[linux-elitists] Request for Comments: How to Deal with Internet Trolls - the Cognitive Therapy approach

Shlomi Fish shlomif at iglu.org.il
Fri Mar 4 02:39:32 PST 2011

Hi Don,

thanks for your E-mail and I'd like to thanks the mailing list's admin for 
approving my post despite the fact that it was 13 KB instead of 11 KB.

On Friday 04 Mar 2011 03:50:05 Don Marti wrote:
> begin Shlomi Fish quotation of Thu, Mar 03, 2011 at 10:01:55PM +0200:
> > ==What not to do?==
> ...
> > ==What to do instead==
> One key part of the "do not feed the troll" strategy
> is the killfile.  You can make a troll, or someone you
> consider a troll, disappear for you without moderating
> the whole forum, or disturbing the whole forum with
> a discussion about moderation policy.

Well, one thing I dislike about privately filtering people you don't like 
(using a killfile) is that then you're unaware of what they are saying, and so 
they will continue to provoke the other members, and make the forum less 
welcoming while you blissfully think that everything is going on well.

Another bad aspect of a killfile is that it's non-social: sometimes when I was 
told that I was killfiled due to an undeisrable pattern (not off-topic, 
though) in what I've posted, I felt that the people who did that should have 
voiced their concern about this pattern. See for example:

* http://use.perl.org/~nicholas/journal/38956

* http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/hackers-il/message/2844

> Anyway, if you want to present an alternative to
> "do not feed the troll" you might want to mention
> that the most effective troll non-feeding system
> includes filtration.

What do you mean by that?

> The other issue is that the troll that you spend time
> engaging with may have spent seconds paste-bombing
> your forum along with a zillion others, and he'll be
> gone except in those fora where he can get a reaction.

Is this some kind of grey-hat spamming? In any case, as with any advice, you 
need to use applied logic and reason to implement it in real-life situation. 

> A troll might be a devoted fan of green bikesheds,
> but post a long rant for pink because he saw your
> group had an earlier thread on the subject -- so
> opening a constructive discussion on the actual
> subject matter is often pointless.

Well, interrogating the troll, agreeing with him and claiming that you are at 
fault, is not "feeding" them per-ce, because you're actually disarming him. 
Naturally, you shouldn't implement my suggestion in case we're talking about 
spammers (and I mean spam as in unsolicited messages, not people who manually 
post off-topic and/or provoacative messages, which some people have started 
calling "spamming" as well.), and possible different kind of vandals.

That put aside, I'm also interested in corrections to typos, and in more 
examples for possible scenarios.


	Shlomi Fish

Shlomi Fish       http://www.shlomifish.org/
Escape from GNU Autohell - http://www.shlomifish.org/open-

Tel Aviv - a functional definition: free parking space-free space.
    -- Shachar Shemesh ( http://blog.shemesh.biz/?p=435 )

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