Trolls - Do they contribute?

Discussion in 'Member and Staff Management' started by Janet H, Aug 15, 2014.

  1. Janet H

    Janet H Administrator Admin Talk Staff

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    There was an interesting article in the New York Times about Trolls and social media recently. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/15/t...incivility-increases.html?ref=technology&_r=1

    One of the points in the article was that they are hard to control because this is human nature but I questions this. Lack of resources, time and willingness to confront and manage trolls may be a bigger issue, imo.

    That said, do trolly posters add fuel to your topics of just drive folks off. Do they contribute in valuable ways?
     
  2. petertdavis

    petertdavis Old Timer

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    It depends on the troll. Sometimes a troll can help bond the community.
     
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  3. AzzidReign

    AzzidReign Regular Member

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    How so?

    From my experience, the only bonding that comes from a troll, is bonding with other trolls, setting the tone for new users to become trolls, and showing non-trolls that the community allows users to be trolls without any repercussions. I'm an adamant believer in nipping that type of behavior in the bud. We've done a pretty good job at that and many of our new users commend us in having a friendly environment and prefer us over my competitor due to our friendlier environment.
     
  4. petertdavis

    petertdavis Old Timer

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    Well, your demographic is a lot more douchy than mine of course. What I mean is that you can get a troll who causes your members to pull together in defense of all things good and pure (ie, your forum). If your regular members are the trolls then yea, nipping in the bud probably works better.
     
  5. Superboy

    Superboy Most Likely, I'm Insane.

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    I get what you both are saying. it really does depend on the community.

    We've had some major trolls/drama(Way too much for a site that is only 2 and 1/2 years old lol) but yeah trolls have torn us apart....in our early days because of the havoc they caused and how they weren't reprimanded/handled.

    Later trolls have caused the community to band together with each other and be there for each other and defend each other against any threat which has solidified relationships.
     
  6. danrak

    danrak Addict

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    I have seen this happen pretty often. I guess I have been lucky. Usually someone can point out the troll quickly and everyone pretty much responds with "don't feed the troll" type of stuff. They typically get snipped pretty quickly.
     
  7. Andy R

    Andy R Lurker Administrator Admin Talk Staff

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    I think trolls in the true definition of the word are a bad thing. That being said, some quality members might be passionate about a topic and to others with different points of view, they consider that trolling. Hate monger has no place on forums IMO but allowing passionate discussions between people with two points of view can be very healthy (as long as everyone remains respectful).
     
  8. radmax

    radmax Regular Member

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    In my observation it has been increasingly common and acceptable for younger guys to bust each others balls in social settings, and say random offensive things to get reactions out of each other. Completely sanitizing that sort of behavior will be a turnoff to some, so much so that they will go elsewhere. You can say what you want about how much they contribute to society and whatnot, but there are a few online communities like 4chan, somethingawful, and bodybuilding.com/misc that have largely embraced these trolls and are getting an enviable amount of pageviews year after year.

    "Trolling" encompasses a wide spectrum of sociopathic behaviors -- some much more hurtful than others -- so this is a pretty complex question to answer. Trolls are going to be a cancer to most communities, but I think it is also important to recognize there there is a real person behind each Troll, posting real content that gets real page views, and that giving people some leeway to mess with each other a little bit isn't necessarily going to be the downfall of your community (though it might be).
     
  9. Big al

    Big al Regular Member

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    Trolls can fall into may categories. The main ones seem to be the ones who spam websites with their links to what are many times shady websites, they are in fact stealing YOUR bandwidth for their own benefit and quick action is needed by the mods to stop them from taking over.

    This is one thing but when they move along to defame OTHERS for laughs then this is wrong and needs to be stopped.

    Especially when some sites like "The Ranter and encyclopedia dramatica as well as others, do not allow the victim to reply or dogpile on anyone who tries to defend themselves, included in that abuse is the allowing certain "inner core" members to impersonate the said victims and continue to defame them by posting altered copies of the victims posts out of context.

    Some blame must be allocated to admins who knowingly allow these "trolls" to impersonate their other members and guests.

    Where is a line drawn? This type of 'Trolling" can lead to bullying and suicide for the victims There has been over 90 suicides by victims of some 'Purge' Groups and this is where some of these spammers bully people just for laughs.
     
  10. radmax

    radmax Regular Member

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    @Big al -- I think as an admin, one of your hardest jobs is to set the tone of the site and figure out where you want that line to be. It's easy to take a hard line against the most egregious trolls like you've pointed out, but dealing with the in-between cases is what I personally find to be the most challenging, and the biggest time-suck. There is a lot of gross behavior on the internet, much of it legal, so perhaps a good rule of thumb for owners might be to set policies they can personally defend and feel proud of. How else are you going to sleep at night?

    Some admins want their forums to feel like a pub and I think with that comes a wider acceptance of some types of mild trolling. Others want their site to function like an office or library where everyone is respectful an on-point. I've seen both these styles of communities simultaneously thrive in the same niche while treating their trolls very differently. In my mind, neither style is necessarily better, just different, but depending your subject matter and audience, one might work better than the other.
     

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