Internet Troll / Forum Troll


Internet Troll / Forum Troll - Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles

An "Internet troll" or "Forum Troll" or "Message Board Troll" is a person who posts outrageous messages to bait members to answer. Forum Troll delights in sowing discord on forums. A troll is someone who inspires flaming rhetoric, someone who is purposely provoking and pulling people into flaming discussion. Flaming discussions usually end with name calling and a flame war.

A classic Wiki troll will try to make members believe that he/she is a genuine skeptic with no hidden agenda. He/she is divisive and argumentative with need-to-be-right attitude, "searching for the truth", flaming discussions, and sometimes insulting members or provoking members to insult them. A Troll is usually an expert in reusing the same words of his/her opponents and in turning it against them.

While sometimes they may sound like a stupid, uninformed, ignorant poster, please do not be deceived. Most trolls are highly intelligent people trying to hide behind a mask of stupidity and/or ignorance. They usually have an agenda, and very few trolls come to a Wiki out of pure belief and support.

A Wiki Troll is generally a person who is extremely skeptical of the main wiki’s subject matter.

They are generally interested in making other members look stupid. A troll will sometimes use insults to provoke other people to insult him. Then, he/she will complain to Moderators of being insulted and will request that his opponents get banned from further discussion.

It is generally very easy for a troll to gain access to any wiki forum. As the majority of support threads on the TSCC Wiki are about the “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles” TV show, all a Troll has to do is start a flaming thread or post questioning the main subject of discussion and to provoke insults from hard core proponents and supporters.

Sometimes a Troll is skeptical, trying to scare people, trying to plant fear in their hearts. Many wiki trolls are people trying to promote discord through fear mongering.

For many trolls, lack of hard evidence about any view or opinion equals "OPPORTUNITY". They will try to prevent members from even carrying on a normal discussion
Sometimes a Troll will try to spin conflicting information, question an insincere manner, turn a discussion into a flame war by insulting people, turning people against each other, harassing forum members, and ignoring warnings from Admins and Mods.

Trolling is a form of harassment that can take over a discussion. Well meaning defenders can create chaos by responding to trolls. The best response is to ignore a suspected Troll, and to send a PM to an Admin or Mod. Admins and Mods will delete troll messages or block trolls.

Negative emotions stirred up by trolls leak over into other discussions. Normally affable people can become bitter after reading an angry interchange between a troll and his victims, and this can poison previously friendly interactions between long-time members.

Finally, trolls create a paranoid environment, such that a casual criticism by a new arrival can elicit a ferocious and inappropriate backlash.

When trolls are ignored they step up their attacks, desperately seeking the attention they crave. Their messages become more and more foul, and they post ever more of them.

Alternatively, a Troll may protest that their right to free speech is being curtailed.

Perhaps the most difficult challenge for an Admin or Mod is deciding whether to take steps against a troll that a few members find "entertaining." Some trolls do have a creative spark and have chosen to squander it on being disruptive. There is a certain perverse pleasure in watching some of them. Ultimately, though, the Admins or Mods have to decide if the troll actually cares about putting on a good show for the regular members or is simply playing to an audience of one -- himself.

Next time you are on a message board and you see a post by somebody whom you think is a troll, and you feel you must reply, simply write a follow-up message entitled "Troll Alert".

The only way to deal with trolls is to limit your reaction and not to respond to trolling messages. It is well known that most people do not read messages that no member responds to, while 99% of forum visitors first read the longest and the largest threads with the most answers.

Most, if not all of the above situations have been going on now for a number of weeks on this wiki, and it is strictly against this wiki’s rules and COC.

Judith Donath, a well-known professor at MIT Media Lab, provides a concise overview of identity deception games which trade on the confusion between physical and epistemic community:
Trolling is a game about identity deception, albeit one that is played without the consent of most of the players. The troll attempts to pass as a legitimate participant, sharing the group's common interests and concerns; the newsgroups members, if they are cognizant of trolls and other identity deceptions, attempt to both distinguish real from trolling postings, and upon judging a poster a troll, make the offending poster leave the group. Their success at the former depends on how well they— and the troll— understand identity cues; their success at the latter depends on whether the troll's enjoyment is sufficiently diminished or outweighed by the costs imposed by the group. Trolls can be costly in several ways. A troll can disrupt the discussion on a newsgroup, disseminate bad advice, and damage the feeling of trust in the newsgroup community. Furthermore, in a group that has become sensitized to trolling— where the rate of deception is high— many honestly naïve questions may be quickly rejected as trollings. This can be quite off-putting to the new user who upon venturing a first posting is immediately bombarded with angry accusations. Even if the accusation is unfounded, being branded a troll is quite damaging to one's online reputation.[9]

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