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Trolling is a threat which isn’t taken seriously
Posted: 20 December 2017 05:33 AM   [ Ignore ]
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I don’t know why I do it to myself, but I spend an unnecessary amount of time on thehill.com’s comment section. The comments section there is absolutely overrun with trolls. The effect of these trolls is devastating:

They drown out rational comments which their endless spamming on nonsensical claims.
The spew constant “alternative facts” as if they are proven fact.
They resort to petty insults to derail debate.
They poloraise otherwise rational people into taking hard positions on something that would otherwise be more rational about.

What is worse, it is quite obvious that a lot of them are indeed full-time, paid trolls. Which is what concerns me is that they are winning. They are destroying rational debate and polorising people into adopting a them-vs-us attitude. TheHill is just one example, but it is rife everywhere. They hide behind their ‘right to freedom of speech’ and there are others who will even defend that. But what most people fail to acknowledge is that by drowning out rational debate, they are denying others their right to freedom of speech.

Trolling is the biggest threat to rational debate, and someone is paying money to ensure it happens. I understand that Evangelical Christians do it, and probably Russian too. The question is why is nothing getting done about this very serious threat?

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Posted: 20 December 2017 11:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Cuckoo - 20 December 2017 05:33 AM

I don’t know why I do it to myself, but I spend an unnecessary amount of time on thehill.com’s comment section. The comments section there is absolutely overrun with trolls. The effect of these trolls is devastating:

They drown out rational comments which their endless spamming on nonsensical claims.
The spew constant “alternative facts” as if they are proven fact.
They resort to petty insults to derail debate.
They poloraise otherwise rational people into taking hard positions on something that would otherwise be more rational about.

What is worse, it is quite obvious that a lot of them are indeed full-time, paid trolls. Which is what concerns me is that they are winning. They are destroying rational debate and polorising people into adopting a them-vs-us attitude. TheHill is just one example, but it is rife everywhere. They hide behind their ‘right to freedom of speech’ and there are others who will even defend that. But what most people fail to acknowledge is that by drowning out rational debate, they are denying others their right to freedom of speech.

Trolling is the biggest threat to rational debate, and someone is paying money to ensure it happens. I understand that Evangelical Christians do it, and probably Russian too. The question is why is nothing getting done about this very serious threat?

What makes you think there’s an interest in widespread debate?

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Posted: 20 December 2017 02:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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“What makes you think there’s an interest in widespread debate?”

What makes you think that’s what I said?

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Posted: 20 December 2017 06:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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A good start is avoiding disqus comments.

As far as the bigger picture, what should be done? Trolling is against the rules basically everywhere but mods can’t be there every moment of the day. That doesn’t leave many realistic options besides growing thicker skin and ignoring it.

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Posted: 21 December 2017 03:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Beltane - 20 December 2017 06:32 PM

A good start is avoiding disqus comments.

As far as the bigger picture, what should be done? Trolling is against the rules basically everywhere but mods can’t be there every moment of the day. That doesn’t leave many realistic options besides growing thicker skin and ignoring it.

Hardly realistic since Disqus is everywhere now. You can’t ignore it if it’s on every thread. I’d like to see you ignore it and grow thicker skin when they invade a forum like this one.

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Posted: 21 December 2017 07:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Cuckoo - 21 December 2017 03:33 AM
Beltane - 20 December 2017 06:32 PM

A good start is avoiding disqus comments.

As far as the bigger picture, what should be done? Trolling is against the rules basically everywhere but mods can’t be there every moment of the day. That doesn’t leave many realistic options besides growing thicker skin and ignoring it.

Hardly realistic since Disqus is everywhere now. You can’t ignore it if it’s on every thread. I’d like to see you ignore it and grow thicker skin when they invade a forum like this one.

Haven’t you met mike?

I have some suggestions

https://confrontingsciencecontrarians.blogspot.com/2017/12/dysfunctional-science-communication.html

7)  Define the Debate, A to Z

A Constructive Argument based on real facts, with the ultimate goal being a collective better understanding of the issue at hand. 

Such as a Scientific Debate where honestly representing your opponent’s position is required.  Striving to understand your opponent’s position well enough to reject or modify it on the merits of your own facts. 

If we fail, it means something.  It may hurt, but it’s a learning experience for the intellectually honest.  Mistakes have always been necessary learning opportunities for the stout.

Z Lawyerly Debate, winning is all that matters, facts are irrelevant obstacles to hurdle.  Being skilled in rhetorical trickery is a prerequisite.  Objective learning is not the object.

Amorality, misdirection and theatre are its hallmarks.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

8)  Intellectual Confrontation

The fact is, climate science awareness is being actively stifled by ruthless individuals with bottomless bank accounts and octopus news outlets to do their bidding.  They have sold a lazy public a pack of lies that have become the comfort zone of all too many today.

How can the misinformation this juggernaut force feeds the public be neutralized without direct intellectual confrontation by masses of informed, concerned, engaged students, and citizens, everywhere it pops up?

It’s not about attacking people, it’s about attacking the maliciously deceptive words, the lies and stupidity they spew.  It’s about teaching them how our physical planet operates!

A good resource for factual jump starts:
https://skepticalscience.com/argument.php?f=taxonomy

Focus.  Expose the dishonesty in their words and educate them.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

9)  Call out False Claims & Lies

When someone makes a malicious false claim, relentlessly demand evidence for said attacks - shame and expose those who refuse to produce evidence for their malicious claims.  Examine and expose the props substituted for substance.

Dissect and confront their tactics rather than being played by them!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

10)  Better than Skepticism ===> Critical Thinking Skills

The term “Skeptics” has been poisoned by theatre and the grotesque double standard of the GOP.

Critical Thinking Skills is a clear descriptive that explains the process itself.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

11)  Confront Trash Talk with Rhetorical Jujutsu

Contrarians depend on personal attacks to distract the discussion from their bankrupt “science”.  Learn to recognize the game, turn it to your favor, be prepared to point out the juvenility of the tactic, while forcing the discussion back to the real world facts your contrarian opponent won’t have.

    fyi, studies in the contrarian mindscape:

LandscapesAndCycles, Jim Steele’s malicious deception.
http://whatsupwiththatwatts.blogspot.com/p/landscapesandcycles.html  ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 
A contrarian shouts: “Science, science, science.”
http://www.centerforinquiry.net/forums/viewthread/19555/#235817  ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 
google “Jujutsu”  ~  Food for Thought, turn the conversation into an exploration of the tactics of avoidance, evasion and lying.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Where appropriate, why not point out Calumny in action? 
Be ready to define it:  https://dictionary.thelaw.com/calumny/
https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/calumny

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
12)  Faith-based Thinking - consider the source

Possessing the hubris to fancy that we petty, jealous, fearful, prideful humans can access and understand the real God of Light and Time, Life and Love, leads to a profound disconnect from our planet’s physical reality, and an immoral absolutism. 

It’s one thing to believe in an unknowable god, quite another to mistake one’s own hyper-inflated EGO for God. Unhinged from reality is not too harsh a descriptive.

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Posted: 21 December 2017 07:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Since Beltane is here and since he seems to be a big uncritical fan of trump I thought I’d dig out an interesting old assessment by that political commentator John Oliver.  smile

Trump Is Playing the Long Game in Undermining American Democracy
John Oliver explains the three steps of the president’s strategy.

BY JACK HOLMES -  NOV 13, 2017
http://www.esquire.com/news-politics/a13527382/john-oliver-trump-war-on-truth/

Oliver touched briefly on the transcripts of Trump’s speeches, which lay bare the sheer know-nothingism at the root of his presidency—and how much he gets by on loud bluster. But then Oliver moved on to identify the three strategies. All of them are tied up in Trump’s larger assault on the concept of truth, which he has jettisoned in favor of the idea anything is true so long as he can get enough people to believe it. They are:

1)  delegitimizing the media, which often takes the form of yelling “fake news” like a Very Normal Adult

2)  whataboutism, which Oliver identifies as an old Soviet propaganda tool that “implies that all actions, regardless of context, share a moral equivalency”

3)  trolling, which, in pissing off liberals, has become both the strategy and goal of conservative politics in the Trump era

“Twitter trolls are actually hurting democracy”

By Yannis Theocharis, Pablo Barberá, Zoltán Fazekas and Sebastian Popa November 4, 2016
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2016/11/04/twitter-trolls-hurt-democracy-more-than-you-realize-heres-how

In May, the New Yorker called 2016 “The Year of the Political Troll.” Hate speech, intimidation, mockery, and racism are increasing globally online. In fact, there’s so much incivility, animosity, and disrespect on social media that some 65 percent of American social media users express resignation and frustration about online political conversations.

That’s not just affecting individual social media users. It’s hurting democracy. Here’s why.

Trolling discourages social media’s democratic potential ...

Here’s how we tested this and what we found. ...

What do our findings mean?

1. Politicians aren’t ignoring citizens on social media. They’re avoiding them. ...
2. Citizens and social media platforms bear some responsibility for discouraging politicians’ civic engagement online ...
3. Trolling is toxic for democracy

Finally, the toxic effect of this behavior for democracy must not be underestimated. Yes, trolling encourages candidates to use social media only for marketing and not for interaction.

But trolling is still more corrosive for online political discussions more generally. Incivility, online harassment and abuse increase others’ anger, anxiety and aversion. Trolling may also downgrade the overall quality of online discussions, demobilize citizens who are trolled and reduce satisfaction with the platform’s potential for discourse. ...

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Posted: 21 December 2017 09:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Cuckoo - 20 December 2017 02:57 PM

“What makes you think there’s an interest in widespread debate?”

What makes you think that’s what I said?

Seriously? Did you read the title of your own post? Trolling is a threat which isn’t taken seriously. And later you say trolling is ruining rational debate. So you’re posting something that isn’t about the notion that debate is important and needed?

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Posted: 21 December 2017 01:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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That’s confusing C.

What does trolling have to do with ‘debate’ ?

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Posted: 22 December 2017 05:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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CuthbertJ - 21 December 2017 09:53 AM
Cuckoo - 20 December 2017 02:57 PM

“What makes you think there’s an interest in widespread debate?”

What makes you think that’s what I said?

Seriously? Did you read the title of your own post? Trolling is a threat which isn’t taken seriously. And later you say trolling is ruining rational debate. So you’re posting something that isn’t about the notion that debate is important and needed?

You don’t seem to be even aware of what you said. “What makes you think there’s an interest in widespread debate?” You seem to think I’m suggesting that everyone should be interested in debate, and be debating. I never said that or implied it, I’m pondering how you reached such a poor conclusion

However, there are plenty of people who ARE interested in debating topics, and all of them would like to be able to it without their topics being derailed by idiotic nonsense. I really didn’t think that needed explaining, but apparently it does in your case. Debate IS important, if you don’t think it is, then what the hell are you doing here if you think your opinion isn’t important? You should probably tell Mr Dawkins he’s wasting his time as well, on all those endless discussions he participates in. He would probably agree if the panels he took part in allowed idiots to run around, making noise, saying stupid things, shouting over him,  and doing everything they can to ruin the discussion.

[ Edited: 22 December 2017 05:56 AM by Cuckoo ]
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Posted: 22 December 2017 03:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Cuckoo - 21 December 2017 03:33 AM
Beltane - 20 December 2017 06:32 PM

A good start is avoiding disqus comments.

As far as the bigger picture, what should be done? Trolling is against the rules basically everywhere but mods can’t be there every moment of the day. That doesn’t leave many realistic options besides growing thicker skin and ignoring it.

Hardly realistic since Disqus is everywhere now. You can’t ignore it if it’s on every thread. I’d like to see you ignore it and grow thicker skin when they invade a forum like this one.

Yes, Disqus is common but its a stretch to say its everywhere.

Out of curiosity I checked out the comments on several pieces at thehill.com and saw a lot of arguing but only a little bit of trolling. Do you include any sort of questionable comment under the qualifications for trolling? (No offence).

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Posted: 22 December 2017 03:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Citizenschallenge-v.3 - 21 December 2017 07:53 AM

Since Beltane is here and since he seems to be a big uncritical fan of trump I thought I’d dig out an interesting old assessment by that political commentator John Oliver.  smile

Trump Is Playing the Long Game in Undermining American Democracy
John Oliver explains the three steps of the president’s strategy.

BY JACK HOLMES -  NOV 13, 2017
http://www.esquire.com/news-politics/a13527382/john-oliver-trump-war-on-truth/

Oliver touched briefly on the transcripts of Trump’s speeches, which lay bare the sheer know-nothingism at the root of his presidency—and how much he gets by on loud bluster. But then Oliver moved on to identify the three strategies. All of them are tied up in Trump’s larger assault on the concept of truth, which he has jettisoned in favor of the idea anything is true so long as he can get enough people to believe it. They are:

1)  delegitimizing the media, which often takes the form of yelling “fake news” like a Very Normal Adult

2)  whataboutism, which Oliver identifies as an old Soviet propaganda tool that “implies that all actions, regardless of context, share a moral equivalency”

3)  trolling, which, in pissing off liberals, has become both the strategy and goal of conservative politics in the Trump era

“Twitter trolls are actually hurting democracy”

By Yannis Theocharis, Pablo Barberá, Zoltán Fazekas and Sebastian Popa November 4, 2016
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2016/11/04/twitter-trolls-hurt-democracy-more-than-you-realize-heres-how

In May, the New Yorker called 2016 “The Year of the Political Troll.” Hate speech, intimidation, mockery, and racism are increasing globally online. In fact, there’s so much incivility, animosity, and disrespect on social media that some 65 percent of American social media users express resignation and frustration about online political conversations.

That’s not just affecting individual social media users. It’s hurting democracy. Here’s why.

Trolling discourages social media’s democratic potential ...

Here’s how we tested this and what we found. ...

What do our findings mean?

1. Politicians aren’t ignoring citizens on social media. They’re avoiding them. ...
2. Citizens and social media platforms bear some responsibility for discouraging politicians’ civic engagement online ...
3. Trolling is toxic for democracy

Finally, the toxic effect of this behavior for democracy must not be underestimated. Yes, trolling encourages candidates to use social media only for marketing and not for interaction.

But trolling is still more corrosive for online political discussions more generally. Incivility, online harassment and abuse increase others’ anger, anxiety and aversion. Trolling may also downgrade the overall quality of online discussions, demobilize citizens who are trolled and reduce satisfaction with the platform’s potential for discourse. ...

Trivial stuff.

It all amounts to crying about hurt feelings.

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Posted: 22 December 2017 04:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Beltane - 22 December 2017 03:51 PM

Trivial stuff.

It all amounts to crying about hurt feelings.

Nah, basing your understanding of reality of fabricated fiction, is something beyond hurt feelings
and bordering on insanity.

That’s not trivial at all.

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Posted: 22 December 2017 04:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Not to mention self-destructive for a civil society.

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Posted: 22 December 2017 04:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Citizenschallenge-v.3 - 22 December 2017 04:02 PM
Beltane - 22 December 2017 03:51 PM

Trivial stuff.

It all amounts to crying about hurt feelings.

Nah, basing your understanding of reality of fabricated fiction, is something beyond hurt feelings
and bordering on insanity.

That’s not trivial at all.

Whatever. Hit the bong again and relax.

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Posted: 23 December 2017 08:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Beltane - 22 December 2017 04:13 PM
Citizenschallenge-v.3 - 22 December 2017 04:02 PM
Beltane - 22 December 2017 03:51 PM

Trivial stuff.

It all amounts to crying about hurt feelings.

Nah, basing your understanding of reality of fabricated fiction, is something beyond hurt feelings
and bordering on insanity.

That’s not trivial at all.

Whatever. Hit the bong again and relax.

Oh yeah, you’re the one trust everything Trump says - fake news = whatever you want it to be.
What the heck are you sucking on?

What about the facts you ask?

He responds, who gives a shit about honestly representing the facts? Now gimme another shot he says,
keep it as fuzzy and warm as possible and lets not worry about what’s happening outside.

[ Edited: 23 December 2017 08:11 AM by Citizenschallenge-v.3 ]
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