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View Full Version : Trolling,Godwins law, flamewars and abuse



firegoat7
23-01-2005, 09:38 AM
It strikes me that abuse is tolerated as an acceptable form of interaction on (at least this one) bulletin boards. Why I do not understand. Face to face abuse is quickly sorted out in reality. Indeed human beings, in the real world of physical social environment, normally engage in a plethora of techniques to limit the capacity of abuse to each other.

The defense that abuse is legitimised because of somebody being a "troll" seems hard pressed to maintain. I say this because "trolling" often appears to be a call of power by somebody upon someone else. This has inherent problems since, discussion is dynamic not static, what one calls thread drift, another may call an interesting variation. People don't look at issues form the same subjective experiences. They are often approaching the same problems but in very different ways. May I suggest that the call of "trolling" itself is often merely an escape clause for an individual who dosent like the way the thread is panning out. Although I agree, this is not always the case.

Another point worth considering is "Godwins law". While some people may be interested in the facts of a particular discussion, others may be interested in the psychological processes that cause somebody to arise at those positions.
Both are legitimate ways of looking at a thread. It seems silly to me then that the use of a "law" to mediate a thread is often invoked, when clearly the spirit of the "law" has not been broken. "Godwins Law" makes sense in the context of an old thread that has degenerated into a personal ABUSIVE slanging match. It does not mean that a word like "Nazi" "Fascist" etc has no term of usage on the internet.

In fact I think the complete opposite is true. Words have powers of their own, to suggest that the word "Fascist" just relates to "an italian political movement in the middle of the 20th century makes no sense" Since the word can and often does take on completely new meanings and scenarios in the modern world. Consider the "soup nazi" in an infamous Seinfeld show. People understand what context the word is used in, it bears little resemblance to its historical usage of an Italian political movement.

People should be encouraged to use anyword they like, including fascist or nazi ( provided its not to offensive). The real problem is when they start abusing people for no apparent reason. Which seems to be the real spirit behind "Godwins Law". It seems ludicrous to me that somebody would be condemmned for calling someone a "Nazi" but the term "Clown", "moron" or "cretin" would be accptable. Surely it all comes down to the context it is used in.

Abuse discourages posting. Abuse destroys threads. Abuse is a reflection on the abuser not the person being abused. Abuse makes your arguement weaker. The whole concept of a "flamewar" is in itself immature. Its not a war it is a discussion.

ursogr8
23-01-2005, 10:38 AM
^
Some interesting observations in your initial post fg7.

Another little alleyway that I have noticed is that somehow abuse becomes justifiable if it is retaliation to previous provocation.

An example that comes to mind is >



Not at all starter.
I agree with you.
It certainly wasnt a case of name calling.
BD's use of SFTU was uncalled for and unnecessary.
It just made him look uncouth.
AR's use in response was just quid pro quo.

In this little exchange, BD is 'declared' unseemly; but AR is not unseemly, just returning the serve. A curious change of standard.

I don't much like some of the abuse that appears on the BB; particularly if it was intimidating some potential posters not to bother posting.

But before we campaign to limit abuse, we may need first to do away with the 'eye-for-an-eye' principle. (Or as Bill calls it, quid pro quo).

regards
starter

ps
And I guess that is the essence of the mod's comments on the serve given to A/C when he interrupted the Mt B. thread.
Gratuitous, off-topic and provocative (with prior history)....you get what you deserve, mate.

Bill Gletsos
23-01-2005, 11:58 AM
^
Some interesting observations in your initial post fg7.

Another little alleyway that I have noticed is that somehow abuse becomes justifiable if it is retaliation to previous provocation.

An example that comes to mind is >



In this little exchange, BD is 'declared' unseemly; but AR is not unseemly, just returning the serve. A curious change of standard.

I don't much like some of the abuse that appears on the BB; particularly if it was intimidating some potential posters not to bother posting.
In which case you should have shown some disdain for Matt's behaviour on the board well before he was banned in December.

Perhaps you can you show us where you complained about his behaviour prior to December 2004.


^But before we campaign to limit abuse, we may need first to do away with the 'eye-for-an-eye' principle. (Or as Bill calls it, quid pro quo).
You guys obviously have no idea how BB's work.
Quid pro quo is an established manner of response.


^And I guess that is the essence of the mod's comments on the serve given to A/C when he interrupted the Mt B. thread.
Gratuitous, off-topic and provocative (with prior history)....you get what you deserve, mate.
Exactly.

In fact whats even more amazing is the fg7 in his very firsts posts on the ACF BB labelled everyone "clowns".

Perhaps he is just bleating now since those "clowns" returned his serve in spades.

Kaitlin
23-01-2005, 02:35 PM
I like reading the 'warguments' that go on between peoples here sometimes :clap:, they make interesting reading. And here, which country to some peoples beliefs, 'is' part of the real world, the "social.... techniques to limit the capacity of abuse to each other." is even simpler than in face to face stuff ... cause here you can simplely chose to ignore someone just by not answering them, but in face to face you might bump into them -> in case you havent guessed it... I like to annoy people by ignoring them. :twisted:.

Let the 'warguments rage' :)

ursogr8
23-01-2005, 03:39 PM
In which case you should have shown some disdain for Matt's behaviour on the board well before he was banned in December.

Perhaps you can you show us where you complained about his behaviour prior to December 2004.

Bill
Three points
1 That was long before de facto condoning. In those two years I felt no obligation.
2 Your assertion....you go and collect the evidence please.
3 Yes I did show disdain (incidentally this brings the number of entry points on the continuum to 10; disdain slightly to the right of unseemly probably <?>).
It was on a thread I managed (as thread initiator). And those are the only ones I am accepting the principle of de facto condoning.



You guys obviously have no idea how BB's work.


That is true


Quid pro quo is an established manner of response.

I have asked a couple of times for a reference to the new lexicon of BB. But no-one has helped; except the 'warriors list up in th Coffee Lounge).

Are you saying that the abused can abuse without being criticised because he is the first victim? Is that the protocol?





In fact whats even more amazing is the fg7 in his very firsts posts on the ACF BB labelled everyone "clowns".

Perhaps he is just bleating now since those "clowns" returned his serve in spades.

Bugger-me-dead Bill. There must be a statute of limitations eventually. Does he not ever live that one down?


starter

Kevin Bonham
23-01-2005, 04:37 PM
It strikes me that abuse is tolerated as an acceptable form of interaction on (at least this one) bulletin boards. Why I do not understand.

This is extremely bizarre coming from you because, as I mentioned on another thread, one of your first acts on these BBs was to suggest that the champions of various Australian states would be or were potentially "clowns". You never retracted this claim although you were completely unable to provide any evidence for it, and later stated that it was not a reference to me, even though I was the only one who matched the supposedly clownlike pattern of behaviour you referred to.

I am continuing to hammer you on this one at every available opportunity not because I regard it as any bigger a deal than much of the rest of the unwarranted abuse here, but because it shows that you have a track record here that you must rectify before your claims can be taken seriously. At present you are like a two-pack-a-day smoker telling casual smokers to quit - with the exception that the two-pack-a-day smoker has the excuse of being too addicted not to. Either you have no excuse for your inconsistency or else you have a similar psychological problem for which you should seek treatment.


Face to face abuse is quickly sorted out in reality. Indeed human beings, in the real world of physical social environment, normally engage in a plethora of techniques to limit the capacity of abuse to each other.

Indeed, and had you apologised for the clowns thing and retracted it earlier, this debate being the main reason you have developed issues with me (which, I understand, you have been foolish enough to take personally offline), it would not have gone anywhere and we probably would have got on just fine. Even online it is possible to say sorry, but you seem less able to face up to your past mistakes than JW Howard, esquire.


The defense that abuse is legitimised because of somebody being a "troll" seems hard pressed to maintain. I say this because "trolling" often appears to be a call of power by somebody upon someone else.

No, it's simply a reference to the fact that some people are obviously just posting rubbish with the intention of (a) stirring up trouble (b) if they lose the debate, trying to recover with "only kidding, haha you fell for it". Trolling is extremely widespread on the internet and often quite easy to spot.


This has inherent problems since, discussion is dynamic not static, what one calls thread drift, another may call an interesting variation. People don't look at issues form the same subjective experiences. They are often approaching the same problems but in very different ways. May I suggest that the call of "trolling" itself is often merely an escape clause for an individual who dosent like the way the thread is panning out. Although I agree, this is not always the case.

Your discussion of thread drift is fairly irrelevant to trolling because trolling can occur with or without thread drift and vice versa. See "another debating thread" for my demolition of your attempt to construe antichrist's post as an "interesting variation". As for your question "may you suggest?" the answer is "yes", but what you're suggesting remains nonsense (see above).


Another point worth considering is "Godwins law". While some people may be interested in the facts of a particular discussion, others may be interested in the psychological processes that cause somebody to arise at those positions.
Both are legitimate ways of looking at a thread. It seems silly to me then that the use of a "law" to mediate a thread is often invoked, when clearly the spirit of the "law" has not been broken. "Godwins Law" makes sense in the context of an old thread that has degenerated into a personal ABUSIVE slanging match. It does not mean that a word like "Nazi" "Fascist" etc has no term of usage on the internet.

*sigh*
You need to actually learn more about Godwin's Law before bothering to make comments like this. Here's the FAQ again:

http://www.faqs.org/faqs/usenet/legends/godwin/

Terms like Nazi and Fascist do indeed have their relevance on the internet and that relevance is when engaging in actual specific discussion of real Nazis and real fasicists. Comparison with other genuinely comparable individuals is also fine; for instance "Stalin was about as bad as the Nazis" will not raise many eyebrows.

The real point of Godwin's Law is that once someone throws in an irrelevant/inflated Nazi comparison (eg BD's worthless "Gestapo" claim) then that is usually the point at which the "debate" is over and the mudslinging starts, because one party has proved themselves to be a trash-thrower. It is very difficult to make an irrelevant Nazi comparison that is not "abusive" in nature.


In fact I think the complete opposite is true. Words have powers of their own, to suggest that the word "Fascist" just relates to "an italian political movement in the middle of the 20th century makes no sense" Since the word can and often does take on completely new meanings and scenarios in the modern world. Consider the "soup nazi" in an infamous Seinfeld show. People understand what context the word is used in, it bears little resemblance to its historical usage of an Italian political movement.

Contexts like that (another example is "grammar nazi") are obviously humorous, to the point that no real comparison is imparted in the meaning, so they are different.


People should be encouraged to use anyword they like, including fascist or nazi ( provided its not to offensive). The real problem is when they start abusing people for no apparent reason. Which seems to be the real spirit behind "Godwins Law". It seems ludicrous to me that somebody would be condemmned for calling someone a "Nazi" but the term "Clown", "moron" or "cretin" would be accptable. Surely it all comes down to the context it is used in.

My emphasis (see above). :lol:

Unprovoked use of "moron" or "cretin" would indeed also be unacceptable, just like unprovoked uses of "Nazi" and firegoat's unprovoked use of "clown". (I really draw no distinction between Godwin's Law violation and firegoat's use of "clown"). While I don't use those words myself much, some here have slung so much mud aggressively and stupidly that I think those words for those people are milder than they deserve. Rather harsh on genuine "morons" and "cretins" actually, as unlike some people here, they can't help displaying a lack of thought. Or maybe you can't help it either. :lol: If so, seek professional help.


Abuse discourages posting.

Possibly empirically false in terms of total posts. Perhaps extremely vulgar abuse as used by Matthew Sweeney discourages many posters. Some people find that BBs are just not for them at all because arguments are unavoidable.


Abuse destroys threads.

Then retract your clown claim and set a good example.


Abuse is a reflection on the abuser not the person being abused.

Then your clown claim proved that you are a clown.


Abuse makes your arguement weaker.

Then your clown claim destroyed your own argument.


The whole concept of a "flamewar" is in itself immature.

Then you are immature because you start and prolong them just like anyone else does, but worse still, you try to pretend that you don't.

Actually I disagree because the behaviour displayed in flamewars is really much the same as the political and verbal cut and thrust that is often functional in political life, and that has been defended as a desirable form of social control on the internet. (Cue firegoat getting overexcited about "control" and missing the point that in this case the control results from voluntary decisions).


Its not a war it is a discussion.

You declared the war ages ago, if you want out then you have some white flags to be raising. Get on with it or shut up with this disingeneous nonsense.

Kevin Bonham
23-01-2005, 04:45 PM
There must be a statute of limitations eventually. Does he not ever live that one down?

I like Matt's "statute of limitations" - "within living memory".

He can live it down all he likes once he retracts it, which he could do in less than 50 words thus conceding what is obvious to every other poster here (ie that it was absolute rubbish). Until he does that, there is no reason to let him off the hook, and while he fails to retract his former comments he remains inconsistent.

Of course while criticising others for supposed failure to admit it when they are supposedly wrong, the goat has pulled off an incredibly prolonged failure to admit wrongdoing in a case where he was talking total trash. This is what makes him such a joke and such a pathetically feeble troll.

Bill Gletsos
23-01-2005, 05:06 PM
Bill
Three points
1 That was long before de facto condoning. In those two years I felt no obligation.
Yes you defacto condoned it and in doing so encouraged him to continue with it.


2 Your assertion....you go and collect the evidence please.
Yes it is my assertion. You also know my rules reagrding this.
However irrespective of that, my evidence is that there is no post by you prior to December 2004 that criticises Matt's behaviour.
If you wish to claim otherwise provide evidence of it.


3 Yes I did show disdain (incidentally this brings the number of entry points on the continuum to 10; disdain slightly to the right of unseemly probably <?>).
It was on a thread I managed (as thread initiator). And those are the only ones I am accepting the principle of de facto condoning.
Then as I said in 2 above, provide evidence of it.


That is true
I already knew it, I didnt need you to confirm it. ;)


I have asked a couple of times for a reference to the new lexicon of BB. But no-one has helped; except the 'warriors list up in th Coffee Lounge).

Are you saying that the abused can abuse without being criticised because he is the first victim? Is that the protocol?
You can work it out for yourself.
You are the one full of time to claculate usless metrics.
You can search all posts and deteremine who was the first to make an abusive or unsubstantiated critical claim about another poster and was then abused in response. :whistle:


Bugger-me-dead Bill.
Pass.


There must be a statute of limitations eventually. Does he not ever live that one down?
Not if he bleats about others treating him as a fool and a clown.

Alan Shore
23-01-2005, 07:30 PM
You guys obviously have no idea how BB's work.

This is definitely the funniest thing I've read in ages! Bill, in his infinite wisdom knows how BB's work!!!

They're based on contributions from all posters, not a dictatorial, totalitarian [Notice how I substitute the word for Gestapo, just for the benefit of KB's ridiculous pedantic semantics] set of preconceived explicit guidelines. Honestly... it's one of your most pompous claims yet. Keept it up - you may even be in the running to challenge KB!

(And Bill, that is all in jest, just so you don't take it the wrong way). ;)

ursogr8
23-01-2005, 08:38 PM
I like Matt's "statute of limitations" - "within living memory".

He can live it down all he likes once he retracts it, which he could do in less than 50 words thus conceding what is obvious to every other poster here (ie that it was absolute rubbish). Until he does that, there is no reason to let him off the hook, and while he fails to retract his former comments he remains inconsistent.

Of course while criticising others for supposed failure to admit it when they are supposedly wrong, the goat has pulled off an incredibly prolonged failure to admit wrongdoing in a case where he was talking total trash. This is what makes him such a joke and such a pathetically feeble troll.

I take that as a NO.

Kevin Bonham
23-01-2005, 10:39 PM
They're based on contributions from all posters, not a dictatorial, totalitarian [Notice how I substitute the word for Gestapo, just for the benefit of KB's ridiculous pedantic semantics]

Actually your substitution is arguably even worse. While it does not trigger Godwin's Law it is nonetheless an awful abuse of political language, because totalitarianism in the BB sense would involve Bill not merely suggesting guidelines for the acceptability of material but also enforcing them. Bill would be a totalitarian if he had administrator powers and deleted every post he disagreed with. He does not so your use of the word is melodramatic, silly and politically pig-ignorant. Hope this helps. :hand:


(And Bill, that is all in jest, just so you don't take it the wrong way). ;)

Weak.

Kevin Bonham
23-01-2005, 10:40 PM
I take that as a NO.

Take it how you like - if you're right, it's still his fault.

Alan Shore
23-01-2005, 10:46 PM
Actually your substitution is arguably even worse. While it does not trigger Godwin's Law it is nonetheless an awful abuse of political language, because totalitarianism in the BB sense would involve Bill not merely suggesting guidelines for the acceptability of material but also enforcing them.

You already know, I hold 'political language' in comtempt. Useless semantics. Stop wasting my time.


Bill would be a totalitarian if he had administrator powers and deleted every post he disagreed with.

He made a claim about knowing 'How BB's work'. I'm disappointed Kevin, you can grasp the error of the categorical imperative in other threads yet you abandon your faithful Nietzsche-esque ways in this thread.. just another inconsistency that you're rather good at displaying.


Weak.

The only thing that is weak is your sense of humour.

Bill Gletsos
23-01-2005, 10:47 PM
This is definitely the funniest thing I've read in ages! Bill, in his infinite wisdom knows how BB's work!!!

They're based on contributions from all posters, not a dictatorial, totalitarian [Notice how I substitute the word for Gestapo, just for the benefit of KB's ridiculous pedantic semantics] set of preconceived explicit guidelines. Honestly... it's one of your most pompous claims yet. Keept it up - you may even be in the running to challenge KB!

(And Bill, that is all in jest, just so you don't take it the wrong way). ;)
Actually its just a way of having a shot but preempting a response by claiming its a joke.

As KB said its a weak excuse.

Bill Gletsos
23-01-2005, 10:52 PM
He made a claim about knowing 'How BB's work'.
Did I?
Perhaps you can show where I made that claim.
I simply suggested that starter amongst others had no clue how they worked.

Whether I know how they work or not was not stated.

Alan Shore
23-01-2005, 11:03 PM
Did I?
Perhaps you can show where I made that claim.
I simply suggested that starter amongst others had no clue how they worked.

Whether I know how they work or not was not stated.

Bill, aren't you being just a little hypocritical then? If I said 'You obviously have no idea of the science behind measuring atmospheric pressure' and then didn't know myself, how is it my place to criticise? I'd look quite the fool I'm sure..

I might suggest, the implication was there that you did know something about the BB protocol. Hence, I made the friendly jibe.. I suppose I just don't have the eloquence of language possessed by starter.. :rolleyes:

Of course I didn't imagine you'd think it too harsh but Private Bonham seemed to have other ideas.. how curious!

Bill Gletsos
23-01-2005, 11:10 PM
Bill, aren't you being just a little hypocritical then? If I said 'You obviously have no idea of the science behind measuring atmospheric pressure' and then didn't know myself, how is it my place to criticise? I'd look quite the fool I'm sure..
No doubt.
However you made an absolute statement that I made a claim.
The truth is I did not but simply implied it. ;)
There is a difference.


I might suggest, the implication was there that you did know something about the BB protocol.
Yes, I implied it.
It wasnt an outright claim on my part.


Hence, I made the friendly jibe.. I suppose I just don't have the eloquence of language possessed by starter.. :rolleyes:
Or his ability to waste his time.


Of course I didn't imagine you'd think it too harsh but Private Bonham seemed to have other ideas.. how curious!
Thats why you only copped a mild response. ;)

Alan Shore
23-01-2005, 11:15 PM
No doubt.
However you made an absolute statement that I made a claim.
The truth is I did not but simply implied it. ;)
There is a difference.

Sigh.. more semantics.. I'll pay that though. I swear, if I didn't know for sure you and KB were separate entities I'd be convinced you were one and the same!


Yes, I implied it.
It wasnt an outright claim on my part.

Hehe.. ok sure ;)


Or his ability to waste his time.

Haha! I won't disagree with you on that one.


Thats why you only copped a mild response. ;)

That's ok Bill. It's nice to know you're not made of stone, thanks for being a sport.

Kevin Bonham
23-01-2005, 11:52 PM
You already know, I hold 'political language' in comtempt. Useless semantics. Stop wasting my time.

As it happens I hold your usage of words completely out of context in far greater contempt. Useless fabrication and fibbing. Stop wasting both our time. :lol:

Go look it up in the dictionary if you must. This is what I get:

totalitarian: of or relating to a centralized dictatorial form of government requiring complete subservience to the state.

Bill does not exercise "government" because he cannot enforce his wishes, only request. Game over.


He made a claim about knowing 'How BB's work'.

Ah yes, obviously tantamount to abrogation of national constitutions and execution of political enemies. Real Borgia stuff there.


I'm disappointed Kevin, you can grasp the error of the categorical imperative in other threads yet you abandon your faithful Nietzsche-esque ways in this thread.. just another inconsistency that you're rather good at displaying.

That's odd. Just because I know Kant was full of nonsense doesn't make me a Nietzschean. I agree with Nietzsche on some parts of his critique, but there are many things I don't agree with him on. Furthermore, as Nietzsche was himself probably rather inconsistent (both across times of his career and at many given specific times) why should anyone seeking consistency agree with him all the time?

As it happened though, Nietzsche had a lot of very interesting things to say about the appropriation of language for political purposes by those prone to moralistic hysteria and to the championing of the weak and resentful. So I am not so sure he would not be in my corner here, for what it matters. :lol:


The only thing that is weak is your sense of humour.

Indeed. It so lacks energy sometimes that it chooses not to laugh at "jokes" that are not intelligent enough to be funny. :lol:

ursogr8
25-01-2005, 07:15 AM
This is definitely the funniest thing I've read in ages! Bill, in his infinite wisdom knows how BB's work!!!



BD
Some of Bill's contributions may help you appreciate his position.

1 If he happens to draw an incorrect conclusion from a some-one else's post then you are likely to get >


True, but it was your fault for originally not providing a reason, thereby encouraging speculation.

2 If you ask for evidence you could get >


If some dope makes an assertion then its is up to them to provide the evidence to support it.

If I make the assertion then its up to the other person to provide evidence to disprove it.

3 If you don't follow his abuse of a poster with some abuse of your own to that poster you could get >



...de facto condoning ....

I am learning, Bruce.
Unfortunately, Bill is a repeatable process.


starter

antichrist
25-01-2005, 10:07 AM
BD
Some of Bill's contributions may help you appreciate his position.

1 If he happens to draw an incorrect conclusion from a some-one else's post then you are likely to get >


2 If you ask for evidence you could get >


3 If you don't follow his abuse of a poster with some abuse of your own to that poster you could get >



I am learning, Bruce.
Unfortunately, Bill is a repeatable process.


starter

Starter,
You are even starting to impress me. Is Basil Gletsos appropriate? The pulling of levers and abuse!

Bill Gletsos
26-01-2005, 10:31 AM
BD
Some of Bill's contributions may help you appreciate his position.

1 If he happens to draw an incorrect conclusion from a some-one else's post then you are likely to get >
Exactly.
Often the same posters are repeat offenders.
They should have made their posts unambiguous.


2 If you ask for evidence you could get >
Yes, its the I'm right, you are wrong method.
Prove me wrong by providing evidence.


3 If you don't follow his abuse of a poster with some abuse of your own to that poster you could get >
Incorrect.
I have suggested they should make posts disapproving/condemning their behaviour.


I am learning, Bruce.
Unfortunately, Bill is a repeatable process.
I'm consistent rather than repeatable.