General Question

SuperMouse's avatar

Why does every board attract at least one troll?

Asked by SuperMouse (30829points) September 6th, 2008

Every single chat room or bulletin board I have been on has one. You know who I’m talking about, the person who asks questions designed to illicit angry responses, or who flames anyone who disagrees? Any theories?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

94 Answers

shilolo's avatar

There is a whole subculture of people who like to troll, just to be different and to disrupt the status quo. There was a fascinating article in the New York Times magazine about this very thing.

wilhel1812's avatar

Does we have one?

allengreen's avatar

In a conformist culture, anyone that disagree’s with the group is a “troll”. By labeling those we disagree with, it releases us from cognitive due diligence. It is the way of the lazy man, to label—Repub, or Dem, is a great example. If you label me Dem, then you no longer have to evaluate anything I say.
I take is that labeling someone a troll excuses our collective mental laziness.

My definition of a troll, is a coward that deletes comments and creates a one sided conversation from a two sided conversation thread.

shilolo's avatar

@Allen. Your comments would be funny, if they weren’t so pathetic. I wish I had the capacity to delete messages, but, even if I had that ability, I wouldn’t do it. Let the collective decide who is right, and who is wrong.

I stand 100% behind my comments and would willingly debate you on any subject. It is you who is close-minded and incapable of discussion without lowering yourself to ad hominem attacks (see above). In fact, it is the personal attacks that constitute flaming, and of course, trolling.

PupnTaco's avatar

No, AG, a troll only exists to stir up shit, not to contribute to or learn from a community. And as far as I know, we’re not talking about you. :)

shilolo's avatar

Um, PupnTaco, I think some of us are…

loser's avatar

There’s always at least one… It is just the way of things.

PupnTaco's avatar

Oh. AG’s probably more of an antagonist. Zack’s a troll.

dingus108's avatar

who’s zack? Anyways, I had a similar experience in person with an old friend of mine. He always brought things up that I did not really feel like debating. The discussions were usually negative, and I would continue to a point where I just said, “you know what? I don’t feel like arguing with you, this is getting rediculous.” same thing with trolls on message boards. Just try to ignore it and they can’t stir anything up and piss people off.

shilolo's avatar

Dave, I don’t see the difference. Here is one definition of troll. Antagonizing people is clearly within the troll’s domain. Some have even offered to include internet troll personality disorder in the DSM5.

allengreen's avatar

i’ll accept the antagonist label
shilio, let’s debate on any subject you wish: you can choose to argue for or against, no personal attackes. Name the topic—I will enjoy taking you to the woodshed!
OH Boy, here comes the moderator to delete my comments!

SuperMouse's avatar

@AG, I would like to go on record as saying that it was not you or your responses that prompted this question. I agree with PnT, Zack is a troll, Pathfinder is a troll, you are one who likes to stir things up. I have actually been known to agree with you and sometimes even “Great Answer” you! You are usually about as subtle as a ton of bricks, but that’s your style, you understand that, you are called to account for it and you are usually willing to engage in discourse about your opinions. Go Shilolo thanks for taking the lead there!

@Shilolo, what an interesting article and a bit frightening as well.

I started this question because of this article I was following in my hometown newspaper. I read the comments, one of which included the home address of the driver’s parents. The same person who posted that continued throughout the discussion to berate everyone who disagreed with him, and in the process exploited a horrible tragedy and used it for his own amusement. I was disgusted.

JackAdams's avatar

It is always wrong to attach labels to your fellow human beings, even if the label is deserved.

To some, a “troll” is an intelligent, sensitive and caring individual, who notes the time and date of all of his or her posts.

Or, someone who doesn’t do what you DEMAND that s/he does, even when s/he has made no demands on YOU.

September 6, 2008, 5:56 PM EDT

SuperMouse's avatar

@JA, you are no troll in my book, just a bit pedantic about noting the day and time of your posts! :o) ...and you can write one heck of limerick!

JackAdams's avatar

Thank you for the kind words, SuperMouse.

Now, those who hate me, will begin to also hate YOU.

September 6, 2008, 6:00 PM EDT

loser's avatar

Oh, I doubt that!

SuperMouse's avatar

Please don’t give anyone ideas Jack! No one hates the SuperMouse – at least not without knowing me first.

JackAdams's avatar

They WILL, because you PUBLICLY said nice things to/about me.

Trolls are like that. “The friend of my enemy is my enemy.”

The attacks will now begin…

…and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord, forever.

September 6, 2008, 6:04 PM EDT

jlm11f's avatar

Please let’s not get dramatic. No one is going to hate SuperMouse for this and Jack, some people on Fluther might not like you, but that’s life. I am sure that’s the same for all users. I know of a few who can’t stand me :) Also if someone doesn’t like your opinion/way of time stamping stuff/etc, that does not mean they are going to hunt you down and want to kill you. Saying stuff like that is an insult to the community and it’s intelligence.

To answer the actual Q. Every family has dark sheep, every school has bad eggs. Heck, tons of criminals are present IRL. Why should the web be any different? Human nature is the same on every medium.

JackAdams's avatar

PnL: That is CRAP!

EVERYONE loves you.

You have ZERO enemies.

Mostly, because you don’t time/date stamp your posts.

I have never seen ONE UNKIND WORD said about you.

If they DO, I will have a Wiccan friend turn them into FROGS!

September 6, 2008, 6:13 PM EDT

loser's avatar

Did we take our pills today…?

jlm11f's avatar

thank you, i will keep that in mind for next time someone spews hateful words towards me.

JackAdams's avatar

I took my pills.

To the zoo.

Tomorrow, I am taking my pills to the museum.

September 6, 2008, 6:18 PM EDT

eambos's avatar

No one likes you, PnL!!!! =P

marinelife's avatar

I think there are trolls in every walk of life. The anonymity of the Internet attracts them, because there are little or no consequences.

At the heart of every troll is a sad, lonely person incapable of relating normally or positively to others.

To quote Mr. T: “Pity the fool.”

Response moderated
Response moderated
marinelife's avatar

@allengreen I said nothing to you. Why the unprovoked name calling and attack?

JackAdams's avatar

He was speaking of someone else, Marina.

September 6, 2008, 7:03 PM EDT

allengreen's avatar

get Andrew to delete it

JackAdams's avatar

You can ask him.

September 6, 2008, 7:05 PM EDT

allengreen's avatar

he goes down the threads and deletes my posts willy nilly

loser's avatar

Could Global Warming be affecting us today?

MissAnthrope's avatar

Yeah, not so willy nilly. I think if I had a lot of posts removed, I would stop and think about my approach or try to find a different community, if I didn’t see what they found so wrong.

As for trolls.. it ties in with the concept of griefers. Trolls = griefers. Basically, there’s a subset of people who get their jollies by being obnoxious, using a service in a way it wasn’t intended for one’s amusement, etc. Why? I think it’s like those kids that do negative things to gain attention. I guess they don’t know how to play well with others, so they do irritating things to provoke a reaction. Ergo, any attention strokes their ego.

allengreen's avatar

@AlenaD “I would stop and think about my approach or try to find a different community,”—- i.e., I would run and hide and conform and supress my individuality, is what you were trying to say? And my questioning you, makes me a troll, right?
If our founding fathers had such an attitude, we would still be part of England. Change happens from the inside out and from the bottom up

JackAdams's avatar

Now that THAT has been taken care of, let’s get back to the topic at hand…

What was it?

MissAnthrope's avatar

@AG – No, actually, I am a very different person than you. I’m very self-reflective, perceptive, intuitive, and am constantly evaluating myself in regards to my behavior and how people react to me. As a consequence, I’m a very conscientious person, but I am also very secure in who I am. If I had a lot of posts removed for what I perceived to be no real reason, I would eventually get frustrated and move on. But nice try, tying your aggressive, misogynistic bad behavior to our forefathers!

sarapnsc's avatar

I don’t think a troll is someone who starts a question to bait others…it’s a person’s choice to respond to that question freely. No one forces them to.

I feel a troll is someone who comes in on a question and turns it around to start belittling, and using personal attacks on others, because they have a difference of opinion, doesn’t type the way they want, petty little things like that, they think the question asked is stupid, etc. They don’t respond to the question that was posted, they attack the question posted and attack the person(s) who responded to the question. A troll to me is someone just down right mean and feels the need for some reason or another, to argue about anything, besides the subject at hand.

Having a difference of opinion than another on a subject doesn’t make one a troll. It’s when personal attacks come in, whether big or small, is trolling. Then you have the buddies come in on it, to back up the person, they are trolls too.

If grown adults can act like this on a discussion board, I now know why many of our children are bullies. Look how the parents act here. That’s my opinionl

The article was very interesting, it’s a shame a child took their life because of an ipod. Quite saddens me. But, there has to be something more to it, than just losing an ipod. Was it a fear of having to tell the parents, in fear of severe punishment??????? What? I guess we’ll never know.

JackAdams's avatar

If you are bothered by one, I am sure (as STRATMAN37 would say) that there is probably a TROLL-FREE telephone number you could dial…

shilolo's avatar

Wow, Allen, I am duly impressed by the comparison of your self-described “antagonistic” behavior, and the behavior of the founders of the Unites States. “If our founding fathers had such an attitude, we would still be part of England. Change happens from the inside out and from the bottom up.”

I agree with you that it is an apt comparison. So, why don’t you take the next step and declare your independence from dear old England Fluther? You can even start an independent site where you can establish your own hegemony, just like the USA. Good luck and best wishes.

shadling21's avatar

I have to admit, there is a certain satisfaction in reading and replying to troll’s posts. Which is probably why I’m enjoying reading this thread…

JackAdams's avatar

Removed by Fluther moderators.

breedmitch's avatar

How many answers have to be removed before a person is asked not to participate?

richardhenry's avatar

JackAdams actually chose to reply with “Removed by Fluther moderators.” in that previous post, you’ll notice that the ‘great answer’ option resides. That response wasn’t touched by a moderator. Why he would do that, “beats me”.

Moving on, I fail to understand why anyone would wish to deliberately form an answer that they believe would be “removed by Andrew” or that they believe is laden with fuel – what on earth is the point?

You can say anything, literally anything, in a constructive and (relatively) unoffensive manner. If your answer sends sparks flying everywhere, it’s because that is what you intended. It is not because ‘nobody gets you’.

Another observation is that people tend to have an over active sense of self importance. Fluther is not a democracy; the admins make the rules. If half of your posts are being removed, then you did not have the right to post them. If you don’t like our etiquette policies, then go and found your own community.

richardhenry's avatar

When I say “sense of importance”, I am referring to the belief that everything you say, even silly one liners, needs to be preserved, and that you had the absolute right to say it no matter what.

richardhenry's avatar

It is important to note that I am representing myself and my opinions here. I am not in ‘moderator mode’. Flag anything you feel is too much of an attack and there are other mods who can evaluate my behaviour. I think that I’m being fair with the way I brought these issues up, but it’s important to mention.

JackAdams's avatar

I’m prohibited from responding to your comments, because any personal opinion I post here regarding your “skills” (or possible lack of same) as a moderator, would be viewed by another moderator (or you, in that capacity) as some sort of “personal attack” against you, and would be summarily deleted.

It has always been my belief that adults do not NEED to have “babysitters” (“moderators”) on websites that originate in countries where FREE SPEECH is “the law of the land,” and that those who willingly censor the remarks of others (inhibiting the free expression of human thought) are, IMHO, Communists, and should be identified (and treated) as such.

Yes, there are indeed “exceptions” to what a person should be allowed to publicly post on this, or any other website that purports to encourage/allow intelligent discourse.

For example, flagrantly racist remarks should be deleted, and so should deliberate and seriously-worded threats against another participant, or members of his/her family.

And, I would APPLAUD YOU, if someone posted detailed and factual instructions regarding the construction and assembly of a HYDROGEN BOMB, along with suggestions about how/where to “plant” one, for so-called “maximum effectiveness”, and you immediately deleted those remarks (and hopefully, reported the posting of them to the FBI).

But, I have never posted patently racist or hate-filled statements of a similar nature, nor have I ever seriously threatened to physically harm anyone, ever, because someone, using sophisticated CIS skills, could, with a little bit of work, discover my true identity and location, and cause my arrest, prosecution and eventual incarceration, and that “someone” would be RIGHT to do so.

When I was in law school, one of my professors said the following, and he was correct: “If we don’t ALLOW ‘jerks’ to be ‘jerks,’ then we lose the ability to identify them as such.”

So, the one-liners, jokes and so-called “cute asides” made by anyone (myself included) should be allowed to remain posted, for the entire world to see, so each individual person can make his/her own decision, about the nature of the comment that was posted.

I abhor censorship, and those who practice it, because it is, in here, a one-sided sword.

What I mean by that, is that the moderator has the power to delete any/all remarks of any participant that s/he deems to be “inappropriate,” but if the moderator posts a remark that is personally objectionable to a particular participant (for whatever criteria that participant chooses to apply) there is no way in Heck (pardon my language) for the participant to arbitrarily remove the remark(s) of the moderator, nor are there any protocols in place, for a moderator to be removed from his/her position, simply because if a moderator is in fact removed from his/her job, it would amount to a public admission on the part of either Andrew or Ben, that the initial appointment of that person to the position of moderator was, in fact, an “error,” and I seriously doubt that either gentleman would wish to publicly acknowledge that they had made so serious a mistake, in the first place.

The fact is, moderators can also be “trolls,” if they abuse or misuse the powers and authority entrusted in them, and without mentioning any names at all, I have certainly seen examples of such on this website, and on others like it.

SuperMouse's avatar

I believe sites such as these need moderators, there is no getting around that fact. I run a board with a friend, there is no way that board would still be standing if we did not take it upon ourselves to monitor what is being discussed, and on the rare occasion when it is required, remove posts. We have been forced to ban three members over the years, we were justified each and every time and reserve the right to do it again. As a side note, if you read the link I posted upthread, you’ll see a couple of posts removed, one of which had the address of the driver’s parents, that needed to be removed – no questions asked.

I also think it is essential that moderators keep track of threads to keep them from being “hijacked.” If that sort of thing isn’t monitored a board ends up with a hodge podge of responses that may have little to do with the original topic and leave readers scratching their heads in wonder.

@JA I agree that moderators can be troll-like at times, but I have never seen anyone on this board behave in such a manner. For the most part they seem to wait to act until things have gone seriously awry, that is a good thing.

JackAdams's avatar

@SuperMouse: There is indeed much wisdom in your remarks, and I salute you for making them.

I ran a forum for four years all by myself (a YahHell group), but I was not the owner/founder of the group; just the only moderator. The group had less than 1,000 members, and most were lurkers.

The ONLY posts I ever deleted, were ones containing racist slurs, and there were plenty of them to erase, believe me.

But, no one in that group ever made threats against other members, and if they wanted to digress or speak off-topic (by saying, for example, “That reminds me of the time…”), they were allowed to do so, without ridicule, and with impunity, because the owner/founder of the group gave me a written mandate, to “preserve, protect and defend free speech, against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”

Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me. You (and they) are appreciated.

I must confess that I am amazed that, thus far, my comments above yours have not been Removed by Fluther moderators.

shadling21's avatar

Maybe the mods are asleep…

SuperMouse's avatar

@JA and AG, while I stand by my statement that neither of you is a troll, it does seem that in this thread in particular, you both are trying to bait the moderators. I must admit to wondering what your point is exactly.

JackAdams's avatar

“Baiting” is in the mind of the person who is so paranoid, that s/he THINKS s/he is being “baited.”

What is “reasoned opinion” to one, just might be “baiting” to someone (not you) who lacks the emotional maturity to distinguish between the two.

Allow me to paraphrase the Libertarian Party line, and say that, “The Moderator who moderates LEAST, moderates BEST.”

shilolo's avatar

JA. I think you misunderstand the nature of this site. It is not meant to be a free for all chatroom, but rather, a question and answer site where threads are meant to stay on topic. So, all the inane quips and side conversations by definition violate the terms of the site, and therefore the moderators have every reason to remove them. Likewise, personal attacks (which, sadly, are becoming all too frequent these days) violate the terms of the site and are rightly removed. If the mods didn’t act aggressively to stamp out those things, the site would very quickly devolve into a chat room, and lose its uniqueness. You may object to these regulations, but frequently, they are extremely useful. Just take one look at the mortgage mess to understand how deregulation has disrupted an otherwise well functioning system. The fact is, if you don’t like the system, you don’t have to stick around.

Finally, and please don’t take this personally, but censorship is not, by definition, a part of communism. It actually occurs in most tyrannical regimes (such as the fascist regimes of WW2 and military juntas). My point is that your rant against communists (and equating the removal of posts here with communism) is misplaced.

richardhenry's avatar

The thing about free speech, is that it assumes that everyone has something good to contribute. Something well thought out and balanced. Are inane, pathetic jokes in that category? Is impersonating a removed comment in that category? I don’t think unproductive or childish speech is worth protecting. I also think you need to realize that we base our decisions around the flagging and messages we receive from our users; we don’t do this for ourselves.

I like protecting the quality of Fluther. I’ve been here a long time, and I LOVE this community.

richardhenry's avatar

If you’re wondering why your work here remains, it is because it is on topic. The discussion in the other thread was removed, because as I explained, we need not send a question to the dumping ground because you want to criticize my moderation.

Your previous comments were not removed because we silence criticism. It is very important to us that off topic chatter is kept to a minimum, and is the majority of our moderation effort.

As you might have guessed, this question is more appropriate.

JackAdams's avatar

@shilolo: While I do appreciate and understand your comments, they are inaccurate, in that not ALL “inappropriate” comments are removed; only SOME of them are, and therein lies the problem.

In order for the guidelines to have any real meaning whatsoever, they must be universally applied to everyone equally, and unfortunately, they aren’t. If, for example, a moderator is a personal friend of a Flutherer, or the Flutherer is in fact another moderator, s/he would be hard-pressed to delete any of those comments.

And, as someone who has studied the writings of Karl Marx and the Communist Manifesto, (and who visited Moscow in the 1970s, before the collapse of the USSR and the Berlin Wall), I can tell you that censorship was indeed a part of their agenda, and the proof of that, was that they constantly tried to jam the signals broadcast into their country, by Radio Free Europe.

richardhenry's avatar

@JackAdams: Why aren’t you flagging the comments in question then?! You do know that we simply cannot read everything that goes through Fluther?

There are a thousand responses every day, and we are too regularly asked to review your behaviour by other Fluther users. We are not trying to bully you. We do not have a watch list, we take every case in and on it’s own.

If you could give me some examples, it would be helpful.

JackAdams's avatar

@RichardHenry: I would flag such comments, if I wanted them removed. I favor ALL comments being allowed to remain posted, unless they are indeed personal attacks, insults, blatantly racist, contain life-threatening remarks against other humans, or detail Hydrogen Bomb construction/placement.

Respectfully, you said, quoting verbatim, “The thing about free speech, is that it assumes that everyone has something good to contribute.”

I find it odd that you would supposedly comment on something that doesn’t even exist in your own kingdom (UK), if I am in fact in possession of accurate PMs that mention that you are (supposedly) a subject of the British Empire. (If not, then my apologies are offered.)

No insult to you, personally, of course, but part of the reason that the Colonists decided to create the USA in the first place, is because the UK repressed freedom of expression, in all of its forms.

richardhenry's avatar

We have the right to all speech except vagrant hate speech. We have the right to peacefully assemble and petition for a change in government, and freedom of the press.

Hate speech is non-speech, and I think that the above is a better definition of what free speech should be.

I mean, hell, you have a prison to which you can be sent without trial for an unlimited period of time, without outside contact and where you will be subject to torture.

The maximum that we can be detained without trial is just under a month, and in these cases permission is required by the home secretary and a press release must be issued.

I prefer our free speech to yours.

richardhenry's avatar

PS: I am not aware of other avenues under which our expression is repressed, as you said. I invite you to tell me about them.

JackAdams's avatar

@RH: I don’t need to. Your own history books should be rife with examples.

richardhenry's avatar

@JA: You ignored everything I said, and have little knowledge of our history.

JackAdams's avatar

Perhaps I should, for the benefit of others who truly may not know, cite ONE example of how free speech has been suppressed in the UK. Here it is:

The King James version of the Holy Bible.

This “dude” (for whom I have zero respect) when through the Holy Bible and deleted (like some moderators) what he didn’t like (or agree with) and kept what he wanted.

If THAT ain’t censorship and repression of free speech, then millions of other folks on this planet are just as “confused” as I am.

shilolo's avatar

@JA. As a lawyer, you should readily understand that just like in real life, Fluther has “laws”, or more simply, a set of rules that people have to follow. The moderators are like judges, and they are tasked with applying those laws. There is some heterogeneity in how the laws are applied (very much like in real life), but in general, they do a good job. I think you are upset because the laws are being applied to you, and your fall-back option is to invoke your right to freedom of speech, even though that “right” doesn’t necessarily apply here.

As for your statements about communism, they are both right and wrong. Karl Marx never advocated censorship in the Communist Manifesto, and in fact, anticipated that it would enhance democracy rather than tyranny. It was the work of Lenin and Stalin that converted his socioeconomic ideas into the modern political movement known as communism (which was tyrannical and did involve heavy censorship).

JackAdams's avatar

@shilolo: To set the record straight, so I am not accused of lying, I am not currently a member of any bar association in the USA. But I was an attorney at one time, in an American state.

Yes indeed, organizations and clubs and websites can create and enforce their own rules, definitely, if the entity is in fact, USA-based.

However, those rules cannot be in conflict with the Constitution of the USA.

richardhenry's avatar

You’re comparing our modern legal system, or the moderation system on Fluther, with THAT?

We do not censor things to direct a discussion. It is vital that our discussions stay on topic; Fluther is a QA service, not a chat site. There are other services for that.

JackAdams's avatar

Before I respond to the comments of RH, I must respectfully point out to everyone that I received a PM from a friendly adversary, with whom I have enjoyed many a civil debate, both publicly and privately, and for whom I have great admiration. He correctly pointed out to me that my past remarks have not been era-specific, and that I may indeed be giving those who don’t know me, the impression that I am somehow bashing the current UK, and not the one that existed in the days of the American Revolution, nor the UK that existed during the signing of the Magna Carta, or even before that time period. So, to set the record straight about that, I do not refer to the UK that currently exists, and if someone got that impression, I really do offer my deepest sincere apologies, for not being more clear in my previous remarks, because the UK of then, is certainly not the one that exists, today.

Also, my worthy opponent, in the same PM, told me that it is unfair to make remarks about the faults of the UK of yore, without also noting some things about the USA that were bad. So yes, slavery was one of them, and certainly, rounding up people of Japanese ancestry (just because they were of Japanese ancestry) and herding them like cattle into internment camps was indeed an outrage and an atrocity, and I was also told to remind everyone that the reason that the US Pentagon has more restrooms that it really needs, is that when it was constructed in the 1940s, it had “Colored Only” and “White Only” ones. So yes indeed, the folks in the USA have no real room to point any fingers at the UK, and my friend was certainly right to take me to task on that, and I am grateful to him for privately bringing that to my attention, and encouraging me to mention those things, here.

But, to reinforce my original comments, regarding the “Olde UK”, is that Former PM Tony Blair once said [paraphrased], “You can tell how good a country is, by how many people want to move there, and how bad a country is, by how many people want to leave there.”

I suggest to one and all, that probably more UK citizens wish to move to the USA (and become citizens) than want to move to the UK from the USA (and become UK subjects). I can’t back that up with any immigration figures at this time, but if someone wishes to refute my opinion/guess, they are certainly at liberty to do so here, as far as I am concerned (and I would encourage them to do so, if I am indeed in error). Just please keep in mind (prior to bashing me and the USA, if you are a UK resident/national) that there is a very real reason why actor Sean Connery chooses to live in Spain, and it is isn’t because the enchiladas are better prepared, there. It is because the UK income taxes, according to Sean himself, are “oppressive.” I’m really surprised that Paul McCartney continues to live there, considering how much money the UK must squeeze from him, per annum. And Mr. Connery isn’t alone in his hatred of high UK levies. Many other UK nationals refuse to live in the UK (and have even gone so far as to become USA citizens), just to avoid those outrageous living expenses. And again, if it really was such a terrific country (as far as some claim), then why did Alfred Hitchcock (who became a naturalized USA citizen) tell an interviewer (no, I can’t cite the precise source) that [paraphrased], “I could never have made all of my movies in the UK, because of the free speech restrictions there.”

Here’s a source with whom you CAN check: Dennis O’Rourke, who wrote/directed the 1985 movie Half Life (and was born in Brisbane, Australia) publicly told everyone attending his showing of that movie at the Honolulu International Film Festival (which I attended, in 1985), that [paraphrased], “I could never have filmed my movie in Australia, which, as a part of the UK, doesn’t have the same freedoms of expression as those found in America.” No, I am not joking. I am just not quoting him or Mr. Hitchcock, verbatim.

OK, that concludes my diatribe/rant/tirade, regarding freedom of expression in the USA and the UK, for now. Let’s turn to the duties/responsibilities of moderators, and why I sometimes have problems with them, even though I support their right to do some of what they do.

One of the problems I have with moderators, is that many of them (on this website and elsewhere) cannot perform their duties, SANS EMOTION, and they should. If a moderator personally does not like the person posting, their judgment is tainted by their hatred of the poster, and that is why they should not be moderators.

In fairness to all moderators, everywhere (because I was one, for four years), the majority of them perform their thankless tasks with alacrity, and should be publicly applauded for even being willing to do something that will never win any of them a popularity contest, and of which most people would be reluctant to attempt.

But, having said that, it is my belief that those who have demonstrated that they cannot perform such tasks with even-handedness (and without allowing emotion to enter into the equation), should (after having been identified as such) be removed from their position, and become “JAFO” (“Just Another Fluthering Observer”).

It’s my belief (without publicly mentioning any names at all) that there is more than one moderator in here, who needs to be “fired.” This is not meant to imply that the individuals are “worthless” people, but rather to say that they are perhaps better suited to being coal miners, than moderators.

And now that I have said that publicly, I can be assured that future posts of mine will be routinely deleted with increasing frequency, not because such deletions are actually warranted/merited/deserved, but simply because some moderator will choose to do so, as part of a “get-even“ ploy.

breedmitch's avatar

Ah yes the victim card.

JackAdams's avatar

Those who are treated unfairly ARE victims.

Those who discount such with a single sentence, are ignorant.

I hope your posts getting smaller, signifies a welcome trend.

allengreen's avatar

Jack, I think it could be a generational thing. The younger generation in the US is more group-like than individual. There were changes in our education system in the 1980’s that dumbed down Americans and made the generation after ours value conformity, not individuality. I suspect that many of the folks flagging posts are in their early 20’s and still used to hiding under their mother’s skirts, and using moderators as mommy figures.
I know the young crowd hates masculine behavior, as our culture has been feminized, masculinity, however it is expressed, is demonized.
If you want to make friends here, agree with everyone and everything, ask questions about Milo, and don’t make waves.

allengreen's avatar

If you go to you will see that traffic here is trending down.

MissAnthrope's avatar

@AG – I call B.S. Report.

AG, you have a really special, anti-feminine point of view. From what I’ve observed, you want to generalize and make it out that a large group of people share your view. I strongly disagree. The article I just quoted shows that today’s youth don’t hate masculine behavior. In fact, non-gender-conforming people (those who aren’t masculine enough, for example), are commonly abused.

See also this article that discusses youth hate and mentions how racism and other hate crimes stem from a certain conceived idea of masculinity, amongst other reasons.

Specializing in the connections between conceptions of masculinity, gang crime and hate group youth recruitment, Blazak has emphasized the socioeconomic and subcultural roots of youth hatred in his work.

allengreen's avatar

alenad—with regard to transgender folks, your article is correct. There is a bias against folks that do not conform to so called norms.

I am not at all anti-women, just anti-American women. There is a huge difference between American women and women in the rest of the world. My family is a mixed family, and I see examples of this every day.

I was wrong on the traffic report too—sorry, my bad

MissAnthrope's avatar

That article is not solely about transgender people. It is about gender conformity, which ties in directly to the point you were trying to make. If today’s youth hated masculinity, would we not see more acceptance of less masculine men?

“The middle-class white idea of proving masculinity becomes the dominant form on campuses today. It’s more intense and pervasive than ever before.” – Sociologist and gender studies expert Michael Kimmel of Stony Brook University, New York (via)

allengreen's avatar

Look at the idealized man of today. It is a shaved down, femine dude—the same guy all the girls want is the same guy all the gay guys want. Pull up a magazine from the 1970’s and you will see a hairy man’s man, not an Aston Kurcher.
I am not talking about gender conformity, I am talking about suppression/vilification of masculinity.

And by the way, I am not attacking you!

MissAnthrope's avatar

I know you’re not. But I really disagree with you.

First off, you cannot generalize like that and state that women want a feminine guy. That is simply untrue. Being a woman gives me the unique position of having spoken with a lot of other women about their tastes. I’m sort of a hobby sociologist/gender studies geek, and I’m very interested in this sort of thing.

Trust me when I say, there are plenty of women out there that absolutely love a “man’s man”. They love the trappings, the whole deal.. the hair, the macho attitude, manliness, etc.

It sounds to me like you are struggling with what women have been struggling with for years – trying to reconcile reality with projected media images of the “ideal”. It’s a no-win situation. They airbrush freaking MODELS now.. which basically means that the most gorgeous people on the planet aren’t beautiful enough as is. So, now men are beginning to understand what it’s like. Kinda sucky, isn’t it?

allengreen's avatar

“It sounds to me like you are struggling with what women ”—-this is right out of the The Catalog of Anti-Male Shaming Tactics,
I’ve been married 15 yrs, have 2 daughters, 3 sisters——all of which is totally not relevant.
Yes, it is sucky. My problem with women started when I observed how boys are treated in my daughter’s school, how my daughter’s mother’s act, how little girls have sewer mouths, and how the girls are always against the boys at their school. Some teachers even insist the boys be put on prescription drugs so they don’t act like a boy should. I have a problem with the way American women talk to their husbands, how men are portrayed as idiots in advertising and on the TV, and how young men shave them selves and look like and act like girls.

I appreciate your perspective, and I bet all said and don’w we don’t disagree as much as you think.

JackAdams's avatar

@allengreen: Thanks for taking some of the heat off of me, for a change.

While you continue to run interference for me, I’ll sneak off to KFC and bring back more troops to defend the Alamo, along with original recipe.

Then, we shall dig in and defend the fort, ‘til death.

MissAnthrope's avatar

@AG – I don’t even know what you’re talking about. I looked at that page and did I not find an example that matched. I hate to say this, but borrowing from the rhetoric on that page, aren’t you a bit histrionic on the topic of feminism and the decline of masculinity?

I am not shaming you. This is called having a civilized debate. If you feel shamed, that is on you, it is not a product of my intent. I am simply making a point.. I had hoped it was obvious how emotionally detached I am from this conversation.

My point, anyway, was simply that you, as a man, are beginning to feel what women have dealt with since the advent of mass media. How is that shaming? It’s something I do all the time, to understand someone else’s point of view – I put myself in their shoes. However, the problem is advertisers, not women in general. It’s a common tactic to play on insecurities and false ideals to sell a product. I think men have in many ways been exempt to this, but now that you are beginning to experience it, perhaps you could empathize with women instead of making it out to be somehow our faults.

I would also be willing to bet there are more men than women employed in advertising, but even with my Google-Fu, I’m unable to find any percentages. That makes it an even more male issue – as in, don’t blame us, blame the people putting out the advertising, your fellow man.

Lastly, I still disagree that a feminized ideal of men is pushed on us via the media. Everything I have found so far says that while the male ideal displayed in advertising narrows the idea of what a man should be, they all seem to suggest that the “macho, virile, manly man” image is consistently pushed. If anything, women are further objectified because they are shown as rewards for using/purchasing a certain product.

Masculinity and Advertising:

“In fact, in his analysis of gender in advertising, author and University of North Texas professor Steve Craig argues that women tend to be presented as “rewards” for men who choose the right product. He describes such commercials as “narratives of playful escapades away from home and family.” They operate, he says, at the level of fantasy—presenting idealized portrayals of men and women. When he focused specifically on beer commercials, Craig found that the men were invariably “virile, slim and white”—and the women always “eager for male companionship.”

“Author and academic Susan Bordo (University of Kentucky) has also analyzed gender in advertising, and agrees that men are usually portrayed as virile, muscular and powerful. Their powerful bodies dominate space in the ads. For women, the focus is on slenderness, dieting, and attaining a feminine ideal; women are always presented as not just thin, but also weak and vulnerable.

“These critics and others suggest that just as traditional advertising has for decades sexually objectified women and their bodies, today’s marketing campaigns are objectifying men in the same way. A 2002 study by the University of Wisconsin suggests that this new focus on fit and muscled male bodies is causing men the same anxiety and personal insecurity that women have felt for decades.”

JackAdams's avatar

@allengreen: You wrote, quote, “If you want to make friends here, agree with everyone and everything, ask questions about Milo, and don’t make waves.”

Translation: “Kiss a lot of backsides.”

No thanks, My Friend.

“Surrender” ain’t a part of my vocabulary.

allengreen's avatar

Alena—When a woman says “It sounds to me like you are struggling with what women ”—-it is ad homimem shaming tactic.

Next, let us open our minds up a bit….There is a essay link below that will more elequently express what I mean, give it a quick once over if you will.

MissAnthrope's avatar

I still fail to see how relating two things is a shaming tactic.

The article you posted talks about a relatively small section of the population. Yes, some young males like to dress that way. Tattoos are fashionable. However, I highly doubt the majority of young males today choose either of those fashion statements.

If you go by what I see every day at my university, you’d think young males have an excess of cash, based on how much Abercrombie and American Eagle are worn by my schoolmates.

allengreen's avatar

Shaming tactics are emotional devices meant to play on a man’s insecurities and shut down debate. They are meant to elicit sympathy for women and to demonize men who ask hard questions.

MissAnthrope's avatar

I find your views in this area to be rather rigid. I am not playing on anyone’s insecurities, but simply pointing out the truth. You can disagree if you want, or fallaciously point to another wrong, but it doesn’t change the fact that I’m speaking the truth (and have sources to back myself up).

allengreen's avatar

What sources back up your allegation that “It sounds to me like you are struggling with what women ” ?

Other than that personal low blow attack, I think you have very valid points, logically presented, and I agree with much that you are saying.

I do feel that you may wish to keep an open mind for examples of how men are vilified in our culture, legally, socially, and in general. This is not an US vs Them playground kind of vilification, but more of a dumbing down of men, and making masculinity a bad thing, resulting in a generation of young men that are useless.

MissAnthrope's avatar

Well, I’m sorry if you took that as a “personal, low-blow attack”. It wasn’t, in the least. And actually, I meant “you” as the general “you”, as in, men are now beginning to feel some of women’s issues. How is that an attack?

As for sources, check my posts above. Those were found with quick Google searches; I’m certain I could find more concrete things if I took the time.

“These critics and others suggest that just as traditional advertising has for decades sexually objectified women and their bodies, today’s marketing campaigns are objectifying men in the same way. A 2002 study by the University of Wisconsin suggests that this new focus on fit and muscled male bodies is causing men the same anxiety and personal insecurity that women have felt for decades.”

allengreen's avatar

Alena, it is not you, it is cultural, I appreciate that you don’t take things personal, you are a smart person, very much so.

Keep in mind that I am not addressing advertising, which I agree is sexist towards women to the nth degree.

sarapnsc's avatar

Well this was one of the few good posts on Fluther with a great topic and it has been torn all to hell. @supermouse, thanks for the good attempt.

Response moderated
JackAdams's avatar

I agree with Woody Woodpecker.

We should all go back to publicly attacking and debasing JackAdams!

Why is he here, if not for you to attack him?

To quote President Andrew Shepherd, in the movie, The American President, “Let’s take him out back and beat the shit out of him!”

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