Discussion in 'Optometry Archives' started by The Real Bev, Aug 3, 2003.

  1. The Real Bev

    The Real Bev Guest

    This should have been posted here long ago. Pay special attention to the
    "What's the best way to deal with a troll?" section.

    What is a troll?

    The term "troll" has several meanings on usenet. You have the
    Real Life[tm] meanings as given to us by Merriam Webster:

    troll (trol) v. 1.To fish for by running a baited line behind a
    slowly moving boat n 1. A creature of Scandinavian folklore
    variously portrayed as a dwarf or giant living in caves or under

    And then there's the usenet meanings - which are actually rather
    similar to those above. In the case of the verb, the definition
    is close - with one small twist; _you_ are the thing that
    someone is trying to catch - and catch you they will if you
    aren't wary. For bait, the troll will often take the form of a
    derogatory post - one that is designed to incite as much
    reaction as possible. For each person who responds, the poster
    will consider that person "caught". The troll is considered to
    have been a complete success if it disrupts the normal traffic
    on a newsgroup. In extreme cases, trolls are posted by groups of
    people and crossposted to unrelated newsgroups in an attempt to
    destroy those groups by flooding them with flames and off-topic
    ranting. Then, there is the noun, which again is nearly dead on,
    but this type of troll has an e-mail account, a global bridge to
    hide under, and a fishing pole to match - beware, for the hills
    are full of 'em.

    How can I spot a troll?

    Most trolls take the form of blanket statements designed solely
    to generate as many irate responses as possible. Posts with
    subject lines such as: "Macs suck Worse than Amiga's!" or "Mac
    Users are pathetic losers" Are most likely trolls.

    Also, trolls love to generate mayhem by crossposting derogatory
    statements to two rival groups and watching the sparks fly as
    the groups flame each other into oblivion. That being the case,
    it is usually a good idea to think _very_ long and hard before
    responding to anything that is crossposted. If you must reply to
    a crossposted message - edit the header to only include one
    newsgroup; otherwise, take it to e-mail - or risk being branded
    a weenie for life. Trolls can also pop up in existing threads.
    These are usually the most distressing as they are unsuspected.
    Suddenly, you are confronted with someone you believe to be a
    mac user , who has taken a ridiculous position which just pisses
    you off from here to hades. Remember, if you find yourself
    thinking, "I can't believe this guy", it's a good chance that
    the post is a troll. You'll know for sure if the same person is
    consistently stupid and infuriating throughout the majority of
    his posts to the newsgroup.

    Are trolls made by real people?

    Nope. Trolls are made by nasty little people who crave far more
    attention than they deserve. Most of them are inadequate losers
    with absolutely_no_lives_what_so_ever! Remember that, a troll,
    by virtue of their lack of a life, will always have more time on
    his hands than you - it's part of the inhuman nature of the
    beast. Also, be advised that trolls will also band together.
    There is a group of people known as alt.syntax.tactical who make
    it their life's work to destroy as many groups as they can. They
    consider a group destroyed when more than three quarters of the
    threads on a group have been started by them; and the group is
    unusable for normal traffic.

    Why do trolls troll?

    Ah, good question. While there is no way of knowing why all
    trolls troll, there are some good theories. The general
    concensus is that the troll is trying to build up a flaccid ego;
    the troll sees himself as superior to anyone who responds to the
    bait. The worst thing you can do, in the eyes of the troll, is
    not respond at all - to absolutely ignore them. By not reacting,
    you have completely defeated their purpose in life. In other
    words, the troll sees his self-worth in how much of a reaction
    he can inspire - ignore him, and you confirm his worthlessness.
    It's your best weapon.

    What's the best way to deal with a troll?

    Contrary to most people's natural instincts, the best tactic is
    to do absolutely nothing. In other words, _DO_NOT_ respond to a
    troll. To do so is to play entirely into the trolls hands. I
    cannot stress this enough. If left alone, the troll will usually
    get bored and go away - leaving many happy Mac Users to ride off
    into the sunset doing various backwards and forwards victory
    dances. Read that last paragraph carefully. It is of the highest
    importance if we are to keep trolls at bay. So, remember, a
    troll's greatest joy is to piss _YOU_ off. Unless you deny him
    what he wants, he will stay around for more - gleefully feasting
    off your frustration, anger, indignation and vain attempts to
    reason with him. If you look right through him like everyone
    else in his miserable stinking life has, then he will usually
    slither back into his cave and/or find his prey elsewhere.

    I can flame with the best of 'em - shouldn't I just drive them

    Unfortuantely, no. The above assumption is based on the premise
    that trolls are actually like real people. They are not; they
    thrive off of negative input. Input in any form makes them feel
    more important and will only cause them to stay. Sure, you may
    be able to successfully spank a troll here or there if you are
    good - and we mean DAMN good. Flaming is an art that many, many,
    try, few master, and nearly all think they are good at. As a
    rule, DON'T flame 'em, it does NOT work and will only prolong
    the agony for everybody else.

    But they make me so mad I want to scream - can I?

    By all means no! If you must scream, do so at your neighbors cat
    or the PC at work. It will be much more effective than screaming
    at the troll. If you absolutely must respond due to some
    personal neurological disorder, please do so in email and not on
    the group. Admitedly screaming at the troll via e-mail isn't
    always possible because of certian troll tactics, but it is your
    only recourse. To respond to the troll on the newsgroup will
    only invite alt.mac members to flame you and beat you about the
    head, - and not necessarily in that order.

    The troll won't go away - there must be *something* I can do?

    YES! Some trolls just don't know when to give up. These can be
    referred to as "klingons" - as they keep "clinging on" to the
    notion that their continued presence his going to eventually
    make somebody snap. You have several lines of defense at your
    disposal. The first, and possibly the best, thing that you can
    do is learn how to use a killfile. A killfile is a list of
    people and places that you want your newsbrowser to ignore.
    Thus, if you add the troll to your killfile, you'll barely know
    they exist. It's like magic (amazing, eh?). The second major
    thing you can do is complain to their postmaster. The postmaster
    is the person who has the job of making sure that everything
    runs smoothly at a given news/internet provider. Since a
    postmaster is often overworked, the last thing he wants to deal
    with is some weenie on his site causing all kinds of problems.
    Thus, the only way to fix the problem is to get rid of the
    source. That's right, enough complaints to the postmaster, and
    the nasty little trolls are gone - tossed onto the streets and
    looking for another cave to be miserable in. -BUT- and this is a
    big but, if the troll is using a forged account, your complaints
    either won't mean a thing, or will get someone else (other than
    the troll) in hot water. So, be careful and don't do try it
    unless you know what you're doing.

    Okay, then how do I contact a postmaster?

    It's easy! Just send e-mail to:
    [email protected]'s_originating_orginization Let's say some guy,
    who's e-mail address is [email protected]_manhood.com, really
    pissed you off for the last time and you feel it's time to
    complain. To complain to his postmaster you would end it to:
    [email protected]_manhood.com. It's that simple! One problem
    with this, though, is many trolls use fake addresses or anon.
    remailers; so getting the trolls real address is impossible. If
    the address is fake (rather than a remailer), checking the
    header can often give you the originating site Also, a good
    letter to a postmaster should start with a brief and polite
    comment, saying that the troll in question is causing trouble on
    the newsgroup with his off-topic rantings. Most postmasters will
    not yank accounts just for offensive behaviour (thank goodness,
    since anything you say has the potential to offend -someone-);
    but they will yank accounts for persistent off-topic posting.
    Lastly, the letter should then include the -entire- text of the
    offensive post, WITH HEADERS INTACT. Do not edit.

    But, I want to rip the troll's throat out so hard it makes his
    whole family hurt for years - what else is there that I can do?

    Well, while I don't officially advocate it, you _can_ engage in
    "A Slight Case of Overbombing." That is: The Mail Bomb- a nasty
    weapon usually reserved for the nastiest of trolls and is best
    when done by many people working in concert with one another.
    Mailbombs _can_ blow up in your face, even if they are
    successful. Once a "person's" mailbox is full, all mail sent is
    often reflected back at the sender. There are also other
    nastinesses that can transpire, but they are beyond the scope of

    What's a flame?

    Well, the following is taken from the EFF's Guide to the
    Internet, v.2.21 - it seems to sum it up the best:

    "A flame is a particularly nasty, personal attack on somebody
    for something he or she has written. Periodically, an exchange
    of flames erupts into a flame war that begins to take up all the
    space in a given newsgroup (and sometimes several; flamers like
    cross-posting to let the world know how they feel). These can go
    on for weeks (sometimes they go on for years, in which case they
    become "holy wars," [-usually on such groundbreaking topics as
    the relative merits of Macintoshes vs. IBMs]. Often, just when
    they're dying down, somebody new to the flame war reads all the
    messages, gets upset and issues an urgent plea that the flame
    war be taken to e-mail so everybody else can get back to
    whatever the newsgroup's business is. All this usually does,
    though, is start a brand new flame war, in which this poor
    person comes under attack for daring to question the First
    Amendment, prompting others to jump on the attackers for
    impugning this poor soul... You get the idea." Just in case
    you're thinking this might be agood idea: DO NOT FLAME TROLLS -

    Some lame-headed Mac User is responding to this troll. What
    should I do?

    Well, in a perfect world this would not happen, but with the
    constant influx of newbies there will always be somebody who
    will give the troll the satisfaction of a reply. If this
    happens, the best course is education - i.e. kindly direct the
    infractor towards this FAQ or alert them to the error of their
    ways (then beat them). If the newbie persists, and is convinced
    that he or she is a net.rambo who is up to any challenge, beat
    them first, then ask yourself if the person is who they seem. In
    such cases, there is the slight chance that the respondant is
    not just a clueless newbie, but a fellow troller - or even the
    troll himself in disguise. A favorite tactic of organized troll
    groups is to plant a "mole" into the group - someone who looks
    and acts like a regular. Often, the mole is planted a few weeks
    to a month in advance of an attack. That way, it looks as though
    the invaders were attacking "one of us." Be wary of it, as it
    lends to the mischief as unsusspecting do-gooders are sucked
    into the fray as they come to the defense of the the "attacked."

    What is all this talk about Spam?

    Spam is a message that has been needlessly crossposted to
    several different groups or it is a message that is posted
    multiple times to the same newsgroup. Both methods are
    frequently used by trolls to overload a group and make it
    unusable. A post is generally considered spamming if it is
    posted more than two or three times, or if it is posted to more
    than about 4 or 5 groups. Generally, spamming is considered very
    rude because spams waste bandwidth in a big way, as they result
    in a bunch of off-group posts from idiots who have yet to
    discover the secrets of editing subject headers in their replys.
    This usually degrades into morons throughout the country having
    arguments about the Bee-Gees on multiple groups, while other
    morons blather back and forth about how a discussion of the
    Bee-Gees has nothing to do with alt.save_my.chickens_please and
    alt.white_power. It's a vicious circle, and one which
    sophisticated trolls love to use. The moral of this story? In
    short, DON'T respond to the spam on the newsgroup - do so in
    e-mail. And again, if you _must_ reply publicly to a crossposted
    message due to weird hairs making their way through your anatomy
    - edit the header to only include one newsgroup; otherwise, you
    run the risk being banned to alt.fan.bill_gates for eternity.

    Are there other places that I can go to get info?

    Well, this is the internet, after all. Give these a try:

    Net Abuse FAQ:
    http://www.cybernothing.org/faqs/net-abuse-faq.html and Bill's
    WWW page "Everything You'd Rather Not Have To Know About
    Net-Abuse" : http://www.tezcat.com/~haz1/netabuse/netabuse.html

    What's a killfile?

    A killfile is an "editing" device that allows you to essentially
    shut out articles and people who you don't want to hear from or
    about. That is to say, the killfile is a list of people and
    places that you want your newsbrowser to ignore. Thus, if you
    add a troll or spammer to your killfile, you have sort of
    "rubbed them out" electronically - at least as far as you're
    concerned. Think about it, the possiblities are nearly endless.
    If you're having trouble setting up, read the help files and
    documentation on your particular newsreader for more info; or
    ask if anyone using the same newsreader can help you set up a
    killfile for a specific troll.

    How can I spot a troll?

    1. Off-topic. A large number of trolls are wildly off-topic and
    have nothing to do with the newsgroup. 2. Highly inflammatory
    language. Of course a non-troll can be inflammatory, but blatant
    flamebaiting when combined with other tell-tale troll signs
    should give you a clue. Be especially alert if the post targets
    the entire group: "This is a stupid newsgroup" or "You are all
    stupid. Get a Life!" are most likely trolls. 3. Obscene
    language. A large number of trolls are sexual in nature. Think
    before you respond to a post about people's sexuality or body
    parts. 4. Claims of inside info from brand new posters whose
    names you have never seen. Wait and see, especially if the info
    seems too fantastic to be true. It probably is. 5. Fake
    accounts.Many trolls are smart enough not to use their real
    accounts .They may make up a fake account, or they usually get a
    free one from hotmail. They may make up a new identity on an ISP
    which allows for multiples, like AOL. This doesn't mean that all
    people on those accounts are trolls!!! People may have many good
    reasons for using a fake name, a free acount or a multiple AOL
    id! But if a suspicious post comes from such an account, be
    careful. Also be aware that the troll may be using somebody
    else's account. 6. Crossposting to non-mac binary groups along
    with mac-binary groups (especially to alt.flame, alt.bigfoot,
    alt.syntax-tactical, alt.religion.kibology) and re-routed
    messages. Sometimes a person has a good reason to crosspost; an
    item may be of interest to more than one group (like the
    different x-files groups, or maybe sci-fi groups.) But if the
    crossposting seems to make NO sense, it may simply be for
    trolling. Some groups are dedicated to trolls and flaming (see
    the groups noted above) and posts crosslisted may be for
    trolling purposes.

    Remember: None of these signs, in and of itself, makes a troll.,
    But if you see several put together, you should be suspicious.

    ---------------- Protocols for Safe Troll Handling:

    First, identify the troll from a safe distance. You may find
    yourself tempted to respond, but do not. In most cases, Do
    NOTHING!!! Remember the troll wants your attention and postings,
    needs it, craves it. Some may appear cute, but most are rabid,
    so you must be careful! If you do not feed it, it will not take
    up residence. Most of the time, the best response is to IGNORE
    the troll.

    Consider the needs of the newsgroup. Will your response add to
    an already tense situation? A light-hearted joke might help more
    than a flame. If the troll is tying up lots of space already,
    you might actually do harm by adding to the confusion. Remember,
    the troll is not after you personally; he/she has targeted the
    whole group.

    If you feel you must do something, consider doing it behind the
    scenes. You can look up the troll's posting profile on Deja News
    and see what other mischief it has been up to. You can e-mail
    or post an alert to Troll Trackers on the newsgroup if you are
    really concerned. You can E-mail the newservice provider of the
    offending Troll. You can e-mail the troll if you feel you must,
    but most trolls will not bother to respond in any helpful and/or
    intelligent manner. This is not generally recommended, as it
    might draw the troll's attention to you and your e-mail address.
    (The troll may be using a fake address, or even someone else's
    address, anyway.) Remember, the troll WANTS public attention.
    Resist the urge to give it!

    Above all, keep your sense of humor. Or at least, your sense of
    scientific detatchment. The troll can actually be a humourous
    little entity, with its strange world view and its dim little
    mind. You may learn to chuckle at its frantic attempts to draw
    attention. You can also view the troll as an interesting
    scientific specimen, a sort of study in Usenet psychology and
    sociology. Whether it knows it or not, the troll walked into the
    laboratory when it began its mischief. View it as an experiment,
    if nothing else.

    Responded to a troll, eh? Don't feel bad. They are seductive,
    for some reason. The best thing to do is to pull back, calm
    down, and call the thing for what it is: A TROLL! Stop replying
    IMMEDIATELY. Do not read any of the troll's responses to you. It
    is trying to draw you further into its lair. Remember: your
    ultimate weapon is your refusal to play the troll's game! Kill
    file the troll if you can. Do NOT respond to its baits.

    The troll is usually a solitary creature, but gangs of trolls do
    exist on Usenet. In fact, entire newsgroups are dedicated to
    breeding trolls. Some troll invasions are carefully plotted by
    more than one troll. You can learn more about trolls in general
    at this excellent FAQ: regarding Trolls and Flames:

    Your best weapon against Trolls is your refusal! (and don't
    forget your laughter....)

    Ok, couple of more questions?

    What is the meaning when a Troll goes HA! HA! HA!? Or HE! HE! HE!

    Answer: When a troll goes HE! HE! HE! , That is warning that he is on
    the attack. You might call it a fair warning. When a troll goes, HA!
    HA! HA!, that means he/she has got you caught.

    What is a FAKE FLAME WAR?

    When the troll is trying to create a flame war, he will fake one yy
    arguing with him self. He will change his identity and post messages
    to himself. You think it's two people going back and forth;
    it's actually just one person. Let's say "Monkey
    dung" has a flame war with "Boner-head" . Eventually
    one of them will win the flame war, making one of them a hero.
    That's what the troll wants, to show the newsgroup that he is a
    swell person.

    What can a Troll do to you?

    Some can do some basic computer hacking, and post your personnel
    information on the newsgroup. Like posting your address or telephone
    number. At worse, they can send you a virus to your E-Mail. Or do an
    E-Mail bomb. Most like to accuse the victims of being Child Molesters
    and spread the rumor all over usenet.

    Anything else?

    Yes there is: Trolls like to impersonate other posters. If a Troll is,
    let's say of a conservative bent, they like to pretend they are
    Liberals. The reason for this is to the discredited their adversaries
    by making outrageous statements. They choose names that are very
    imaginative. Like characters from a Hollywood movies. There are times
    they are so transparent. They do take time to research their
    adversary's rhetoric. One troll was trying to pass himself as an
    American Conservative. He used British slang in his posts. Then there
    are the "Gender Benders". Most of the time, they are males
    pretending to be Females. Some times it is vis-à-vis. Those Trolls are
    found on chat rooms, message-boards or chat rooms. But you do find
    them on newsgroups.

    In conclusion, some trolls have a political agenda. Some are just
    mental cases. It does not matter. A Troll is a Troll. Just ignore the
    bastards. Do not let them intimidate you. They want to scare you off
    newsgroups. That's the whole idea. Newsgroups are a great place
    to meet people and have interesting discussions.

    Happy posting!
    The Real Bev, Aug 3, 2003
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  2. The Real Bev

    Kory Postma Guest

    Thanks so much, now let's squash them trolls!
    Kory Postma, Aug 4, 2003
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  3. Trolls usually cannot be squashed. They are constructed of some kind
    of elastic material and just spring back again and again, usually
    emitting foul sounds as they go.

    Most of us are able to block the trolls, but their presence here, or
    anywhere, really, creates a great deal of strain. Why is this true?
    Because a genuine troll has as his motivating force not the dispensing
    of useful information, but the creating of disruption. Trolls spend
    alot of time figuring out how to do this. They are experts at it.
    Trolls in fact are just one more kind of terrorist.

    Anyone who enjoys calling others stupid or idiots is obviously a
    troll. There are many methods of getting one's message across.
    Insulting people does not serve to convey useful information. It
    merely shows a lack of respect for the person you are insulting.
    Anyone using trollish methods who claims that his motivation is to
    convey information is either lacking in good judgement or just a plain
    ordinary garden-variety liar.

    Francine Eisner, Aug 5, 2003
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