Poll

Should we update the Conduct section of the Rules to address trolling?  

Yes.
4 (33.3%)
Yes, but with a different standard (see my comment).
1 (8.3%)
No.
7 (58.3%)

Total Members Voted: 12

Author Topic: Who wants to modify the Rules to deal with trolls?  (Read 4312 times)

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Online CarbShark

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Re: Who wants to modify the Rules to deal with trolls?
« Reply #60 on: August 16, 2018, 01:02:05 PM »
Rather than something as squishy as "trolling" I would propose something more along the lines of "posting in bad faith" to invoice things like frequently derailing topics towards pet ideas or topics, ignoring or rejecting evidence or arguments asked for (example: "Show me evidence for _____" and then ignoring when evidence is presented, then repeating the question), accusations of shilling, or beginning a discussion and then refusing to engage with other good-faith discussion.

This laundry list sounds very much like your own personal pet peeves and frustrations in engaging in discussions here.

Those are things detrimental to discussion, period. If you think you've engaged in those behaviors than you should stop doing that. I don't keep an enemies list, you're literally not that important.

I think you think I have engaged in those behaviors and I think you are wrong and you should stop being so wrong.
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Offline Sawyer

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Re: Who wants to modify the Rules to deal with trolls?
« Reply #61 on: August 16, 2018, 01:27:29 PM »
As a practical example of how this might work, I would propose Pdb is a troll and should be banned.

If enough active users agree, Mods can follow Mod policy for warnings, etc., and take action.

We could nickname the new rule the Echo Chamber Clause or maybe Mob Rule Clause. If enough cool kids don‘t like someone‘s ideas they can kick him out of the club. Perhaps we should call the club the Pure Ideology Clause.

Good way to doom a forum which has already become almost complete uninteresting due to the steadily increasing homogeneity of the participants.

Skepticism, my ass.


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The person in question has absolutely fostered a decrease in the diversity of the political opinions expressed on this forum.  I always point to our old friend FX as an perfect example of how this works, as he could box out anyone else that may have had legitimate critiques regarding climate change.  This appears to be the current situation with conservative politics on this forum.

Not endorsing the rule suggestion, but let's not pretend that the crackpots add "diversity".

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Offline PANTS!

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Re: Who wants to modify the Rules to deal with trolls?
« Reply #62 on: August 16, 2018, 01:33:14 PM »
As a practical example of how this might work, I would propose Pdb is a troll and should be banned.

If enough active users agree, Mods can follow Mod policy for warnings, etc., and take action.

We could nickname the new rule the Echo Chamber Clause or maybe Mob Rule Clause. If enough cool kids don‘t like someone‘s ideas they can kick him out of the club. Perhaps we should call the club the Pure Ideology Clause.

Good way to doom a forum which has already become almost complete uninteresting due to the steadily increasing homogeneity of the participants.

Skepticism, my ass.


We have long since moved past the initial suggestion of this thread as being too problematic and cliquey.  Do try to keep up.
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Offline The Latinist

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Re: Who wants to modify the Rules to deal with trolls?
« Reply #63 on: August 16, 2018, 04:28:25 PM »
Just to be clear, the mod team is not designing any rules to target individual posters. They have identified a few behaviors that have caused repeated disruption in the forum, and they are considering policy changes to address them. These policy changes will probably be conservative in nature and will be introduced slowly, targeting the most egregious behaviors first—and for this reason, at least initially, they will probably not satisfy those who are looking for enforcement of a broad anti-trolling policy. As someone who is not a mod but who is privy to some of their deliberation, I encourage everyone to give them a chance.

ETA: Because it can sometimes be confusing, like Belgarath, I want to emphasize that we Technical Administrators are not Moderators and do not set policies for the Forum.  We keep the site up and running, and we advise the Mod Team on technical implications of policy decisions, but the Mod Team is the ultimate authority on this forum.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2018, 04:43:28 PM by The Latinist »
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Offline brilligtove

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Re: Who wants to modify the Rules to deal with trolls?
« Reply #64 on: August 16, 2018, 05:06:13 PM »
Just to be clear, the mod team is not designing any rules to target individual posters. They have identified a few behaviors that have caused repeated disruption in the forum, and they are considering policy changes to address them. These policy changes will probably be conservative in nature and will be introduced slowly, targeting the most egregious behaviors first—and for this reason, at least initially, they will probably not satisfy those who are looking for enforcement of a broad anti-trolling policy. As someone who is not a mod but who is privy to some of their deliberation, I encourage everyone to give them a chance.

ETA: Because it can sometimes be confusing, like Belgarath, I want to emphasize that we Technical Administrators are not Moderators and do not set policies for the Forum.  We keep the site up and running, and we advise the Mod Team on technical implications of policy decisions, but the Mod Team is the ultimate authority on this forum.

Thank you. That was the level of detail I was looking for.
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Online Eternally Learning

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Re: Who wants to modify the Rules to deal with trolls?
« Reply #65 on: August 16, 2018, 10:54:54 PM »
I'll go out on a limb and say that I would rather have a meaningful discussion with a full-blown neo-nazi for whom Hitler is a personal hero, than a trollish discussion with someone I mostly agree with and I would like the rules to reflect that.  Let's not lose track of the fact that there are a lot of lurkers on this site and while we may have no chance of changing the minds of some people we talk to, if the conversation is conducted in an earnest manner on both sides with sincere attempts to respond to points made then it's entirely plausible we change the minds of people we didn't even know were there.  More than that, I've found that encountering people I feel are so obviously wrong but are nonetheless intelligent and interested in proving their views right has only served to give me a much better handle on my views and sharpen my ability to defend them.  If nothing else, they've prompted me to question things that'd never even occurred to me to question before and as a skeptic, I find that invaluable.

That all in mind:

Based on the criticisms, concerns, and suggestions (and drawing on PANTS! list), here's a proposed section on disruptive behaviours that might be useful in guiding Mods. Thoughts?

Disruptive Behaviours
Some behaviours disrupt conversations, discussions, and debates over time and across the community. Mods may limit or remove your ability to post based on ongoing disruptive behaviours.

Disruptive behaviours include repeatedly posting content or links that are:
* unrelated to the topic of a thread,
* factually incorrect,
* blatant proselytizing.

Your behaviour may be considered disruptive through repeatedly making use of some kinds of inflammatory speech, such as:
* claims that are abandoned (e.g., gish gallops, not supporting claims with follow up discussion, changing the subject instead of addressing a claim),
* insulting or hateful language (e.g., ad hominem attacks, name calling, dog-whistles),
* fallacious arguments (e.g., Tu-Quoque, strawman).

I don't think any of those things means you are a troll, but if something like 90% of what you post falls under those categories (except for fallacious arguments as it's pretty easy to do that by accident) than it seems pretty likely to me you may be a troll.  I think the bar should be set somewhere at that level if we're talking about banning someone for reasons that aren't already covered in the rules because if they aren't, then we risk getting rid of well-intentioned people who may just be bad at arguing.  Shit, I'm certainly guilty most of those to one degree or another from time to time.

Offline Belgarath

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Re: Who wants to modify the Rules to deal with trolls?
« Reply #66 on: August 17, 2018, 10:26:57 AM »
Thanks Lat for clarifying and adding color.
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Offline brilligtove

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Re: Who wants to modify the Rules to deal with trolls?
« Reply #67 on: August 17, 2018, 06:02:56 PM »
I'll go out on a limb and say that I would rather have a meaningful discussion with a full-blown neo-nazi for whom Hitler is a personal hero, than a trollish discussion with someone I mostly agree with and I would like the rules to reflect that.  Let's not lose track of the fact that there are a lot of lurkers on this site and while we may have no chance of changing the minds of some people we talk to, if the conversation is conducted in an earnest manner on both sides with sincere attempts to respond to points made then it's entirely plausible we change the minds of people we didn't even know were there.  More than that, I've found that encountering people I feel are so obviously wrong but are nonetheless intelligent and interested in proving their views right has only served to give me a much better handle on my views and sharpen my ability to defend them.  If nothing else, they've prompted me to question things that'd never even occurred to me to question before and as a skeptic, I find that invaluable.

That all in mind:

Based on the criticisms, concerns, and suggestions (and drawing on PANTS! list), here's a proposed section on disruptive behaviours that might be useful in guiding Mods. Thoughts?

Disruptive Behaviours
Some behaviours disrupt conversations, discussions, and debates over time and across the community. Mods may limit or remove your ability to post based on ongoing disruptive behaviours.

Disruptive behaviours include repeatedly posting content or links that are:
* unrelated to the topic of a thread,
* factually incorrect,
* blatant proselytizing.

Your behaviour may be considered disruptive through repeatedly making use of some kinds of inflammatory speech, such as:
* claims that are abandoned (e.g., gish gallops, not supporting claims with follow up discussion, changing the subject instead of addressing a claim),
* insulting or hateful language (e.g., ad hominem attacks, name calling, dog-whistles),
* fallacious arguments (e.g., Tu-Quoque, strawman).

I don't think any of those things means you are a troll, but if something like 90% of what you post falls under those categories (except for fallacious arguments as it's pretty easy to do that by accident) than it seems pretty likely to me you may be a troll.  I think the bar should be set somewhere at that level if we're talking about banning someone for reasons that aren't already covered in the rules because if they aren't, then we risk getting rid of well-intentioned people who may just be bad at arguing.  Shit, I'm certainly guilty most of those to one degree or another from time to time.

I agree with you. The point of this addition would be to cover longer term disruptive behaviour, not errors, ignorance, or a lack of skill in writing arguments.
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