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Re^2: Dealing with An(?:no|on)ytroll

by tirwhan (Abbot)
on Nov 28, 2005 at 12:17 UTC ( #512148=note: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to Re: Dealing with An(?:no|on)ytroll
in thread Dealing with An(?:no|on)ytroll

Yet you spend an entire thread on them.

Yes, I know, and that fact kept me from posting this node for a while. Ultimately I felt it would be worthwhile making the suggestion. I know this can be viewed as one big lump of troll-food, I don't think it actually turned out to be though.YMMV.

More readily than what?

More readily than they are being reaped now. Nodes are being considered and reaped for unsuitable content under the current system, which is fine. I feel that this is sometimes done a bit too hesitantly in the face of blatant troll posts. Again, YMMV.

Regarding the IP address publication, I think you misunderstand my intention. I don't believe that such a measure would prevent trolls from posting per se, but it could make it easier for people to identify the troll and deal with it in whatever way they think best (ignore/downvote/reap). As an example which is not too far from what we've seen recently, imagine there is a thread discussing the marketability of programming language skills. Amongst the replies there are three posts from AM

  1. "Perl is dead and all you people are stupid idiots"
  2. "I heard Perl is dead at conference X from IT celebrity Y, help, will I become unemployed"
  3. "I've talked to the experienced programmers at my company and they told me Perl is an inferior language and I should use XYZ instead"

Now, I guess we can agree that 1 is a troll. Without knowing anything more about 2 and 3 they may appear as requests for information and lead to people trying to reply in a helpful manner. However, if the node title shows that all three posts came from the same person/IP address I personally would decide that none of them are genuine and not bother replying.

No it's not perfect, there are ways to get around it and it imposes a hoop on a certain group of users (though I still don't understand, and nobody AFAICS has tried to explain, what the big deal is about creating an unofficial "anonymous" login if one needs that). But it has been my experience that few things in life are perfect and with an issue such as this, which involves social conventions and patterns of behaviour I don't think a perfect solution exists. So I'm looking for one that's better than what we have now.


Debugging is twice as hard as writing the code in the first place. Therefore, if you write the code as cleverly as possible, you are, by definition, not smart enough to debug it. -- Brian W. Kernighan


Comment on Re^2: Dealing with An(?:no|on)ytroll
Re^3: Dealing with An(?:no|on)ytroll
by Perl Mouse (Chaplain) on Nov 28, 2005 at 12:30 UTC
    However, if the node title shows that all three posts came from the same person/IP address I personally would decide that none of them are genuine and not bother replying.
    This anon troll typically posts replies. You already know from previous posts that this is a troll, and you don't need to reply.

    Do you really think there are people who think "I'm going to reply, oh, no, he may be a troll, I don't know from this posts, but lets browse through old posts and see if there's a matching IP address"? Come on. Half of the people on Perlmonks can't even read the post they are replying to carefully - people aren't going to remember IP addresses, or bother to do crossmatching. And even if half the people on PM do, it's still not going to work - the other half will create the troll droppings.

    Anonymonks monks having their IP addresses listed aren't really anonymous, are they?

    though I still don't understand, and nobody AFAICS has tried to explain, what the big deal is about creating an unofficial "anonymous" login if one needs that
    What's an unofficial "anonymous" login? And, whatever it is, what's keeping trolls from creating it?

    Linking trolls with anonymous monks is like saying "See, there's a notorious driver around who often drives too fast around schools. And he's driving a red car. Let's equip all red cars with a siren, so we know he's coming".

    Perl --((8:>*
      What's an unofficial "anonymous" login? And, whatever it is, what's keeping trolls from creating it?

      I believe what tirwhan means here is creating a separate PM username to use for making posts that you wouldn't normally want to be associated with (for whatever reason). For example: everybody knows who merlyn is, and everybody knows his real name (it's in his signature). But lets say that merlyn wanted (for whatever reason) to create an alter-ego and use it to post. Rather than posting as AM, he might create an alternative PM username, let's say something like...um... oh, I don't know... maybe Paco.... for example {grin}

      Apart from the (employer-related) example you cite above, the only reason I could think of for doing something like this would be to protect XP, and that's just silly (tm)

      Linking trolls with anonymous monks is like saying "See, there's a notorious driver around who often drives too fast around schools. And he's driving a red car. Let's equip all red cars with a siren, so we know he's coming".

      An interesting analogy, but a good one. I have to agree :)

      You already know from previous posts that this is a troll, and you don't need to reply.

      No I don't, because these posts may just be coming from different AM's. I can't tell, because I can only evaluate the post based on its content, I don't know where it came from. If the IP address is displayed I can tell, thus my decision-making capability is improved. If the IP address of the posts is not the same I cannot make the reverse conclusion of course, I can still only judge based on content, but I'm no worse off than before, when no IP address was displayed. And I've made it a bit harder for the AM troll to ply his trade.

      I don't know whether people would use this information enough to make it worthwhile, thus my proposal (as opposed to a request). I personally would, so I guess I was scratching my own itch. I've heard good things sometimes come from that :-).

      Anonymonks monks having their IP addresses listed aren't really anonymous, are they?

      That depends who you want to be anonymous to. Some random DSL/company/university IP is not going to tell the average PM user anything about the person behind it. If you're trying to be anonymous against a government agency or your employer (and in certain jurisdictions powerful copyright holders), then you're right, that anonymity is not there. But that is already the case now.

      What's an unofficial "anonymous" login?

      An alternative login which you use when you don't want your reply associated with your normal login (or your IP address, according to my proposal). It's sufficiently anonymous because it does not lead back to a real or virtual identity (except in the cases detailed above). Sorry for being unclear, I thought I'd talked about that enough in my other posts.

      And there's nothing that keeps a troll from creating alternate logins, but it's that extra bit of effort which may be enough to stop him from posting. The entry barrier required to discourage trolls isn't usually very high.

      ...Let's equip all red cars with a siren, so we know he's coming

      No, it's more like saying "Let's stick a unique and identifiable number on the front and back of every car, so if one breaks the speed limit we know where to send the ticket." Now wouldn't that be a really fascist and impractical thing to do ;-)?


      Debugging is twice as hard as writing the code in the first place. Therefore, if you write the code as cleverly as possible, you are, by definition, not smart enough to debug it. -- Brian W. Kernighan
        No I don't, because these posts may just be coming from different AM's. I can't tell, because I can only evaluate the post based on its content, I don't know where it came from. If the IP address is displayed I can tell, thus my decision-making capability is improved.
        Wait a moment. First you say that posting with content like
        1. "Perl is dead and all you people are stupid idiots"
        2. "I heard Perl is dead at conference X from IT celebrity Y, help, will I become unemployed"
        3. "I've talked to the experienced programmers at my company and they told me Perl is an inferior language and I should use XYZ instead"
        are clearly trolls. And now you are saying you can't be sure, because all you have is the content? What is it? Is someone saying that Perl is dead and all of are stupid idiots a troll, or is he only a troll if you know his IP address?

        Look, it's very simple. If you aren't sure whether someone is a troll, don't reply. Problem solved.

        Some random DSL/company/university IP is not going to tell the average PM user anything about the person behind it.
        I disagree with that. I may know where certain people work (in fact, I know where quite a lot of Perl people work). Or I can gather the IP address(es) of the boxes they most often use from their IRC presense, mailing list postings or Usenet contributions. If, for whatever reason, they decide to post here anonymously, I know who did it. Or, worse, I may be convinced who posted here but be wrong. And even if I haven't gathered data, if a reverse DNS query links WWW.XXX.YYY.ZZZ to <well-known-name>.com it would strongly suggest who is behind the anonymous monk, wouldn't it?

        And that for a scheme that may not even work. Perhaps the troll you are chasing dials up to a large ISP with a gazillion different proxies. Perhaps he's mobile. Or, more likely, it just stops one person from responding: you, but not all the others.

        If you're trying to be anonymous against a government agency or your employer (and in certain jurisdictions powerful copyright holders), then you're right, that anonymity is not there. But that is already the case now.
        Really? If I'm a company, I know who each AM is?
        No, it's more like saying "Let's stick a unique and identifiable number on the front and back of every car, so if one breaks the speed limit we know where to send the ticket."
        Oh, and here I am, thinking you only wanted to add the IP address of anonymous monks. But your proposal is to list every ones IP address.
        Perl --((8:>*

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