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Ask Slashdot: Would You Pay For Websites Without Trolls? 382

Posted by samzenpus
from the play-nice dept.
First time accepted submitter carbon_tet writes I read two articles this week that made me wonder: "Would anyone actually pay for a website without trolls?" The first, was about web trolls and civility on the internet, and the second about the ad-based internet. It seems that public comments unavoidably have trolls, or they degrade very quickly until someone makes a reference to Hitler. So, is it impossible to have a substantive discussion online without trolls? Would you put your money where your mouth is to have a serious online conversation without them? Are there any topics that you would talk about (or prefer to see talked about) on a website where trolls were paywalled out?
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Ask Slashdot: Would You Pay For Websites Without Trolls?

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  • What trolls (Score:5, Insightful)

    by simplypeachy (706253) on Monday August 18, 2014 @09:36AM (#47694387)

    There are trolls on the Internet? What, have people forgotten how to use /ignore? Do they actually join in conversations on Internet services that don't have effective ignore/moderation systems? Well, that's your fault, then.

    • Re:What trolls (Score:4, Interesting)

      by buchner.johannes (1139593) on Monday August 18, 2014 @09:44AM (#47694477) Homepage Journal

      The reality of the internet is different for different groups of people. Everybody lives in their own bubble depending on what websites they log into, and what software they use. That also dominates the civility or absence thereof.

      Remember back when you were 14, what you understood as the Internet was an entirely different thing. All of us have made one or a few transitions between the bubbles -- but it is extremely difficult to do so except serendipitously or through contacts.

      • Yeah, I suppose I'm picky where my bubble extends. If it's a place that doesn't cope with trolls then I leave the discussion or the service for somewhere better. There was a time I participated in the discussions on Gawker's Kotaku gaming blog, but the web site became barely functional and every change they implemented made it more difficult for me to join in. So I stopped. (I also tried their IRC channel, but gave up on that because it was mostly about game piracy, the irony.)

        • Re:What trolls (Score:4, Insightful)

          by globaljustin (574257) <justinglobal@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Monday August 18, 2014 @12:52PM (#47696321) Homepage Journal

          Kotaku & Gawker's other sites are definitely hit or miss in the comments, but some of them are great...you get a diversity of voices you don't see on /. ever

          it's about the 'noise' filter for me...i can scroll down through a Kotaku comment thread and it's pretty easy to scan for the relevant threads

          a good rule is that good comments usually follow good comments or contradict well written but bad comments....quality discussion is not *only* to be found in controversy...sometimes 4 people all agreeing is very insightful

          i try to browse /. at -1 just to see what AC's newbies are saying...i was an AC noob once...

      • by Revek (133289)

        When I was 14 my internet was a tymnet node in grenada, ms.

        • by Megane (129182)

          When I was 14, my internet was Byte magazine and television.

          (inb4 my internet was AM radio, my internet was relays clicking in Morse code, and my internet was fires on the horizon)

      • by scubamage (727538)
        This is a pretty normal sociological phenomenon. Outside of tribal culture, people usually find some group that they best fit in with based on any number of demographic/sociological attitudes. I'm pretty sure there is a doctoral thesis in here somewhere for someone who's feeling squirrely. It's pretty fascinating.
    • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

      What, have people forgotten how to use /ignore?

      Most people never knew you could block certain people in the first place, let alone forgot.

      Anyway, the trolls are more sophisticated than that, they just create new accounts ever day. Many web sites are anonymous too, e.g. Ask.fm.

  • Very subjective (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Racemaniac (1099281) on Monday August 18, 2014 @09:37AM (#47694397)

    There are ofcourse the obvious trolls, but where does someone end being a troll, and is just someone who has a completely different view?

    If someone is convinced the earth is only 5000 years old, and that [insert deity] created all other history to confuse us, is that a troll? How do you prevent just creating a forum where you "discuss" things only with people who think the same way you do, and thus without opposing viewpoints since they'll eventually get removed for "trolling"?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      If the person insists on saying this over and over again and denigrates others who disagrees while giving no evidence then yes, that person is indeed a troll.
      • Re:Very subjective (Score:4, Insightful)

        by thaylin (555395) on Monday August 18, 2014 @09:48AM (#47694519)
        So pretty much everyone.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by geekmux (1040042)

        If the person insists on saying this over and over again and denigrates others who disagrees while giving no evidence then yes, that person is indeed a troll.

        You've just described the teaching methods of the world's most popular religions, so I guess all those folks are out.

        It's a good thing there are no trolls in politics...otherwise we'd be screwed.

    • by jythie (914043)
      This is one of the common problems in moderated forums, esp when there is only one mod or a close knit group of mods. Someone being considered a troll or not ends up being deeply wrapped up with the mod's personal feelings. Thus I am skeptical that a 'no troll' pay site would actually be any better.
      • by Wootery (1087023)

        What if we trade-off not monetary price, but anonymity?

        Typical trolls neither pay to post, nor have to reveal who they are. If there were a real-names policy (an actual, checked, real-names policy, not bullshit like what Google tried to pull), one would surely see less trolling.

        • Re:Very subjective (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Sperbels (1008585) on Monday August 18, 2014 @10:12AM (#47694755)
          And less open discussion.
        • Re:Very subjective (Score:5, Insightful)

          by ultranova (717540) on Monday August 18, 2014 @10:17AM (#47694803)

          If there were a real-names policy (an actual, checked, real-names policy, not bullshit like what Google tried to pull), one would surely see less trolling.

          One would also see less insightful posts, since any kind of insight typically steps on the toes of some entrenched interest. And even on Slashdot posts expressing unpopular opinions typically end up downmodded because, after all, if it provokes you, it's a troll.

          A forum with real-names policy is basically worthless, which is precisely why the Powers that Be try to push them. Stripping people of the shield of anonymity makes dissenting opinions easier to silence through chilling effects. And of course this is marketed for our own good, after all we all know that having someone get away with posting something offensive on the Internet is the worst thing ever.

          • Re:Very subjective (Score:4, Insightful)

            by TubeSteak (669689) on Monday August 18, 2014 @10:32AM (#47694941) Journal

            A forum with real-names policy is basically worthless, which is precisely why the Powers that Be try to push them. Stripping people of the shield of anonymity makes dissenting opinions easier to silence through chilling effects.

            If you've ever seen the kind of awfulness people willingly post through their facebook logins, I don't think you can reasonably claim that no anonymity = chilled speech.

            • by jythie (914043)
              It has an effect on people's speech when they really might be in danger of being outed or some other minority concern, but yeah, simply being exposed as having an unpopular but still wildly backed opinion does not stop people and facebook is a good example.

              I have seen plenty of cases of people using 'real name' information on facebook to harass people in weak social positions and those people no longer being willing to say much publicly, so their speech was quite chilled. The trolly jerks however simply s
          • Re:Very subjective (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Vitriol+Angst (458300) on Monday August 18, 2014 @11:51AM (#47695719)

            I couldn't agree more. In an insane world, the sane blogger must appear as a troll!

            Huffingtonpost.com forced a policy change that required a Facebook login. I don't want my opinions to tag me, like my credit rating. Eventually, if I've got any opinions that don't follow the "common and popular" I can create a self-reinforcing negative reputation.

            Having what you really think follow you isn't good for being employed. And being unemployed isn't good for a credit rating. And a bad credit rating means insurance costs more. It's a really effective way to make dissidents "non persons" over time.

            Anonymity on the internet is the last refuge of Democracy. If we cannot protest and voice our complaints anonymously -- then the only people who will get good reputations and jobs will be those that agree with the status quo.

          • by Wraithlyn (133796) on Monday August 18, 2014 @12:01PM (#47695809)

            A forum with real-names policy is basically worthless

            It wouldn't be worthless, it would have pros and cons like everything else.

            Cons: Easier to identify and take action against dissenters (as you stated above).

            Pros: Easier to identify astroturfers/shills.

            It cuts both ways.

            I really worry, long-term, about the "paid/fake poster" problem. Especially as bots/AI will continue to advance, it will only get worse. How long until genuine human commentary on the internet is drowned-out/polluted by "sponsored viewpoints"?

        • Do trolls bother you so much that you're willing to give up a basic freedom to stop them? I just can't understand that frame of mind.
        • by mlts (1038732)

          This might be a way a company can run a pseudo-anonymous identity validator.

          John Doe would create an account with foo.com. Foo.com would know John Doe's real life info. When John Doe wants to create an account with bar.com, foo.com sends a hash of the user (the user account + a nonce + the hostname, all hashed.)

          Bar.com gets the hash, and John Doe creates a user with a handle. Later on, John Doe tries to create another user for a sock puppet. bar.com realizes there is already one person with that hashed

          • by petes_PoV (912422)

            Foo.com would know John Doe's real life info

            Short of turning up at foo.com's premises with a government issued photo id, or swearing an affadavit, how exactly would foo.com know anything at all about anyone called John Doe? Let alone be able to differentiate one individual with that name from all the thousands of others.

            Further, how could it know that John A. Doe was a different (or the same) individual as John B. Doe and that each actual, real, live person had only one identity filed with foo.com (and who would tell them when that person had died?

      • I was thinking the trolls would be the first to sign up and the first to complain when they were moderated, after all they are now paying for the right to post. This would likely scare off a lot of business where as a free site can moderate a user and not need to refund them any money while satisfying the heard.

        It might keep spammers away though... I imagine they would likely move on to another investment that didn't require cash up front.

      • by Krojack (575051)

        This is why I think the Reddit public scoring system is about the best you're going to get. Let anyone and everyone mod up or down a comment. If it gets too far into the negative then hide the comment by default. Out of sight, out of mind.

        • Re:Very subjective (Score:4, Insightful)

          by CohibaVancouver (864662) on Monday August 18, 2014 @10:24AM (#47694873)

          This is why I think the Reddit public scoring system is about the best you're going to get

          The problem with this system is that, on Reddit, a downvote = "I disagree."

          You get entire discussions where eveyone is downvoted to -14, for no apparent reason.

          • Hahaa. :D

            Been there, seen it. Also called the "downvote brigade". When someone posts something against the hive mind, that message gets voted down, but then also every other message by the poster in the thread is meticulously voted down to oblivion!

            Also other kinds of malicious downvoting are quite common in Reddit.

            Those things being said, I still do find the system of unlimited votes to often be quite fun.

          • Re:Very subjective (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Iamthecheese (1264298) on Monday August 18, 2014 @10:50AM (#47695125)
            There are other problems with the Reddit system. Astroturfers with some budget can pay people to make accounts and, without breaking the rules, mass-downvote dissenting opinions. It costs $20 per head per day to hire fluent English speakers to push whatever opinion you like, and it takes surprisingly few of them to influence discussion. Those with differing opinions don't bother to post because they know it will just get downvoted until it's not seen. Others then don't see contradicting arguments and assume that point of view must be right.

            Another problem is that posts containing popular memes are pushed to the top raising the noise-signal ratio to an unacceptable level. Finally, allowing everyone to moderate has the effect of pushing all conversation to the lowest common denominator, such that the stories that make it to the front page tend to have a bland populist, unchallenging bias.
          • by jythie (914043)
            well, as the saying goes, "democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others".

            Swarm moderation is the best of the worst.
    • Re:Very subjective (Score:5, Informative)

      by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Monday August 18, 2014 @09:53AM (#47694561)

      I agree. I've made a few Slashdot posts that were contrary to the majority view, but meant in good faith and with the goal of advancing the discussion, which ended being modded as Trolls. Fortunately this happens to me rarely, suggesting that only a small fraction of moderators

      My experience on BoingBoing was much worse. There, even after having a discussion with admins about why I made my comment, they still labelled me a troll and banned me on the site. I think any fair-minded person would have judged me to be not trolling - as far as I can tell that administrator's definition of troll included views that he/she didn't agree with.

      • It's also fun reporting a service's moderators for trolling or worse - feeding the trolls. What sport!

      • by ganjadude (952775)
        this is even worse on political forums, if you dont parrot the forums groupthink, be it right leaning or left leaning you are assaulted by the majority and you end up getting labeled troll, even if your responses are level headed and you are the one being attacked.
  • by olsmeister (1488789) on Monday August 18, 2014 @09:37AM (#47694401)
    Dice, is this your way of testing the waters?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 18, 2014 @09:37AM (#47694403)
    Many slashdotters do pay to be on a web site that is mostly free of trolls. The time people give to take part in the rating system is not free.
    • by nospam007 (722110) *

      "Many slashdotters do pay to be on a web site that is mostly free of trolls."

      But not free of MyCleanPC 'ads'.

      • How does that work anyway? It seems like malware but it's got to be pretty sophisticated to post in other users' names on Slashdot and it doesn't seem worth it for a human to make new accounts just to post that crap. Either the payoff is far higher than I imagine, it's actually a test for something else (astroturfing?) or mycleanpc lost a shitload of money for a tiny bit of SEO.

        In any case I dearly hope Slashdot doesn't turn to captchas to prevent that type of post.
        • The real mystery is the spam combining various pseudo-random words, usually containing the word "BSD" in somewhere, and putting them into a link which points to goat.cx. The topic of the message is usually something like "m0d d03n". That one has been around for many years.
  • NO! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I have met the troll and he is us.

  • No one wants to talk seriously online to total strangers. Where's the value add? These people aren't part of your social network and with the relative anonymity of posting online, they won't be. Back in the Fido days, we'd actually know the other posters in our net and might meet up with them on a regular basis. Where's the tie-in here? It's no wonder that it's all trolling, all the time.

    Only a special environment composed exclusively of people from a real life community of interest could possibly overc

    • No one wants to talk seriously online to total strangers.

      You're kidding, right? I rarely talk to people I know...because I know them. I learn from and share with people I don't know.
    • by ultranova (717540)

      No one wants to talk seriously online to total strangers. Where's the value add?

      You see no value in a chance to promote your viewpoint? Or hear others?

    • No one wants to talk seriously online to total strangers.

      Only a special environment composed exclusively of people from a real life community of interest could possibly overcome this.

      I very much disagree with both points, especially with such a large generalization.

      Many people want to educate others, share different opinions, show different motives for political decisions, etc... For example, the only way to educate people to how corrupt the US Government is, due to the lack of any real "news" in the US, is exactly by talking to strangers.

      An easy to examine real life example is the anti CISPA/SOPA campaigns. These campaigns would have failed miserably if they were only discussed by, an

  • by kruach aum (1934852) on Monday August 18, 2014 @09:41AM (#47694437)

    There's probably a free firefox extension that disables comment sections.

  • by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Monday August 18, 2014 @09:41AM (#47694445) Homepage Journal

    Unless you want to live in an echo chamber, trolls are just something you have to learn to deal with. Besides, there's no such thing as an "anti-dickhead premium," because no matter what, if you're having a discussion with any significant group of people, it's pretty much guaranteed one of them is going to have a different enough opinion that you're going to want to stick that "troll" label on them.

    • by Technician (215283) on Monday August 18, 2014 @10:17AM (#47694805)

      The only place truly free of trolls is a corporate internal social media website that is moderated and any despariging remark is subject to displinary action up to and including termination.

      Want to get fired? Simply ask about the workplace diversication and why nobody speaks Spanish except housekeeping. Instant termination. Only seen that discussion on the board once. All parties except those warning others that is a taboo subject are gone.

      The problem of no trolls is sensitive issues are never addressed. Does your place of employment include all races in engineering? Does your janitorial staff speak only one second languange? Don't ask why. It is troll bait. In a company monitored socail media it is a quick trip out the door.

      Please do not start a flame war on the taboo topic. Only discuss on topic troll free discussion boards. Thanks.

      Other taboo subjects include Is there a creator of the universe, is there genetic differences in race or gender in intellect, problem solving, politics, age, sexual preference, is all man created equal?

      Again do not discuss the taboo topics. Please. They erupt into flamewars.

      • by petes_PoV (912422) on Monday August 18, 2014 @12:27PM (#47696015)

        In a company monitored socail media

        I find it quite alarming that anyone would go anywhere near a company forum, excpet to sing the company song and add their vote to how GOOD everything was. One place I worked had one. It was shut down after 6 months as it was only HR who posted anything and the number of times that content was read was in the single figures.

    • Exactly - when you take away the trolls, whomever remaining is most 'troll-like' will then become the troll..the bigger question is 'can we really eliminate trolls', and 'what amount of trolling is tolerable'?
    • A troll is someone who writes with the purpose of provoking responses. To this end they may employ various techniques, including but not limited to unpopular opinion, insults, supporting a popular opinion but with flawed reasoning, exaggerating a popular opinion, etc. A skilled troll is indistinguishable from from an honest person who is wrong, rude, ignorant, or supports an unpopular position.

      Conversely, it is certainly possible to disagree while being polite and reasonable. If a site's moderation standard

  • Tough guy geeks... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by wbr1 (2538558) on Monday August 18, 2014 @09:43AM (#47694463)
    This is /. Just mentioning a paywall IS trolling here.
    We are the tough geeks and will browse into that rough patch on the interwebs to get our fix of data.
    We will risk malware and viruses to pirate the latest films.
    We will walk into a biker bar and call the biggest pagan mother fucker a gay little bitch.

    Oh wait, maybe not that last one.

    Seriously though.. what is considered a troll, or offensive is subjective. If I do not want imposed censorship, I sure as shit am not going to pay for it directly.

    • by N1AK (864906)

      If I do not want imposed censorship, I sure as shit am not going to pay for it directly.

      I don't like the state telling people what they can or can't do, that doesn't mean I let people smoke in my house ;)

      There are plenty of venues on the internet where anything goes. Having some venues that are more civilised is something I think would be beneficial. I'm not overly sure that paying is the best way to ensure that. Xbox live had (and may still have) some of the biggest twats who seemed to get away with any

    • Yeah this article is a troll.

      However, troll comments are a good thing. They offer different points of view, fight political correctness, and are even amusing at times. They are way better than the "I have no mod points, but if I did I'd mod you up" comments that add nothing to a discussion.
  • by PackMan97 (244419) on Monday August 18, 2014 @09:44AM (#47694475) Homepage

    This is a record. Godwin's law before the comments!

    http://xkcd.com/261/ [xkcd.com]

    One site I participated in had a great way to deal with trolls. Once your rating became negative enough, you were put on a global /ignore and no one saw your posts except yourself and others with equally negative reputations.

  • No real need. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LWATCDR (28044) on Monday August 18, 2014 @09:44AM (#47694485) Homepage Journal

    Slashdot could significantly reduce trolls by just making everyone login to comment.
    Keep the ability to post as an AC but make these changes.
    1. You still take the karma hit to your real name when you post a troll and get the good karma for good posts.
    2. The ability to block the person when they are posting as an AC. The person blocking would still not know who they are blocking as it would just say AC on the blocked list.
    It would not stop all the trolls but it seems like a good compromise solution for Slashdot.
    BTW I do not block Slashdot ads since I want them to get paid and they have not put up any annoying video ads lately.

    • by N1AK (864906)

      2. The ability to block the person when they are posting as an AC. The person blocking would still not know who they are blocking as it would just say AC on the blocked list.

      There is scope to abuse these ideas. Firstly it stops AC comments without login and secondly you could theorectically work out who was posting by checking with multiple accounts and/or banning and unbanning accounts.

      Slashdot's moderation system seems to work pretty well. Sure it's not perfect but it's vastly better than it would be o

      • by LWATCDR (28044)

        I agree that Slashdot's moderation system works better than most places.
        I do not see how you could work out the id.

        If I was to post as an AC and post a a troll and you block me it would only block me when I was posting as an AC.
        It would not block me when posting as myself.
        As to stopping ACs without a log in. Yes it would I do not see the issue with that. If you are posting something so sensitive that you do not want it tracked by a government level threat you should have be using a VPN/Tor/ so having a fake

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Um, this problem is already fixed, you can just browse at +1 or +2. ACs already take the hit for posting at +0 even if they make reasonable comments. You won't see an AC unless they get at least one up-mod. And enough mods read at +0 that ACs get a good chance for an upvote, if they post early enough. Seems like a fair compromise. In fact you can browse at +0 and miss most of the obvious trolls, because the mods down-vote those pretty fast.

    • You can adjust ac's to have very negative modifiers. You'll almost never see them that way.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I would pay for such a website without trolls, sure. As an educated American with a bit of disposable income I can certainly think of worse ways to spend a few dollars every month or year. The problem is that if one is going to require payment to use the service, it will exclude a LOT of the voices that I want to hear in internet discussions. Marginalized people in my state, people from other countries, people that need to remain anonymous... the beauty of the internet is the free exchange of ideas and trem

  • by jellomizer (103300) on Monday August 18, 2014 @09:48AM (#47694511)

    Why do all the sites feel the need to have a message board. Slashdot is OK, but the message board discussion is its thing. But for many of the news sites, these message boards are poorly managed and offer little to no insight to the articles. Just political rambling.
    You don't want trolls, get rid of the message boards.

  • Until you can quantitatively define what a troll is, you can't do anything about it. Web forum moderators have been struggling with this question for as long as there have been online discussions.

    • Troll is a person posting an inflammatory message with the deliberate intent of exciting readers into a controversial response. This is the exact definition.

      But the word is misused a lot, indeed. For example, just writing hateful comments, or messages with disinformation, is not trolling.

      • Re:What is a troll? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Scutter (18425) on Monday August 18, 2014 @10:09AM (#47694713) Journal

        Troll is a person posting an inflammatory message with the deliberate intent of exciting readers into a controversial response. This is the exact definition.

        But the word is misused a lot, indeed. For example, just writing hateful comments, or messages with disinformation, is not trolling.

        And that's exactly my point. How do you prove "intent" on a message board? You have to be able to have black-and-white rules that say "This guy is posting a different and unpopular opinion but that guy is trying to stir up trouble." Those rules have to apply one hundred percent of the time because people are REALLY REALLY good at hiding intent and playing innocent when they're serious about trolling. In fact, the internet generally applauds the "masterful troll" who can hook as many people as possible. For all you know, I'm trolling you right now by leading you down a conversational path to an as-yet undisclosed end-game. There's just no way to know and that's why it's so hard to put a stop to it.

      • by ultranova (717540)

        Troll is a person posting an inflammatory message with the deliberate intent of exciting readers into a controversial response. This is the exact definition.

        The problem is, that makes trolls indispensable for meaningful discussion, since they draw the implicit assumptions and attitudes out into the open for all to see. Ghandhi, Martin Luther King and Jesus were all epic trolls by this definition. And the authorities of the day wanted to ban them all, which rises some questions about where, exactly speaking


  • I would pay for a website without your fat mother.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    With the exception of sites like Ars and /. comments posted are generally of a lower mentality level than the article. Save a few minutes of your life and skip the comments. Except this one.

  • Concrete example:

    The Airliners.net forums are paid if you want to post something. Still plenty of trolls to go around.

  • I think you are asking should we pay with money via a subscription or one time payment, but its not clear. Current users of Slashdot are paying with their time and bandwidth when looking at ads.
  • It might keep a few out but there are people who get their jollies out of trolling and the outrage that they create and might be willing to pay a few bucks for their hobby. It's been going on at least since Usenet (mid 80's).

    I do enjoy small scale discussion on Facebook. I usually limit people who can post on my comments to friends of friends and that keeps the discussions more civil and usually more relevant. Perhaps the real problem is just that the number of people who can post a comment on many discu

  • by louzer (1006689)
    BTW You are literally Hitler for wanting eliminate trolls.
    • He doesn't want to eliminate the trolls, he just wants to filter them into "other sites" (concentration camps) where us good people don't have to see them.
  • by Triv (181010)

    You know, in a way, Facebook is the best thing to happen to web communities in years - the threads are incomprehensible and move so fast but the audience is so large that it's basically flypaper for wingnuts.

    Then again, comment blockers and Ghostery make this largely a non-issue for me anyway.

  • First off, no I won't pay directly for any web content. Nor will the general public at large (unless perhaps involves pron). You can remove that idea from your head right now. it won't work, because nobody will show up.

    Secondly, you can't just magically fix trolling with a dumb barrier of some kind. It really takes a human to spot the difference between someone putting forth an honest opinion, and somebody trying to create chaos. Not only that, but trolls are inventive and creative, and can swamp even a s

  • The internet is supported by public and private companies and also by tax dollars. We already pay to have a troll-free internet.
  • Let me state the current definition of a troll: someone who disagrees with you. There is NOBODY out there posting stupid comments on purpose to cause arguments and screw with people. I've certainly never seen it.
  • I most certainly do NOT want anyone else defining and banning "trolls". It's a very short trip from mods deciding who a troll is to mods censoring speech they don't like. I've seen that trip taken on many forums.

    Only a very short list of very obviously unacceptable behavior needs to be banned: illegal material, obvious spam, and frequently repeated copypasta. There are many things I would rather not read from frosty piss to Obama's duke to grits but it's well worth reading those to be sure my own speech is
  • Can there be any such thing as a social (in the sense of having a community) where no one will strongly disagree with me? I'm sure Silicon Valley can package something like this as an app with a name ending in -ly.

  • No, I just stop visiting websites where trolls dominate the conversation (CNN, I'm looking at you).
  • Paying for Troll-free websites would only encourage the growth of underground bot-based black trolling markets to "encourage" people to pay for a more troll-free experience...

  • A troll will troll and some will pay to troll. Trolling is a subjective thing, so unless you're willing to face a lawsuit, once someone pays to comment, you'd better have a friggin' tight description of what's allowed before you censor them or reject their subscription. Opinions aren't trolling.

  • by superwiz (655733)
    Many people like the trolls. It's like watching bedlam as a form of circus. What I would appreciate is mandatory country of origin attach to each post though (based on geo location).
  • by Ronin Developer (67677) on Monday August 18, 2014 @10:59AM (#47695207)

    Forums such as Disqus are prime examples where a discussion will quickly devolve into one about political affiliation, views on gay rights or simply, Obama. I always feel like I lost time on this planet which I will never get back having read some of them - And, I feel like I less intelligent since I probably burned a few brain cells out consuming their dribble.

    Here on /., it seems the common definition of a Troll seems to be someone who has a dissenting opinion to the common group think. Sometimes, do we see the discussion turn to towards political hate speech. But, more often the the tone of comments can be very denigrating and hateful. And, one can quickly find their comments downgraded to 0 or -1 by someone who simply doesn't like your point of view.

    The moderation model used by /. has worked fairly well. Still, it isn't perfect. Allowing people to hide behind the mask of Anonymous Coward presents its own dilemma in dealing with trolls. A possible solution would be to require all anonymous posts to undergo moderation by several moderators (maybe 3?) before being visible and the reasons for a moderator's decision should be listed. Moderators should see a list of posts, per article, that are being moderate downwards. Posts only viewed and acted upon by a single moderator should be made visible after 12 hours to keep a single moderator from squelching the voice of others. And, moderators, themselves, should be ranked by the fairness of their actions. Unfortunately, I don't have a good model on how to do this, just some ideas. Maybe, having other moderators approve or disapprove of the moderation action of another moderator and ranking the results might be a start? It could be done on a running averages basis - allowing people who might not have moderated wisely in the past to regain trust. In some respects, it's like the concept of Karma points but for moderators.

    Requiring all posters to have verified accounts linked to their real identity is another solution. AC positing would simply be an option when posting as a verified user. It's AC to the world, but still linked back to oneself. Yes, this would mean the end of true anonymity. But, it make people responsible for their actions even when they choose to hide their identity. Combined with a fair moderator system, it would all but eliminate Trolls even in a non-payment subscriber model.

  • Pay-to-post models never work because of moderator corruption. For instance, Something Awful has long charged $10 for an account there, and ever since they've been doing that there have been questions of impropriety - there were allegations for a while that the site's creator was using SA as his primary income source and was instructing his mods to ban people who were likely to buy another account so he could keep making money.

    There have also been plenty of cases of paid user accounts on websites getting ba

  • Trolls will even pop up in small communities of 20 or less given enough time. All it takes is someone convinced enough in their view, at odds with the majority in the community, and stubborn enough to stand their ground and ignore rational argument (common among people backed into a corner). Human nature creates trolls, ananymity only makes the problem more visible.

If a thing's worth having, it's worth cheating for. -- W.C. Fields

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