Are Trolls Valuable?

Do trolls improve your forum experience?

  • Yes, always.

    Votes: 1 4.3%
  • Often.

    Votes: 4 17.4%
  • Sometimes.

    Votes: 8 34.8%
  • Rarely.

    Votes: 5 21.7%
  • Never.

    Votes: 5 21.7%

  • Total voters
    23

Nimbus

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The Brigadier got banned fairly quickly, but Hombre was around for years.

You guys know my history with Hombre, we wouldn’t exactly hug and kiss when we met. His propensity to poke people is well known, but I think it’s due to passion with a touch of vindictiveness. To Hombre it was personal, to Brigadier it was just fun. They were both persistent; Hombre did it because he felt strongly about it, but Brigadier did it because he was borderline OCD. That’s how I remember them.

It’s interesting that I reacted quite strongly to both.
 

Puspawarna

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Interesting analyses. Hombre struck me as someone who did indeed feel strongly about things, but more than that he was exasperatingly inflexible and breathtakingly certain that not only was he correct in his views, but that he had the absolute right to enforce his viewpoint on others.

The Hombre post that really turned me off to him was actually rather trivial. We had a thread about the characteristics of different kinds of rice. Hombre and I were in agreement that red rice is nutritionally superior to white, but while I favored cooking it together with white rice, so that white rice lovers could enjoy some of the nutritional benefits while not losing the texture and flavor of white rice, he wrote something along the lines of "white rice is not permitted in my household, I see to it that my wife and child only consume red rice."

I know that his statement wass minor in the greater scheme of things. But I love to cook and eat, and so I see much of the world through a food-related lens. To me, that comment spoke volumes about what a terrible control freak he must be in real life. It's not like his family isn't going to be exposed to straight-up white rice - y'know, seeing as how they are Indonesians living in Indonesia. How about taking THEIR preferences into account?

It's possible he found a wife who genuinely only likes red rice, and they produced a child who genuinely prefers red rice to white at all times, but honestly I doubt it. With that post, he came across to me as a loathsome petty tyrant.
 

Nimbus

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Interesting analyses. Hombre struck me as someone who did indeed feel strongly about things, but more than that he was exasperatingly inflexible and breathtakingly certain that not only was he correct in his views, but that he had the absolute right to enforce his viewpoint on others.

The Hombre post that really turned me off to him was actually rather trivial. We had a thread about the characteristics of different kinds of rice. Hombre and I were in agreement that red rice is nutritionally superior to white, but while I favored cooking it together with white rice, so that white rice lovers could enjoy some of the nutritional benefits while not losing the texture and flavor of white rice, he wrote something along the lines of "white rice is not permitted in my household, I see to it that my wife and child only consume red rice."

I know that his statement wass minor in the greater scheme of things. But I love to cook and eat, and so I see much of the world through a food-related lens. To me, that comment spoke volumes about what a terrible control freak he must be in real life. It's not like his family isn't going to be exposed to straight-up white rice - y'know, seeing as how they are Indonesians living in Indonesia. How about taking THEIR preferences into account?

It's possible he found a wife who genuinely only likes red rice, and they produced a child who genuinely prefers red rice to white at all times, but honestly I doubt it. With that post, he came across to me as a loathsome petty tyrant.
That sounds right. If I remember correctly Hombre actually said that stupid people was a personal affront to him. There are people who don’t suffer fools gladly, then there’s him. I don’t actively seek the company of ignoramuses, but I don’t get offended by their mere presence.

Like him I have strong opinions, but I’m not an absolutist. I always realize that there’s a nonzero chance for me to be wrong in any given position. Also, my memory is not bulletproof.

I don’t know how he was in real life, but his online persona was often revolting due to sheer arrogance and lack of respect. I think I actually called him a bigot at one time.

Didn’t he work for a nonprofit? How can someone with such an attitude work for a social organization?
 

Puspawarna

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I don't recall the type of job Hombre had - atlantis probably remembers, he has frighteningly good recall of the details of most posters. But as a veteran of many non-profit/NGO settings, who also worked with the for-profit sector, I can safely say that there are assholes everywhere. It's possible to have decent core values (as I think Hombre not infrequently did) and still be a deeply unpleasant person.
 

waarmstrong

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I know Hombre got under the skin of many, including the moderation team of old, but I think the old forum was diminished by his absence.
 

Nimbus

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There’s a curse “may you live in interesting times.” Hombre made the old forum interesting in that sense. I was intrigued by these ‘interesting’ cowboys, so I joined as one of the Indians.
 

atlantis

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Didn’t he work for a nonprofit? How can someone with such an attitude work for a social organization?
At the time he was indeed working for a NGO which promotes democracy, good governance and helps advance democratic rights for citizens of developping countries. Though it's not required to be an arse to fulfill the function, it's apparently not an obstacle too.
 

Nimbus

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My wife worked for a nonprofit, and it seemed that a pleasant and caring demeanor was a requirement, because they relied on donation from the general public. Perhaps being nice is less important when the funding source is large organizations.
 

Lungbon

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A forum can be a nice place to blow of some steam anonymously. And that is maybe what some of us do here, including people who are usually kind and polite.

If a troll is someone 'who posts a deliberately provocative message to a newsgroup or message board with the intention of causing maximum disruption and argument', then I'd say that trolls don't improve my forum experience and they are not valuable. Rather the opposite. But these characters are different from those who are just rude or from people who are trying to stir things up and have a laugh.
 

Puspawarna

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My wife worked for a nonprofit, and it seemed that a pleasant and caring demeanor was a requirement, because they relied on donation from the general public. Perhaps being nice is less important when the funding source is large organizations.
I concur.

It's also possible to have a role at an NGO (non-governmental organization) that doesn't involve contact with the public.
 

waarmstrong

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In deed. An asshole is by definition a backside entity hidden from view.
 

Pak Asam Manis

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I would say that Hombre was much closer to the definition of a troll than Brigadier was.

Far too many times Hombre was needling posters, notably the then resident village idiot of the forum

I resemble this remark!

Seriously, I have vague memories involving Hombre. I think I joined the old forum close to the end of his career. I also believe that I made complaints about some of his replies to my posts that may have been among the "last straws" leading to his perma-ban. (If I've got it correct these many years later, the worst for me involved indirect - or direct - attacks on the character of my father-in-law, because I said that he had been in the personal guard detail of Soekarno.) I definitely recall that I called him out directly on more than one occasion.

At the same time, I also remember having had mixed feelings when he was ultimately banned. Like others have said, I believed that he was mostly or entirely sincere in his stated positions and beliefs, which to me is the actual opposite of the characteristic of a true troll. But he was definitely an arrogant, intolerant a-hole.

But yes in general, I agree that trolls can be great fun to have around, if they have some finesse to thier game.
 

atlantis

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I believed that he was mostly or entirely sincere in his stated positions and beliefs, which to me is the actual opposite of the characteristic of a true troll.
There are many definition for a troll but the most accepted one would be a user who intentionally tries to instigate conflict, hostility, or arguments in an online social community. In this Hombre was often a troll. Needling others intentionally, being borderline with harassment, in threads where no provocation has been done is definitely trolling.
If a poster keeps multiplying posts where he intentionally and repeatedly provokes other users, I don't give a toss if he is mostly or entirely sincere in his position. He just has to be removed because it rots the atmosphere of the forum.

An example of trolling:
"Far too many times Hombre was needling posters, notably the then resident village idiot of the forum"
I am very sincere in my position, believe me. I sincerely believe than he is an idiot, the type which is so well known by others that you end up keeping him around because he amuses the village more than he hurts it. But the "then resident village idiot" was not posting in this thread so my answer is definitely a provocation. I intentionally wrote that because I know that if he isn't posting anymore, he's lurking. This is a good example of what trolling is, imho.
Many of us troll/have trolled at a moment. The problem with Hombre was that he didn't know when to stop and ignored our repeated request to stop. He was mean. To make it worse, the "village idiot" was not in position to intellectually challenge Hombre. There is no point for a combat in a ring between an heavy weight and a light flyweight.
 

Bad_azz

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I just use the ignore button /mute button :D
We can't stop people from being assholes but we can stop ourselves from wasting time on them .
 

atlantis

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I just use the ignore button /mute button :D
We can't stop people from being assholes but we can stop ourselves from wasting time on them .
Hear! Hear! I know that if I would be a "normal" user it's what I'd do.
What's the point of wasting precious time with people who obviously won't change their mind?
It's worth it to debunk in one single factual post conspiracy theories, sexist positions and other bullshit but there is no point to exhaust yourself trying to educate people who don't want to be educated.
 

Bad_azz

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Hear! Hear! I know that if I would be a "normal" user it's what I'd do.
What's the point of wasting precious time with people who obviously won't change their mind?
It's worth it to debunk in one single factual post conspiracy theories, sexist positions and other bullshit but there is no point to exhaust yourself trying to educate people who don't want to be educated.
You are safe my lovely, you are not normal.
:whip: :flame:
 

Pak Asam Manis

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There are many definition for a troll but the most accepted one would be a user who intentionally tries to instigate conflict, hostility, or arguments in an online social community. In this Hombre was often a troll. Needling others intentionally, being borderline with harassment, in threads where no provocation has been done is definitely trolling.

No argument worth broaching there ( :D ) though I still think there is some space for nuance: maybe Hombre was both a) just being his misanthropically inclined natural self and b) being intentionally mean, provocative and abusive to others ... can we separate them? In any case I can easily imagine Hombre living under a bridge, attacking all persons (and billygoats) who attempt to cross, so ... (and possibly with a single eye in the middle of his forehead, or would that make him a Cyclops, exclusive of trolldom?)
 

Banana72

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I changed my vote from rarely to never. I joined this group to gain/share information about expat life/living in indonesia and finding fun/interesting stuff to read. Trolls/spam/bullies (particularly) just add unnecessary stress/annoyance for me, i already got much of that outside the forum.
 

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