214476 )

        If I may.

          I do believe that the sentiment that Pfft is trying to convey is that OP most likely is a big faggot.

        Note that this is my personal interpretation.

    • Re:Pfft (Score:4, Funny)

      by M8e ( 1008767 ) on Sunday March 06, 2011 @06:13PM (#35400484)

      Why do you feel that this approach is pretty gay?

      I think it's somewhat gay. But what make you think that it's pretty gay?

    • Sir, you are nothing more than an angst-ridden teenage onanist who must forthwith escape the confines of his parent's subterranean storage room and seek copulative relations with a flesh-and-blood woman, rather than with your modern day personal equivalent of the Babbage Difference Engine.

    • Re:Pfft (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Nocuous ( 1567933 ) on Sunday March 06, 2011 @07:21PM (#35401062)
      Exactly. The fact is many people enjoy feeding trolls, because it lets them feel superior to that schmuck who's standing there waving his dick in the community's face.

      Case in point; Charlie Sheen. The media machine LOVES this troll, because he's feeding THEM, so they want to keep him going as long as people pay attention. And people (real people) are paying attention.
      So go ahead, give people advice on disarming trolls. They won't follow it, because trolls are part of the online experience, and most people would miss them if they didn't exist (though lots of those would angrily deny it; see responses to my post).
      • by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968@gm ... minus herbivore> on Sunday March 06, 2011 @08:59PM (#35401584) Journal

        You want to know what I miss? (shut up, of course you do!) I miss when /. had really good trolls. Remember them? The ones that took pride in their trolling? The ones that would spend all day cooking up offensive ASCII art or writing a shit eater or ass rape troll that like a fine novel didn't give away its true intention until nearly the end?

        Man we used to have some damned fine trolling here, not the lame "Nigger nigger faggot faggot" crap spewed from Halo fratboys on 4chan and Digg, no trolls that were PROUD to be trolls and took pride in their work. Even our crazies were a cut above the rest, folks like Twitter that could spin a dozen sockpuppets into one giant conspiracy fueled fantasy around MSFT and the Illuminati. Now THAT was some damned fine trolling!

        Sadly now our trolls are as cheap and badly made as a Chinese knockoff iPod, just no pride in the work anymore. Even our crazies have lost their flair,like MichaelK with his endless copies of his name with a number after it just so he can type "pathetic" and have it not at -1, or the HOSTS guy that capitalizes every other word like that makes his crazy more powerful or something, just no subtlety or finesse at all.

        I'm sure the great trolls of the past are looking down from under their bridge in the sky and hanging their heads in shame. Oh and of course trying to shake their dicks at us, but unlike the lousy trolls of today they have a chorus line going with all the wieners having tassels and spinning in time like the pasties on a Vegas showgirl. Its all in the presentation you see, something the trolls of today just don't get. Personally I blame reality programming and MTV.

        • by russotto ( 537200 ) on Sunday March 06, 2011 @09:10PM (#35401646) Journal

          You want to know what I miss? Blah blah blah yellow onion blah blah blah

          I'm carefully backing off of your lawn. Please don't shoot.

        • Re:Know what I miss? (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Penguinisto ( 415985 ) on Sunday March 06, 2011 @09:23PM (#35401726) Journal

          *sigh*... I know, I know.

          There was once a time when trolling was once an art form [].

          Sadly, those days have passed, and most of us grew up. :(

          • Re:Know what I miss? (Score:4, Interesting)

            by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968@gm ... minus herbivore> on Monday March 07, 2011 @12:23AM (#35402530) Journal

            Ahhh...It is nice to see someone that still remembers and respects the old ways. Remember when the trolls and crazies were epic? When a good flamewar started by a smart troll could easily hit over 400 comments in a thread? How the troll would slowly build to a crescendo, slowly making tempers boil and blood simmer until the noobs blew up in a frenzy of "FUCK YOU!" screaming?

            And what about the crazies? everyone pays attention to the trolls but like a great straight man a good crazy could make ALL the difference! We don't even get great OS crazies anymore, just the same soundbite variations on "MS Suxorz!" "Lunix is for Luzerz!" and "MacFags suck Steve Jobs wrinkled wick!"

            There just isn't any subtlety to the trolling or crazy anymore, remember Twitter? Aie, now there was a fine crazy if ever there was one, all the Lithium in the world couldn't quench his fire! He was a master of the buildup, always starting with a subtle plug for FLOSS with just enough M$ and wrong information to lure in the prey. But did he go straight for the sockpuppet? No, he was too skilled for that, he would slowly build their anger with ever more lies and half truths, building in intensity until he had more than a dozen on his line then BAM! He would unleash his sockpuppets like the dogs of war and spin the whole thread into a tale involving him as a Harrison Ford everyman railing against a global conspiracy involving Bill Gates as the ultimate puppet master in a global star chamber! Now THAT was a true master of insanity!!

            Sadly just as our children and their children when never know the delightful screams of pain when a user accidentally hit a page with Comet Cursor and watched as his PC slowly melted from trying to swing a clock like a ball of snot from the end of his pointer, or will ever hear the painful yelps as someone's retina was damaged from hitting an "OMG Ponies!" neon pink with flashing green puke text on a Geocities page at 3AM with the lights off, so too will they never know the truly epic levels of trolling and craziness that once roamed this formerly wild prairie.

            They will forever think an "epic troll" is some Halo fratboy pasting crude nigger jokes, or some squeaky voiced 14 year old yelling "faggot!" while blasting gangster rap and pretending to be black. And just like the free roaming herd of buffalo that once ran free across this great nation I believe too few will remember and appreciate what has been lost. Truly a sad day on the net my friend, a truly sad day indeed.

        • >>I miss when /. had really good trolls. Remember them?

          I blame Natalie Portman getting pregnant.

          I haven't seen anyone wanting to cover her in hot grits for a while now.

        • Excellent post, I too miss the quality trolls of the past, but there are some signs of hope:

          - A new character (slasher15x) is coming out with new and incredibly innovative trolling techniques. This guy's like the Sixth Sense era M. Night Shyamalan (sp?) of trolling. He makes a genuinely good post with links to material you might click on, because you think you know what he's linking to, but next thing you know you're bouncing off a bunch of URL shorteners and then BAM, goatse! Hopefully he'll continue to in

  • Depends (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kittenman ( 971447 ) on Sunday March 06, 2011 @06:06PM (#35400416)
    Treating them like an adult ("why do you say that Windows is a load of pigs' livers?") will maybe get them to respond to the question in an adult-sense (come back, Eric Berne...) but life's too short.

    Just don't respond, add them to your ignore list and do something more productive.

    • Re:Depends (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 06, 2011 @06:12PM (#35400474)

      Treating them like an adult ("why do you say that Windows is a load of pigs' livers?")

      Sounds like the OP is suggesting we respond to trolls with Eliza [].

    • Re:Depends (Score:4, Funny)

      by amirulbahr ( 1216502 ) on Sunday March 06, 2011 @06:17PM (#35400518)
      Why do you say that we should not respond and just add them to our ignore list?
      • by NFN_NLN ( 633283 )

        Why do you say that we should not respond and just add them to our ignore list?

        No no, lets give this technique a try before you dismiss it.

        douche> God created all things through intelligent design and evolution is a farce.
        me> Creationism does have.... errr.. it's merits... I can see how the spontaneous creation of everything makes for a nice tidy explanation. But doesn't this raise more questions than it answers. Such as, where did the creator come from, where did he go... ahhh !*(&^@# it.... you're a moron.
        douche> God created all things through intelligent design and e

        • Uh, dude? "Why do you say X" is a canned ELIZA response. Nice to see that you took the opportunity to display hate, though. U GOT TROLLED
      • Why do you say that we should not respond and just add them to our ignore list?

        (Nice try ... but here's a better response ...)

        Because they're living in the past .... What is this ignore list you speak of? Isn't usenet dead?

        Sounds like the pentagon - always preparing to fight the next war with the previous wars tactics.

        Come to think of it, time to update that to include the "War on Drugs", the "War on Poverty" and the "War on the Middle Class".

    • Re:Depends (Score:4, Interesting)

      by rolfwind ( 528248 ) on Sunday March 06, 2011 @06:27PM (#35400624)

      Actually, while trolls just want attention and so it seems correct to ignore them, they'll always bait someone who'll feed them - unless you're in a community where the moderators actively punish the responders just as much as the troll (I know a few) where the avg poster is conditioned to report and ignore.

      So, otherwise, it may be a good tactic to be a calm first responder. However, don't debate them or get angry. Trolls want a response, ignoring them might tick them off slightly, but engaging them w/o them getting a rise of you really pisses them off. It's their version of getting cockblocked.

      • It only works when you have a forum where when someone who doesn't agree with your comment doesn't automatically mark you as a troll; just because they don't agree with you. There is a difference between a troll and someone with a differing opinion. Otherwise this books insight seems to be a direct copy of Dale Carnegie's book, "How to Win Friends and Influence People."
    • by dov_0 ( 1438253 )

      Treating them like an adult ("why do you say that Windows is a load of pigs' livers?") will maybe get them to respond to the question in an adult-sense (come back, Eric Berne...) but life's too short.

      Just don't respond, add them to your ignore list and do something more productive.

      I agree. The approach in the article might work for some trolls, but only those who have an agenda related to the topic being discussed in some way. Goatse trolls. How do you respond to that? "Yes, it's ok you like stretched arseholes and bowel lining. Thank you for sharing?!?!" Or anti-semitic/racist comments? Seriously, 'don't feed the trolls' is still the best advice in most cases.

    • yep, TFA confirms:"On the Internet, don't be right - be smart."

      of course, I think TFA is wrong, I say outtroll `em.

    • by syousef ( 465911 )

      Treating them like an adult ("why do you say that Windows is a load of pigs' livers?") will maybe get them to respond to the question in an adult-sense (come back, Eric Berne...) but life's too short.

      Just don't respond, add them to your ignore list and do something more productive.

      The problem is that if you don't respond and add them to an ignore list, they end up with free reign to say anything they like. They may even have supporters. Eventually the forum/board is full of misinformation spouted by trolls that is unchallenged and becomes a worthless source of misinformation.

      You should feed trolls...with poison. Always calmly and rationally point out every hole in their logic until the ridiculousness of it is clear...and here's the challenging it without losing your cool or

  • goatse (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 06, 2011 @06:08PM (#35400450)
    That anus is impressively enlarged. Thank you for sharing it with us. What made you first think about posting it on slashdot?
    • Re:goatse (Score:5, Funny)

      by ArsenneLupin ( 766289 ) on Sunday March 06, 2011 @06:46PM (#35400820)

      That anus is impressively enlarged.

      The anus is a metaphor. A metaphor for the security (or lack thereof) of the website where it ended up on. Ya know, "big enough to drive a truck through"...

      Thank you for sharing it with us.

      You're welcome!

      What made you first think about posting it on slashdot?

      I thought geeks might be interested in seeing that SQL injection still works...

  • Practicing (Score:5, Funny)

    by countertrolling ( 1585477 ) on Sunday March 06, 2011 @06:10PM (#35400464) Journal

    You suck!...


    Eh, actually you're not so bad...

    In fact you're kinda cute...

    Wanna go out tomorrow night?...

    Nervous?.. Yeah, a little

    First time?... No, I've been nervous lots of times

  • I LIKE to feed the trolls!

  • by DarkOx ( 621550 ) on Sunday March 06, 2011 @06:14PM (#35400494) Journal []

    The above URI has some helpful hints for noobs who might want to get into trolling

    • There is even an online university... []
    • Very much outdated.

      Rule 1 - "hide your identity". . Really? Did you see Ben Bernanke hide HIS identity? Or George W. Bush? Or Dick Cheney? The most successful trolls hide in plain sight.

      Rule 2 - "go to one of the more popular portals like AOL" ... AOL?!?

      Rule 3 - "Contribute nothing of value to the discussion forum. As a good troll, your goal is to abuse the members psychologically and provoke negative reactions out of them". That is so last century. A really good troll cites evidence, backs up

  • The assumption is that a troll has mood disorder so cognitive therapy works.

    1. That assumption may be wrong. Some trolls genuinely believe that they are right and will troll so that they can express their righteous beliefs. Reasoning with them is pointless because they do not listen to the voice of reason. They believe in something religiously and will troll for a chance to proselytize. So they are not trolling for flames, they are trolling for listeners.

    2. Even if it is right, life is to short. Dealing wit

    • Actually cognitive therapy shows why it won't work. The change in cognitive therapy comes from a process through exercises to change thoughts, question beliefs, alter maladaptive behaviors.

      If you imagine beliefs people have as reinforced by a web of other beliefs trying to find a middle ground will run into a million excuses why the original position is right. The troll (who often has no clue they are a troll) won't change their opinion in the moment - their beliefs will change gradually then they will act

  • Reminds me of how Phyllis tries to deal with Angela in "The Office."

    Angela Martin: [to Phyllis] "Lunch Party"? It's supposed to say "Launch Party." What's wrong with you?
    Phyllis Lapin: [it cuts to a talking head segment] Angela has been worse than usual lately, and we have a party to throw, so I googled "how to deal with difficult people." And I got all of this.
    [she holds up a few sheets of paper with information]
    Phyllis Lapin: So we're gonna try out some new things today.
    Phyllis Lapin: [it cuts back to the office] How do you feel about the fact that the banner says "Lunch"?
    Angela Martin: I feel angry. Angry at you. Angry at you for doing something stupid. Angry at me for believing you could do something not stupid.
    Phyllis Lapin: [Phyllis looks down at the sheets of paper] I'm so sorry to hear that. That must be awful.
    Angela Martin: It is awful. You've made this day awful.

  • Just Do It My Way (Score:5, Interesting)

    by pandrijeczko ( 588093 ) on Sunday March 06, 2011 @06:19PM (#35400542)

    ... develop a strong sense of self-worth & recognise that someone throwing profanities at you who has never met you is entirely unimportant.

    Get over that, then you can have fun baiting them, reeling them in, playing with them a while, then throwing them back when you're bored.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by tomhudson ( 43916 )
      Exactly. Real trolls don't need to resort to profanity.

      Besides, you'll never convince a fanboi, whether it's Windows, Apple, Ubuntu, or Neocon, so why not have some fun with them?

      • I really must impress upon you that my inability to use profanities is not down to any self-control upon my part but a genetic disorder of extreme magnitude.

        Therefore, you, sir, will refrain from this utter stubbornness and placate me somewhat with some words of ancient Anglo-Saxon derivation that I can at least appreciate but, unfortunately, not return in equally profane volleys of poor diction.

        I sit here in repose in utter misery, my heart desiring nothing more than an infrequent gift of an ability to use

    • So your advice is to become a troll. If you can't beat 'em...

  • The article is a troll.

    First, contrary to TFA, this has zero to do with cognitive behavioral therapy.

    Second, it won't work with an experienced troll. Either don't feed them, or feed them a brick to the face. But if they're that experienced, both approaches will fail.

    Third, recognize that there are "white hat" and "black hat" trolls.

    Fourth, one person's troll or flamebait is another person's insightful.

    Fifth, take it for what it is - whether it's the use of rhetoric as a debating artifice, a way to expose stupid arguments for what they are (because it's easier to troll an idiot than it is to educate them), or just another form of entertainment.

    Sixth, people who go nuts over YHBT YFI HAND are the real trollbait.

    • Never argue with idiots. Apart from the risk that onlookers won't be able to tell which of you is the idiot, they drag you down to their own level and beat you with their superior experience. (Plus, the internet never forgets: ref. onlookers)
      • Never argue with idiots

        No, it's "never reason with idiots". Trolling them is fine, and improves your karma. Need a karma boost? Find an idiot to troll. Instant up-mods. I've been stuck at Excellent for years :-)

        Of course, I may be trolling you, and you might end up in karma hell. There are two ways to find out ...

  • Trolls? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Chrondeath ( 757612 ) on Sunday March 06, 2011 @06:21PM (#35400568)
    The author seems to be using "troll" as a term for "someone posting in an inflammatory manner," but I thought "troll" specifically referred to posters doing it to get a rise out of people. Responding in a reasonable manner isn't going to help if the other party isn't interested in taking the conversation seriously.
  • Misdirected advice (Score:4, Insightful)

    by pavon ( 30274 ) on Sunday March 06, 2011 @06:22PM (#35400582)

    The approach he gives is good for preventing disagreements from turning into flamewars, but it is worthless and even counterproductive for dealing with real trolls. Reading the article he seems unaware of the fact that people who troll do it simply to get a rise out of people. Any response (even a calm boring one) just gives them another opportunity to respond, which increases the chance that someone else will eventually bite the bait.

    If someone really is trolling, then ignoring them is the best thing to do. Having moderation systems to keep them out-of-sight out-of-mind will help with people who can't control the urge to feed the trolls.

    Finally, while it is sometimes hard to tell the difference between a troll and and an angry rant, I don't have any problem treating them the same in general forums. When talking with people that you will see again (like work, friends, family, or development mailing lists) and you know they genuinely disagree with you then it is worthwhile to keep the peace and follow the suggestions here. But on a random discussion forum, "if you can't be civil you will be ignored" is good policy IMHO.

  • by mevets ( 322601 ) on Sunday March 06, 2011 @06:29PM (#35400640)

    1. What do you mean by feeding the trolls? I'm sure you don't really want them to starve to death.

    2. I agree with you that it is difficult to have to put up with trolls. I hope, however, that the inner-tubes are big enough for everyone; maybe we can work together to find a nice bridge for the trolls to live under. It may seem a bit harsh, but if we fed them a few goats now and again, maybe they will feel better about themselves and move on to greener pastures.

    3. If we can keep the trolls from offending us, then cyber-area can benefit from the diversity. I saw a documentary once where even an Ogre - I know they are different from trolls, but they share some common disagreeable characteristics - befriended a donkey, and they seemed to have a genuinely witty banter and joie de vivre. I read in the newspaper that the Ogre recently even married; so there is some possibility we can live together.

    yeah, I guess it kinda works.

  • by DNS-and-BIND ( 461968 ) on Sunday March 06, 2011 @06:38PM (#35400728) Homepage

    The definition of "troll" has changed. It used to be, back in the good old USENET days, a troll was someone who intentionally took an outrageous viewpoint, purely to generate responses and enjoy the excitement of being in the center of attention.

    Now, "troll" is anyone who disagrees. I've seen some pretty bad abuses on other forums, where someone advances a reasonable idea that doesn't dovetail with the way the group prefers to perceive reality, and is instantly labeled a troll and banned. The trend is self-reinforcing over time. Result: groupthink. The meaning of "normal" gets distorted as the goalposts move farther and farther away from the world outside the forum. This is especially jarring when these folks move out to a mainstream forum like Slashdot and nobody shares their preconceptions.

    You can see it in the linked article, the author's examples such as "You are on a Vim channel" - who the F spends time on a "Vim channel"? Himself and his tiny group, I'm sure. Jeez, the guy bought and is reading a self-help book called "Feeling Good"...obviously he has major life problems that the rest of us consider lameass Stuart Smalley territory "I deserve good things. I am entitled to my share of happiness. I refuse to beat myself up. I am attractive person. I am fun to be with." OMG TROLL -1

    • by goodmanj ( 234846 ) on Sunday March 06, 2011 @06:55PM (#35400888)

      The definition of "troll" has changed. It used to be, back in the good old USENET days, a troll was someone who intentionally took an outrageous viewpoint, purely to generate responses and enjoy the excitement of being in the center of attention.

      Can we go back to the Usenet definition? Please? It referred to a specific new phenomenon (mostly) unique to online conversation, which was desperately in need of a name. And the name made sense: when you're trolling you're dragging bait through the water hoping some sucker will take a bite.

      The word "troll" doesn't make sense when applied to hostile posters, and we already have lots of good words for people who are overly confrontational in conversation. "Asshole" and "dick", for a start.

    • by Dwonis ( 52652 ) * on Sunday March 06, 2011 @08:53PM (#35401544)

      This is especially jarring when these folks move out to a mainstream forum like Slashdot...

      Very subtle. Nice work!

    • If you disagree with group think in a polite way giving reasons, most people wouldn't call you a troll. The fact that some do, doesn't make you one.

      If you disagree with group think in a very defensive way, that might come across as aggressive, or even in an outright aggressive or offensive way, you come pretty close to being a troll. But the proper term would probably be hosehead.

      If you need examples, read youtube comments.

  • by petes_PoV ( 912422 ) on Sunday March 06, 2011 @06:41PM (#35400760)
    Then another pops up. And another and another.

    Trolls have been around for as long as individuals have been communicating online. From what I understand, they're essentially lonely, attention seeking people. Even if you do engage one in dialog, what then? All you're doing is feeding their addiction. There are just too many of them to warrant trying to help them all (and trying that may point to bugs in your own personality, too)

    No, the best course is to killfile them or use whatever options your forum implementation has to achieve the same results. You don't raise your signal to noise ratio by trying to negotiate with the noise, you just filter it out and try to make sense of what remains.

    • by serviscope_minor ( 664417 ) on Sunday March 06, 2011 @07:55PM (#35401228) Journal

      From what I understand, they're essentially lonely, attention seeking people.

      I dunno. I've seem some pretty wonderful trolls in my time. I remember a guy called "egg troll" who would pop up. Despite the name, he still hooked plenty of responses because his posts were frankly works of art.

      And besides, there's an excellent troll thread on slashdot about once per week or so. You know the sort, they get at least 500 comments and diverge wildly into politics, OSX versus Linux, piracy and so on all in one go.

      Despite the obvious trollishess of the OP, noone (myself included) quite seems able to resist them.

      I've never really considered the goatse posters as trolls. Perhaps it's from the usenet days, but I think of trolls as those who manage to drag people into pointless and rage-filled arguments despite their better judgement. Goatse never gets a visible rise out of someone, since you can never see the victim.

  • "So what" is the best method. troll expects strong reaction. when people react in that way .... well, try it.
  • by Omega Hacker ( 6676 ) <omega@omegac s . n et> on Sunday March 06, 2011 @06:44PM (#35400798)
    at the shoulder. Extra points for getting some collarbone as well.
  • by sstamps ( 39313 ) on Sunday March 06, 2011 @06:44PM (#35400804) Homepage

    Then proceed to beat them to death with said arms.

    I find it particularly therapeutic and cathartic.. for me, that is. The trolls don't generally survive the encounter. :)

  • by WoollyMittens ( 1065278 ) on Sunday March 06, 2011 @06:54PM (#35400874)
    Why not isolate the trolls by showing their comments only to themselves, but not to other readers.
  • That author had not counted with Slashdot... The comments here are already lsdhfipuhdfpibf

  • Anonymous?

    What about someone whose sole intention is to troll?

    What about tag team trolling?

  • Or you could set it on fire with your mind.
  • Does anybody even use PERL anymore? It seems like kind of a scarecrow argument. I think /. used to use it back in the day, but it's much better since they switched to Javascript.
  • FTFA:

    The super-executive summary for this post is: "On the Internet, don't be right - be smart."

    Like the two are mutually exclusive?

    How dumb can you be?

    The article is troll-bait.

    • by taustin ( 171655 )

      "Arguing on the internet is like competing in the Special Olympics. You might win, but you're retarded."

  • by CmdrPorno ( 115048 ) on Sunday March 06, 2011 @09:30PM (#35401762)

    Am I the first to notice that the owner of the blog and author of the blog post that was linked to is the same person who made the submission to Slashdot?

  • Oh, the irony. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Kaz Kylheku ( 1484 ) on Sunday March 06, 2011 @09:48PM (#35401862) Homepage

    The linked-to article was written by one Schlomi Fish, who is a kind of programming language troll.

    I wrote a very nice Lisp program once upon a time, and Fish wrote a critique one of whose main points is that I should have written it in a different programming language, quote:

    If Meta-CVS' author wishes to make it more popular, I strongly advise him to re-implement it in C, Perl, Python or something more standard.

    So we can take this new article to be a kind of insider's guide to trolling, I suppose. :)

    What a fucking arrogant asshole, "strongly advising" his superior.

  • Define "troll" (Score:3, Informative)

    by Charliemopps ( 1157495 ) on Sunday March 06, 2011 @09:52PM (#35401880)
    The fact that the person came into a Python IRC channel and started ripping on python, by definition would not be a troll. They are argumentative, irritating, and most probably drunk... but not a troll. A Troll is secretive, hiding under a bridge, then springs out on you. I'm not sure who decided that anyone they find irritating on the internet is a Troll, but it needs to stop. Trolling is an Art-form... a very irritating, often insulting, art-form. Someone that just yells "Your favorite band sucks!" is not a troll, they're just a jerk.
  • by Maow ( 620678 ) on Sunday March 06, 2011 @10:35PM (#35402074) Journal

    Kudos to Slashdot for their moderation system, that allows trolls to be modded out of sight for most users.

    Conversely, an unrepentant troll can post something insightful (by accident, no doubt) and it can be modded up to be seen by most users. letters section suffers from severe trollery, hence the (shameless plug follows:) Salon KillFile (, which blocks spammers by their web site names, regardless of this week's user names. It also bans trolls by name with a single button click, and highlights a user's favourite authors with a click of a button. Finally, it also automatically highlights Salon staff letters.

    Anyway, it's not as good as a moderation system, but Salon is too stupid/lazy/uncaring to bother upgrading their comment system, so users had to make their own GreaseMonkey script to do it for them.

    Again, kudos to Slashdot!

    • by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Monday March 07, 2011 @03:07AM (#35403260) Journal

      Moderation works if the moderators do NOT use moderation to push their own agenda.

      Sadly as the article says, a LOT of people think provoking a debate is a bad thing. Oh dear, I might get some new info that doesn't sit well with my world view. HIDE IT!

      A troll is someone who provokes for no other reason then to provoke. That doesn't mean all who provoke are trolls. Sometimes they just see the world a different way. By the logic of a lot of Slashdot moderators, Gene Roddenberry was a troll for having a white male and black woman kiss on TV. That certainly caused people to call for censorship and others that TV was not the right medium for creating a debate at this point in history.

      The slashdot style moderation system, especially now since meta-moderation seems to be gone, is all to open to abuse where a bleeding heart tries to hide views he disagrees with.

      It would help if the moderator had to at least specify WHY he thinks the troll is trolling and if the moderation options included choices like "don't agree with this" and more importantly "this is factually wrong as can be proven by reading these articles".

      Now "troll" and "flamebait" are just translated as "do not like" and "do not want to hear this".

  • by FoolishOwl ( 1698506 ) on Monday March 07, 2011 @02:52AM (#35403224) Journal

    There's logic to the use of the "troll" metaphor. A rant is not trolling. Angry disagreement is not trolling. Deliberate attempts to disrupt an online forum are trolling. A responsible forum moderator has the responsibility to identify trolls and deal with them firmly, decisively, and as quickly as possible.

    The most common form of trolling I have seen is a bigoted comment, often "justified" with insane troll logic []. Arguing with such logic is useless, and so is trying to dissuade the commenter from bigotry.

    Most importantly, the effect of such a troll is to silence or drive off members of an online community. Remember that in general, only a minority of participants in an online forum are active participants. If members of a group that has a history of victimization by bigotry see bigots going unchallenged or weakly challenged, they're likely to be discouraged from participation. Active participants will become passive, and passive participants will depart. This can kill an online community, and doing so is often a troll's intent. It is a moderator's responsibility to nurture an online community; therefore it is a moderator's responsibility to deal with trolls firmly.

    A troll is not interested in having a reasoned discussion, and when offered reasonable arguments, will continue or escalate the trolling. This amplifies the effect of the trolling, and leads to a forum thread being dominated by the argument around the troll: this is the reason why the conventional advice is to refrain from feeding the troll. That's not enough, however: trolls must be eliminated.

    There are two options for dealing with trolls: banning them, and humiliating them. Banning is the straightforward option, and usually the best choice, as it's the cleanest break. Humiliation is more chancy, but it has a few advantages: it makes it clear that a troll has been confronted, and in some cases, may more effectively demoralize a troll than simple banning. (One technique I've seen is "disemvowelling", in which all the vowels are deleted from a troll's comments. This makes it clear that action has been taken, and the troll's comments can be ignored, or can be puzzled out, if a regular participant wants to figure out what is going on.)

  • by Rubinstien ( 6077 ) on Monday March 07, 2011 @05:56AM (#35403770)

    I've encountered a few really annoying newsgroup trolls over the years, people that only showed up in order to stir up crap for no good reason. Those types invariably seem to think that they're anonymous because they use an assumed name and some Yahoo/AOL/Google address they acquired for that particular purpose. Although it cost me dearly in hours and eyestrain, I've hunted a couple of those people down, identified them, then posted all of the steps necessary to connect the dots back to the newsgroups they were making asses of themselves on, with information detailed enough to derive their home telephone numbers, names, place of employment, and even more sensitive personal information (in one case, if someone chose to read between the lines). In both cases, that was the end of it -- no more troll. I did this the first time after having had a discussion with a friend, who suggested that this was the best way he had found to deal with astroturfers. I believe he was right (thanks Alex). For casual trolls, I still think it is advisable to simply ignore them -- for people that are seriously asinine, a little vigilantism can be effective.

    Unlike some, I have no appreciation for "the Art of Trolling". Appreciating a skillful trolling is no more worthwhile than appreciating fine sewage-making. They add essentially the same benefit to society -- in fact, the sewage might be the greater contribution: []

"Let every man teach his son, teach his daughter, that labor is honorable." -- Robert G. Ingersoll