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

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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  • 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: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.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 18, 2014 @09:52AM (#47694549)

    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.

  • 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 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.

  • 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 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.

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

    by ewibble ( 1655195 ) on Monday August 18, 2014 @03:41PM (#47697787)

    sigh, you do realize you're an anti-religious troll right? The worlds religions aren't the issue, extremists are, extremists don't need religion to be extremists, its just a convenient twist on the work done by someone else for their own personal gain.

    and that is the problem with banning trolls, Extremists aren't trolls they are people that disagree enough with you, that you consider their opinion extreme. People who considered women should have the right to vote where probably considered extremists a one point.

    Trolls are people who make comments, who's purpose is meant to invoke an emotional response. when he says:

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

    If he is expressing his true belief then he is not a troll, if he is just doing to to annoy religious people then he is.

    I personally like having people disagree with me, it makes for much more interesting discussions than with people who agree with me.

    Once you introduce moderation, you are likely to remove peoples opinions that you strongly disagree with as well. I would rather have a few idiots posting stupid comments, which I can choose to ignore, and keep strongly opposing views. My life won't be significantly effected if someone I don't know insults me, or my beliefs, and if it does significantly effect someone's life I think they had bigger issues to start with.

    It maybe society as a whole has a problem that we are creating so many people who have so little self esteem.

Solutions are obvious if one only has the optical power to observe them over the horizon. -- K.A. Arsdall