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Why Trolls and Flames Happen

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 6 years ago | from the some-things-will-never-change dept.

The Internet 331

AnonymousHack writes "New Scientist examines why people are in general more rude and abusive online. 'Psychologically, we are "distant" from the person we're talking to and less focused on our own identity. As a result we're more prone to aggressive behavior' says one psychologist, who also cites research showing messages received by email are always perceived more negatively than on the phone." Just more proof for the Greater Internet F***wad Theory.

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331 comments

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First Post for Jesus! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21410845)

Jesus Crizzle in the hizzle

How about, because it's fun? Catholic school . . (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21411259)

It's fun to be fucking crude. Repression does that. That means us catholic school girls, you fucking cunt! We mean well. Make that, we well mean, bitch!

Duh. (5, Funny)

Chysn (898420) | more than 6 years ago | (#21410859)

Ooh, more DISTANT. I hadn't thought of THAT before. Jesus Christ. Idiots.

Re:Duh. (3, Funny)

Chysn (898420) | more than 6 years ago | (#21410909)

> Duh. (Score:2, Troll)

        Oh, come on! That just isn't fair.

Re:Duh. (2, Insightful)

istartedi (132515) | more than 6 years ago | (#21410981)

You haven't really achieved anything on Slashdot until you've ended up with a final moderation of (Score 4, Troll).

Re:Duh. (0, Troll)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 6 years ago | (#21411091)

You just post this garbage to distract people from looking into the facts behind my analysis of the "numbers stations" [dxing.com] .

Solved (1)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 6 years ago | (#21411459)

Whackos Awaiting Silent Trystero's Empire (WASTE [virushead.net] )

Re:Duh. (1, Informative)

eln (21727) | more than 6 years ago | (#21411305)

Amateur. Thanks to the magic of the Underrated mod, you can (and I have!) end up at +5, Troll. Actually, I don't remember if I ended up at +5, Troll or +5, Flamebait or +5, Offtopic, but it was one of those.

Less difficult to achieve, due to widespread Overrated abuse, is -1, Insightful.

Re:Duh. (1)

diersing (679767) | more than 6 years ago | (#21411389)

http://slashdot.org/~eln [slashdot.org]

I'm not seeing it.

Which leads to a parallel theory of double-boasting while online. Tsk Tsk

Re:Duh. (3, Funny)

eln (21727) | more than 6 years ago | (#21411511)

It was quite a long time ago. I don't want to pay 5 bucks to get my subscription back to find it, but I assume it's back there somewhere. Either that or it was a bad acid trip, in which case I'm concerned that my drug-induced hallucinations are so geeky and boring.

Re:Duh. (1)

istartedi (132515) | more than 6 years ago | (#21411451)

Yeah, I'd seen those before; but I thought they were a bug in the system. I Guess not.

Re:Duh. (5, Funny)

cablepokerface (718716) | more than 6 years ago | (#21410935)

Like you know what the FUCK you're talking about!
 
Awesome, a thread where we can be unlimitedly rude and still be on topic.

Attention all lie-berals (1, Troll)

MarsDefenseMinister (738128) | more than 6 years ago | (#21411027)

This is the place for all the angry lie-berals to get their hating out of their system now. Then maybe, just maybe, after the hate is gone, you'll listen to logic.

Re:Attention all lie-berals (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21411303)

you were modded down on the troll free-for-all thread, you're a douche bag among douche bags, way to go! Keep up the excellent presidential cocksucking!

Re:Attention all lie-berals (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21411499)

So, you're going to flamingly accuse liberals of flame, before they even get a chance to do so. I hereby nominate you for hilariously hypocritical conservative 2007. I know, I know; Larry Craig is giving some serious competition this year, but if you keep this up I think you have an legitimate chance here!

Re:Duh. (0, Offtopic)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 6 years ago | (#21411203)

Or rather, we could, if you weren't such a fucking wanker.

Re:Duh. (3, Insightful)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 6 years ago | (#21411351)

Why is this cocksucker in new SCIENTIST? If this is the way things are going, I want the Mother Fucking OLD SCIENTIST back!

Is it another sign of the decline -faith-based, pseudo-science- under the rule of Caligula Bush?

The Thomas Friedman "worst, most boring kind of middlebrow horseshit" [buffalobeast.com] seems to have completely sucked the last gasp of life out of any significant intellectual effort in the public arena.

Re:Duh. (3, Funny)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 6 years ago | (#21410955)

That's cos you're a fucking idiot.

Re:Duh. (2, Informative)

pilgrim23 (716938) | more than 6 years ago | (#21411381)

You missed the most important part; the statement (which preceeds a fat grant application): "Our researchers deterimed that this needs more study". The proposal is for the researchers to be as far removed as possible from most online subjects so the next study should be conducted while attending a Chearleader convention in a Caribbean
  destination. admitting this fact should help insure a good online rudness index...

And then there are the people who are opinionated (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 6 years ago | (#21410869)

And regard off-kilter research like this as flawed not just in its basic design, but unproveable by any statistically sound method, using self-selected groups of college students who tend to like to flame more than the general population, and to whom trash-talking is an art, not a crime.

But that's the real world viewpoint.

Re:And then there are the people who are opinionat (2, Interesting)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 6 years ago | (#21411043)

And regard off-kilter research like this as flawed not just in its basic design, but unproveable by any statistically sound method, using self-selected groups of college students who tend to like to flame more than the general population, and to whom trash-talking is an art, not a crime.
But that's the real world viewpoint.

A bit over 20 years ago I found the first open and anonymous form of many I'd see, at college. Eventually I was hired on as a programmer and rewrote the system for greater capacity and enabling cursor animations in messages (it was pretty cool, honestly.) The thing that seemed to happen almost immediately, though, was flame wars (don't mention 'gun control') and some trolling. I think it is pretty simple human nature to speak more openly or play villain when there's a poor chance of getting caught. It was a bit different in those days, however, as we had system accounts and terminal lines, which made finding mean people a bit easier, if you were a fairly clever user.

Re:And then there are the people who are opinionat (0, Troll)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 6 years ago | (#21411157)

You just post this drivel to distract people from looking into the facts behind my analysis of the "numbers stations" [dxing.com] .

Re:And then there are the people who are opinionat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21411123)

Quick question: Would you stand up and respond in that manner to a lecture given at a seminar on the exact same topic?

or paid to be rude. (1, Troll)

Erris (531066) | more than 6 years ago | (#21411295)

Some companies "compete" that way [essential.org] . They break other people's things and conversations because they don't have anything better to offer.

hi twitter (0, Flamebait)

dedazo (737510) | more than 6 years ago | (#21411473)

You're big [slashdot.org] on this "M$ is stalking me on teh interwebs" deal, do you have something more recent? This millenium perhaps?

After all, you're implying a pattern of behavior here, obviously. I'm not saying that your claim Microsoft "pays people to be rude" for whatever reason is invalid, but surely in a 10-year span since 1998 someone, somewhere has obtained proof of that?

I think it's interesting that so many of these are pre-2001, which is a long time. You'd think maybe they tend to stop doing things after they are caught. Like JBoss [geekdojo.net] , for example. Wouldn't you agree?

Again, I have no proof that they are not doing it, but the onus is on you, realistically, to provide proof that they are.

Slashdot and trolling... (1)

The_Abortionist (930834) | more than 6 years ago | (#21411375)

I find that the slashdot's new discussion system, probably invented to deal with trolling, negatively impacts the discussion of educated opinions. For instance, Comcast versus IP thieves.

It must be difficult for a forum operator to draw the line between security and freedom. Cmdrtaco must understand George W. Bush better than anyone else here.

have to say it... (0, Flamebait)

downix (84795) | more than 6 years ago | (#21410871)

Let the flame wars begin

Re:have to say it... (1)

ettlz (639203) | more than 6 years ago | (#21410969)

Oh, fuck you and your pugnacious, belligerent top-level posts.

Re:have to say it... (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#21411315)

Look. All this crap is is worthless rants about Trolling and Flames to disguise and hide one simple fact:

BSD is dying! Netcraft confirms it!

SCNR.

Oblig... (-1, Offtopic)

Huntr (951770) | more than 6 years ago | (#21410877)

1st post.

USENET Trolls, among others (5, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 6 years ago | (#21410879)

There is a newsgroup, perhaps not too unlike many others, where a troll has taken up residence. He insults members and has found some method of posting every few minutes a lot of gibberish under various names and forged addresses.

This person is a degree or two off the usual troll who just likes to make some preposterous post and watch people take the bait and go. This one is actively trying to destroy the group with crap-flooding and there appears little members can do about it. There's also some halfwit posting MI5 [google.com] crap across many newsgroups. Alas, Google News doesn't appear to allow filtering. Does reporting abuse every work?

Some newsgroups are still alive and thriving, but others seem to be losing regular posters to blog sites, I expect because they are freed from the harrassment of trolls, spammers and crapflooders by a moderator who will simply delete their garbage.

My ISP had a NEWS server, but shut it down for economic reasons and pointed out I could just use Google News. Feh.

I've given some thought over the weekend whether USENET can survive and whether anonymity also can survive. The more people abuse a system, the less eventual resistance there will be to the heavy hand of moderators or even government. I expect at some point bills requiring tagging and tracking of every email and every post on the internet being required by law with few people actually coming to the defence of anonymity, because they have had their own fill of trolls an crackers. It may come in on the wind of some means of fighting terrorism or protection of IP (a la RIAA & MPAA, among others) but it will encompass all.

Anonymous Cowards enjoy the present. I think the trolls are undermining us all and they really don't care if they lose anonymity and privacy, they're called trolls for a reason.

Lastly, no, this isn't a troll. Notice I didn't post anonymously. I am genuinely concerned about this as I lament the ills befalling open forms such as USENET and email.

Re:USENET Trolls, among others (5, Informative)

Heywood J. Blaume (858386) | more than 6 years ago | (#21411213)

Use Firefox. Use the Greasemonkey script Google Groups Killfile to eliminate MI5 and whatever else from Google Groups.
http://www.getfirefox.com/ [getfirefox.com]
https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/748 [mozilla.org]
http://www.penney.org/ggkiller.html [penney.org]

Re:USENET Trolls, among others (1)

Presto Vivace (882157) | more than 6 years ago | (#21411219)

The more people abuse a system, the less eventual resistance there will be to the heavy hand of moderators or even government. Well sure, because it is not like the trolls could ever take over the government.

Re:USENET Trolls, among others (1)

xtracto (837672) | more than 6 years ago | (#21411267)

There is a newsgroup, perhaps not too unlike many others, where a troll has taken up residence. He insults members and has found some method of posting every few minutes a lot of gibberish under various names and forged addresses.

Yeah, I used to frequent to comp.os.linux.advocacy to enjoy quality time reading the flames and trolls... that was until slashdot became my main source for those.

Re:USENET Trolls, among others (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21411509)

All of your fucking posts are trolls you dumb shit, just because you have that little ASCII subscriber anus next to your name doesn't mean that it isn't true. It just means that Malda won't meta-moderate you into oblivion any more -- you have a free pass to be a dick, and the audacity to look down on the people that you behave just like.

Anyone who doesn't believe that feel free to take a look at his karma "record." Also note that he implies that he does sign in anonymously in order to post an inflammatory message himself, which is rather hypocritical.

Hmmm (2, Insightful)

HairyNevus (992803) | more than 6 years ago | (#21410893)

Does this mean every flame and troll post in this thread will get modded +1 Insightful for demonstrating the principle of the article?

Re:Hmmm (1)

j0nkatz (315168) | more than 6 years ago | (#21411227)

Your mom!

Re:Hmmm (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#21411335)

Does this mean every flame and troll post in this thread will get modded +1 Insightful

And that's different from any other slashdot story exactly how? Go for "funny" and you get "insightful". Go for "offtopic" and you get "funny." Go for troll and you get this [kuro5hin.org] .

That link from 2003, BTW, is about OFFLINE trolling, proving these bozos wrong.

-mcgrew

PS- Since you are a nerd, it is your duty to troll the cave man jocks [slashdot.org]

a goal for you guys (1, Redundant)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 6 years ago | (#21410923)

Alright! Who's going to be the first one here to receive the oh so coveted (Score:5, Troll) moderation?

Re:a goal for you guys (0, Troll)

Foofoobar (318279) | more than 6 years ago | (#21410989)

I don't know what you are talking about you nazi shitbag. Did I win?

Re:a goal for you guys (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 6 years ago | (#21411145)

Linux and the RIAA are both awesome!

How was that?

Re:a goal for you guys (3, Funny)

Foofoobar (318279) | more than 6 years ago | (#21411289)

Nah you have to say something like 'Steve Ballmer is the second coming of Jesus Christ and the RIAA is protecting me from myself. George Bush only has my best interests at heart and Iraqi want to give us their oil so they can fill their earth with virgins and bombs.'

There... that ought to do it.

Re:a goal for you guys (0, Redundant)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 6 years ago | (#21411367)

The goal isn't to get a -1 troll, it's to get a score 5 troll, so you have to make something that lots of mods will love and hate at the same time.

Re:a goal for you guys (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 6 years ago | (#21411503)

Exactly right. The post needs to be something that's insightfully trollrific.

Thank you, Captain Obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21410933)

Psychologically, we are "distant" from the person we're talking to and less focused on our own identity. As a result we're more prone to aggressive behavior.
No shit, Sherlock!

Re:Thank you, Captain Obvious (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#21411439)

...less focused on our own identity...

Um, that kinda sounds, er, sorry, but it sounds like he's saying we all have D.I.D. (AKA "multiple Personality Syndrome") [wikipedia.org] . Actually, to be brutally honest (earning me, of course, a -1 flamenbait) it's just retarded.

Now do I get the coveted "+1, troll" moderation? ;)

-mcgrew [kuro5hin.org]

More **everything** online (4, Insightful)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 6 years ago | (#21410953)

The faceless experience of being online is not just limited to rudeness, but other behavior too. People who would never buy porn at a newsstand will surf porn. People who would never go naked on a beach will pose naked for online dating.

This is all to be expected. "Civilaised society", whatever that means, comes from feedback. That feedback is significantly reduced by a computer interaction or by excessive alcohol etc. resulting in less inhibited behaviour online or when pissed.

many people think negative criticism is a troll. (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21410979)

I think that when you post to a forum, showing off a coin
for example, that when people post their opinion anything
negative is seen as a troll or a flame.

They go into the post thinking this is fun not realizing
that criticism should be welcome and can improve them as
a collector.

Or another person may simply not like their coin, see problems
with it they do not, or know they paid too high a price.

All this combined makes others think they are being negative
for no good reason and should have simply ignored the post
and moved on.

I disagree with these people who have thin skin and should
be happy they got honest feedback from someone who could
very well know much more then them.

Hey, as long as they do not use name-calling they should be
free to be as negative about the topic as they like. I find
i learn more from the negative comments that get discussed
then from the people who simply say, "nice coin" just to be nice.

Re:many people think negative criticism is a troll (2, Funny)

skoaldipper (752281) | more than 6 years ago | (#21411223)

+5 coins to you, sir! Well said.

Prick. (1)

kennylogins (1092227) | more than 6 years ago | (#21411395)

nm

Thread where Trolling is ON TOPIC? (0, Troll)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 6 years ago | (#21410991)

LET THE games BEGIN!

(That should do it) (1)

ceeam (39911) | more than 6 years ago | (#21411099)

Ron Paul.

I take your Ron Paul and Raise you (1)

rucs_hack (784150) | more than 6 years ago | (#21411275)

Creationists are idiots!!!1111one

Ok, I'll go back to my corner now....

Re:Thread where Trolling is ON TOPIC? (1)

Seakip18 (1106315) | more than 6 years ago | (#21411161)

You know, I wish there was an explanation about redundancy! Jeez, You trollers and flamebaiters get all of the love. Apparently redundancy gets the shaft with only blah blah blahs.

Mod Parent REDUNDANT (1)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 6 years ago | (#21411411)

Cause he said it again, twice.

Re:Thread where Trolling is ON TOPIC? (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#21411463)

LET THE games BEGIN!

I WIN!!!! [kuro5hin.org]

-mcgrew

Let me take this time to say... (0, Redundant)

sjonke (457707) | more than 6 years ago | (#21410997)

Anyone who thinks abortion should be criminalized is a crazed far right-wing nut job religious fanatic!

Re:Let me take this time to say... (0, Redundant)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 6 years ago | (#21411057)

You just post this drivel to distract people from looking into the facts behind my analysis of the "numbers stations".

The article is a Troll and a Flame (1)

rf600r (236081) | more than 6 years ago | (#21411051)

No, really. I'm serious.

...and I thought it was the radiation or something (1)

wattrlz (1162603) | more than 6 years ago | (#21411063)

So anonymity makes people troll, huh? Hobbism makes a comeback.

Apple Rocks! (1)

actualpirate (1191167) | more than 6 years ago | (#21411065)

Flames happen because Apple is superior to Microsoft in every way... Deal with it...

Apple Rules! Apple Rules! Apple Rules!

Re:Apple Rocks! (1)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 6 years ago | (#21411263)

Is it wise to invoke the Apple vs not-Apple flame war, even in this story? I shudder to think of what you might have started.

What about Richard Stallman? (1)

cryfreedomlove (929828) | more than 6 years ago | (#21411077)

He is am impatient utopianist who, now that the soft sell has failed, wants to become a tyrant. So says anyone who is not a commie bastard! Agree with me or get lost!

Re:What about Richard Stallman? (1)

Foofoobar (318279) | more than 6 years ago | (#21411173)

He is am impatient utopianist...
Utopianist? I didn't know he could play the Utopiano. Wow he IS multi-talented

Re:What about Richard Stallman? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21411309)

Damned if "Utopiano" isn't a great name for a band or an album.

Re:What about Richard Stallman? (1)

Foofoobar (318279) | more than 6 years ago | (#21411347)

Utopiano is a trademark of Stallman enterprises. All rights reserved. Any attempt to play, recreate or listen to the utopiano without consent and we will have your ears ripped from your head and fed to our Gru.

Re:What about Richard Stallman? (1)

skoaldipper (752281) | more than 6 years ago | (#21411513)

No talent required. The Utopiano is the ideal piano. There are no keys, no strings, and no noise - just a bulky red virtual helmet. Underneath the hood, every note is perfect, and every song a masterpiece. But that's not why it's the ideal piano. Why is it? As you simulate piano key strokes inside, your spouse can put her back to your fingers outside for a gentle massage.

Re:What about Richard Stallman? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21411261)

Your tone is very much on topic, but the content of your post is off-topic... I have no idea how I want to mod you, but I do want to smash your face in with a brick for not believing in GNU/Stallman, you fucking shithead!

This is nothing new (2, Interesting)

rodney dill (631059) | more than 6 years ago | (#21411085)

This is not related just to the electronic age. If anyone has ever written a letter to you with some criticism (e.g. parental letter) It is usually a far more cutting communication than person to person. Phone communication is somewhere in the middle. I once had a work associate that I communicated with email (at first) almost exclusively. His notes were condescending, pontificating, degrading... without apparent purpose. He was somewhat better on the phone. Eventually when I dealt with him in person he was somewhat reasonable.

Re:This is nothing new (1)

dekemoose (699264) | more than 6 years ago | (#21411433)

Yeah, I've seen this a lot. At a former employer of mine there was a particular VP who was a screaming a-hole when communicating via email, demanding, unreasonable and altogether unpleasant. When dealing with him in person he was rather bashful, almost apologetic for bothering me with his silly requests. Never could figure him out.

That's BS (5, Funny)

crvtec (921881) | more than 6 years ago | (#21411097)

My coworker sits right next to me. He's not distant at all, and still trolls every comment I post.

Let me take a wild guess here.... (3, Funny)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 6 years ago | (#21411117)

"New Scientist examines why people are in general more rude and abusive online [CC].
This "research team" has never been to a LA rush hour turkey shoot, now have they? And it is quite obvious to even the most calm observer that they have not yet experienced a proper football match in Europe.

WTF? People are rude everywhere. Now don't get me wrong, dear reader. Of course I do not mean you, but the two idiots on either side of your cubicle, yes THEM, those hideous bastards and their soccer practicing spouses.

Clearly, this research team did all their research reading emails inside a nice warm coffee shop in Seattle, AND if you lift the rock off their heads, I'm betting both ears are flattened.

By the way, Flat Ear Syndrome (FES) has been diagnosed as affecting 1 in three research scientists by doctors at UCLA and WSU. Pfizer, working closely with the Bursars office of these highly respected institutes, has develope UnfesION, that relieves the symptoms of FES in 1 out of 16 patients with no dramatic side effects. Note: consult with your physician before taking UnfesION. Side effects may include; sudden outbreaks of common sense, clarity of vision, actual merit based grant funding, possible curricular related job opportunities, and possible respect among the greater community.

If the commentator were a bot ... (1)

foobsr (693224) | more than 6 years ago | (#21411141)

... I would say Kudos for the elaborate AI displayed (so much for the 'online editorial assistant').

Otherwise, I would recommend some reading, this [google.com] search gives a good start.

CC.

Anonimity can work both ways (1)

Tardius Maximus (959523) | more than 6 years ago | (#21411143)

It is the anonymous nature of the web that give people the false sense of strength and protection that lets them lash out with fear of consequence. But in reality,the web is often a "pay-it-forward" kind of place. You don't care about buring someone on a usenet group or a chan while someone else doesn't care that you don't want your passwords and private data stolen. I think most people are a little too scared to put themselves out there for what they are: uninformed. Be willing to learn a new idea or a new perspective and you'll be less inclined to flame and troll. And always be willing to teach and pass on knowledge. Everyone who reads this had a time when they never knew what Slashdot was.

I further theorize... (1)

idontgno (624372) | more than 6 years ago | (#21411147)

that this kind of "emotional distance" is behind ganking [wikipedia.org] .

And not the fact that my WoW character's name is Gnomestompy.

Although that seems to piss off a lot of gnomes.

I disagree (1)

moogied (1175879) | more than 6 years ago | (#21411149)

To me it seems that most people are "trolls" or start "flame threads" on internet forums not because they are aggressive people due to a lack of tangible idenity. Instead it seems they are like that in there real lifes. The same people who are likely to borrow your hammer for 3 months, let there trees grow into your yards, won't let you in during rush hour. These are all actions people will take because they are relativly passive-aggressive. As such, they are not directly insulting you at all. They are instead forgetful, in a hurry, busy, that kind of thing.

Take for example the idea of a person starting a thread on a gaming site claiming that PS1 is where the real gaming is at. He could either do this on a PS1 gaming site, or on an xbox forum, or on a forum that is meant to discuss knitting. If he does it on the PS1 site, he is insightful. On an xbox forum it is a flame thread. On the knitting forum he is widely ignored. Now, is he truly a troll or starting a flame thread on any forum? No. He is simply stating his opinion. Even if he says "PS1 pwns that faggoty ass micro$oft pile of nazi shit" that is simply his thought on the subject. Regardless of how he expressed it, he is not a troll for that. He is simply misguided, he becomes a troll when people starting calling him troll.

In Summary: You're a troll once labeled that, and people are less likely to label you a troll in real life because they can see you as a person. On the internet you are labeled a troll because "its the thing to do about that."

P.S. Chipotle is awesome. mmmmm

Re:I disagree (1)

nuzak (959558) | more than 6 years ago | (#21411371)

A troll is someone who tries to incite, he's fishing for bites. Good trolls sound serious, or geniune, and while they're really tiresome after a while, especially when it's cut and paste crap like the "*BSD is dying" troll, sometimes in the case of communities like alt.folklore.urban it's just good-natured pranking.

The "faggoty ass micro$oft" guy is not particularly a troll, merely an inarticulate asshole.

Re:I disagree (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21411497)

P.S. Chipotle is awesome. mmmmm
And hallucinogenic, evidently.

Re:I disagree (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21411521)

Instead it seems they are like that in there real lifes.
My aim in trolling is to kick egos down a notch or two. I'll do it with the utmost civility, and to identify it as distinct from some contribution to the argument you'd have to determine that my primary purpose is to attack the individual, not the idea. I consider it almost an obligation - it's not my fault that I enjoy it :-).

Just as I'm vicious to those suffering hubris, I try to go out of my way to be decent to those who are humble, online or offline. And a stranger will receive the benefit of the doubt, which means my default behaviour is to put my neighbour first. I'm just treating others as I'd hope they'd treat me - beat me down if I get too full of myself, otherwise help me along.

Able to vent. (5, Interesting)

iknownuttin (1099999) | more than 6 years ago | (#21411159)

Another obvious factor is that, if you insult someone online, it's unlikely you'll face any physical retaliation for it.

I'd like to add: or be fired, yelled a by your wife, etc....

Commenting online is a why to vent anger at at shit you can't normally vent at. I've seen many comment here about how "stupid" their management or users are/is. And I bet, most of the time, folks wouldn't talk like that at work - but they do here. I think being online is a way to deal with aggression. In short, I'd rather have you folks flame me, or whatever, online than shoot me at work.

Re:Able to vent. (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 6 years ago | (#21411449)

Commenting online is a why to vent anger at at shit you can't normally vent at. I've seen many comment here about how "stupid" their management or users are/is.
And that has absolutely nothing to do with trolling, which are attempts at generating anger in others.

terse does not mean rude (4, Interesting)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 6 years ago | (#21411177)

When we write online, most people keep it fairly short - partly because their readers won;t read past the first paragraph (and they want to get a lot of stuff in) and partly because writing is quite slow - especially when you have to think, write, re-read, correct and then commit.

This is in contrast to spoken communication, which is much easier to assimilate and can therefore go on for longer. It also contains more emotion than simple writing, so the actual words are less important than the intonation - which is almost completely missing from text.

People frequently mistake short comments for either sarcasm or impatience and this gives the impression that written communication (esp. in email, netnews) that the writer does not respect the audience.

I beleive this is incorrect, when I insult someone they will be left in no doubt they have been insulted. I think over time, most people will come to realise the difference between rudeness and terseness. There will always be a few however, who take exception at everything. there's no helping these individuals.

Re:terse does not mean rude (1)

Llywelyn (531070) | more than 6 years ago | (#21411401)

I think I agree with what you are saying, but I didn't make it past the first paragraph so I don't know for sure...

Re:terse does not mean rude (3, Funny)

Peter Trepan (572016) | more than 6 years ago | (#21411419)

There will always be a few however, who take exception at everything. there's no helping these individuals.

I'm one of those individuals, you insensitive clod!

Remind me (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21411207)

are Trolls fire-resistant or do they take extra damage from flames?

I haven't played AD&D in years.

Re:Remind me (1)

nuzak (959558) | more than 6 years ago | (#21411407)

They don't regenerate any damage they take from fire or acid. So yeah, flame a troll enough and it goes away :)

But the net term comes from "trolling for fish", i.e. dragging your line back and forth in the hopes that one somewhere will bite.

No, people are just stupid. (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 6 years ago | (#21411311)

I think I've come to realize that people aren't that much different online than off. The difference being that posts are persistent. You can easily ignore something someone said, but when its sitting there in print it affects you more. Its more obvious.

Let me be the first to say (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21411313)

Nigger nigger nigger nigger, nigger nigger NIGGER nigger, jew bitch cunt nigger balls nigra cock.

Going to /. hell! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21411327)

I got mod points today! -1 Troll for 5 lucky winners today! *sigh* goodbye, excellent karma...

the answer is simple (2, Funny)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 6 years ago | (#21411339)

Science has not yet discovered a way to transmit a punch across the Internet. Until such a time, people will continue to be rude because there are few if any consequences for their actions.

In other news... (1)

billius (1188143) | more than 6 years ago | (#21411343)

Emacs is a bloated piece of shit with too many commands (vi is the only sensible choice), C++ is a horrible language only used by substandard programmers, God exists, God doesn't exist, Captain Picard is way better than that over-sexed, stupid Cold Warrior Kirk and I fucked your mother last night. Also, disagreeing with me is an act in futility since I have 3 PhDs, am a self-made millionaire, speak 7 languages, am married to a super model who I regularly cheat on with other super models, can play guitar, piano, violin and trumpet well enough to play with any jazz ensemble, rock band or orchestra in the world and most important am NOT a lonely kid sitting in his mother's basement, bothering people on the internet since no one in the real world will respond to my juvenile taunting.

No need to overanalyze this (1)

hodet (620484) | more than 6 years ago | (#21411363)

The threat of a punch in the mouth is a great deterrent to rude behaviour.

Screw this guy (1, Funny)

dave562 (969951) | more than 6 years ago | (#21411377)

His theory is full of shit! How does this crap get posted on Slashdot? Everyone who responds to this story is a fucktard. I'm going to go play WoW in my Whine window running on a virtualized copy of Ubuntu that I'm running on my bug free OSX Leotard 10.5 uber super shiny silver box. And oh yeah, I'm going to call the author of this story on my iPhone and give him a piece of my mind about why the gPhone blows chunks.

what a load of fucking horseshit (3, Funny)

Odiumjunkie (926074) | more than 6 years ago | (#21411393)

>Recently there has been a sharp increase in the amount of abusive language on the New Scientist website.

Oh, how very fucking _interesting_! Sounds just like the kind of impartial, thoughtful introduction that heralds a fucking well-balanced scientific curio doesn't it? It's on an intellectual par with Schrödinger postulating about quantum mechanics because his damned cat wouldn't stop shitting on the carpet. Bra-fucking-vo.

>My pet theory about why people behave so rudely is that online commenting is treated, by most people, like a pub conversation

Oh yeah? Well _my_ pet theory is that you're fucking retarded. What's your local pub? The "make up spurious claims & expect people to be interested in them"?
>After being described a few weeks ago as "a self-lobotomised liberal who can't face the facts", I decided to look into the psychology of online behaviour a bit further.

You don't need a shitting psychology decree to know that's called fucking rampart narcissism, you self-interested jackass.

>Psychologically, we are "distant" from the person we're talking to and less focused on our own identity. As a result we're more prone to aggressive behaviour, he says.

Well that's fucking retarded, all I can think about when reading your mastabatory drivel is how awesome I am in comparison.

>Another factor influencing online communication, according to Epley, is simply the risk of miscommunication involved with text-based messages, which are inherently more ambiguous.

Nothing ambiguous about how much of a shit-eating moron you are, you must be a master of textual precision.

>Another obvious factor is that, if you insult someone online, it's unlikely you'll face any physical retaliation for it.

Look at brave Mr. New-Scientist-Blogger! People won't insult him in _real_ _life_ because if they do, he fucks their shit up for them! If he invents a way to stab people in the face over the internet, I'm in real fucking trouble.

>I'm not sure what we can do to minimise miscommunication and abuse online. But being aware that we're not as good at communication online as we'd like to think seems like a good start. I know I often have to restrain myself from joining in.

Didn't fucking restrain yourself hard enough did you? Didn't fucking restrain yourself hard enough, or I wouldn't be reading this peice of vomit you call an article.

Have you ever met Kat Hat Sung? (1)

gelfling (6534) | more than 6 years ago | (#21411397)

or kathatsung? Has your forum ever been invaded by this creep? I'm not even sure kathasung is a person, it might be a bot. But what it does is bombard you with hundreds or thousands of posts in serial order chronicling some massive US government conspiracy into practically everything.

Environmental Causes? (1)

rueger (210566) | more than 6 years ago | (#21411413)

In the ten or twelve years that I've been part of various on-line communities - going back to C64 BBS systems, then to the 'net when Mosaic was the cool new browser - I have had time to consider the causes underlying so much of the impolite behavior that we see in forums such as this.

One can point to the psychological impact of the solitary nature of on-line communications (as do the researchers) but I have long suspected that there are subtle and not so subtle environmental determinants that lead to irrational and counterproductive behaviors.

I am thinking of course of impaired cognition brought about by low level carbon monoxide poisoning, a problem more likely to be found in a population that spends extended periods a small, dark rooms located nearby to older gas or oil fired furnaces. This, when coupled with a largely sedentary lifestyle and nutritional habits that were best depicted by film maker Morgan Spurlock, lead to a physical and mental condition that can exacerbate any pre-existing social or cognitive disorders.

This is a complex and important problem, worthy of more research. Someday, hopefully, we can find a cure.

i have a theory about trolling/ flaming (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 6 years ago | (#21411489)

the typical debate about pornography or violent videogames is: do they promote rape/ real-life violence? or lessen it? i am solidly in the camp that over-the-top media lessens real-world violence

we are not born vessels of purity that are corrupted by society. go hang around any group of 3 year olds for 5 minutes. we are born feces slinging temper tantrums that are tamed by society. you cannot "catch" violent or asocial behavior, it is in all of us, innately, and we are socialized to express our negative selves in acceptable ways by society. trolling/flaming is merely another acceptable harmless way to provide catharsis we all need, a harmless release of negative asocial behavior on computer screens rather than on real people on real life

likewise, i believe trolling/flaming serves a similar taking out of the mental trash type function. that rude asocial and negative behavior will lessen in real life as people are allowed to go home, login, scream at some random anonymous people online, then go out, and be quite pleasant, rather the next road rage perpetrator

i'm totally serious. the utopianists imagined newsgroups and message boards as some idealistic philosopher's lounge where great minds would come to great thoughts and collaboration. of course, it is the exact opposite. and yet it is more useful to society for being that. just because the internet is not the grand social function the utopianists imagined it to be, doesn't mean it hasn't taken on a grand social function nonetheless

a bunch of wankers patting each other on the back about how smart they are is a lot less important a social function than some form of catharthis for society for the most unstable and hotheaded amongst us, so they don't express themselves negatively in public, where it really matters. asocial activity just doesn't matter on the web

of course, there are instances where online negativity flares up into real world violence, such as the recent suicide of the girl who was bullied by a neighbor on myspace posing as a teenage boyfriend. but using this as an argument against the positive real-life social value of trolling/ flaming is falling into the same erroneous way of thinking that says the videogame doom created dylan klebold and columbine

no. the truth is, dylan klebold was a psycho waiting to be set off. even if doom somehow was involved in his intents, they weren't formatively involved in what he did. if videogames never existed, something else would have set him off. same with the online bullying that pushed the girl over the edge into suicide. same with some guy who used porn, and then raped a woman

i mean it's not like violent behavior is something new to our world. in fact, in societies that are tolerant of pornography, and have high penetration rates of computer media (videogames, discussion boards) violent and asocial crime is on the decline

so the next time you see a troll or a flame, smile. that's one less road rage or harassment incident you have to hear about in real life

i firmly believe this, and that online trolling and flaming is VALUABLE and important and should be appreciated for the social service it provides
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