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Forum Post: Can the forum be altered so we can vote down Troll threads?

Posted 9 years ago on Oct. 11, 2011, 11:35 a.m. EST by imrational (527)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

Right now, we can vote up/down individual comments by the small little ticks just to the left of each one.

How about being able to thumb up/down entire threads as a way of eliminating Trolls? Maybe have a cut-off at -50? Setting it at a high number would keep some of the sock puppetry from falsely eliminating good threads



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[-] 1 points by Seigen (5) 9 years ago

Here is Dirty Hippies response to the issue of the unmoderated thread, http://www.occupywallst.org/forum/dangers-of-unmoderated-forums/:

"Open unrestricted communication is always the best. Ideas rise or fall based on their merit. The doors are open to everyone and some come in looking for a fight. Bring it on. Now and then, there's someone who seems genuinely interested and concerned. Then they start reciting the propaganda of the 1% using the word "dude" as punctuation. Beware and be alert. Propaganda thrives where there is low-information. The bar is set at "Policy Expert" if you want to engage in anti-propaganda efforts. Propaganda depends on lies and distortions blended with a shred of truth fed to a willing consumer. Generalities are easily swallowed even if they hide untruths. They condition your mind to gradually accept more concentrated toxins. Facts are your friend. Low-information, lies, & generalities can be chased away with facts, statistics, data. This is work your laptop can do for you but it will return propaganda as well. You must be able to distinguish objective non-partisan information. Can you imagine that the 1% achieved their position at least partly by gaming the system? Absolutely. Can the forums be gamed by promoting or downgrading opinions and/or creating a lot of activity in a thread? Of course. Remember your goals. Business and religion must be kept separate from government. Where they are entwined, they must be disentagled. Government exists for one purpose only: to serve the people. Fight as strongly as you would fight against slavery."

[-] 1 points by Seigen (5) 9 years ago

I've had some experience as a forum moderator - there are different kinds of trolls but the most destructive ones are the ones who want to absorb any efforts towards discussion into their own need for power. It was at times necessary to ban, yet often these same people would come back with a new identity. It is a peculiar narcissism, that can also appear in the form of double-nicking - the same person or more than one person, different avatars with the same ip., hijacking a thread with purposeful sabotaging disinformation, sectarian and agendas, or the compulsion to argue as a form of authority in itself.

Thumbs up and thumbs down leaves the forum vulnerable to interests in line with the structure you want to change - all it takes is a team of dedicated people to do that. It's not like facebook, in a forum like this you can quickly become topheavy with a) idle chatter, b) snarky face-offs that are going nowhere but attract people because of controversy, or c) trolls that everyone keeps feeding out of some sense of compassion. Reporters and people who want to know what's going on come along and it is what they see first, so it can look very bad and will keep the serious ones away, encouraging even further the idle chatter and snark.

I have no solution - being a moderator is a very difficult and conflicted practice, but it is good practice and maybe there are some here with that experience. But you have to let go of idealist notions of open democracy and reach for a well-functioning one. The pain of that decision never leaves you. And it is by no means a solution to the difficulties, they keep coming back. You must have trained experienced people, for this site it would take 5 or 6 people checking in regularly, who are working well together as a team and putting in a lot of man hours in order to protect civil discussion.

This is not a suggestion so much as information. I don't think things here will go that way, there is a certain commitment to being in "the swamp" but this would be the alternative. Seems like too big a step to take.

[-] 1 points by Rob (881) 9 years ago

why do you have a problem with trolls? some are funny, some are informative.

[-] 1 points by imrational (527) 9 years ago

Some do serve a purpose and I would hope that people would thumb up their threads... whereas others ad absolutely nothing for discussion other than flame-bait. By using sock puppets, they can keep their posts at the top of the page, discouraging decent discussions from flourishing.