In reader comments left at this blog, somewhat lately, I have noticed others wondering if certain reader handles were the same party…and also calling people “trolls” at times.
For those not aware, in internet slang, a troll is a person who reportedly sows discord on the internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, either accidentally or with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.
Personally, I don’t get it what the hubbub is here. If someone is sharing a comment and it bothers you, because it’s “out there” and/or off-topic, why respond to it? In fact, over at the IMDB site, on this topic, they offer the following:
Remember, trolls feel rewarded by creating the biggest altercation possible. They want to get a reaction out of you. When you fight with a troll, he wins. When you reason with a troll, he wins. Any time that you give a troll attention, he gets exactly what he wants.
The best way to deal with trolls is to ignore them. When you ignore a troll, he doesn’t get the satisfaction of creating an escalated conflict.
Makes sense to me.
Heck, I would take it a step further and say “If you debate with a ‘troll,’ you get what you deserve and you should quit whining about them.”
O.K., enough on that for now. Moving on to people with multiple handles…
Yes, it’s true. We have some readers here who leave comments under several different names. I know for a fact that Ricketson is also Goose and PHMDen too. Further, there’s no difference between Sweet Lou and Tuttle. (I also suspect that there are three other frequent posters “by handle” who are one in the same based on their IP address. It’s either that, or, we have eight people all living/working very close to each other.)
On this, I find myself dragging my feet.
On one hand, I have seen this issue: Someone who is banned from commenting coming back and hiding under a new name is always a pain in the rear. And, it’s bizarre when someone decides to have a conversation with themselves between their sundry handles – and I have seen that too!
Yet, on the other hand, I can see where it’s possible for someone to have more than one user name where it’s not with bad intent. Maybe they forgot their old password and it’s just easier to start a new account? Maybe they got bored with their old name and wanted a new one? Maybe they are using multiple computers and/or browsers and want to use different names to tell where they were when they were posting? Sure, some of this is a reach…but, possible.
In any event, I don’t have the time to start chasing down every suspected situation where someone is posting comments under different names. And, does it really matter, as long as they are not pretending to be someone who they are not?
In closing, I want to stress that, when leaving comments, members should remember these basic concepts:
1. The written word carries none of the inflection of voice. Sarcasm, humor, irony, etc. may not be evident from the written word, even if liberally sprinkled with smiles. It is best to avoid nuance and go for clarity.
2. Getting everyone to agree is not a healthy goal. If there are differing viewpoints, members must recognize when to stop advancing a point of view and let a discussion stand, as is.
If everyone could do these two simple things, then I think the commenting sections herein would be a better place than it’s been lately.