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Do not feed the trolls...

by halley (Prior)
on May 07, 2004 at 15:12 UTC ( #351478=monkdiscuss: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

Re: Why GOD... WHY?!? Y2K+4 bug? Wassercrats
Jan 03, 2004 By the way, anyone know who holds the record for the worst # of posts/level ratio, or who has had the most total downvotes?
Jan 05, 2004 I'd like to claim the title of worst monk, overall, or to know who it is.
Jan 05, 2004 Hmmm... I'm not bad enough to catch up to sickboy by being myself. I'll have to look for a different record.
These posts were written shortly before Wassercrats began his quest for worst reputation. First the Boycott O'Reilly campaign, and then a few stubborn denials after receiving negative feedback on his code, his methods, and his understanding of best practices. (Or did it go back farther?)

If it were just a matter of the code quality, or the lack of usefulness of his code examples, I wouldn't think the guy deserves the community flogging he is receiving. People give specific comments and he dismisses them. People give general or "big picture" comments and he scoffs at them. The guy is clearly trolling for fun and profit, at the expense of the community.

What should really be done in a situation like this?

Somehow, as the saying goes, I don't think wrestling with the pig will work here. Banning people on the internet is kind of like writing spam filters; it's an annoying waste of resources that can never win an inevitable escalation.

I suggest people just avoid replying to the trolls; eventually they run out of steam and go on to some other pursuit.

[ e d @ h a l l e y . c c ]

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re: Do not feed the trolls...
by dragonchild (Archbishop) on May 08, 2004 at 04:56 UTC
    When I graduated from college, I was 23. I have always been one of the smartest, quickest, and have (had?) a near-photographic memory. Oh, and I'm extremely arrogant. And, until my wife got her hands on me, my attitude was this:

    The way I'm doing it, whatever it might be, right now is the best I am aware of. As I happen to be very smart, it's likely that it's one of the best ways out there. I am willing to be shown a better way, but you'll have to convince me.

    I think that most of us, at one time or another, have subscribed to that attitude to some degree. Some, like me, subscribed to it completely.

    And, frankly, I still subscribe to it. But, the way I take into account different points of view has changed. Instead of immediately responding, I wait. If there is something to be said, it can be said just as well tomorrow as today. Most of the time, my response doesn't need to be made, or it can be improved.

    This attitude adjustmenttook almost 6 years to come about, with a ton of hard knocks. I've been fired twice, had to work away from my wife and kids for a year, and been generally miserable ... all due to my attitude - my lack of humility. This isn't to say I'm anything approximating humble right now, and I may never be. But, I am much closer to doing things a better way than I could have ever come up with on my own.

    Now, what does this have to do with the topic at hand? Wassercrats - I feel you. I know where you're coming from, cause I've been there. I knew it all, and I knew that I knew it all. I had an answer for everything and everyone. Heck, I answered for them, too!

    I'm not advocating that you change one bit. In fact, if you did change into a xerox-monk, we would be a poorer community for it. I cannot imagine that any monk would ever say we would be better off without merlyn or Abigail-II, yet they are more caustic and blunt than you or I could ever hope to be. They've had 20 years more than us to perfect their style.

    All I am asking is this - before you hit the Create button, let your response sit for an hour. That's all. Just one hour. If, when you read it again, you still think it's worth saying, then say it. Otherwise, change it or hit the back button.

    Why? Your reputation matters. You, like me, may not personally care about reputation as a first-class object. However, your reputation is what allows you to do what you want to do. Without it, you are powerless, whether you like it or not. This is simply the way the world works. The sun rises in the east, our computers are binary, and power is based completely on reputation. Accept it, fight it ... I don't care. But, you cannot deny it.

    We are the carpenters and bricklayers of the Information Age.

    Then there are Damian modules.... *sigh* ... that's not about being less-lazy -- that's about being on some really good drugs -- you know, there is no spoon. - flyingmoose

    I shouldn't have to say this, but any code, unless otherwise stated, is untested

Re: Do not feed the trolls...
by b10m (Vicar) on May 07, 2004 at 15:17 UTC

    Too bad for Wassercrats that freak is taking over control now. Maybe they should team up? ;-)


    All code is usually tested, but rarely trusted.
Re: Do not feed the trolls...
by exussum0 (Vicar) on May 07, 2004 at 17:17 UTC
    What should really be done in a situation like this?
    Same as always I'd gather. Nodereaper will reap the trolls, and people go away after time if you ignore them.

    As for the people who try to push group-think, i.e. "freak is prolly hacking, I wouldn't suggest answering his questions" type thing, unless he's shown some evil-ness, i.e., "i'm trying to break into yahoo", he has every right to atain knowledge. Granted, freak doesn't seem to be interacting well with others on the site. Is it his fault? The site? The counter-party? I won't argue that. So long as he asks questions that aren't dupes, which he borderlines once in a while, why NOT answer his questions? How do you know that he's not a white-hat?

      Regardless of what he is trying to do, he did post about 8 dupes of the same thing, and while I've seen a lot of script kiddies that act as dumb as he does, I rarely see "white hat" types exhibit his lack of intelligence. Pretty obvious if you ask me. Maybe it's "l33t H@XX0R" mentality plus poor language skills in addition to the lack of intelligence, but hey, he's not trying to learn -- he's trying to use our brains instead of his own.
        Duplicate questions are bad. Agreed.

        But I've been guilty of his folly before, asking the same questions over and over because sometimes, things just don't stick right away. UTF-8 anyone?

        As for using our brains, I take it you, just like me, are here 'cause we enjoy programming and enjoy perl and learning about it. Just because a person may not "get it", which is the optimistic view, is no reason not to get used. I use my professors every nite I go to class. :) And not in THAT way.

Re: Do not feed the trolls...
by herveus (Parson) on May 07, 2004 at 15:51 UTC

    Thank you for digging up those quotes.

    The cheap and tawdry entertainment that had been provided by clever responses to the troll (and I confess to playing *that* game myself) has worn thin. I think I'm pretty much done playing, and tired of downvoting posts that beg to be downvoted.

Re: Do not feed the trolls...
by EdwardG (Vicar) on May 08, 2004 at 09:38 UTC

    As always, Lemmy has written an article about this, oh, the wisdom of the man...

    When I was young I was the nicest guy I knew
    I thought I was the chosen one
    But time went by and I found out a thing or two
    My shine wore off as time wore on
    I thought that I was living out the perfect life
    But in the lonely hours when the truth begins to bite
    I thought about the times when I turned my back & stalled

    I ain't no nice guy after all

    When I was young I was the only game in town
    I thought I had it down for sure,
    But time went by and I was lost in what I found
    The reasons blurred, the way unsure
    I thought that I was living life the only way
    But as I saw that life was more than day to day
    I turned around, I read the writing on the wall

    I ain't no nice guy after all
    I ain't no nice guy after all

    In all the years you spend between your birth and death
    You find there's lots of times you should have saved your breath
    It comes as quite a shock when that trip leads to fall

    MOTORHEAD Lyrics


Re: Do not feed the trolls...
by wolfi (Scribe) on May 08, 2004 at 07:36 UTC

    with code...
    my view is write however you like provided it doesn't affect someone else -> meaning cgi apps should use strict, taint, etc // code which will be maintained by others, should be written clearly // all effort must be taken to eliminate bugs posted in code, which will be distributed (like on CPAN), etc.

    with trolls...
    XP, trolls, etc - seem to be a recurrent debate lately. It's hard to decipher, if someone is just being curt or actually being malicious. And i know, it must be hard for programmers to continually repeat themselves to newbies or have their proven advice go unheeded, but i do suggest, that people double-think how they state something, before they do. (I'm sure, most of us are guilty of the occasional, unwarrented tongue-lashing upon someone.)

    however with those, who are simply and purposely detracting from this site... well, i agree banning is useless, but if someone is on a quest for lowest reputation, one can always deny them what they want. Upvote them occasionally - until they're about a measely negative 5 points. Enough to show you disapprove, but not enough to 'reward' them.


Re: Do not feed the trolls...
by Anonymous Monk on May 07, 2004 at 15:33 UTC
    What should really be done in a situation like this?
    flog'em both into oblivion!

      Here is what i think we should do. Avoid them. Don't respond to them. Just ignore them.

      Especially in the case of Wassercrats. For a while i actually thought he was a 12 year old kid. I mean, think about it, who else would be that stubborn and immediately assume that any critism is simple jealousy? "Don't do that, you'll shoot your eye out, kid." "OH YEAH!! WELL WATCH THIS!!!" *BLAMMO*

      The main problem with trying to communicate with Wassercrats is that he simply "has to have the last word, no matter how foolish it makes him look." I honestly believe, hell, i know that he thinks that by having the last word, he is right. What he refuses to see is that nobody wants to be treated that way. Eventually we just stop, because you can't argue with a brick wall. But Wassercrats sees his last post as "the last and final say on the matter!" He does not see that his post is -30 and the one before was +50 ... he just sees his post as the final word -- therefore he must be right.

      This is why i believe the only way to deal with Wassercrats is to outright ignore him. I have set /ignore Wassecrats for myself, i highly recommend everyone else do the same.


      (the triplet paradiddle with high-hat)
Re: Do not feed the trolls...
by Wassercrats on May 08, 2004 at 02:46 UTC

    I would have liked to claim the title of worst monk, but only if I was able to do it by being myself, as I said in one of the quotes you posted. I wouldn't have even gone out of my way for it. I thought I already had a shot, because of 274711, dated July 16, 2003.

    Read my posts in the Boycott O'Reilly thread. I make valid points. There's good and bad to hacking books, and those two sides are never equal. In that thread, others say they're good. I give both sides and my over-all analysis, which is that those books, particularly ones containing cracking code as opposed to crack prevention code, are bad.

    Jeffa said "I mean, think about it, who else would be that stubborn and immediately assume that any criticism is simple jealousy?" I believe that most of it isn't jealousy. The students here, and probably many of the seasoned programmers, have learned from schooling and maybe a bit from the real world of programming that certain methods tend to avoid problems. Even I'd be reluctant to hire someone who insisted on coding like I do, though I wouldn't insist on using my usual style if I were working with others or if others had to maintain my code.

    My style works for me. It's possible that I'd have benefited from a different style, but that would have required my learning and getting used to something new, just for that chance that it might help. A casual review of today's conventional programming practices led me to believe that they could slow down the development process, at least for a programmer like me who knows what level of carefulness works for him and has had success without scoping and whatnot.

    Consider the problems Steve_p had here. I wrote VarStructor in the way I felt was natural and easiest for me, which would have ended up producing errors or warnings the conventional way. I would have had to do it differently and it probably would have taken more time even if I were used to the conventional way.

    I hope you will be able to focus on the utility of my module when it comes out, and benefit from it, rather than be bothered by my style. I believe it could help every one of you become more productive programmers. For those of you who don't know the latest, I intend to have VarStructor function kind of like Tie::HashHistory. I've only read about that module, but I believe there will be several differences between it and mine. I expect mine to be easier to use in at least some situations, and faster, but one thing for sure is that mine will be useful.

    And when I ask a specific question, you all know how I feel about my style now, so I trust you will focus more on the question and criticize my style a bit less.

      There are a few of good elements to creating a successful program, one of them is the usability/functionality, one of them is style.

      If your program is meets the functional requirements, there is still maintaince, and as programmes complexity grows and evolves, the ability to find all the bugs, all the logic flaws becomes harder.

      I learned this in CS-101 in my 1st year of uni.

      Previous to uni i was a self taught programmer who could write programmes that were completely functionally 100% to requirements, and i had the arrogance to ignore comments, tell people what i was doing was the right way.

      I went off to uni, and discovered, after doing an overnighter debugging my pascal telephone billing programme that style was very important.

      Sure style is not so important when your writing throw away stuff, and perhaps not so when you're writing 10 lines, but as the complexity increases, the style in which you programme becomes more important.

      One peice of advice that has stuck in my head from a very smart and much respected uni lecturer of mine was you just cant account for every possibility when programming, you just cant. People will use your code in ways you've never thought of, they will submit data you've never thought of. Again, we're not talking about 10 lines here, we're talking about programmes that are "complex" that interact with other programmes/systems.

      The ability of being able to find bugs and logic flaws is partly a function of how you develop your style.

      Most people programme in the easiest way for them, and its partly true, the functionality of your programme is the ultimate goal, who cares how you get there? Posting code here is an implicit request for review, of which the community is more than willing, infact eager to do. The comments from which, can make it easier/quicker to get there for your next design.

      There are a couple of hundred saints, there are gods, maintainers, and people coming up the ranks to sainthood, each has a different level of experience, each may have something to say that can be reviewed by other peers.

      Dismissing comments out of hand is most of the time not a good way to learn, grow and increase skills.

      Not only do we post comments to help others, we post to be helped ourselves. if i post something that is not quite right, I'm confident that someone will post a followup to explain, correct where i am wrong.

      so I trust you will focus more on the question and criticize my style a bit less.

      Really, people here are not making personal attacks against the author, constructive critisim will be generally backed up by examples, and expln's as to why it could be done better. you wont change that here, you'll just piss people off, and ultimately, you'll get poor responses to your posts..

      Experience here on PM, is partly a function of how peers have reviewed your comments/code, you can only ignore them at your peril. We want to help, if you dont want to be helped, thats fine and no problem, just dont post, read instead.

        Here's a somewhat relevant quote that I found while browsing Paul Graham's website:

        "Programs must be written for people to read, and only incidentally for machines to execute."

        - Abelson & Sussman, SICP, preface to the first edition

        Some people ARE making personal attacks against me. People should be answering my questions if they could, not arguing with me about my style when I insist that it's fine. Nobody knows what how well I'm able to deal with my own style but me. Not all programmers are created equal, and nobody even knows how well I structure my larger programs. I have a 3400 line script that works and I could only imagine the "rules" people are suggesting making it more difficult to develop.

        Monks could comment on my style if they want, but to let it go on and on when I say my style works fine, especially for a small, working script that I'm maintaining myself, and to say there's a security problem when there isn't and that it's garbage and I shouldn't parse Perl and it shouldn't be a module when it works and that I should have took extra time scoping stuff instead of simply and quickly using reset is just wrong. These people should get back to the subject or stay out of the thread, and not think there's something wrong with me just because I'm not changing a style that works.

Re: Do not feed the trolls...
by Wassercrats on May 08, 2004 at 17:45 UTC

    I've seen so much undeserved criticism (to put it mildly) and downvotes in this thread and others that it got me thinking whether I really want to help these people with free software. My apologies to the exceptions.

    I think I'll be forgetting about the module and turning my script into a commercial product with a GUI. It will easily and by default record the value of all variables for each iteration of every loop in a script, in addition to the values at any other user-defined point in the script, and display them in the form of:

    time 11:11 line 111 Loop: for (x=0; x<y; x++) Variable Value Iteration -------- --------- --------- $var1 val var 1 1 $var1 val var 1 2 $var2 val var 2 1 $var2 val var 2 2

    It will have numerous display options and even the option to use Xref for more information, but with slower operation and more memory usage.

    Too much of the Perl community has taken away my desire to be one of you and contribute. There's too much of a "use strict" type attitude here. I might still contribute something besides commercial software, but it won't feel the same and probably won't be significant.

    Suggestion: you can't make someone wise beyond their years, so the school-kid level responses aren't completely avoidable, but off-topic restrictions should be more strictly enforced and there should be a recommendation that unsolicited criticism, particularly of style, be polite and limited.

      You should write something, not because it can or will ever be popular.. but because you like it. It's up toyou to distrib. people advise you so that it can be better, or more useful. it's up to you to accept the advice. Then again, if i followed everyone's advice, i'd hate coding all the time suffers from this in some ways.

      (Note, stolen from myself from the CB, so deja vu ;)

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