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Mimishu1995's avatar

(Stupid question) If we can flag spam threads, can we flag troll threads?

Asked by Mimishu1995 (14756points) April 26th, 2014

Is it possible? Or is it hard to distinguish between a troll thread and a normal thread whose OP’s behavior is somehow perceived to be trolling?

And in the flag section there is no option for trolling. Why is that?

Can we deal with a troll by flagging them?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

14 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

Flag as “something else” or “isn’t really a question.”

Explain in comment box.

See PM.

ucme's avatar

But then you’d have no role here :P

Cruiser's avatar

You can flag anything to your hearts content and it will then be up to the mods to decide if you have had too much to drink.

Seaofclouds's avatar

[Mod says] Yes, please flag anything that does not meet our guidelines. Even if you are unsure, flag it so we can review it. We read the comments that are written with the flags, so you can always choose “other” and tell us what you think. Also, please remember it is better for everyone if users do not respond to such things, be it spammers or trolls. Please flag it and move on. Adding more activity to such questions adds more attraction for others to jump in and more work for the mod team.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@Seaofclouds When I flag spam, I often answer the question with a negative comment or an answer that is likely directly opposed to the poster’s wishes and write the word [Flagged]. I figure a google bot will pick it up and will tie my incorrect answer to their key word. It’s probably like spitting into the wind.
I did not know that cauesd you more work. I figured you just hit the delete button and the question (and all the answers) went into the trash.

Would you like us to write “flagged” if it is obviously spam?

keobooks's avatar

The problem with troll questions is that they are extremely attractive to most posters. Obvious spam is easy to ignore, but trolling is meant to draw people in and start a fight. And good trollers can make things really shiny and enticing, while making a plausible argument that it wasn’t really a troll.

Is there really anything wrong with doing what Lucky Guy does if the post is riddled with fighting to point out to people that you think it’s a troll and point out that you flagged it?

Mimishu1995's avatar

@keobooks Yeah, and another problem with troll threads is that sometimes it’s quite hard to tell if the OP is really trolling. There’s a recent thread about why people are so sensitive written by a relatively new jelly. At first sight it seemed to be a thoughtful question, but the OP quickly drove the whole discussion to a different angel: he dismissed almost every answers and accused everyone for misinterpreting his intention. He did thank a couple of posters for “understanding what he meant and writing thoughtful answers”, though right now I still don’t know why. I still don’t know if he was trolling or not.

I’m not arguing, just saying.

keobooks's avatar

I didn’t think that question was a troll. I just thought the OP was (ironically) overly sensitive. I’m thinking of the obvious trolls. Here is an example of what I mean: Two posters get into a flame war on one thread and then suddenly one of them posts “Why are people so oblivious to the painfully obvious?” and its painfully obvious that the OP is referring to the poster they were just in an argument. Or if someone asks a very blatant question like “Why are religious people such morons?” Stuff like that, They seem very obvious trolls, but still, some people take the bait. I don’t think there’s much harm in pointing out that the person is a troll to those that are getting all heated up over the post.

Berserker's avatar

If Mimishu1995 was around, or active, during The Randy Ages, she would have the answer to this. :D

GloPro's avatar

Don’t worry, @Mimishu1995, I’ll take care of it ;-p

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

What separates a trolling question from a challenging question, or anything else for that matter, is if 10% is for it and 90% is against it. Basically it is not the question, unless obviously insulting, but how the viewer perceives themselves in the question in a less than flattering way. For instance, someone can ask a question along the lines of why women smell up elevators with all their perfume. Even though the OP may be using ”women” to mean ”some women”, and not ”all women”, if a woman who loves using scents and perfumes reads it she can see it as a trolling question because she feels attacked by it. If the OP would have said ”Why do those [expletive] [woman slur] have to stink up the elevator with their [expletive] perfumes?” it is quite clear how the OP feels about it; and it is clear it is an attack. Some, maybe many, have a hard time distinguishing one from the other.

Seaofclouds's avatar

@LuckyGuy Sorry for the long time between responses, I posted my earlier response right before heading to work. I’m not sure if google picks up the spam plus our users’ negative comments with it, but generally speaking, what happens is this:
OP posts a spam question.
User A comes in, posts something as you suggested.
User B comes in, sees A’s post and wants to add their comments.
User C comes in, wants to join in and so on…
The more people that post responses, the more people seem to want to join in (like moths to a flame). While most of our users don’t bother to look at the spam (especially links), it still draws in more attention to the spam comment. We remove all of the individual responses along with the spam question since the responses can also lead back to the spam.
Instead, if users simply flagged it and moved on, we would only have to remove the question. It really isn’t necessary to mention that the content has already been flagged because we don’t mind having multiple flags on a comment (and usually have multiple even when users have commented that they have flagged it already).

@keobooks Is there really anything wrong with doing what Lucky Guy does if the post is riddled with fighting to point out to people that you think it’s a troll and point out that you flagged it? Short answer, yes. The problem with this is that we do not want users calling people out for trolling in posts because it is flame bait. There have been times users have mistakenly been called out for trolling. Sure, this happens infrequently, but we want to protect all of our users from such a thing as much as we can. Instead, we request the content be flagged and users move on. Calling someone a troll on a thread does nothing to stop the incident. Instead it fans the flames and leads to more trouble. In the times when it is true, it only gives the troll more encouragement to continue what they are doing. In the times when it is not true, it disrupts the discussion (because users then comment on whether the OP is a troll or not) and causes more arguments.

You will all notice that we (the mod team) have repeatedly asked users to simply flag these types of content and move on. We do this for the good of the community. I understand it may not make sense, but it really is best if these things are simply ignored. Spammers don’t get the attention they want if we just ignore them and remove their stuff and trolls leave when they aren’t getting the reactions they want. Anything else is just playing right into their hands.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Seaofclouds Nice to see you’re back on the job modding away to keep us safe and sound. :)

Paradox25's avatar

Define ‘troll’ thread.

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