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ewu

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Trolls...
« on: February 28, 2008, 02:22:02 PM »

If I could speak not as Fanime staff I would but I'm just connected at the hip to Fanime.....

Just something I thought was...good.

http://www.megfowler.com/2006/12/13/how-not-to-be-an-asshole-or-encourage-assholism-on-the-internet-a-handy-guide

Quote from: megfowler.com
how not to be an asshole or encourage assholism on the internet: a handy guide.

I’ve been noticing lately that more and more of my favourite bloggers are dealing with bizarre, angry commenters, weird email stalkers, and brazen plagiarizers. And the worst of the lot?

Bloggers who pen entire POSTS mocking the parenting skills or intelligence or ethics or eye color of their fellow writers.

It boggles the mind, really.

Not the notion that people can be odd, obsessive freaks — I learn that lesson each day on my commute — but rather that anyone would take the time and effort to make people they’ve never met feel vulnerable and attacked.

It’s silencing people who have excellent voices, excellent hearts, and excellent minds.

Making them question their vocation as full-time writers, even, completely away from their writing on the web.

And it’s wrong.

I’ve had my share of weird, presumptuous correspondents — some even abusive — and a few fairly shocking comments at my blog, but I guess I’m not much of a lightning rod.

No sex, no parenting, no religion, no politics.

Basically, this is a website about my need for more caffeine and my desire to live amongst penguins. Perhaps an entry or two about lip gloss?

And while many mental health professionals would have a field day navigating through my posts as a result, truly loopy people don’t find much to freak out about. I’m not saying that it won’t happen someday, but for now? I’m getting off easy.

But my friends — people who write brilliant and wise things on subjects that actually matter — are having to make major decisions about the safety of their families in response to those who feel that intimidation and abuse are their anonymous (or not-so-anonymous) rights on the Web.

It’s completely ridiculous and unnecessary, and it needs to stop.

Now, I’m not naive enough to think that anyone will ever wrangle all the assholes into submission and calm the Internet into a state of semi-grace. It’s a sad fact that there are too damn many jerks pounding away at their keyboards, taking sick delight in seizing power from people who actually have something to lose.

They’re the ones making inflammatory and threatening comments, trying to create conflict where none is necessary. They’re the ones who send vicious mail to mommy bloggers because they made some cosmic mistake like feeding their child a donut. They’re the ones who take other peoples’ pictures and writing and pass them off as their own. They’re the ones who believe that debate is a bloodsport, whether it be political, social or anything in between.

They’re the ones who infect peoples’ screens with hate. They’re the ones who use their OWN blogs to comment on how other people live/work/write/exist… and then send their anger zinging towards their targets with trackbacks.

It’s censorship via intimidation, and a sad, sad end to too many positive forms of expression.

So.

Here’s my set of thoughts — just in case you’ve happened by here and you might be one of these people OR you’ve ever considered being one of these people OR you’ve got these people lingering around your web site or your life — on how to not be a troll, how to not get bitten by trolls (as much you can avoid it), and how to make your website, well… unfriendly to the unfriendly.

I’m certainly not saying I’m an expert — on ANYTHING — but I believe these things with absolute conviction.

Take it with a grain of salt and a scotch bonnet pepper.

If you are a troll — OR if you’re about to get angry on someone else’s web site:

  • The existence of content you disagree with on the web is not an invitation to attack.
  • The existence of an email address is not an indication that someone is “asking for it.”
  • Unless they mention you, they are NOT SPEAKING DIRECTLY TO YOU. They don’t know about that thing that happened with your mom, or that you work at Wal-Mart. Take it easy, tiger.
  • Contacting someone outside of the normal bounds of their web site is flat-out unacceptable, unless you’re been invited to do so. Their relative attractiveness is not an excuse.
  • If they don’t contact you back, DON’T CONTACT THEM AGAIN. Don’t assume the email got lost in the mail. Let it go.
  • If they ask you not to contact them, DON’T CONTACT THEM AGAIN. They said NO.
  • If you are offended by someone’s blog entry or content and they make you genuinely angry to the point where you can only speak abusively, your comment is going to be worthless anyway. They (and their readers) are not going to change because you rant at them.
  • The only hope you have of convincing someone to agree with your point is to offer a non-threatening, well-reasoned response.
  • Non-threatening, well-reasoned responses NEVER include the following words or phrases: “I hope you die”; “Your mother must not have breastfed you”; “You are going to ruin your children”; “You are a major prick”; “I want to kill you”; and “I know where you live.”
  • Sometimes NO response is your best bet.
  • “Teaching someone a lesson” is the weakest excuse for assholism on the Web.
    Being respectful to others is not “fawning” or “blowing smoke up their ass.” It’s common decency.
  • Check out the tone and the readership of the site you’re at. If no one else is screaming f-words and threatening babies, it’s likely that no one will appreciate that about your comment. If they are, however, go nuts.
  • If your comment gets deleted, that is a major red flag. Posting, “Hey, did you delete my comment?” or “Why did you delete my comment?” is basically just begging to get banned. Yes, they deleted it. You’re a troll. Live with yourself. And if you’re not, THEY STILL DELETED IT AND YOU CAN’T GET IT BACK.
  • If you can’t be at a web site without getting angry, PRESS THE BACK BUTTON.
  • If you can’t be at a web site without wanting to threaten someone, PRESS THE BACK BUTTON.
  • If you have been told you are no longer welcome at a web site, PRESS THE BACK BUTTON.
  • If the police have taken away your computer, GO LIE DOWN. SHHHH.

If you see a troll at someone else’s website:

  • Your first instinct may be to defend the web site owner from the troll. But unless they have addressed the troll and encouraged you to do the same, ignore the troll. Trolls like attention. They like conversation. Ignoring them is like cutting off their air supply.
  • Do not engage in a debate with said troll if the web site owner asks you to stop. It’s like arguing with someone’s spouse on their behalf, except they’re already having make-up sex and now you’re just killing the mood.
  • Do not go to the troll’s website and troll them. They will only torture you (or the owner of the web site at which you discovered them) all the more in return.
    Trolls that start out funny can get scary really fast. Keep that in mind before you wave your arms to get their attention.
  • All the arguments in the world will not convince a true troll. Assume all trolls are true trolls.
  • If the owner of the web site asks you to speak up on their behalf in their comments, stay reasonable, don’t threaten, and don’t match the troll’s tone. Show them that such behaviour is foreign and unwelcome at the site in question. But maybe just stick with not doing it, regardless. Encourage the site owner not to do it, too, if at all possible. You’re not going to win.
  • DO NOT WRITE AN ENTRY ABOUT THE TROLL OR THEIR WEB SITE ON YOUR BLOG. You’ve given the troll their DREAM post at that point, AND you’re pouring gasoline on the fire. Or on the troll. Wait, that might be fun.
  • If you see a discussion heading towards troll territory — and it can happen with perfectly decent people who get carried away — just don’t engage in it. Yes, you can say whatever you want. But no, it’s not always the right time.

If you have trolls, or fear trolls:

  • I know it seems like a leap at times, but try not to write abusive things about other people, especially other people with internet access. Why be an asshole? Being an asshole on a micro level can get macro on you pretty damn fast.
    Besides — linking to people after writing abusive things about them? Makes you a troll. See above.
  • A well-reasoned critique on someone else’s views is a different thing, but if they’re a nutbar? They’re going to go nutbar on you. Don’t be shocked.
  • If someone makes a trollish comment, stop for a second before you respond. Did they mean to troll? Or are they confused? Some people are unable to articulate their meaning in appropriate ways, and sometimes it takes stepping back from the situation to realize that you’re dealing with overpunctuation, not rabid anger.
    Don’t put up your email address if you don’t want emails. Or at the very least, put up a Gmail address you can easily abandon — don’t send all your site mail to your main mailbox on the web.
  • Don’t be afraid to delete comments or ban IP addresses. But don’t make a giant deal of it, either. Simply state in your comment policy that you will eliminate abusive commenters, and that you’ll do it at your discretion. It’s your site. It’s up to you.
  • If you love arguments in your comments and you encourage people to abuse one another — or you enjoy abusing others — you’ll look silly complaining when it gets out of hand. Don’t start what you are unprepared to finish.
  • Don’t tell your troll that you’re going to contact their workplace because you’ve got their IP. Want to see someone REALLY go bananas? Threaten their livelihood.
    Don’t write posts about specifically abusive commenters — again, that’s the attention they wanted.
  • If you can’t get any perspective on the comments people are leaving — if you take things too personally and freak out — it’s time to either take a break, or get someone ELSE to moderate your comments for you. Or take off comments. That’s not the end of the world, either.

At the end of the day, everyone will lose their temper now and again, and write something that embarrasses them. It’s just a matter of not making it a lifestyle choice.

Yeah, you have to be tough to stick around the web for long, but sometimes that’s too much to ask — especially of people with families. Sometimes readers go too far. Most of the time, there’s no excuse.

If you’ve been an asshole, apologize, and let it go. If the person ignores you, you did your part. You can’t make them love you, as Bonnie Raitt says.

And please — for the love of all that is good and webby — remember that this is a big scary world full of horrible things.

Try not to be another scary or horrible thing.

Period.

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LadyKaren

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Re: Trolls...
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2008, 05:41:22 PM »

Quote
Don’t tell your troll that you’re going to contact their workplace because you’ve got their IP. Want to see someone REALLY go bananas? Threaten their livelihood.

This one funny. Especially if anyone has seen the "Restricted Area" page of the fanime website.
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Golden State Warrior

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Re: Trolls...
« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2008, 06:31:22 PM »

I'm with this. Though I do send PMs to people I don't know just to give 'em a random shout out. No harm, no foul, me thinks (me hopes).

Jun-Watarase

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Re: Trolls...
« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2008, 08:24:57 PM »

I'm with this. Though I do send PMs to people I don't know just to give 'em a random shout out. No harm, no foul, me thinks (me hopes).

But we're cool homies, amiright? Because we're down with that g-funk. Ye-yeah. >:D
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Re: Trolls...
« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2008, 08:28:53 PM »

I'm with this. Though I do send PMs to people I don't know just to give 'em a random shout out. No harm, no foul, me thinks (me hopes).

But we're cool homies, amiright? Because we're down with that g-funk. Ye-yeah. >:D

Holla!  :D

*exchanges some elborate crazy handshake with Jun-Watarase*

Jun-Watarase

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Re: Trolls...
« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2008, 08:36:13 PM »

I'm with this. Though I do send PMs to people I don't know just to give 'em a random shout out. No harm, no foul, me thinks (me hopes).

But we're cool homies, amiright? Because we're down with that g-funk. Ye-yeah. >:D

Holla!  :D

*exchanges some elborate crazy handshake with Jun-Watarase*

Hellz yeah! *Super intricate wiggling of fingers and perhaps a few dance moves, as well. Ends it with a couple of pounds on the chest and a peace sign.* Keepin' it real, g.


As for the topic-- for the most part I agree, but it's an actual discussion, I don't mind contributing to it, even if it is somewhat negative. I'm sure it upsets a few people, and I do make some considerations before making a post. My posts are never personal, so I hope no one takes them personally. :J
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