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The Internet Toys

How To Deal With Internet Bullies? 724

Posted by timothy
from the warning-link-contains-classic-deep-trolling dept.
creyes123 writes "I run a free website with an online model airplane design calculator. The number of registered users has quickly climbed and I've gotten many compliments. Out of nowhere, a fellow shows up and proceeds to bad mouth the calculator in a posting in one of my forums. After I politely point out that he's mistaken and should have looked at the documentation before posting, he changes the subject and bad mouths a different 'flaw.' The cycle repeats a few more times, with no apparent end in sight. I want to encourage folks to share their opinions, but constructive criticism was clearly not his goal. I feel that the whole episode was just a massive time waster for me. What did I do to deserve this? Could I have handled this better?"
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How To Deal With Internet Bullies?

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  • by gbulmash (688770) * <semi_famous@yahooBLUE.com minus berry> on Thursday July 24, 2008 @08:46PM (#24328415) Homepage Journal
    When you realize you're in a pointless and prolonged exchange with a time waster, bully, etc., get off the ride. "Thanks for your feedback. I'll keep it in mind as I plan future improvements."

    - Greg
    • by Narpak (961733) on Thursday July 24, 2008 @08:52PM (#24328509)
      I totally disagree with what you just said; further more I would like to add that you smell.
    • by TubeSteak (669689) on Thursday July 24, 2008 @08:54PM (#24328547) Journal

      When you realize you're in a pointless and prolonged exchange with a time waster, bully, etc., get off the ride. "Thanks for your feedback. I'll keep it in mind as I plan future improvements."

      Just because you stop participating doesn't magically cause the troll to lose interest.

      If you can give them a non-public outlet to share their critiques, that's great, but generally you pretty much have to ban or otherwise silence the persistent ones.

      • by gbulmash (688770) * <semi_famous@yahooBLUE.com minus berry> on Thursday July 24, 2008 @09:56PM (#24329123) Homepage Journal
        The whole point of trolling is to get a rise out of people. If you ignore the troll, they lose interest and go find some place where people will argue with them like they want.
        • by causality (777677) on Thursday July 24, 2008 @10:09PM (#24329227)

          The whole point of trolling is to get a rise out of people. If you ignore the troll, they lose interest and go find some place where people will argue with them like they want.

          That doesn't mean that everyone else will ignore the troll. You, the site administrator, can decide not to respond. However, if you have X number of users, it only takes a very small fraction of X to keep that troll going, and depending on what kind of forum you have, allowing the troll to persist could be interpreted as apathy or acceptance of what they are doing. So yes, if they are there just to cause trouble then banning them is not unreasonable at all.

          • by hedwards (940851) on Thursday July 24, 2008 @10:23PM (#24329375)

            The main reason to ignore the troll isn't about getting them to go away, but more about clogging up the forum and getting troll posts or topics to stay at the top.

            A forum I frequent had one of those posters that would invariably attract a lot of negative attention. I'm not so sure that it was intentional trolling, but when he'd post there would typically be seven or eight posts criticizing previous topics and a number of posts criticizing the criticism.

            Had people ignored the post, there was in fact a built in feature which would automatically do so, there would just be 1 post. But because people weren't ignoring it there would now be in excess of 10 posts dealing with it. Needless to say that sort of thing really adds up quickly in terms of noise.

          • by GuldKalle (1065310) on Thursday July 24, 2008 @10:25PM (#24329395)

            In my experience banning the troll only agitates it.
            I was thinking, why not give them their own little sandbox, where only users marked as 'troll' could see posts by other trolls?

            • by hazem (472289) on Thursday July 24, 2008 @10:28PM (#24329419) Journal

              I was thinking, why not give them their own little sandbox, where only users marked as 'troll' could see posts by other trolls?

              Isn't that essentially what CraigsList is now?

            • by budgenator (254554) on Thursday July 24, 2008 @11:03PM (#24329665) Journal

              In my experience banning the troll only agitates it.
              I was thinking, why not give them their own little sandbox, where only users marked as 'troll' could see posts by other trolls?

              I Browse slashdot at -1 you insensitive clod

            • by CrazyJim1 (809850) on Thursday July 24, 2008 @11:06PM (#24329691) Journal
              Or even better, don't tell them that they're banned. Just let them keep posting, but they're the only ones who sees their posts.
              • I love you. (Score:4, Insightful)

                by Valdrax (32670) on Friday July 25, 2008 @12:16AM (#24330165)

                Or even better, don't tell them that they're banned. Just let them keep posting, but they're the only ones who sees their posts.

                You are a genius. That's the best idea I've ever heard for dealing with trolls.
                Why has no one done this before?

              • by Mhtsos (586325) on Friday July 25, 2008 @01:10AM (#24330471)
                Best punishment in forum: Girlie Ban. Everyone gets to edit banned user's posts. Hell forum [oddwebsite.com] features this (along with the visual torture that is its color sceme).
              • by dbcad7 (771464) on Friday July 25, 2008 @01:16AM (#24330509)

                I think that will lead to.. well let's call it craziness, once they figure it out.

                Other than slashdot, I think the best mod system is multi leveled.. for example...

                Warned..... Shows up with their avatar.. A blight on your good name until removed
                Moderated.. Also shows up, but all posts approved by administrator before posting (extra work)
                Muted...... Can read but not post.. A time out if you will.. for several days
                Banned..... Permanent Solution.

                Of course with all these some warning is given.. and you should have a Terms of Service (forum rules) that back up what you think is and isn't appropriate behavior... with this system, you start at the top.. and work your way down until banning. If it's a place the poster wants to use, then it will rarely get past the warned or moderated stage... all but "Banned" are meant to be temporary.. just slight attitude adjusters.

        • by msimm (580077) on Friday July 25, 2008 @12:42AM (#24330315) Homepage
          Some of them are just assholes.
        • by loraksus (171574) on Friday July 25, 2008 @03:25AM (#24331131) Homepage

          There is at least one mod for forums sites that lets you "silently ban" the troll. They can continue to visit the site, post and continue to reply to messages, but nobody except the troll / troll's subnet sees them.

          Full of Win, IMHO

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 24, 2008 @09:07PM (#24328679)

      One of my favourite sayings:

      "Never mud wrestle with a pig. You get all dirty and the pig likes it."

      • by Magic5Ball (188725) on Thursday July 24, 2008 @09:21PM (#24328815)

        Clicking through the forums, there appear to be a total of 31 posts in the entirety of the forums (unless registered can see more forums or some such).

        It appears that the subject of the thread that is linked to in the story is an unstructured series of bug reports and technical commentary about cases not considered by the software, and suggestions for improvement. The instances where the alleged bully deviates from the topic at hand, the comments regard the forum software in use, and after the first response, the alleged bully withdraws his complaint to return to a discussion about the technical merits of the software.

        As a scientist (but not an aviation engineer), the comments, questions, and responses between the allegedly bully and the software author appear to be about technical aspects of the software, and there appears to be a mutual understanding and agreement about issues that got fixed.

        The discussion appears to be professional, with the occasional attempt at absurd humour thrown in.

        Am I missing something here? Is this story an attempt to generate hits for an otherwise non-notable website for a niche app?

        • by Magic5Ball (188725) on Thursday July 24, 2008 @09:35PM (#24328947)

          Also, according to the roster, the majority of the new (pre-slashdot) non-posting users appear to be registered in a pattern consistent with automatic account generation using approximately 2.5 username formats, with no indications of the standard network effects that would show up if people registered and attracted their friends to this resource. I would guess that there are fewer than 10 accounts tied to humans in total (given profile content and posting history), and that BlackHawk0's "bullying" contributes the highest volume and quality of content in the forums other than the administrator.

        • by mikael (484) on Thursday July 24, 2008 @10:04PM (#24329199)

          I would agree with what "Magic5Ball" has said. The major contributor to the discussion hasn't critised the website owner personally or used offensive words. The guy does seem to know what he is talking about even if he/she sounds a bit egotistical. I've known people like that before, and usually they don't know that they are being a bit abrasive. If it resorts to name calling then it is bullying.

    • by Beardo the Bearded (321478) on Thursday July 24, 2008 @09:23PM (#24328835)

      If you're the moderator, just shadowban their account.

      They can post, but nobody sees their posts except for the bully.

      Eventually they leave, since they think that everyone is ignoring them.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Panaqqa (927615) *
        They can pick up on a shadowban by checking posts while not logged in (if they get suspicious). Then guaranteed they start a new registered user account.

        In the past I've dealt with trolls by doing a mod on the forum code. Once tagged as "troll", all threads just seem to end with their comment. Nothing more is shown in the thread following their rant except for their further rants when they look. Everyone else sees the normal thread. Just one strategy that helped out a few times.
    • by pushf popf (741049) on Thursday July 24, 2008 @09:57PM (#24329143)
      It's your forum. Delete his crap and move on.
    • by ILuvRamen (1026668) on Thursday July 24, 2008 @09:58PM (#24329151)
      Really? That's the best you can come up with? You wanna talk and reason with these people and be polite? Okay I run a forum and here's how this shit goes down there. Someone posts shit, I ban their account and then IP ban them from the server's control panel. Then I google their username that they registered with and find them on other sites and send them hate PMs or post rude shit in topics they started. Then I look up their e-mail address in the memberlist and sign them up for every spam list I know of (like coupons.com and a bunch of dating sites). That's how I handle jerks like him! I don't mess around. I ruin their entire internet life! I HAVE NO TOLERANCE FOR JACKASSES!
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Z00L00K (682162)

      And that's why /. has the moderation system.

      Allowing moderation from other users may help the problem.

  • Relax (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 24, 2008 @08:50PM (#24328469)

    Your best bet is to just relax. Remember, when you argue with an idiot on the internet, two idiots are arguing.

  • by skrolle2 (844387) on Thursday July 24, 2008 @08:51PM (#24328483)

    http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2004/03/19/ [penny-arcade.com]

    Yes, some people are mean on the internet, that's what IP-bans are for. No, you can't talk them into being nice, you slap an IP-ban on them, delete their posts, and forget about them.

  • Internet (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bluefoxlucid (723572) on Thursday July 24, 2008 @08:52PM (#24328495) Journal

    Winning an argument on the Internet is really hard, because people can trump you with their dickhead status or their real status. If you're trying to form a logical argument, they can make something that sounds cool and is easier to register, and people will accept it. Sometimes they just claim the argument is over, after they make a (flawed) point, leaving you unable to counter their blatant insulting of your intelligence (which usually paints you as wrong even if you're arguing over whether or not 2+2 = 7).

    It's stupid.

    • Re:Internet (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TubeSteak (669689) on Thursday July 24, 2008 @08:56PM (#24328573) Journal

      Winning an argument on the Internet is really hard, because people can trump you with their dickhead status or their real status.

      Or as Wikipedia has shown, by their persistence.

    • Re:Internet (Score:5, Insightful)

      by unlametheweak (1102159) on Thursday July 24, 2008 @09:08PM (#24328689)

      Winning an argument on the Internet is really hard...

      Nope, winning an argument on the Internet is easy. Convincing your opponent that you've won is often impossible.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by RedWizzard (192002)

        Winning an argument on the Internet is really hard...

        Nope, winning an argument on the Internet is easy. Convincing your opponent that you've won is often impossible.

        And that's not unique to the Internet either.

    • Re:Internet (Score:5, Insightful)

      If you're trying to form a logical argument, they can make something that sounds cool and is easier to register, and people will accept it.

      This is in no way restricted to the internet. It's called Rhetoric, and some people are very, very good at it.

      A well practiced Rhetorician can hold firm to their position and outright win any debate no matter what that position is. It's a spectacle as breathtaking as it is devastating. You cannot win, not with your training and experience, i.e. which is probably next to none.

      The first mistake is to be calm and reasonable. You have lost at this point. They will berate, accuse and generally inflame the entire discussion until you lose your composure in some small way, at which point they will accuse you of flying off the handle or being unreasonable/oppressive.

      The second mistake is expecting them to be logical about things. It's not about logic. It's about sounding like you're in the right. They will spout utter flasehoods and stand firmly by them as long as there is a morsel of plausibility or deniablity. Simultaneously they will select minor problems with your opinion and declare them to be gaping holes or fundamental errors. You're wasting your time trying to point out their lies/errors, as they will easily counterpoint with another one or else move onto a completely new fantasy. All of this puts you on the back foot.

      The third mistake and worst mistake is thinking that the purpose of your debate is for one to persuade or win over the other. Never going to happen. You're not going to listen to this polemicist, and they most certainly have no interest in winning over you. The purpose of the debate is to win over the crowd/audience. To win over the undecided, unsure and uneducated.

      By engaging fruitlessly in such a debate, by being on the receiving end of one explosive reply after another, you are feeding the crowds doubt about your opinion. Each illogical and emotional reply to you seems ridiculous, but the crowd listens because they generally have no way of telling truths from falsehoods. They see two talking heads, and one of them is fiery indeed, and using language and appealing to emotions they easily understand. What are you going to respond with? Facts!? You're wasting your time, unless your position is a rock hard science, and even then, you could be up against a creationists/crank.

      The only way to win, is not to play. Do not feed these trolls. Simply saying "You're arguments are flawed/irrational, and I won't grace them with a response", is vastly more effective than fueling their tirades. The longer you fail to do so, the more impossible it will be to exit the debate without having "lost" (the crowd).

      If you absolutely must engage with such a debater, and I counsel strongly against it, then you might benefit from studying logical fallacies [wikipedia.org], which your opponent is employing in spades. Being able to point out not only his errors, but what type of error it actually is, is a very powerful countermeasure. Just don't rely on it. These guys can be extremely competent, and the best ones have studied most of those already.

      You are not trained in Rhetoric, and they are. I repeat, the only way to win, is not to play. Give them no oxygen, because they'll just burn brighter.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by bluefoxlucid (723572)

        This is in no way restricted to the internet. It's called Rhetoric, and some people are very, very good at it.

        A well practiced Rhetorician can hold firm to their position and outright win any debate no matter what that position is. It's a spectacle as breathtaking as it is devastating. You cannot win, not with your training and experience, i.e. which is probably next to none.

        It works in any situation. The promise that "we just don't have it yet but we will soon!" is a major rhetoric (bullshit) point. Two examples come to mind.

        Stem cell research (political shit): adult stem cell treatments are stable, simple, and easy; they don't get rejected by your body and tend to involve just triggering a simple cellular reaction from bone marrow stem cells (see chemotherapy, which uses this to rebuild your bone marrow; but they work for muscle and nerve tissue too, among other things).

  • bully? (Score:5, Funny)

    by nomadic (141991) <nomadicworldNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday July 24, 2008 @08:52PM (#24328499) Homepage
    I don't know, I've had to deal with people like that but never anyone that violent or aggressive...I mean criticizing a calculator? Why hasn't someone locked him up already?
  • Killfile (Score:3, Informative)

    by Pig Hogger (10379) <pig.hogger@NoSpAM.gmail.com> on Thursday July 24, 2008 @08:52PM (#24328501) Journal

    Killfile him. Ban him. Ban his IP. There's many options available for that. Use them.

  • by Adreno (1320303) on Thursday July 24, 2008 @08:53PM (#24328515)
    Banning their IP or username will probably be seen as an act of aggression, and if they are really intent on trolling your forums, they will find a means to do it. Really, the best way to deal with a person like this is to just ignore them... they won't find any entertainment if there's no reciprocation. Move their post off into a dusty corner of the forums if you can (make it the last to show up in searches, for example) and forget about it. There's one in every crowd =(
  • TREX them (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Thagg (9904) <thadbeier@gmail.com> on Thursday July 24, 2008 @08:53PM (#24328529) Journal

    What you do is you take their comments, and edit them, to make them say exactly the opposite of what they are saying. So, if they say

    Rob Sucks!

    You can edit it to say

    Rob did a great job.

    Or something like that. It's really frustrating for trolls to find that their comments become benign.

    Or, just ignore them. That works too!

    Finally, what some people do is a little tricky. You ban their IPs, so that nobody *but them* can see their post. They think they are posting some vicious flames, and it shows up when they view the site, but nobody else (not even you, if you want) see it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      thats quite clever, may I suggest that it's too obvious however. The awesome version would be to slowly reduce the % of users that can see his posts to 0 thereby making him think that no one likes him. Nothing more crushing to the troll than attention starvation.

  • Hide his comments (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mongus (131392) <mongus@mongus.net> on Thursday July 24, 2008 @08:54PM (#24328531) Homepage

    I'd try to set up the forum so he is the only one who can see his posts so he thinks his messages are getting through and everybody else is ignoring him.

  • by The Ancients (626689) on Thursday July 24, 2008 @08:54PM (#24328537) Homepage

    ...nicely [mothership.co.nz](~50KB jpg).

    I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it.

    --George Bernard Shaw

  • ban'em (Score:5, Insightful)

    by maetenloch (181291) on Thursday July 24, 2008 @08:55PM (#24328555)
    I've been on bulletin boards, mailing list since the 80's and usenet since the 90's, and I've found that the best strategy is to give them a private warning and then ban them if they keep up the bad behavior. Anything else just prolongs the inevitable, wastes your time, and drives away contributing posters.
  • Quit whining (Score:5, Insightful)

    by HairyCanary (688865) on Thursday July 24, 2008 @08:55PM (#24328561)

    That thread is really tame. You have an incredibly tiny forum with very few threads, and the first critical comments in a short 12-post thread send you running to Slashdot for help? Wow. Go over and read some forums with a lot more posts and grow a thicker skin. Seriously.

    • Re:Quit whining (Score:5, Informative)

      by Just Some Guy (3352) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Thursday July 24, 2008 @09:08PM (#24328683) Homepage Journal

      No kidding! I actually RTFA for a rare change, and the "bully" in that thread actually seemed like he wanted to help improve the product.

      The "criticism" included hateful words along the lines of "you might want to lower the warning threshold for propeller speed because plastic propellers often can't tolerate those forces". Again, bullying? No! That's called a bug report.

      If you're reading this, creyes123, you might really want to consider laying off the caffeine. Not everyone is out to get you.

      Crap. Did I just bully?

      • by Zancarius (414244)

        While reading through the thread, I came across a note from the hosting provider indicating that he'd exceeded his CPU quota. I guess that's Slashdot bullying people now!

        To be fair (and playing the obligatory devil's advocate), the accused bully may very well have been a troll. Remember, not all trolls are alike. Some can use fairly detailed information during their games. Perhaps one clue lies in the post wherein he attacks the use of phpBB--completely unrelated to the original discussion. "carlos" replies

    • Re:Quit whining (Score:5, Informative)

      by Ignis Flatus (689403) on Thursday July 24, 2008 @09:08PM (#24328701)
      yes! mod parent up. he should thank them for their input and move on. maybe even make some changes to his calculator once he calms down and goes off the defensive. if you're wasting time arguing with someone, it's your own fault.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Believe it or not, I RTFA'd for once. The "bully" seems pretty confused and uses some slightly abrasive turns of phrase, but he seems genuinely interested in helping improve the tool. He doesn't constantly "change the subject and bad mouths a different 'flaw.'"... he seems to stay right on target with his list of 8 things he perceives as problems. Also, some of those things really WERE flaws, like the RPM warning bug you described. Lastly, he hasn't posted in a week... he probably thinks YOU'RE the bully be

  • Suggestions (Score:5, Informative)

    by jd (1658) <imipak@yaCOLAhoo.com minus caffeine> on Thursday July 24, 2008 @08:56PM (#24328567) Homepage Journal
    1. Your first response was probably correct
    2. Your second response should have been to tell the person to move the discussion to e-mail
    3. If the bully persisted in the public forum(s) and not taken it to e-mail, your third response should have been to ban his IP address AND username
    4. If the bully returns, again ban his new IP and username, then e-mail the administrator account for his service to complain about malicious misconduct
    5. There's not much you can do after that, except maybe enabling moderation for all new users (until he stops trying to be a new user)
  • by tcgroat (666085) on Thursday July 24, 2008 @08:59PM (#24328601)

    It's like a usenet flame-war, or a telemarketer. If you continue to respond, it only encourages them to continue the exchange.

    Give them one polite response, maybe two if you're feeling generous. After that, ignore their posts. Deny them the satisfaction of harassing you. If their posts continue or worsen, expel them from the forum. It's your site, and you set and enforce the acceptable use policy for your forum. If you don't have an AUP posted for your site (I can't tell; you just slashdotted your own site!) then the first step is obvious.

  • Modified 3 strikes (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 24, 2008 @08:59PM (#24328603)

    The problem with a 3 strikes rule, is that it does not differentiate between 3 strikes in 2 days and 3 strikes in 50 years.

    Take a guess as to how often you can allow someone to lose it. I would guess once a year is probably a place to start. So, we might then say that assigning a "half-life" to the incident of 6 months would be fair. Any time an incident happens, we start keeping track of this exponentially decaying strike. If we had 1 strike at day 0, one at 6 months, and one at 1 year; the first strike has decayed to 1/4 and the second to 1/2. So the "score" at the time of the third strike is 1.75. Another strike at 1.5 years would see the total: 0.125+0.25+0.5+1. At this rate, it would take a long time to attain a score of 3. If this works with your group, keep it. If people are getting out of line too much, obviously the half life is too short.

  • by tekiegreg (674773) * <tekieg1-slashdot@yahoo.com> on Thursday July 24, 2008 @09:16PM (#24328767) Homepage Journal
    Don't feed the trolls, it only encourages them. Don't know who to give credit for that originally but it always holds true. Don't look at them or even acknowledge their presence, if they find out their life draining speech is worthless they move on. If anyone succeeds at doing this, let me know...
  • by CorporateSuit (1319461) on Thursday July 24, 2008 @09:16PM (#24328777)
    Never attribute to malice what can be explained by stupidity. Don't assign to stupidity what might be due to ignorance. The dude's questions don't seem unreasonable, and you keep posting encouraging comments like "this is good stuff" and "these really give me great ideas" so of course he's going to continue providing feedback. He's probably thinking he's doing you a great service and he's the best forum poster in the whole world.

    He's more coherent than 90% of the clients I've ever dealt with, and was willing to admit where he was wrong in some points. From my outlook, this man is a model poster and what you should really be encouraging in your community rather than freezing like a deer in headlights. Communities absolutely thrive on the [conceived] ability to alter the outcome of the product that has brought them together. Machiavelli wrote a book on just this type of thing.

    If you need him to temper down his comments, simply remind him that you're a small shop and appreciate his patience as much as his input. Tell him that you don't check the board as often as you check your emails, and you would appreciate it if he were to continue this thread via email with you -- like telling someone to bypass your secretary with a direct line, it can be very flattering.
  • by rueger (210566) on Thursday July 24, 2008 @09:21PM (#24328817) Homepage
    Despite some people's half-baked concepts of "Freedom of Speech" you are not obliged to let anyone post anything that you don't like.

    It's your site, not his. If he feels moved to flame your work he can go start his own site and do it there.

    Delete him, delete his posts, and if he comes back delete him again. He'll give up fast enough.
  • Geeks! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Kaz Kylheku (1484) on Thursday July 24, 2008 @09:29PM (#24328887) Homepage

    Geek and troll duke it out over some damn model airplane calculator.

    Upset geek generates Slashdot story, asking about how to handle this.

    Good grief.

  • disemvowel him. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dotmax (642602) on Thursday July 24, 2008 @09:32PM (#24328911)
    One cute trick i've seen used on abusive commenter/posters is to apply a script to their posts that deletes all the vowels. "Your calculator is clearly a deficient piece of crap designed by an idiot redhead" becomes something like "r clcltr s clrl dfcint pc f crp dsgnd b n dt rdhd". Always makes me laff. Fark does something goofy to people who try to "first post!" but i forget what it is. Maybe replace the user's text with an excerpt from Wuthering Heights...
  • Earth to sysop (Score:5, Informative)

    by billcopc (196330) <vrillco@yahoo.com> on Thursday July 24, 2008 @09:38PM (#24328973) Homepage

    It's your site, where you are god. Delete the junk and ban the fucker! How hard is it ?

    I know we're supposed to be non-confrontational and all that bullshit, but if someone barged into your home, started harassing you to the point of frustration, would you ask your shrink how to peacefully deal with it, or would you shove the bastard out the door and release the hounds ? /thread

  • by infochuck (468115) on Thursday July 24, 2008 @09:42PM (#24329003)

    While the 'complainer' wasn't the most diplomatic person in the world, it looked to me like he could possibly have been raising some valid points. The submitter certainly engaged in back-and-forth, mostly civil academic debate. I certainly saw no bullying. If the submitter's time was wasted, he encouraged it.

    To come and whine to Slashdot about 'bullying' is pretty ludicrous, or just obvious traffic-whoring.

  • by brunes69 (86786) <slashdot&keirstead,org> on Thursday July 24, 2008 @09:47PM (#24329049) Homepage

    Just let him be... keep arguing and soon you will be like this guy

    http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/myl/llog/duty_calls.png [upenn.edu]

  • Profit? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 24, 2008 @10:01PM (#24329179)

    1. Start a website
    2. Post a tool that a small number of the general populous would give 2 shits about
    3. Find an asinine excuse to post it on Slashdot
    4. Get web traffic
    5. Profit?

  • by tumblebug (1199579) on Thursday July 24, 2008 @11:06PM (#24329689)

    I dont know anything about airplane design (model or real) but I read the whole thread and it looks to me to be a discussion between two experts with differing opinions on a highly technical subject.

    Personally, I think this is a case of "Precious Programmer" - a programmer who has got their back up when their "labour of love" gets some fairly serious, detailed crititism. I am a programmer and I understand the feeling when something you've poured your soul into gets criticised by someone who DOES know what they are talking about, and they've gone through the software with a fine-tooth comb (which is a good trait for a beta-tester hint hint).

    Mind you, there's fault on both sides - the guy doing the criticism, while his views/concerns on the calculations might be valid, should understand that the intended audience for this software is the beginner/noobie model aircraft person, not the aspiring airline designer (who, I would hope, would NOT be using an online model aircraft calculator to design their planes!), so I would think some safe assumptions in the coding of this software are valid, and he should understand that (particulary if he IS a programmer like he says)

    Keep the discussion to email (since 1% of your forum's users would probably understand what the hell you are both going on about!), agree to disagree, grow a thick skin, offer to use him as a beta tester(!) and continue with what you are doing if you believe in it. It looks like a good idea on the surface...

  • by WED Fan (911325) <akahige@NOSpaM.trashmail.net> on Friday July 25, 2008 @12:25AM (#24330207) Homepage Journal

    JESUS FUCKING CHRIST, editor!!! You actually let this guy use a cheesy, "Please help me with a bully," plea to drive traffic to his site?

    What the hell?

    Note: I'm not posting anonymous, mod me the fuck down.

  • by giminy (94188) on Friday July 25, 2008 @12:30AM (#24330229) Homepage Journal

    Jeez, I just read your exchange. I can summarize it like this:

    Him: "Hey, your software is cool, here's some detailed info on what I think is broken."
    You: "Oh, wow, thanks! Okay, let me look at this...okay, I think you're right about this, but wrong about this. Did you click the metric button or something?"
    Him: "Thanks for the response. Yeah, I clicked the metric button, which is why you're seeing metric units. Well, I kinda think I'm right about the second thing. Here's why...man, these screen shots were hard to attach and format commentary for, while I'm still writing this, I'd like to add that you should consider using some other software for this forum."
    You: "Metric confuses me [ed: who knows why you made a 'Metric' button if Metric confuses you]. Please RTFM. Also, I ignore a bunch of stuff right now but I think it's unimportant."
    Him: "Awesome, thanks. By the way, I found this other weird stuff. And I do think this stuff is important, because saying its accurate could actually hurt or kill people. Just sayin'."
    You: "Okay. And wow, I didn't look at that other thing. Here's how I fixed it. Thanks! Also RTFM."
    Him: "Cool. But I think your fix is wrong because of this disastrous situation that could put a kid's eye..."
    You: "You're wrong. **EDIT** Oh, you're right! I'll make that more clear. **TO SLASHDOT** OMG TEH TROLLZz!!11!!"

    I mean, the guy wrote a total of five posts (which puzzling make up over 12% of the total posts on your "recently popular" forums), and they all used a lot of "I" messages, none were inflammatory, and they all had a lot of detail about what's wrong with your app (I mean, the guy posted screenshots of your app detailing what he thought was wrong...it's pretty clear that he spent a *long* time writing up what he wrote up).

    That he followed up in the same thread with new problems, well, maybe you could say, "let's start a new thread for that new problem." For the most part, the "new problems," were very related to your responses, though.

    I think that you need to start taking criticism and suggestions more openly, especially if you're going to operate a forum about your website. And please, please, don't think that I'm a jerk for telling you all of this. I really mean it in the best way. Internet software is cool, and I'm glad to see you writing something fun, so keep on writing the good write, and keep on foruming.

    And don't dismiss guys that criticize your software, especially if they use screenshots to do so :).

Nothing is more admirable than the fortitude with which millionaires tolerate the disadvantages of their wealth. -- Nero Wolfe

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