gao_lu — 2016-11-22T18:23:48-05:00 — #1
Not the Fishing Kind, but the forum kind of Trolls.
A few years ago I watched Trolls successfully take down a high quality Forum. The intent of the forum was for Christians to discuss Biblical topics and to glorify God. There appeared to be 5 Trolls present who continually fed poison onto the forums. The group of participants, perhaps nearly 100, little by little disbanded over about 2 years.
Key problems that contributed to the failure:
People fed the Trolls - good-hearted people wanted to help the trolls, who were obviously very troubled emotionally - counseling trolls in forums doesn't seem to work
How the Trolls were successful.
Trolls trolled each other - sort of playing tag to keep the Troll effect alive
In the case above there were only 2 actual Trolls.
Troll_1 as was eventually revealed was, with amazing skill, maintaining 4 identities. He fooled almost everyone with his identities, but eventually got found out. Much of his effort was self-trolling, feeding and playing tag with his various personas.
Troll_2 was just an occasional part time Troll who got a kick out of feeding Troll_1.
In the case above, the forum was poorly moderated and eventually the owners took the forum down as damage to real people with known identities was being done and the forum had become a substantial source of twisted and fake news for perhaps thousands of readers.
When Trolls aren't getting enough excitement they typically write civil, beneficial, even kindly posts to re-engage people, only to home in again for an attack.
Resources below may help understand Trolls, trolling and how to move through the process.
eric_seelye — 2016-11-22T22:07:31-05:00 — #2
Clearly, this is a problem on CD. Too bad.
charles_mcneil — 2016-11-23T00:28:40-05:00 — #3
- Who are the moderators?
- What are they responsibilities?
- How long have the perceived problems or deficiencies existed?
- Are the guidelines clear?
- Are the guidelines too restricted or too lacks?
- Do you think CD have too many forums? If so, how many should be?
- Do you find the subject headings relevant? If not, what?
- What do you suggest to be reasonable, changes or adjustments for CD to renew it standing and fulfill its purpose for whence it came into being?
- What is the ratio of readers and participants?
- In your opinion, do you think CD, in its core, really wants divergent views?
- What is your outlook for CD survivability?
I hope you will find these questions to be a stimulus for a renewal, if willed, for these forums in the coming new year. CD holds potential, to provide, to provoke, a platform to stimulate thought and study in proclaiming the "Everlasting Gospel." CM
dave_l — 2016-11-23T06:20:30-05:00 — #4
I do not recall running into any "trolls" as described. There is always healthy disagreement and if the motive is to share what God has provided, in of thanksgiving, even better yet. Think of the "Trolls" in the Church councils that wrung every last ounce of truth from debate. I believe this is one of the best forums on the net and wouldn't discourage anyone from letting their thoughts fly.
eric_seelye — 2016-11-23T08:50:04-05:00 — #5
The problem on CD is that the moderators are either absent or essentially inactive. I do think there are people that Faithlife/Logos has assigned as moderators, but they aren't doing anything.
I invite any of the moderators to identify themselves and correct me if I am in error.
dave_l — 2016-11-23T10:48:37-05:00 — #6
If someone finds anything too offensive, they an always pm the poster. Or begin a chain pm asking others not to reply to them. Letting things die out. But I think open dialog and challenging each other's claims keeps the forum interesting. Freedom of speech is rare today and I appreciate the freedom reflected in this forum.
bill_coley — 2016-11-23T11:34:55-05:00 — #7
I've got bad news and good news and more bad news for you, Charles.
THE BAD NEWS: Don't expect responses to your questions from Eric or Gao Lu. They think you're one of the trolls.
THE GOOD NEWS: You're not alone! They think I'm one of the trolls, too.
THE MORE BAD NEWS: There's a pretty good chance Gao Lu doesn't believe you even exist. He thinks yours is a false identity I created. Why do I say that? Consider this, from Gao Lu's OP in this thread...
And then this recent post of Gao Lu's...
and this (quite creative) one, which he began with a quotation from one of my posts that expressed considerable agreement with your analysis of the Tea Party...
And if you want background info on Gao Lu's commitment to the idea that I create false CD identities, check out at least the OP in THIS THREAD.
I appreciate the value you give to free speech and vigorous debate, Dave. Thank you.
p.s. Please tell Gao Lu that I didn't create your identity either.
charles_mcneil — 2016-11-23T12:05:06-05:00 — #8
Could it be that the moderators may be of the mindset that a Christian Forum doesn't need close or hands-on monitoring?
What do you want the moderators to do or give attention?
The moderators' hands-off stance could be a message for the CD Users to govern themselves.
What do you really want, the identity of the moderators or some fundamental changes?
PS. In these forums, when you speak to one, you have spoken to many and the moderators. CM
charles_mcneil — 2016-11-23T13:12:48-05:00 — #9
I respect your opinions on many matters, Why this? If what you say is true, can this be proven independently or directly? If what you said is so, why wouldn't Gao Lu, say it to me openly and directly? What would be the necessity for a veiled, indirect, underhanded way?
I will await for a direct affirmation or denial of such petty labelling. It would be interesting to know what justification used to do such. Let's hope there is some misunderstanding. Besides, It takes a troll to know a troll. Until then, I am ok and you're ok. Oh, Eric and Gao Lu, are too!
Bill, it sound like you, Eric and Gao Lu have "some history." The nature and depth of the issues are beyond me.
It sounds like someone is dealing with issues beyond what this forum is capable of handling without a specialized licensed to have satisfactory results. Is this some kind of Trumpsonian, "show me your birth certificate," non-sense?
Who has the problem? Is this a job for the moderators? It appears that someone has be watching too many spies or psychic movies.
One would think adult spiritual men would resolve or avoid such misunderstanding quickly. It's not unreasonable to think you guys would have a more purposeful focus, in light of who we are and where we are. It sound like grammar school-yard talk.
Have the three of you forgotten that "Christian Discourse is a civilized place for public discussion. Here you can share your thoughts, questions, and experiences about the Christian Faith and all its facets...?" CM
bill_coley — 2016-11-23T13:52:15-05:00 — #10
Okay. I'll wait, too, then. You'd best get comfortable. Could be a long wait.
You're right about the history. The issue I'm raising here, though, has simply to do with this thread and its focus on trolls.
What a curious, contemporary, and on-target analogy! Thanks.
I think the thread to which I linked, the one in which I detailed past insinuations that I have created false CD identities, speaks for itself, as do the other posts I quoted.
The point of my post was quite limited in scope and focus: You posted a series of questions to which I don't believe you will receive responses. Perhaps Eric will directly address those questions and Gao Lu will directly address whether you and/or I were in any consequential way the impetus for this current thread. If so, we'll clear up the matter quickly.
I don't think any of us has forgotten, Charles; but thanks for the reminder.
hamilton_ramos — 2016-12-14T21:21:34-05:00 — #11
I just saw this thread. I must apologize to Gao Lu.
On another thread he said something about ignoring the trolls on the interaction, I responded that trolls do not exist.
Pardon my ignorance, but I did not know about internet trolls. (would have been helpful to have the qualifier posted too).
I thought of something else, (as in aberrant creature pulling people's leg in the forums).
If anyone thinks I am an internet troll, they can say it blatantly to me, and please write the specifics of why you think such is the case, so I can refute or ponder about the perception.
I do not think that the usual participants are internet trolls, but I do wonder at times the true motives and intentions behind some thrusts posted.
I agree with Dave L, that a lot of very interesting ideas, conceptions, and theological viewpoints are bounced off a lot here in CD, which to me is very good, because that forces one to really sit and think about what we believe and the reasons for holding such beliefs.
Gao mentioned in another thread something about our identity "in Christ", I think those that are really "in Christ" cannot really be offended, because the only true opinion that counts is God's.
(one may get a little upset when false statements are attributed to someone unfairly, but God knows the true situation of each one in their heart, and each will be accountable for what they have said about a true sheep, mostly if is false).
Peace and grace.
gao_lu — 2016-12-14T23:41:37-05:00 — #12
I think you are innocent. You are a wonderful man of God and a great Brother and I treasure your friendship and presence here.
charles_mcneil — 2016-12-15T09:19:31-05:00 — #13
Ramos, I totally agree with you (believe it or not). I think it's petty and childish to begin with. Secondly, I think it's cowardly. "Why throw the brick and hide the hand", some in the south of the USA would say. Mature men and Christians are willing if not capable to confront if it's a worthy cause. Ramos, you may conclude as I have, it's not worthy of your time or energy.
Again, I agree with you whole heartedly!
Perhaps, we all do from time to time, but better understanding is brought to each over time. However, until that time, most don't stoop to this level of non-sense. There is no need to use put-downs because we don't like a person's position, emphasis, or passionate views. It's a form of control and manipulation. It's a shame some have to turn to this in these forums.
Ramos, I am sorry you had to encounter such silliness. However, as you rightly stated or another said:
So, remain at "peace" in light of God's "grace." CM
bill_coley — 2016-12-15T09:47:52-05:00 — #14
In my view, Charles, such put-downs and other forms of the personalization of forum engagements are also acts of desperation; they are in many cases the last argument left in the rhetorical quiver of those who employ them. If you can't contend with someone's arguments using facts, logic, and common sense, then call him or her a troll! The label serves as an excuse for the appliers' failure or inability to engage those who disagree with them on matters of substance.
Review the threads/posts which assert the existence of a trolling population among our ranks. I think you'll discover a stunning lack of substantive, issue-based engagement from those who make such assertions.
Are there real, actual Internet trolls? Of course. But not among us who post regularly at Christiandiscourse.com. Instead, what we have here are people who have genuine, consequential disagreements about issues of theology, Biblical interpretation, Christian values, politics, et al. To our community's loss, I believe, the troll label is tossed about in place of serious exchange on those issues.
hamilton_ramos — 2016-12-18T07:19:43-05:00 — #15
Hi Bill. Unlike some other believers, I do think that feelings run high when talking about Religion, doctrine, orthopraxis, etc. because people "care a lot about these things".
I hope you know that I respect very much your ability (God given) with respect with facts, logic, and common sense.
But I do have to defend other brothers / sisters in the faith, because one of the marks of very loved sheep by God is their being unsophisticated:
1 Corinthians 1:26 For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, 29 so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. 30 He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, whom God made our wisdom and our righteousness and sanctification and redemption. 31 Therefore, as it is written, Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.
At that time Jesus declared, I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children;
So if we take key thrusts of the Bible seriously, we (who could be considered a little more developed in facts, logic, method, etc.) should be paying close attention to those less skilled believers, because maybe through the Holy Spirit, they are trying to warn us that we are missing the mark.
I am just grateful that such believers are unlike some Apostles:
And when his disciples James and John saw it, they said, Lord, do you want us to tell fire to come down from heaven and consume them?
There is a possibility that less sophisticated according to worldly standards are truly showing the right path, out of genuine concern for our souls.
Peace and grace.
bill_coley — 2016-12-19T12:08:17-05:00 — #16
You offer noteworthy observations, Hamilton. Thanks. Here are some of my responses to your post....
I'm not at all suggesting that people who personalize their issue disagreements with others don't care about the matters at hand. In fact, their passion for those issues might serve to intensify and, for them at least, help rationalize the personalization.
I've never discerned disrespect in any of your responses to me; I hope you can make the same statement about my responses to you.
I'm VERY wary of labeling people as "unsophisticated," in large part because I have a strong inclination against the use of broad-brushed, ill-defined labels. Regardless of the definition of the term, however, it seems to me that neither the "sophisticated" nor the "unsophisticated" have the right to call others names. Both "types" of people always have access to the simple phrase, "I disagree" as a healthy alternative to name calling, even if they can't and/or don't want to elaborate on the specifics of their disagreements.
I am again VERY wary of labeling people as "less skilled believers." Who am I (or you) to decide who belongs in such nebulous categories?
In the context of my earlier post's remarks about accusations of trolling, I don't see the path by which the Holy Spirit can warn of us of missed marks through such accusations, especially in a forum populated by followers of Jesus. Perhaps you will expand on your thought?
In my view, judgments made that those who disagree with us are [INSERT JUDGMENTAL NAME OF CHOICE HERE]s (and perhaps are possibly/likely bound for Hell) in spirit and tone resemble the the judgments of the apostles to which you refer.
"Less sophisticated" for me raises the same red flags as do "unsophisticated" and "less skilled believers." See above.
I return to the request made above: In the context of the issue of accusations of trolling, how are such accusers "showing the right path" or expressing "genuine concern for our souls" through their accusations, especially when those accusations are the accusers' only substantive engagement on the issues under consideration?
Blessings to you, Hamilton.
hamilton_ramos — 2016-12-19T23:09:23-05:00 — #17
In no way I am belittling brothers / sisters (including myself), but it is a fact that some believers (like yourself) have better reasoning and logic and articulating abilities than most others.
Now that does not make you holder of absolute truth, but neither can we disregard the possibility of "less sophisticated believers by worldly standards" as not communicating important truths aligned well with Bible revelation.
We must be careful to distinguish between a believer wanting any one of us to go to hell, from just plainly asserting what is obvious in the Bible:
But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.
I hope you understand the difference.
The verse above gives us a lot to ponder about: take the concept of modern idolatry...
Is our ethnocentrism a form of it? how about the thinking of the historical grammatical method being considered the ultimate and right exegesis method?
Modern slavery related to consumerism maybe?, how about societal structural evil?
Power structures (including political ones)? etc.
I consider myself (according to worldly standards) way less sophisticated than a lot of persons, yet I see so many faults in the reasoning and action of many of them to the point of not inspiring me to take them as models for godly living.
I may admire their methods of inquiry, analysis, etc. but their philosophy of life is clearly at odds with clear Bible thrusts.
Worst of it is that according to the Bible their lifestyle is taking them straight to second death.
Some may have more polite and elegant ways of giving the warning, but some believers do not master such skills, so in an imperfect way they are trying to call to attention that some beliefs and actions do not agree with the nature and character of God.
That does not mean that God does not love the person, but as usual maybe God is trying to use the unlikely ones to point to a problem from His point of view.
Hope I clarified a bit my thoughts.
Peace and grace.
bill_coley — 2016-12-20T01:44:49-05:00 — #18
Hamilton, the specific context of my comments in this thread has been limited to the accusations of trolling made about one or more CD participants by one or more CD participants. To my knowledge, the subject of alleged Internet trolls is not "obvious in the Bible."
You raise valuable points for reflection, but again I note the specific context of my comments in this thread is not related to anything of their genre. My focus has been the subject of this thread: trolling. While God can use anyone in any station in life to help recalibrate others' beliefs and lifestyles, I don't believe God uses forum threads about trolling to do so.
As for those weightier theological and spiritual issues, you and I likely disagree as to the proper handling of them within the Body of Christ. And I'm confident we have strong disagreements about the existence of Hell. But I bet we would have each other's respect for our differences as we discussed them. I don't think that's the case when forum members toss around "troll" accusations.
Bottom line: You raise important points that I don't believe are germane to the trolling accusations that are the central issue in this thread.
hamilton_ramos — 2016-12-20T02:02:21-05:00 — #19
I understand your concern, I do not accuse anyone of trolling.
But maybe the labelling, the trolling charges, etc. is a symptom trying to signal a perceived underlying cause for the perception of something not right going on:
Belief and action not in accordance with the truths from the Bible.
I do respect your opinions, and as you point out, we disagree in many of them.
You seem to imply that your conception of hell is something different to second death.
The certainty of coming judgment and the possibility of going to a place of certain future destruction if the person is not found IAW New Covenant requirements (culminating in the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, the guarantor of eternal life), has been a foundational issue ever since Jesus Himself explained about it.
Denying that reality or changing it's basic implications, could raise doubts not only of the intentions and motives of a person, but even the authenticity of the conversion.
And that is just one example, there are other issues that may portray a poster as a "manufactured believer", and could be considered a troll in the sense of being used for ungodly purposes in the modification of the historical understanding of the basic doctrines.
Just some thoughts.
I would handle disagreement different, but I can see the "improper handling" just as a lack of means or skill, and not a fault with respect of godly intention or motivation.
Peace and grace.
charles_mcneil — 2016-12-20T02:53:05-05:00 — #20
Can one conclude that others in these forums are guilty of this manufactured nonsense? To take your statement to its logical ends, who made or appointed you the detector or the Branding Master of such foolishness? Why do you appear to insist on causing division among the brethren? You seem to know better, than you are doing on this topic. Please, help raise the standards of purpose and exchanges in these forums. Let change begins with you. CM
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