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no trolls allowed open thread

Do I need to crack down harder on trolls? A no-troll, no-MRA discussion thread

bridge-troll-4e7123d-intro

This blog has been getting a lot more traffic lately. The downside is that we’ve had a lot more trolls here lately as well.

Because of this, and because of a shitty situation in one of the comment threads earlier tonight involving an abusive troll who I wish I had banned sooner, I want to open up a discussion to everyone here (that is, everyone here who is not a troll or an MRA).

The question is: Do I need to crack down harder on trolls?

Generally my approach has been to let trolls post unless and until they’re abusive. I know a lot of people here like engaging with trolls and taking them down.

The problem, of course, is that these trolls can quickly become abusive. And this can trigger people.

Should I be quicker to ban people — banning trolls at the first sign that they might become abusive rather than giving them the benefit of the doubt (which, unfortunately a lot of them don’t deserve)? Should I be stricter about who I let post in the first place?

There are actually a lot of people I don’t let post here at all; if their first comment is too aggressive or hostile or (obviously) contains a slur I don’t let their comments through. I’m especially strict when it comes to people posting in threads about women who’ve been harassed.

But I could be stricter, and I could ban more quickly if that’s what you think I should do.

Frankly, I gave up a long time ago on the idea that it’s possible to have any kind of “open debate” with these people. Too many of them are abusive assholes for that to work.

So my priority here is the regular feminist and feminist-friendly commenters on this blog, and coming up with a comment policy and procedures that work better for you all. There are people who enjoy and in many cases feel empowered by being able to confront the trolls here. But I don’t want, and I don’t think  any of us want, more situations like the one that happened tonight.

To be honest, I do think I need to crack down harder. I just want to hear what you all think on the issue, and to hear your suggestions as to how to do this most effectively.

The other aspect of this: I think I need to put up more no troll, no MRA open threads. And so I will be doing that.

Thoughts?

(I may not be able to get back to this thread for a little while, but I’ll definitely be back later in the evening.)

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kittehserf
6 years ago

Ayup.

Lea
Lea
6 years ago

LBT,

Good point. He doesn’t have a dog in this fight. We are the dogs in this fight. It’s easy to be disinterested in what happens to other people, if you don’t really see them as people.

historophilia
6 years ago

I don’t know about anyone else but anyone who uses the term “Groupthink”, especially in relation to Feminist spaces, sets off my bullshit-o-meter.

90% whenever I’ve seen someone trying the “Groupthink!” or “you just don’t want DISSENT” line it’s because they’ve said something bigoted or been tone-policing people and have been called out for it.

So whenever I see the term “Groupthink” I assume what they mean is “A community of people have certain moral standards which they consider important and they enforce, such as being anti-racist, and bigoted people don’t like that”.

Howard Bannister
6 years ago

Also, the McGovern/Nixon effect is an old, old, old example, when you have the most recent presidential election to refer back to when it comes to closed communities and ‘unskewed polls’ and Rove meltdowns and Mitt Romney not having a speech prepared for if he lost; why reach so far back for a left-wing example when a prominent example is sitting right there?

Hmm.

Doug
Doug
6 years ago

Thanks for the responses, David and others. My intent was not to cause consternation. Fostering positive online discussions is challenging under any circumstance and doing so on topics of feminist concerns presents additional challenges about which I am (as has been observed) not familiar enough to speak in a productive way.

Good luck with the difficult work of developing the processes that will best further the purposes of this community.

weirwoodtreehugger
6 years ago

Was this thread Doug’s first time posting? I don’t recognize him. It just seems like such an odd place to jump in.

What exactly was your intent Doug?

hellkell
hellkell
6 years ago

Fostering positive online discussions is challenging under any circumstance and doing so on topics of feminist concerns presents additional challenges about which I am (as has been observed) not familiar enough to speak in a productive way.

And yet you didn’t let your lack of knowledge slow you down one bit. Thanks for graphically illustrating the concept of mansplaining.

Doug
Doug
6 years ago

I’ve been reading pretty regularly for the last year or so. I only occasionally get to the comment section, and I’ve only recently started posting and then very occasionally (see e.g.: https://wehuntedthemammoth.com/2014/05/27/heartiste-takes-on-an-egotistic-attention-starved-solipsistic-passive-aggressive-perpetually-aggrieved-manlet-who-somehow-isnt-him/comment-page-1/#comment-496688) — I imagine the comment here was maybe the 3rd or 4th comment thread in which I’ve posted.

I’ve run a blog for maybe 10 years, and prior to that, I feel like I learned a lot about online communities by participating at The Well. (David is also a Wellpern & I would not be surprised if he also learned a lot about online communities from The Well.) My blog is about state politics. I mostly fall on the center-left of that spectrum. Over the years, I’ve struggled with antagonistic right wingers who often just want to shit in the punch bowl. But, I’ve noticed a tendency of my mostly left wing audience and commenters to want to preach to the choir. Giving the right wingers a little more leeway to upset the regulars has resulted in some good conversations from time to time. It’s also gone off the rails many times. So, it’s a mixed bag. My intent was just to offer my thoughts on that dynamic. (And, for what it’s worth – the concept of “group think” is something I was introduced to and surprised by in an undergraduate political science class in the early 90s; and the Nixon/McGovern example was chosen because I was introduced to that concept on the Well during the run up to Bush/Gore 2000 – and that’s how it’s framed in my mind.)

Be that as it may, the issues I face running my community are different from the ones you all and David face here. I’m a stranger here, and I respect that. I haven’t re-read my initial response(s) in this thread, but I will say that my initial impulse was to be defensive and argue back when my offerings were criticized. I’m sure that came out in my responses. But at the end of the day, it’s not at all up to you all to cater to me or my feelings or my ideas. If my offerings came out as hostile, patronizing, or otherwise unproductive, that’s on me for either poorly articulating those ideas or for not developing a sufficient sense of this place such that I could contribute in a way that was not disruptive. This is your home, not mine, and ultimately you’re better able to cultivate rules of conduct that further the purposes of the community.

pallygirl
pallygirl
6 years ago

just had a thought about trolls in moderation: only let them through if they make a witty, original haiku about cats in the comment. 🙂

LBT (with writeathon poll!)

RE: Doug

Fostering positive online discussions is challenging under any circumstance and doing so on topics of feminist concerns presents additional challenges about which I am (as has been observed) not familiar enough to speak in a productive way.

Translation: it’s hard to make a positive contribution when I don’t know what I’m talking about.

But, I’ve noticed a tendency of my mostly left wing audience and commenters to want to preach to the choir. Giving the right wingers a little more leeway to upset the regulars has resulted in some good conversations from time to time.

Dude, we’ve just told you, multiple times, that the trolls get to talk a LOT. Most of their “controversial opinions” include: me or other commenters deserve to be raped, women should not be allowed to vote, and oh yeah, poor single mothers are universally terrible people. The groupthink here DOES NOT EXIST.

You don’t know what you’re talking about, and bloviating about your experience when YOU ACKNOWLEDGE you rarely read the comments here or know the environment makes you come off like a dumbass. You don’t have a dog in this fight, so shut the fuck up.

Doug
Doug
6 years ago

I was preparing to shut the fuck up when @weirwoodtreehugger asked me what my intent was.

LBT (with writeathon poll!)

Well, now you’ve shared your intent. Commence the shutting.

Doug
Doug
6 years ago

Thanks for the advice.

kittehserf
6 years ago

My intent was not to cause consternation.

You didn’t. You aroused scorn.

katz
6 years ago

just had a thought about trolls in moderation: only let them through if they make a witty, original haiku about cats in the comment. 🙂

Kimi and Mika
Approve of this policy
Then they ate some fuzz

pallygirl
pallygirl
6 years ago

LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL
LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL
LOL LOL LOL LOL cats

Tracy
6 years ago

The pusses agree
Haiku about cats for trolls
To get out of mod

thebewilderness
thebewilderness
6 years ago

Cat Haiku or moderation forever! YES>

pecunium
6 years ago

Dougie: Be that as it may, the issues I face running my community are different from the ones you all and David face here. I’m a stranger here, and I respect that.

Not in any way I could see.

But, I’ve noticed a tendency of my mostly left wing audience and commenters to want to preach to the choir. Giving the right wingers a little more leeway to upset the regulars has resulted in some good conversations from time to time.

And we do. The leeway they get is so great that they’ve been actively abusing people. which is the reason we are having the discussion you felt required your ignorant expertise.

Good luck with the difficult work of developing the processes that will best further the purposes of this community.

Thank you for the condescension. If you’ve not been seeing a chiropractor, I’d suggest it. That sort of vigorous self-valorising patting of the back can lead to dislocations.

Shiraz
Shiraz
6 years ago

Generally speaking, I’m OK with the way David handles trolls here. Maybe it’s not always 100 percent perfect, but shit happens — and chew toys are yummy.

katz
6 years ago

There is a kitten
Who will not get off my lap
My leg is asleep

pallygirl
pallygirl
6 years ago

Trying to crochet
Or knit, with those balls of yarn
I need lap, mummy

kittehserf
6 years ago

Winter rain
Cat snores by fire
Bliss

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
6 years ago

Winter now
Wait what, in June?
Australia

katz
6 years ago

Cassandra is all over the on.

kittehserf
6 years ago

world seasons
stood upon heads
cat power

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
6 years ago

cat power
normally makes music
confused now

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
6 years ago

(As you can tell poetry is really not my thing, but hey, if it makes Doug piss off and stop splaining then let’s call it a win.)

kittehserf
6 years ago

I dabbled in haiku years back, it’s worth reviving for this! 😀

Is Cat Power a band? I’ve heard of The Cat Empire …

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
6 years ago

Cat Power is a musician. Think folksy/bluesy singer/songwriter.

marinerachel
marinerachel
6 years ago

I am a The Cat Empire fan, I admit.

Alice Sanguinaria
6 years ago

I’m so tired now.
I really need a long nap.
Meow meow meow meow purrrrrrrrrrrrr

fauxmy
fauxmy
6 years ago

@LBT — have you considered a metal casting for Aphrodite? if i remember correctly, you are in the bay area? i know there used to be a great place for this in the east bay, but cannot remember the name — moved away 20 years ago. i did find a place in san jose who you might want to consider — take a look at their gallery.

http://www.expercastfoundry.com/

Deoridhe
6 years ago

I’m only a sometimes commenter, longtime reader, but I like the idea of slamming down on abusive trolls here, and making the “will become abusive” measurement more sensitive. I also really miss troll challenges; I think there are ways of shifting the balance in a variety of ways to make this a more productive and positive place, even if it isn’t a safe space.

I’m a huge fan of “happy cute animal” troll demands. I think everyone needs cute, happy animals, especially trolls.

kittehserf
6 years ago

::waves::

Hi Deoridhe! 🙂

pallygirl
pallygirl
6 years ago

It is quite late here,
I have taken my codeine,
Cats want me in bed.

titianblue
titianblue
6 years ago

The furrnati know best. Hope you get some decent sleep, pallygirl.

Melissia
6 years ago

I don’t have a good answer. But I do think you’ve done a relatively good job. Better than most places, to be sure!

fauxmy
fauxmy
6 years ago

well, i just read the troll conversation on the other thread and am weeping uncontrollably because of my own issues which i am not at all ready to discuss. i can say that i cannot handle that level of trolldumb and my heart goes out to Ally for having had to deal with such.

David — i think the measures you are putting in place are sound and appreciate it very much.

kittehserf
6 years ago

fauxmy, all the hugs.

fauxmy
fauxmy
6 years ago

thanks, ketthserf.

kittehserf
6 years ago

Have I mentioned I love the pun of your nym?

fauxmy
fauxmy
6 years ago

why no, you had not. thank you kindly 🙂

pallygirl
pallygirl
6 years ago

I don’t get the pun, is it my kiwi accent that’s stuffing it up for me?

kittehserf
6 years ago

I read it as or “foamy” or “faux my” for the meaning. Would a Kiwi accent affect that?

I like the joke about Kiwi and Aussie accents – we took all the vowels you weren’t using. 😀

pallygirl
pallygirl
6 years ago

Okay, I got that too, so the pun is nothing to do with the avatar image. I keep having Foamy the squirrel come to mind, which is where I got stuck.

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