I think of "troll" not as a binary status, but as a continuum of qualities.
I heartily agree with Mainemom here: Experience teaches us it's futile to engage with the AMG trolls. They aren't attempting to persuade and they aren't open to any actual discussion.
If I were looking for a definition, I think this is a reasonable, but insufficient, description of "troll." Not attempting to persuade and [not] open to any actual discussion. That strikes me right. I'll return to this thought in a moment.
As Chesteron wrote, "People quarrel because they don't know how to argue." A lot of sincere posters want to make a point but, sooner or later, hit the wall of their own limited knowledge and persuasion skills. (Eventually, anyone who overreaches will do this.) Sometimes a few AMG posters become provocative, personal, and dismissive toward others not from an initial desire to insult, but because they don't know when to stop to take an introspective breath. I think people in this category deserve a charitable pass. Not everyone owes us an explanation, and not everyone is capable of an explanation.
There are also polite posters, not at all trolls, who obviously consider themselves the moral and intellectual superiors of others, who fall into the "not open to any actual discussion" camp. I can think of one or two who lean rightward, at least one who leans leftward, and at least one who seems to have arrived from outer space. I think these people deserve a charitable pass too. If you really want an open discussion, you must make a charitable allowance for the ideas of others and this requires an effort to understand their ideas.
When I think of futility and "troll" I imagine someone who's trapped inside a compulsion, perhaps a borderline personality disorder that seeks pre-emptively to reject real or imagined others who are about to reject oneself. Such a troll may be pitiable and loathsome, clever or crude or both, but utterly beyond the ability of anyone to help or injure with a few words. When you toss peanuts into the monkey house, you don't get peanuts thrown back at you.
In sum, there's no definitive list of trolls according to anyone's criteria. The only recourse for a reasonable person is to know whom and when to ignore.
Trolls in recent years have become more specific, attempting to bully others into accepting their opinions. Shaming, vulgarity, and open hostility are apparently perfectly acceptable - but only for them. These trolls are not trying to persuade... they don't care if you agree, as long as they can silence dissent and force their views on everyone. These trolls seem to come from the extreme political poles, so no surprise that they are not open to persuasion or discussion. On larger forums, there has been a rise of paid trolls... but I doubt AMG has enough traffic to justify that. Maybe just one or two, to bully everyone out...
Hey Lucky, since we're still waiting for a LIKE button on AMG,
this will have to work for now...
Image source: https://d2gg9evh47fn9z.cloudfront.net/800px_COLOURBOX4613580.jpg
Here's an "upvote" for the comments by Economike and Toolsmith.
I would not characterize as a troll someone who:
-Posts a contrary view that he is aware will provoke a reaction, but puts it in the form of this is what I think (or what this writer or opinion-maker thinks), and here's why.
-Sticks around to engage with questions or rebuttals, still in the mode of this is what I think and here's why.
-Points to evidence or errors of logic to show why a contrary assertion or argument goes wrong.
Very well said but in the end the ignoring does not work.
Nor when the Troll continues and their purpose is well known it is more than being a troll.
Smegma as an example : A minimal reading of his posts taking away the vulgarity ,reveals his purpose ,which he has never denied,
that being the destruction of AMG.
If one takes the criticisms of AMG II and leaves or does not participate ,then that is accomplished ,is it not ?
Suppose that a robot got access to AMG and randomly posted "Make $70/hour from home" messages every tenth post, more-or-less.
That would be distracting, certainly, but would that be enough to ruin AMG? Perhaps, on the margin, some people would get frustrated and quit, but I think most would simply skip the distraction.
Now, suppose that the robot posted "You people are stupid" messages every tenth post, Same consequence, right? You learn to skip the distraction.
And, further, suppose the robot is programmed to respond with more abuse to messages directed at it. You'd quickly learn not to respond.
Why make it personal? If you're really dealing with a misanthrope acting out fantasies of hurting imaginary evil forces, why waste another nickel to see if it's different this time?
Ignore - it does work. Press on, stay on message.
"acting out fantasies of hurting imaginary evil forces, "
I am not totally sure( almost 100%) that they are not fantasies and those directed too are not imaginary !
Works for who ?
Given opinions posted about certain behaviors ,doesn't that deprive others interested in others views?
Bruce: even I can't translate Greek.
Hopefully fixed for some reason Mac wouldn't post after I corrected originally.
Economike noted that Thrasybulous has not posted in a while. He died in October or 2017, in
If nothing else we could have been told that !
Always enjoyed his posts.
Good to see a post from you, Attic Owl. Thank you for the (sad) news.
Thank you, Attic Owl. I'll always regret passing up his invitation to visit his inn.