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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 20 2013: Flaming and trolls don't disturb me at all. If I happen to disagree with someone's opinion, then I either reply to it or just ignore it. That's all. Why should I get upset about comments made by people that I don't even know? Some people take forums a bit too seriously, in my opinion. After all, heated discussions are part of our world and shouldn't be swept under the rug unless people were glaringly promoting illegal activities. Every voice should be heard.

    Other than that, I think it's important to prevent people from flooding and spamming all around. Nobody should be allowed to take over the forum.
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      Jan 20 2013: i'm kind of sure you also take some things seriously, and you are probably upset about people deliberately try to ruin those things out of fun.
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        Jan 20 2013: I never get upset on a forum, I just state my opinion and read others'. That's all. And if I don't like the forum rules and policies, then I just go onto another one. I never take things personally.
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        Jan 20 2013: I thought it was implicit, that's where trolls live and thrive, right?

        Anyway, outside a forum, it's also easy for me to ignore hurtful comments by random people. Of course, I may answer back for the sake of it, but I would never take it personally. I usually give my reasoned opinion without expecting those bullies to change their minds. But if they do, good for them. Regardless of the result, it's easy for me to move on.

        I don't mind hearing different opinions at all, even if they are malicious and insulting. What I don't like is people taking over. I don't want to hear the same opinion over and over again, so I try to avoid such tiring people. Ill-intentioned criticism cannot ruin anything for me.
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          Jan 20 2013: listen. it would be easier if you did not try to derail the conversation. i was not talking about comments either. listen again:

          i'm kind of sure you also take some things, any things, seriously, and you are probably upset about people deliberately try to ruin those things out of fun.

          am i right about it or not? or you continue playing hide and seek?
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        Jan 20 2013: Alright, I do take some things seriously, but certainly not ill-intentioned criticism (and I thought that's what this thread is about).
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          Jan 20 2013: no it is not. it is about people who deliberately try to ruin the conversation. that is trolling. it is the same as walking on a football field throwing stones to the water when a guy tries to catch some fish. tell me if you don't mind those either.
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        Jan 20 2013: As I said, I do mind if they are spamming and taking over the conversation, thus silencing other people's views. But if they are just making insulting remarks, I don't mind them, I just move onto the next comment.
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          Jan 20 2013: and i don't care if they ruin your flower garden, or your football match, or your movie experience, why would i care then? we don't care about each other. nice thinking.
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        Jan 20 2013: I did not say that I don't care about others, I just stated my opinion on this matter. Trolls are not much of a problem for me.

        I also came to this thread to read about what others had to say about trolling and I guess many users care more than I do.

        I also think that if most people care about trolling, the mods should do something about it, but I personally don't care (except for spamming).
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          Jan 20 2013: next time if you don't care about something, don't tell those that do that they should not. accept that some people might care more. just like you would in many other situations. this conversation is over on my part.
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        Jan 20 2013: I never said that. I only shared my view on trolling and how some people react to it. Of course, people are entitled to think and act differently.

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