Re: Anatomy Of A Troll

1

6. Bait your own commentariat.
7. Go swimming.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 8:35 AM
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This doesn't sound like trolling at all to me. Picking a fight, maybe, but that's different.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 8:38 AM
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Whatever it is, it's schoolyard behavior, and always reminds me of what else I need to be doing.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 8:43 AM
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and always reminds me of what else I need to be doing.

Pummeling trolls?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 8:54 AM
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5

Somewhere in the list of 5, there should be an item about leaving irrelevant, off-thread comments as an attempt to trivialize any discussion ... a common troll ploy.


Posted by: swampcracker | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 8:55 AM
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I thought you could tell trolls because they're all Special Forces veterans and successful investors whose innovative local businesses ran aground on the shoals of feminist socialism and who are not willing to vote, pay taxes, obtain a passport or a marriage license because they don't want to give The State "hostages." Also because they tend to threaten legal action for comments like "Don't you have guns to fondle and hitchhikers to mummify?"


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:00 AM
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wait, what:
since when does being a troll mean you have to start with
an unpopular opinion "that you genuinely hold"?
you've never met a troll that straw-manned from the get-go, and about their own beliefs, too?

i mean, the rest of the recipe sounds pretty accurate.
but to make this particular nasty, you can use artificial opinions
and get the same tasty results as from sincerely-held opinions!


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:00 AM
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Somewhere in the list of 5, there should be an item about leaving irrelevant, off-thread comments as an attempt to trivialize any discussion ... a common troll ploy.

Are we not trolls?


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:01 AM
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Any minute now w-lfs-n's going to come along and tell us about the real meaning of troll.

I can't wait.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:01 AM
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So ogged, now that you've anatomized this behavior and stigmatized it by name, are you going to quit doing it?


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:06 AM
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Slol apparently missed Cala's very first comment.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:10 AM
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That's a pretty good list, but I have a few more tricks than that.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:18 AM
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It's the anatomy of a troll (v.)

It happens to be the common one around here.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:19 AM
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All men are trolls.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:26 AM
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Dude, you put up a whole post just to passive-aggressively tweak Bitch?

Upholding the finest traditions of the blog, I see.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:28 AM
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Dude, you put up a whole post just to passive-aggressively tweak Bitch?

What's the word for what you just did, insulting Bitch by pretending that I had her in mind? Genius, maybe?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:29 AM
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No, that also counts as 'upholding the finest traditions of the blog.' I wasn't being sarcastic -- these are the traditions we've got, so might as well work with them.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:31 AM
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Well, I was, actually, being sarcastic. But not in a pissed off way, if you see what I mean.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:40 AM
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You left out an entire swath of ad homineming and enforcement of grammaticality!


Posted by: hermit greg | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:41 AM
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LB is sarcastic with love.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:44 AM
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Smurov has a good description of Kutuzov argumentation over at The Valve which many here can profit from. You never want to leave your enemy a stationary target.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:46 AM
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21: "can" S/B "could".


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:46 AM
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Slol apparently missed Cala's very first comment.

Nobody loves me or reads my comments. Wahhh!

17: "Mommy, why do we on this day demand cake and pastries?" "It's lost in the mists of time and tradition."


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:48 AM
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Unsigned comments are left by the prophet Elijah.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:50 AM
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As your ancestors ate manna in the desert, so today shall you feast on the trollcake.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:54 AM
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Here's what I think:

1: Ogged is really saying here that people should smother disagreement.
2. This is a proven fact, and has been demonstrated over numerous ogged posts and messages, over a long period of time.
3. Anyone who suppresses dissent in this fashion is anti-American and probably in league with the mullahs. Such people must be ostracized by decent Americans.
4. Sure, anybody can see that ogged is talking about particular ways of expressing disagreement. What's your point?
5. Comity!


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:02 AM
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Slol apparently missed Cala's very first comment.

No, I didn't, but I suspected it was too subtle for ogged to pick it up, so I put the question direct. You'll note he ignored that, too, though.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:10 AM
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My public used to be more sophisticated.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:14 AM
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You left out ... enforcement of grammaticality!

Ben w-lfs-n might be a troll most places, but he isn't one here.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:17 AM
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My public used to be more sophisticated.

At the Washington Monthly.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:18 AM
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I have ever been the soul of naivety.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:51 AM
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I think ogged understates the distinction between trolling and merely possessing an unpopular opinion. Many of the behaviors would seem identical in each case.

I'd argue that the sine qua non of trolling is bringing an argument back to a basic premise that is ludicrous, and raising irrelevant side-issues to justify that premise regardless of counter-argument.

Of course, determining whether or not a premise really is ludicrous is the problem, no? I think I really believe that libertarian commenters have an inevitable inclination toward trollism, because their beliefs are based on ludicrously false premises.

At the same time, I recognize that expressing this sincerely held belief has trollish aspects to it, too.



Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:54 AM
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Here, courtesy of Schopenhauer ca. 1830, the ultimate guide to trolling.

A small sample:

Eristische Dialektik ist die Kunst zu disputieren, und zwar so zu disputieren, daß man Recht behält, also "per fas et nefas" [mit Recht wie mit Unrecht]...Sie reden ehe sie gedacht haben und wenn sie auch hinterher merken, daß ihre Behauptung falsch ist und sie Unrecht haben; so soll es doch scheinen als wäre es umgekehrt. Das Interesse für die Wahrheit...weicht jetzt ganz dem Interesse der Eitelkeit: wahr soll falsch und falsch wahr erscheinen.
(Eristic dialectic is the art of arguing, specifically the art of arguing so that you win the argument whether or not you are right...You speak without thinking, and when you notice afterwards that you were wrong and your assertion is false, this is how you can make it appear that the reverse is true. Any interest in truth is to be subordinated to the interest of vanity: truth should be falsehood and falsehood truth.)

Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:56 AM
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34

29: That's an interesting point about the social context of trollism. Would unfogged commenters be trolls at Redstate, and vice versa?


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:57 AM
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35

34: yes and yes.

I only troll sites I like -- a poisonous gift indeed.

When I came to hate Jane Galt, I quit posting there.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:00 AM
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Tangentially to KR's 33: there must be a name for quarrels of this form:

"You might be right about the evidence and your interpretation of the evidence, but I do not like what I take to be the implications of your discoveries, so you must be wrong."

Anyone got a formal name for that?


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:03 AM
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This post, and the whole comment thread to follow, is really about me, isn't. I'll just lurk, and take notes. After I look up "eristic."


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:10 AM
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38

36: Some variant of a slippery slope argument?

37: You're not really a classic troll, Bob. A nut, frequently, but not really a troll.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:12 AM
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Some variant of a slippery slope argument?

I guess that's right. I was kind of hoping for a distinction between valid and invalid slippery slope.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:16 AM
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I see here it's a combination of slippery slope and straw man. Surely there's gotta be a name for that. But Slippery Man sounds like a porn film or an emo music festival.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:18 AM
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36--
the entire structure is sometimes characterized by saying:
"one person's modus ponens is another persons modus tollens".

(i.e. you argue p, q, so r.
i argue not-r, so either not-p or not-q.
yeah, i may not be sure whether you're wrong about p or q,
and i may even grant that you may be right about either, but not both.
mostly i just insist that one or the other has to be wrong, since r is wrong.

there's nothing really wrong about either position here, either:
both mp and mt are valid, and the fact is that two arguers,
no matter how scrupulous, honest and rational, may sometimes wind up in this pair of positions.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:22 AM
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Anyone got a formal name for that?

It seems closely related to Schopenhauer's "Kunstgriff 33" (roughly, "33rd dirty trick"): "Konsquenzen Leugnen" ("Deny the Consequences")


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:25 AM
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i argue not-r, so either not-p or not-q

Isn't this "denying the antecedent," though? You only get to do that if the argument is "r occurs if and only if p and q occur," right?


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:25 AM
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My vocabulary for this sucks, but I'm pretty sure you don't need if and only if. If your premises are 'If(p and q) then r', and 'not r', then you can validly conclude '(not p) or (not q)'.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:31 AM
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Smurov has a good description of Kutuzov argumentation over at The Valve which many here can profit from. You never want to leave your enemy a stationary target.

Now I see what you mean, Emerson. That didn't quite register yesterday.


Posted by: SEK | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:34 AM
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Isn't this "denying the antecedent," though? You only get to do that if the argument is "r occurs if and only if p and q occur," right?

We agree that "p; q; therefore r" is a valid argument (that (p & q) -> r). You go on to assert (p & q). I go on to deny r. We know from contraposition that not r -> not (p & q). No one's doing anything fallacious; we just disagree.

Denying the antecedent is "p -> q; not p; therefore not q" and is a form of modus morons.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:54 AM
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Thanks. I was thinking of arguments like "you should not permit research into genetic links to criminal behavior because it leads to eugenics," that kind of thing.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 12:09 PM
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I think this would cover it .. from this site.


Arguments from adverse consequences:
These are arguments in which one is asked not to accept a position because doing so would require them to accept unpleasant consequences that stem from it.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 1:00 PM
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Sorry, Ogged, I've been offline all day and plan to be so all evening. Nice try, though.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 4:15 PM
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Hm, i'll try to step in for b, since i got called a troll in the last 48h.

1. Brevity is the soul of wit.

2. This is the first time i've been told to be less confident.

3. Yes, i pass this. I usually can't defend my claims, or they aren't attacked directly.

4. Ah, the holy grail: to be the teflon troll.

5. Comity!


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 7:18 PM
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I'm pretty sure the art of trolling is to be less emotionally invested in the argument than your sparring partners.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 7:21 PM
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I didn't have time to comment earlier, but I certainly resemble 1-3. 4 less so. B raises 4 to an art form.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 7:28 PM
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Why is there a Smurov at The Valve?


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 08-15-07 3:47 AM
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