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The Well Poisoned
#1
The well of public discourse, that is.

As a consequence of "progress" (very much in the eye of the beholder), western societies have left the era of villages and small towns in which most people knew each other.  In those days, someone who willfully spread false information took the risk that they would face social sanctions for doing so.  Even a sanction such as shunning could ultimately prove fatal to trouble-makers.  In brief, we knew we would be held accountable for what we said and what we did.

Today, we barely know our immediate neighbors.  Our "gathering" in the "town square" has become interaction via the internet.  There is an inherent lack of accountability to this communication over distance with people unknown.  Some take the interaction seriously; others not at all.

This leads me to wonder about the role of internet trolls.

Trolling online is nothing new.  When the internet was but a shiny new bauble, the CNN discussion boards were full of calculated provocation. This is getting nigh on 30 years ago now.

Which leads to a question.  Was society full of wannabe trolls, just waiting for their chance to provoke others with a vanishingly small chance of any real retaliation?

I have read, I think, in these forums, that trolls are often sock puppets of moderators and other forum administration personnel.  The reasoning given, IIRC, is that some mods seem to think the use of such sock puppets makes the forums more "interesting".

Yet, the sheer amount of internet users obviously acting as trolls, shills, and agents of various stripes makes clear the water in the well of public discourse is so murky and manipulative as to be poisoned.  The English-language Wikipedia, to which I contributed various articles at one time, is thoroughly compromised by agents and shills.  There is no remedy because the administration of Wikipedia, from the top down, is part and parcel of the agent, shill, and sock puppet activity.  Truly a shame, because a freely accessible encyclopedia on the internet -is- a good idea.  But Wikipedia is in too many cases a tainted source.

I have to wonder, given the everyday frequency of social dysfunction outside of the internet, why anyone would think that such activity is productive on the internet ... most especially those who are more or less the "gatekeepers" -- moderators, admins, and so on.  Those who provoke or agitate on the internet are hardly sly about their activity; it can usually be spotted after a few comments on their part. Perhaps it all boils down to clicks and views and associated advertisement revenues.

Cheers
[Image: 14sigsepia.jpg]

Location: The lost world, Elsewhen
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#2
There are a few at ATS I do wonder about but I always disregard whatever they say. Here a R.N. many of us are online friends for many years and kinda know each other...so... IMO we ain't got none of them things around here !! hahahah
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#3
(10-14-2021, 10:58 AM)727Sky Wrote: There are a few at ATS I do wonder about but I always disregard whatever they say. Here a R.N. many of us are online friends for many years and kinda know each other...so... IMO we ain't got none of them things around here !! hahahah

I would agree re: RN3, although I remain disappointed that those users who were so firmly against Trump disappeared from these forums after the election.  They may not realize it, but that left a distinct "mission accomplished" vibe as well as a sense that their comments here were intellectually dishonest.

I've seen the "tolerated trolls" phenomenon on quite a few forums; enough that I think there is something to the notion that at least some of them are sock puppets of "gatekeepers" on those forums.  Again, I don't believe that goes on here.

Cheers
[Image: 14sigsepia.jpg]

Location: The lost world, Elsewhen
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#4
(10-14-2021, 11:05 AM)F2d5thCav Wrote:
(10-14-2021, 10:58 AM)727Sky Wrote: There are a few at ATS I do wonder about but I always disregard whatever they say. Here a R.N. many of us are online friends for many years and kinda know each other...so... IMO we ain't got none of them things around here !! hahahah

I would agree re: RN3, although I remain disappointed that those users who were so firmly against Trump disappeared from these forums after the election.  They may not realize it, but that left a distinct "mission accomplished" vibe as well as a sense that their comments here were intellectually dishonest.

I've seen the "tolerated trolls" phenomenon on quite a few forums; enough that I think there is something to the notion that at least some of them are sock puppets of "gatekeepers" on those forums.  Again, I don't believe that goes on here.

Cheers

That's a good point either that or they are now hiding in fear and shame ?? minusculebeercheers
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#5
I think that when the internet first started there were probably a lot of socially awkward types that never were tough enough in real life and saw it as their time to shine. They could build an online persona and get away with saying whatever they wanted, with no fear to their personal safety.

I knew a guy that liked to laugh about how he’d go to different chat rooms and start arguments among everyone and then sit back and watch the fun.

It seems like it has gotten worse over the years. I do wonder if there is something to the sock puppet thing as that sort of thing could be used to make the discussions more “interesting”. Some of them could just be jerks that have nothing better to do but some could be there to just keep things spicy, or even derail when the discussion is going a direction they think it shouldn’t.

I’m just glad it doesn’t go on here. While the posts here aren’t as numerous, they seem well thought out and more importantly authentic. There is no reason to have someone who posts the same crap every few posts just to stir up emotions. When you think about it, if you took away all the troll posts from ATS, those threads wouldn’t have near as many pages of replies. It’s so much better without that in my opinion.
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#6
There are also those who are accused of being a troll just for asking questions that challenge the cognitive dissonance and "group speak" of others. Nobody wants open and honest debate anymore, they all want echo chambers. Unfortunately the algorithms of social media hand it to them on a silver platter giving them "authority" in their own minds. Mob rules, mob attacks anyone not in their mob. 
"As an American it's your responsibility to have your own strategic duck stockpile. You can't expect the government to do it for you." - the dork I call one of my mom's other kids
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#7
Yes, the other place has too much of that. It drove me away. Love it here.

I personally know some trolls in real life. One, I used to work with. I've watched him do his trolling. It's his hobby and he believes he is doing a service to mankind. And he is never wrong.

Gem of a human being  tinysure
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