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Thread: How to Avoid the Murky Waters of Trolldom

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    Senior Member FredRydr's Avatar
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    Default How to Avoid the Murky Waters of Trolldom

    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/12/s...your-mind.html

    "...it’s important to stop when you can see that the argument has become toxic, because it will only get worse from there. “Prevent downward spirals. Don’t participate in toxic discussions. Nothing good will come out of it...”.

    In depth: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5791909/
    Last edited by FredRydr; December 16th, 2019 at 05:16 AM.

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    Default Re: How to Avoid the Murky Waters of Trolldom

    Fury behind the glass, until the glass has been removed

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xvz7nboJ0kg

    Thank you for posting the two articles.

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    Default Re: How to Avoid the Murky Waters of Trolldom

    That article had some good lessons for me, thanks. It's absolutely true about the bad mood. Oof.

    Coincidentally, my daughter and I just saw an episode of Brainchild that demonstrates the disinhibition effect. (Such a great show, young or old).

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    Default Re: How to Avoid the Murky Waters of Trolldom

    I wish they never started to use the word troll or trolldom, it generally means magic.

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    Default Re: How to Avoid the Murky Waters of Trolldom

    Thanks for linking the actual research article, Fred!
    Online arguments are a lot like the Rocky Horror Picture Show.
    As soon as the audience begins to participate, any actual content is lost in the resulting chaos and cacophony.
    At that point, all you can do is laugh and enjoy the descent into debasement.

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    Default Re: How to Avoid the Murky Waters of Trolldom

    Quote Originally Posted by arrow View Post
    I wish they never started to use the word troll or trolldom, it generally means magic.
    Actually, I think it refers to fishing. Trolls aren't magic, but they are mythological.

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    Default Re: How to Avoid the Murky Waters of Trolldom

    Thanks Fred. An interesting read.

    On FPGeeks it's quite easy to avoid trolls. Just switch on the Ignore button. Settings > Edit Ignore List.
    Last edited by Chrissy; December 16th, 2019 at 10:38 AM.
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    Default Re: How to Avoid the Murky Waters of Trolldom

    and never be tempted to click View Post just to have a look anyway.

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    Default Re: How to Avoid the Murky Waters of Trolldom

    Quote Originally Posted by Stands on Feet View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by arrow View Post
    I wish they never started to use the word troll or trolldom, it generally means magic.
    Actually, I think it refers to fishing. Trolls aren't magic, but they are mythological.
    Just looked it up, you can see why the word has been used for internet

    The English noun "troll" in the standard sense of ugly dwarf or giant dates to 1610 and comes from the Old Norse word "troll" meaning giant or demon. The word evokes the trolls of Scandinavian folklore and children's tales: antisocial, quarrelsome and slow-witted creatures which make life difficult for travellers.

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    Default Re: How to Avoid the Murky Waters of Trolldom

    The important part - and one that nearly everyone overlooks when condemning people of trollish behaviour - is the intent. A troll, by definition, has the intention of being disruptive for the sake of it.

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    Default Re: How to Avoid the Murky Waters of Trolldom

    Quote Originally Posted by Empty_of_Clouds View Post
    The important part - and one that nearly everyone overlooks when condemning people of trollish behaviour - is the intent. A troll, by definition, has the intention of being disruptive for the sake of it.
    Certainly, to an extent, but the history of online discussion groups is littered with enormous and bloated threads full of unending bickering from multiple parties, each of which thinks they are engaging with only the best of intentions. That they continue, on and on and on, shows a lack of insight into the nature of disengagement.

    It's the old "I can't come to bed, there is someone wrong on the Internet" concept. Let's just say there are meta- or proto-trollish behaviors that any one of us can fall into, as well.
    "When Men differ in Opinion, both Sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the Publick;
    and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter."

    ~ Benjamin Franklin

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    Default Re: How to Avoid the Murky Waters of Trolldom

    People will sometimes argue their side of a discussion with varying degrees of belligerance and self-certitude, but that is not at all the same as what a troll does - in terms of intention.

    In my opinion, there is a very real danger that the term "troll" will be invoked at some point in any heated discussion; perhaps as a kind of amendment to Godwin's Law.

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    Default Re: How to Avoid the Murky Waters of Trolldom

    My point is that the concept of intention is fairly pointless if people continue to beat a dead horse ad nauseum, completely overlooking the pointless aspects of unchecked repetition and bottom-line ineffectiveness. The property of disengagement is so important in many ways, and one of the most important is simply knowing when to let something drop when you realize nothing will come of continuing. When confronted with threads that scroll on, page after page and no progress is to be had, it becomes rather unimportant if a troll is involved.

    But, yes, conflating that with trolldom won't help, either. I was merely speaking to some of the other points in the article. And, with that, I'll bow out.
    "When Men differ in Opinion, both Sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the Publick;
    and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter."

    ~ Benjamin Franklin

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    Default Re: How to Avoid the Murky Waters of Trolldom

    Quote Originally Posted by Stands on Feet View Post
    Actually, I think it refers to fishing. Trolls aren't magic, but they are mythological.
    Oh, they are ;-)

    In norse folklore Trolls came in many forms, in the stories refering to them they vary a lot. Trolldom litterally means magic in Scandinavian languages. Words like sorcerer and magician can usually be translated with trollmann (trollmann). Jotner, trolls, etc. had magic. In fairytales they turn up in many forms, difficult and more good willed, living along side human kind.

    I shouldn't side track too much, it's an important subject and I agree with the inutital poster. I hope we can keep having an open mind reading posts as well as taking care when responding to them. Taking a step back and consciously not add to a difficult situation regardless of who is involved can be what solves it in some cases.
    Last edited by arrow; December 16th, 2019 at 03:38 PM.

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    Default Re: How to Avoid the Murky Waters of Trolldom

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Szanto View Post
    My point is that the concept of intention is fairly pointless if people continue to beat a dead horse ad nauseum, completely overlooking the pointless aspects of unchecked repetition and bottom-line ineffectiveness. The property of disengagement is so important in many ways, and one of the most important is simply knowing when to let something drop when you realize nothing will come of continuing. When confronted with threads that scroll on, page after page and no progress is to be had, it becomes rather unimportant if a troll is involved.

    But, yes, conflating that with trolldom won't help, either. I was merely speaking to some of the other points in the article. And, with that, I'll bow out.
    Good point.

    I have seen people openly admit that they start an argument or nitpick on the tiniest detail just because they have time on their hands, they want some banter without giving any consideration to the effect on others or even if there is any point to their comments. Their intention, well I dont really know, perhaps to pass some time or to have something else to respond to in an hour or so,

    Intention is a very difficult area to understand if you dont have the same mind set as the person doing the posting. Interpretation is often crosswired when you only have a few lines to form an opinion, it is easy to make mistakes.

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    Default Re: How to Avoid the Murky Waters of Trolldom

    I don't think that what happened here recently and by the same person several times before is really an example of trolling in the usual sense. It is more an unwillingness to allow the other person the last word and an absolute conviction that he is right. Of course he may be right - probably is, given the quality of his research but the unwillingness to allow even the slightest compromise is unpleasant and tiresome. There may be some element of trolling in that he enjoys the interminable and relentless arguing - I can only assume he must do, otherwise why persist? Considering that they do not seem to hold each other in high regard, the style of debate ( if it can be honoured in that way!) is similar to that employed by David Isaacson, equally arrogant and irritating.

    As has been said above, don't be drawn in.
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    Default Re: How to Avoid the Murky Waters of Trolldom

    Quote Originally Posted by Deb View Post
    I don't think that what happened here recently and by the same person several times before is really an example of trolling in the usual sense. It is more an unwillingness to allow the other person the last word and an absolute conviction that he is right. Of course he may be right - probably is, given the quality of his research but the unwillingness to allow even the slightest compromise is unpleasant and tiresome. There may be some element of trolling in that he enjoys the interminable and relentless arguing - I can only assume he must do, otherwise why persist? Considering that they do not seem to hold each other in high regard, the style of debate ( if it can be honoured in that way!) is similar to that employed by David Isaacson, equally arrogant and irritating.

    As has been said above, don't be drawn in.
    Indeed: Don't feed the troll
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    Senior Member FredRydr's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to Avoid the Murky Waters of Trolldom

    The full title of the article is: How to Argue on the Internet Without Losing Your Mind. Avoid the murky waters of trolldom. It was too long for the subject line, so I chose the more catchy second phrase rather than the drier but more apropos first phrase for the subject line. The New York Times article that summarizes the National Institute of Health study addresses lack of empathy towards others when debating online, not just intentional trolling in the classic sense (as some have discussed above). In any event, the term "trolling behavior" has evolved to encompass bad online behavior in general.

    I recommend reading the NIH manuscript to understand how such behavior foments similar behavior in others, and can indicate broader mental health problems.

    The big takeaway lesson is: stop participating when the posts go toxic.

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    Default Re: How to Avoid the Murky Waters of Trolldom

    Quote Originally Posted by FredRydr View Post
    can indicate broader mental health problems.
    Precisely so!
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    Default Re: How to Avoid the Murky Waters of Trolldom

    Something else to consider is that real people have a very diverse range of styles, psychologies, perceptions, and so on, which color their interactions. But little of that is as apparent in written text as it is in person.

    While it is said we miss out on many cues we get from face to face conversation, these cues tell us a lot more than simplistic happy/sad, sarcastic/serious, troll/joking.

    I hadn't considered before that we can get an overall sense of what the person is about, their intent, and where they are coming from, how best to interact with them.

    One guy I know comes off sort of normal and kind of funny online but in person he is kind of a mean spirited asshole.

    Another guy I know is a mean spirited asshole online and a genius smart, arrogant but kind of likeable asshole in person.

    There are definitely trolls out there who have fun provoking and arguing for no good reason.

    But sometimes "troll" is too simple a label that fails to provide any insight or explanation. A cursory study of certain psychological disorders that affect social interaction, along with careful observation, yield a far more nuanced, useful, and satisfying explanation.

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