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Theodore A. Hoppe


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What are we to do with "Comment Trolls" here at TED?

Stephen Downs writes on his blog that I subscribe to, "OLDWeekly. He recently wrote on the subject of " comment trolls."
"We'll use the word 'science' a little loosely here, but meanwhile there's an interesting survey on the consequences of comment trolls: "it appeared that pushing people's emotional buttons, through derogatory comments, made them double down on their preexisting beliefs." The author offers an explanation, "the psychological theory of motivated reasoning," akin to Hume's dictum, but I think the interplay between thoughts and feelings (if they are even distinct things) is a lot more complex than that. That said, I can attest first-hand to the way comment trolls can drain the life out of a discussion, out of a website, out of living itself. Which, of course, if their intent."
The author Downes is referring to is Chris Mooney. His article in Mother Jones observes:
"In the context of the psychological theory of motivated reasoning, this makes a great deal of sense. Based on pretty indisputable observations about how the brain works, the theory notes that people feel first, and think second. The emotions come faster than the "rational" thoughts—and also shape the retrieval of those thoughts from memory. Therefore, if reading insults activates one's emotions, the "thinking" process may be more likely to be defensive in nature, and focused on preserving one's identity and preexisting beliefs."


Have a look at the article and share your thoughts.


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  • Jan 19 2013: Nothing.
    Keep them involved. (keep me involved. I guess I am a sort of troll, especially since I cannot always get back to a topic soon after, and it makes me look like one)
    Sometimes one doesn't have internet time so they quickly punch out a response.
    My internet is always failing, for days.
    Everyone is of a different age, with different experiences, ideas and buttons, and it takes some time to learn what all my buttons are and how to deal more effectively with them.
    Sometimes it's good to be emotional, other times not so.
    Let people be people. Let them be who they are.
    Why label them? That seems a way of trying to control them.
    I am very guilty of that myself and I do not feel very smart or even intelligent.
    Certainly no where near as intelligent or smart as many on Ted are (or seem to be)

    That always makes me look like a troll, but I don't feel like one.

    Not ever having anyone to talk to for most of my life, many times evokes spurts of ideas from me, comments and so on.
    I have to let them out as best I can and as best I know how.
    I always have to look in the mirror during the day and know that ultimately I am then looking at the real problem.

    For some, this is a new experience, reaching out into the world where many others will see, read and even ponder what they think. That is a risk, thrilling at times, embarrassing, irritating, supportive and not so well accepted.
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      Jan 19 2013: Great comments. I seeing that this is becoming a community building discussion where we get to learn about ourself and each other.

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