Attack of the Killer Trolls.

Bob Hubbard

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Recently, in regards to a few individuals, we've heard grumblings of dissatisfaction from a few members. There has been mention of mass exoduses, abandoning the site, etc. because of comments made by a few individuals.

I would like to address some points here.

1- When you read something that is a violation of our rules, use the Report to Moderator feature, so that we know there is a problem. If you do not, we may not see the problem. The Report to Moderator (RTM) is an icon of a white triangle with a red border with an ! in it. It is located at the top-right of each post. Please only send 1 RTM on an issue, or 3 max if its a problem that jumps threads.

2- Being an idiot, a moron, a poor speller, a poor writer, a close minded fool or a pompous windbag are not violations of our rules in of themselves. If they were, we'd have to fire at least 4 staff as well since they violate at least 3 of those.

3- "I don't like this persons posts, so I think hes a troll and you should ban him or I'm going to leave." Ok. Bye. We have a feature on this site, it's called "ignore". You can put someone on your ignore list, and then you will not have to read anything they say. Interestingly enough, in 1 such recent case, there is a very vocal individual who we have received many complaints about the content of his posts....but only 4 people have placed him on ignore...none of whom are the ones complaining that he posts crap. Use the tool folks. Thats why it's there.

4- "All the good people are leaving." No, but they are abandoning the field and giving the win to the vocal yet wrong. We would much prefer to see the good people post more, and call in more good people, who can not shout down, insult and ridicule someone like so many other sites, but drown out their misinformation with solid, professionally written information.

5- "Bob you do nothing to stop these people." If anyone honestly thinks I am here, sitting on my duff, enjoying watching nutjobs and dangerous people trash things, then I honesty want to say I think you're a fool. I try very hard to keep things as fair as possible, to give people a fair shake. We get 'invaded' by losers and trouble makers all the time. We get a bunch of honestly uninformed and misinformed beginners all the time. I am sorry that we don't jump to ban people just because someone doesn't like them, or thinks they are stupid or has a different viewpoint than the mainstream. We try to be fair, sometimes more than fair, before booting people. I spend hours each day on the phone with staff discussing things, hours in conference discussing situations, etc. I visit other forums where possible problem users have been, checking their history, and communicating with other board admins about problem members. We are doing quite a bit, but it's behind the scenes. In public, we warn, we nudge, we correct, and when we have to we suspend and ban.

Another point is, I'm sorry but there are arts I know nothing about, or so little as to be pointless. For me to jump in to the fray, would do nothing. A no-belt trying to back up senior practitioners in an art that someone is now claiming rank/knowledge/etc in just holds no water. Guy with a pistol doesn't really reinforce an armour column now does it? Call in air support, or bring in more mature experts who can support your position and drown out the other guy.


Bottom line: The board is, what it's members make it. We, the staff aren't here to babysit anyone. If you don't like what you read, then if its a rules issue, report it, if its a different opinion, debate it, if it's a person who drives you nuts, ignore him, and if its someone posting complete crap, bring in some experts and out post him. Once we are aware of the problem, we can look into fixes. But not until then.

You don't stand watching your house burn while holding a cell phone crying about non-responsive firemen. You don't stand by a payphone watching a mugging crying about no police. You don't read a message board crying about trolls and no mods while staring at the RTM/PM/Contactus Form links.
Period.


Complaints, comments all welcome.
 

Kacey

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Bob -

This is a great post, full of useful information that many people need (and some people will still ignore) - would you consider making it a sticky, and maybe putting it in the Beginner's Corner? :asian:
 

pstarr

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Well said! I just figure that in some cases, there's no point in arguing with a fool.

So I quit talking to myself. :)
 

Jonathan Randall

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Great post, Bob. Nothing is more frustrating to staff members than to hear a member say they're fed up with another poster's behavior and are leaving MT because of it - and yet the complainer NEVER ONCE used the RTM feature to report an offensive post by the member whose posts they are fed up with.

Also, remember that trolls come and go. The mature stay and help develop the forum. There is NO such thing as a trouble free Internet forum! We, however, IMO, are blessed with one of the best here.

If you have a problem with a post, report it using the RTM feature. If you have a serious issue with things occuring on Martial Talk, contact an Administrator. If you need help using a feature or finding things out about using the site, contact any of the above or a Mentor (Mentors are long term productive posters who have been recognized for their efforts by being appointed as Mentors to others on the forum).
 

Don Roley

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Jonathan Randall said:
Great post, Bob. Nothing is more frustrating to staff members than to hear a member say they're fed up with another poster's behavior and are leaving MT because of it - and yet the complainer NEVER ONCE used the RTM feature to report an offensive post by the member whose posts they are fed up with.

Lying is not something you can hit the RTM feature on. If they are rude, then you can report people. But calling someone a liar is rude, lying is not. So the people who call folks on their lies are more likely to get punished than those that make false claims.

For every fraud that ends up getting banned, it seems that a few people get suspended at the least for pointing out their falsehoods. It is kind of hard to convince folks to stay on after something like that happens.
 

Kacey

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People do lie - and they're not always caught at it, either. I'm not sure what the answer to this is - although if I caught someone in a blatant lie (or a pattern of misrepresentations) I don't know what I would do. RTM is for inappropriate behavior; I consider lying to be inappropriate. However, on a forum, it's one person's word against another's unless the people know each other, either directly or through some form of association. And then there are people who exaggerate and it turns into a lie... it's definitely an answer, and I can see it becoming a problem, but I'm not sure what the answer is.

And it can spread beyond the forum - on another board I used to post on (and quit, because there was no moderation, and the egomaniacs had taken over) one poster took another to task for addressing a senior rudely (his instructor, as I recall); the original poster's instructor then took him to task for daring to correct his student instead of coming to him (and that instructor wasn't a regular poster - he registered on that board for that purpose) and then contacted the first person's instructor to complain... it got very out of hand, and that particular board has never recovered, nor do I expect it will unless and until the moderators actually start moderating.

Are there going to be people who abuse the system? Yes, I expect there will. Does that mean the system should be turned into a police state? I don't think so. The feeling of comradery that generally exists on this board is a rare thing in internet fora, and the only way to maintain it is to work for it, and to support people who help create the positive atmosphere. What that looks like I'm not sure - nor is it static, and that's something to remember - the rules may need to change over time (as they are now) and should likely be subject to periodic review. But I definitely think that maintaining the feeling of this board is worth working for.
 
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Bob Hubbard

Bob Hubbard

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We are always looking to evolve things.

MT will go through periodic shifts as times and people change.

One thing we will always strive to be, is a place that is open and accessible to the serious students of the arts. We may get a little goofy or a little serious, but we always want to be someplace friendly. We're looking to shift a few degrees and build the professional aspects of the site for those who are seeking such resources, as well as streamlining our rules and policies significantly. :)

But, we'll keep the positive atmosphere. :)
 

Kreth

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Don Roley said:
For every fraud that ends up getting banned, it seems that a few people get suspended at the least for pointing out their falsehoods. It is kind of hard to convince folks to stay on after something like that happens.
If some wannabe Soke is posting outright BS, post a counter-argument without being disruptive. Attribute, and use reputable sources to punch holes in their claims. I don't think I've seen anyone banned or even suspended for that type of approach.
 
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