Sunday, February 12, 2006

"Controversy" or Feeding Trolls?

Just a reminder of a common net persona: the Internet Troll. The term comes from fishing, not the critters under bridges, though both can apply. In early Usenet groups there were folks who used personae to “troll for flames,” that is, wrote things just to provoke others into aggressively responding to, or “flaming” them. Over time, other forms of “trolling” have been recognized, but the common theme is the desire for the attention that provoking others brings. Since provoking a response is the point, the common way of dealing with such personae was summed up as “Please, Do Not Feed The Trolls.”

In the current Internet environment things aren't always so simple, but the patterns remain. Behind the patterns there are people, and if you look at the patterns and don't see yourself, you haven't looked hard enough.

What makes a community? What is a legitimate concern versus an attempt to provoke? These are difficult questions, and if they have answers—they aren't easy ones. But, there have to be boundaries, and there have to be limits, or it isn't a community. We all hope that the belligerent and the ambivalent can become a part of the community, but that can also be the bait on the hook of the troller. Ultimately, community can only be offered and extended so far. How far? That is up to each of us.

In such considerations we must take in as much of the picture as possible, and make an individual call. I only offer this reminder to be a part of our considerations.

Flame Warriors by Mike Reed has amusing definitions of.. well... ourselves pretty much.


Spiritual Emergency said...
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Rev. Troy said...

Thanks on all counts.

The links are working now.

Spiritual Emergency said...

You're most welcome.