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Forum Post: On the Issue of Trolls, The Act of Observation, and Targeted Interdiction

Posted 11 years ago on Nov. 19, 2011, 4:36 a.m. EST by ZenDogTroll (13032) from South Burlington, VT
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

I do not necessarily mind trolls. Funny, furry little creatures, chamaeleon like in behavior, consummate liars, persistent and provocative as they are, they are never the less, on occasion, highly entertaining. They can also be highly useful. In our effort to change the world I would not have us waste that which may be of use. I would not, because I recognize that we do face a herculean task, even if we have in fact already won.

What - should we go home simply because I say we have already won? Heavens no. We cannot, for there is far too much to be done if we are to claim our victory and bend this course of history to our will. No I say, we will not go home. For some of us there is no going home, not before we have achieved our aim. For some of us there is no going home ever again.

And so I say, poke them and be entertained. Who can say that our responses will not improve thanks to their provocation? Who can say that our arguments, which do come in service to the American People, and yes, even the institutions that serve them, who can say that our arguments will not become sharpened and more focused - an unintended consequence - of their actions?

Who can say that we will not improve?

Are there spies among them? I am sure there are. I am not afraid. I have become accustom over time, to just such an environment, unnatural and unwholesome as it may be. I have grown accustom to the ever present camera which has become a facet of American life and the nitwits who foster instability with just such devices. These can, if handled correctly, when combined with certain other environmental arrangements, become quite unnerving.

So what I say. Do not be unnerved.

Scientists have long known that the simple act of observation is not just observation, it is interacting. And so I say let us interact. Let us decide: they are the particle, and we are the wave. Who can say we will not gain insight into their deepest fears, our greatest strengths, or the methods that prove most effective?

Who can say that with the shape of our arguments that even trolls may not be subverted? Tamed and placed on a leash, and taught with all of our care and attention, to leap by our will? Make them leap I say, make them leap and be entertained.

This is targeted interdiction. This is the power of language. To shape the minds and so the will of those who oppose us, with nothing more than Words! Words fashioned of but one thing - truth.

For too long have the people of this nation labored under lies. We are among the most intelligent and sophisticated demographics on the planet. We will break the hand of those who would pick our pocket, and we will be lied to no more.

Trolls. Poke them I say. Poke them and be entertained.



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[-] 6 points by GirlFriday (17435) 11 years ago

There is no need to define trolls. Flooding the boards with BS threads pretty much does the trick. No? 10 years ago, trolls would need interaction. These freaks get paid to disrupt communication. It is a bunch of douchbaggery.

[-] 1 points by Glaucon (296) 11 years ago

What do you consider BS threads?

I don't agree with ZenDog's idea that we should interact with trolls. This only encourages them to post more by pushing their threads at the top. Ignoring them is better. Just let their threads drop down into the database's oblivion.

[-] 1 points by nucleus (3291) 11 years ago

Don't comment on them, just vote their threads into oblivion.

[-] 1 points by ZenDogTroll (13032) from South Burlington, VT 11 years ago

What you suggest has merit. I did not mean to imply that by posting our comments on their threads we should enable their banner advertisement to remain at the top - which often does not accurately reflect the content of the post itself.

Occasionally I do that, and generally you are correct in pointing out the weakness here.

The purpose of this post - the op - is to open up the possibilities that interaction itself does possess - whether in comments contained beneath an op, in email, or even in our daily lives.

When someone appears with a name like 'hippiessmell' - who is to say we do not? Who is to say we do not smell like the balsam of high elevation arboreal forests.

[-] 3 points by sophiaomni (289) 11 years ago

It actually makes me feel even more confident in the future of OWS to have so many reactionaries investing so much time and effort to disrupt this site. Conservatives are scared shitless of this movement, and they will do everything in their power to destroy it.

The more time they spend here making their snide little comments, the more we know that they are feeling completely and totally impotent.

Question all you reactionary trolls out there: Don't you have jobs, families, friends? Don't you have anything better to do than to spend all your time on this site making petty, nasty little comments? Don't you have your own causes? Your own forums to chat on? You must have very sad lives indeed if this is how you choose to spend your time.

...or are you really just so fucking terrified of this movement that you can't possibly keep away?

[-] 2 points by powertoothepeople (280) 11 years ago

Reading the comments here, I see that same disingenuous, accusatory question that gets asked in every thread that mentions "trolls":

""What is your definition of a troll? Oh, you just want to censor eveyrone you don't agree with!!!!!"

Really? No.

You, the askers of that disingenuous question, read the same board I do and I am sure you all see the thread titles that I see.

You know, the ones that say "You all suck - GO HOME"

"You are fucking retarded"

How about the members whose very user names are ad hom attacks?




and worse.

Don't pretend you can't see the obvious trolling on here.

But then again, some of you are disinfo trolls yourselves, so it stands to reason you wouldn't be honest about the existence of your brethren here.

No one here who leans toward supporting OWS is afraid of or wants to squelch honest debate.

But we have no obligation to let you come here just to hippie-punch or to disrupt civil discourse or to plant false, slanderous information about this movement.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 11 years ago

So do trolls exist even when we're not interacting with them ?

[-] 1 points by ZenDogTroll (13032) from South Burlington, VT 11 years ago

This is an interesting question . . .

I will contemplate this question

as the sound of a single hand clapping

reverberates in my subconscious . . .

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 11 years ago

I have a fully integrated view of philosophy, quantum mechanics/physics, and religion that I sometimes bore people with. I was going to subject you to it, but then decided to spare you the pain ;o)

[-] 1 points by ZenDogTroll (13032) from South Burlington, VT 11 years ago

I should have stayed in school and studied math - once you understand the rules equations are nothing but little puzzles.

It seems to me that human behavior is almost, not entirely, but almost, nothing but physics.

I'm sure quantum mechanics has practical application on everything from the Art of War to human spirituality.

Everything is full of atoms - atoms are full of space . . . bureaucracies are full of people, people are like atoms - any bureaucracy can thus be separated into its individual . . . individuals . . . .

Yes. I see what you mean. Once you get started it can be difficult to stop.

If you keep your paragraphs short, I just might suffer through it.

; D

[-] 1 points by JadedGem (895) 11 years ago

Things I'm telling them today. I don't get to pick my landline, I don't get to pick my trash service, All the gas companies collude to keep the prices overly high, if I'm hurt, I don't get to pick the only hospital in the county, I don't get to pick who sells me electricity, I don't get to know when I'm feeding kids Frankin Foods or the meat they eat has been raised on frankin foods. These are gravy train industries that stole every penny they ever made in profits from hard working tax payers. Privatization and deregulation is just the legalized rape and pillaging of the American people. Monopolies and virtual Monopolies are and always have been the enemies of Capitalism. Cap it, Regulate it, or by God take it over for the good of ALL! I get no hits, does that mean it sounds good or bad? Not even a nibble. No one wants to tell me how good it is the phone company, electric company, gas companies, take all the money I haven't spent buying Monsanto's Frankin Foods for the kids, stupid trolls. Nobody telling me ungrateful and dirty I am and how great all this is.

[-] 1 points by JadedGem (895) 11 years ago

I say the 1% probably is too cheap to pay them so well, poke them!

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 11 years ago

Actually, you never know. Maybe they get paid based on the number of interactions they engage in, and we're all helping unemployment in our own little way.

[-] 1 points by ZenDogTroll (13032) from South Burlington, VT 11 years ago


[-] 1 points by powertoothepeople (280) 11 years ago

Thank you.


[-] -1 points by Glaucon (296) 11 years ago

You haven't defined what you consider trolls. Can you give us examples of users you call trolls and provide strong arguments as to why?

How do you defend yourself against the inevitable assumption that you might be a troll enabler? After all, you advocate a continued interaction with them - "And so I say, poke them and be entertained. Who can say that our responses will not improve thanks to their provocation?". Isn't that exactly what they want? Usually, trolls love interaction and fear being ignored.

[-] 1 points by ZenDogTroll (13032) from South Burlington, VT 11 years ago

a troll in reality is anyone who disagrees with me, you can see that, can't you? To disagree, and inspire emotional reaction in the process - this is troll like behavior.

[-] -1 points by Thrasymaque (-2138) 11 years ago

I was hoping you were one of the good guys who enjoyed a thorough and clean debate. I guess you're just another of many OWS protesters who affix the label of troll at the slightest form of criticism. Masters at the art of ad hominem and appeal to motive.

BTW - Nice trick to wait one week to bump your thread that was going nowhere. Maybe it will get more traction this week ;-)

[-] 1 points by ZenDogTroll (13032) from South Burlington, VT 11 years ago


More troll like behavior revealed!

[-] -1 points by Thrasymaque (-2138) 11 years ago

Hmmm... OK... You can call me a troll if that makes you happy. Whatever bone you like to chew on is fine by me.

[-] 1 points by ZenDogTroll (13032) from South Burlington, VT 11 years ago

Nice trick to wait one week to bump your thread

That's what I was responding to - not sure if one of us is getting lost in the white space

probably just me - but I'm kinda used to it.

; D

[-] -1 points by Glaucon (296) 11 years ago

I'm the one who's lost. Must eat concentration pill. Must be aware. Must be zen.

[-] 1 points by ZenDogTroll (13032) from South Burlington, VT 11 years ago

bah, welcome to the club.

Say, where's that other troll thread - I was gonna bump.

[-] 0 points by Glaucon (296) 11 years ago

Which one? There are tons.

[-] 1 points by ZenDogTroll (13032) from South Burlington, VT 11 years ago

well, the funny one, of course. What other one would I be interested in?

[-] -1 points by leoneo (76) 11 years ago

So is your def of a troll anyone who doesn't agree with you?

[-] 1 points by epa1nter (4650) from Rutherford, NJ 11 years ago

I can't speak for Zen or anyone else, but for me, simple disagreement - even if passionate and heated - is not, by itself, trolling.

Trolling is when someone comes to these boards, devoted to OWS. to trash the movement.

If I put it in another context, maybe it will be clear. Let's say there is forum devoted to, say, an appreciation of classical music (or hip hop, or A football team, etc.) If I go to that site and debate about some conductor or another, and really HATE this one instead of that one, I am still going there because I want to be involved in discussing my love of classical music. But if I go there to say" classical music suck and you are all idiots for listening to it" I would be a troll.

Same thing here. If someone comes in support of the movement, even if they express misgivings or express pointed criticism of an aspect of it, they are still here in good faith. But there are many - too many - who go out of their way, and spend a lot of energy only to express how much they think OWS and tis participants suck.

That, to me,is both unacceptable and psychotic.

I wish I could be as generously detached and amused as Zen about it. But when we come together here to talk make suggestions, share support, argue about tactics, worry about the viability of the movement, and so on, it is hard work. Fending off trolls makes it that much harder. And their cumulative effect is frankly enervating, which I suspect is their goal. It just saps energy.

Most of us aren't as amused as Zen is, and find it harder to ignore the vitriol. Personally, I don't think we should have to put up with it. As far as I'm concerned, there needs to be much more moderator input here, and much more deletion of troll's posts. If one doesn't come here in good faith, one should not be given a space to voice hatred and contempt of us. Egalitarianism and equanimity is all very good, but allowing never-ending attacks is not.

This place is by the OWS, of the OWS, and for the OWS, just as that hypothetical music site would be. They would not tolerate the kind of behavior that we make no real effort to discourage.

To be sure, everyone is welcome, and that is wonderful. But that welcome should be conditional upon a willingness to be here in good faith. Cantankerous is OK if it represents passion for serving the movement. Same goes for strong disagreements.

But if someone is here to mentally masturbate in everyone's face, we should have the right to insist he find a room.