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Sat May 7, 2016, 08:04 PM

GD:P Meta Lesson 101: Trolls: Don't feed them, don't accuse them. [View all]

At some point everyone has to be responsible for their own behavior, and remember that "s/he started it" wasn't a good excuse for bad behavior even in gradeschool. Civility should be the ideal.

But not everyone is civil. Some, as the article on this subject I'm highlighting mentions, are just assholes online because it's easier to be an asshole when you're not face to face and we all gotta vent somewhere. Sometimes there are genuine disruptors, often referred to as "trolls". The meme that there is a mighty Clinton paid troll brigade doesn't help -- those are not trolls, but shills, and accusing Clinton supporters of being either for having the audacity to express their opinion is REALLY GETTING OLD... uh, sorry about that. I'll moderate my volume....

Still, the way of dealing with both is the same. Since you can't control their behavior, you control your own.

There are three rules to remember if you think you're dealing with a "troll":

1) Don't feed the trolls. If they're doing it for personal amusement, they are just going to get enjoyment from your responses. If they're a volunteer or paid brigade supporting or opposing a candidate, your reply gives their arguments a kick and more visibility, which accomplishes their goals for them. Disruptors thrive by disrupting. If you ignore them, they can't disrupt anyone, get bored/told by the imaginary payroll manager to move to another forun, and go away.

2) Don't accuse them of being trolls. Not only is that feeding them, the article points out that sometimes it's hard to tell a real troll from J Random Asshole. Remember what opinions resemble -- we all have them, at least one person on the Internet thinks ours stinks, and usually vice-versa. Plus, it's a really lame thing, to go ad-hominem when you can't find another reason to say why they're wrong. Lastly, it's a personal attack, and recent Ask the Admins indicate there will actually be RULES here after the primary is over! Which is to say, better to start practicing new arguments. Just not with trolls.

3) Report suspected trolls to the Malicious Intruder Removal team. Even if the troll has been subtle/prolific to not be caught right away (the vast majority of Obvious Trolls are Obvious), if circumstances warrant they can get Admin to make the call if needed. Don't try to play detective on your own, especially not in public forums.

Remember, the idea of "trolling" came from fishing. If you think someone's a troll, don't take their bait!

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