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Do Not Feed the Trolls!!!

by Argel (Prior)
on Dec 21, 2007 at 21:01 UTC ( [id://658536]=monkdiscuss: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

Just because a troll shows up doesn't mean we should start feeding it!! The civil thing to do is ignore it!!! [ Pity for someone so shallow and wretched may also be appropriate, but I digress. ]

For example the code below will hide the contents of someoneís messages (at least with IE7). If you want to see the contents (and possibly vote on it) you can still drill down to the actual node. To use this put it in the "On-Site CSS Markup" section of your Display Settings. Obviosuly replace <userid> with the userid of the troll.

tr.pmnote-<userid> { display: none; } /* Ignore <userid> */

I had some misgivings about this as it felt like censorship. But I think the ability to drill down is a nice compromise when dealing with users who continue to exhibit crude behavior.

Iíd like to thank Fletch, perrin, and several Monks who were in the chatterbox a couple months back for the code snippet and thank the Monks in the chatterbox today for giving me advice, especially jZed.

Merry Christmas everyone!!

Update 2008-04-16: I want to draw attention to tye's excellent post about the difference beteween a flamer and a troll and why you should always ignore the troll.

Update 2011-07-20: Some of you may find the suggestions in Blocking users usefull as well, such as the ones in this post by MidLifeXis.

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re: Do Not Feed the Trolls!!!
by jZed (Prior) on Dec 21, 2007 at 21:08 UTC
    And to also hide the troll nodes in Newest Nodes, use
    td.node-from-<userid> { display: none !important; }
      And for the Recent Threads:
      .nnt-auth-<userid> { display: none; }
Re: Do Not Feed the Trolls!!!
by shmem (Chancellor) on Dec 21, 2007 at 21:45 UTC
    To hide the troll everywhere:
    [class$="<userid>"], [class$="<userid>"] *, [class$="<userid>"] :link +, [class$="<userid>"] :visited, a[href$="=<userid>"] { display: non +e; }

    This css rule occasionaly hides responses to the troll, too (e.g. in Recently Active Threads).

    update: to mark troll posts as such in threads

    [class$="<userid>"], [class$="<userid>"] *, [class$="<userid>"] :link +, [class$="<userid>"] :visited { display: none; } a[href$="=<userid>"]:before { content: "a Troll: "; }
    I can't get rid of the troll post header with css, because there's no way to select a parent node matching a child.


    _($_=" "x(1<<5)."?\n".q·/)Oo.  G°\        /
                                  /\_¯/(q    /
    ----------------------------  \__(m.====·.(_("always off the crowd"))."·
    ");sub _{s./.($e="'Itrs `mnsgdq Gdbj O`qkdq")=~y/"-y/#-z/;$e.e && print}
      This css rule occasionaly hides responses to the troll, too
      It's a loss I'm prepared to live with. Any topic s?he participates in loses any worth it had :(

      It will just do mechanically what I've been doing manually.

        Any topic s?he participates in loses any worth it had
        No - just the part starting with the troll's answer (i.e taking the troll post as root). The rest is OK and not affected.
      And calmness and peace descended once more upon the Monastery and the Monks rejoiced mightily and saw that it was good!


      A program should be light and agile, its subroutines connected like a string of pearls. The spirit and intent of the program should be retained throughout. There should be neither too little or too much, neither needless loops nor useless variables, neither lack of structure nor overwhelming rigidity." - The Tao of Programming, 4.1 - Geoffrey James

Re: Do Not Feed the Trolls!!!
by polettix (Vicar) on Dec 22, 2007 at 01:16 UTC
    Censorship is when someone else decides - on my behalf - that I cannot read something. If I put something like this in my personal CSS, it's just like avoiding gossip magazines at the newsstand: a choice, whatever truth they might contain. Which may apply for others, or not.

    Hey! Up to Dec 16, 2007 I was named frodo72, take note of the change! Flavio
    perl -ple'$_=reverse' <<<ti.xittelop@oivalf

    Io ho capito... ma tu che hai detto?

      Censorship is when someone else decides - on my behalf - that I cannot read something.

      Actually, sometimes that's just called "editing" or "moderating".

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Re: Do Not Feed the Trolls!!!
by hangon (Deacon) on Dec 22, 2007 at 09:16 UTC

    Well, I see our old friend Cop is back. Its actually somewhat fascinating to see how trolls can pull people into prolonged and meaningless debates. These threads remind me of one of my moments of clarity.

    I once had an old dog that I raised from a pup. Later I adopted a four year old dog. The two were very competitive, and each apparently saw himself as the alpha male. When I let them out in the morning they would squeeze through the door shoulder to shoulder, neither one willing to let the other go first. One day they dashed out into the yard side by side and stopped on either side of a lone dandelion. One hiked his right leg, the other his left, and they drenched that dandelion for what seemed like an eternity, neither willing to stop first. Of course this incident didn't settle anything between them, but in that moment I grasped the true meaning of the the phrase "pissing contest".

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Re: Do Not Feed the Trolls!!!
by Ovid (Cardinal) on Dec 23, 2007 at 10:21 UTC

    I've been using this for a couple of days every since a friend pointed out that Fletch had posted an almost identical technique. I don't see the drivel any more and I'm quite happy about this.

    As for censorship, it's clearly not censorship because this is something people choose to do. However, what if blatantly offensive monks who clearly have no desire to be here other than trolling get censored by the powers that be? So what? This is not some grand philosophical experiment. It's a Web forum where people come to discuss Perl. When you have juveniles who've nothing more meaningful in their life than to piss about on a Web forum, there's nothing wrong with kicking them. For quite some time I've been considerably less active because I'm sick of the trolling and the fact that no really seems to care about it. I suspect I'm not the only monk who's gotten fed up with the trolling and left or cut back on their participation. Is that what we really want out of Perlmonks?

    Update: I just noticed the other CSS hacks. Those are fantastic. I'm half tempted to add Anonymous Monk to that, but sometimes there's good stuff there.


    New address of my CGI Course.

      I'm half tempted

      Temptation is a bool switch ;-)

      Happy holidays!


      _($_=" "x(1<<5)."?\n".q·/)Oo.  G°\        /
                                    /\_¯/(q    /
      ----------------------------  \__(m.====·.(_("always off the crowd"))."·
      ");sub _{s./.($e="'Itrs `mnsgdq Gdbj O`qkdq")=~y/"-y/#-z/;$e.e && print}
      I heartily agree with Ovid about trolling getting out of hand! My take on something to consider might be to impose restrictions on monks with too much negative xp. This is the inverse of what we already do here: granting privileges to monks who gain xp. Maybe something like being restricted to one post per day as your xp gets worse? Although this implies that new monks will have to have some similar restriction (5 posts per day?), otherwize trolls would simply keep on creating new id's - does that seem reasonable too? I don't know...

      I confess I can't come up with a great solution for this, but the problem does seem to want for one.


        That only is a solution if you disallow anonymous posting (and even then it can still be thwarted by creating a new throw-away account every so often).

        As to the broader questions, not just this particular proposal...

        The more voluminous of the latest batches of trolling has been announced as a Holiday special that will likely end as the author's pathetic life again becomes busy enough to direct their loathing to less childish activities, as it had done for quite a while prior to the holidays.

        IMHO, if there hadn't been an avalanche of people willing to devote so much attention, the lack of encouragement would have meant a small fraction of the number of nodes before the author would have tired of baiting with little satisfaction in response.

        As Petruchio has implied many times, the monks get the level of trolling that they "ask for". So who are the gods to deny the monks from interacting and encouraging what they choose to. For example, there is a local sock puppet that some find to be an egregious troll while some claim to find entertaining.

        Then there is the sentiment, that PerlMonks isn't broken (slightly edited): "If you keep making changes in order to deal with increasingly unimportant 'social-issues' you will find yourself on a slippery slope leading down to a totally inwardly facing cabal of sycophants." And we wouldn't want that.

        Destructive behavior is usually much simpler than preventing destructive behavior. There are good reasons why the standard wisdom is "Don't feed the trolls" not "Ban the trolls" (which would more honestly be stated as "Try to ban the trolls").

        I can certainly sympathize with the desire for the gods or some technical mechanism to save the monks from themselves. And there have been times when such measures have been used, with varied degrees of success.

        But when, for example, one of the gods appears to make a personal project of carrying on an extended discussion with "the troll" and there is no shortage of other, high-level monks joining in (even when the subject lines of their replies contain "Do Not Feed the Trolls!!!"!), and an entire army of monks risks losing XP themselves in order to ensure that Worst Nodes is a shrine nearly devoted... Well, it seems beyond presumptuous for other(s) of the gods to interfere, frankly.

        The last time I took steps to ban a troll, it worked out fairly well. The troll did return, but it took quite a while. And part of the reason I took those steps then was because people had mostly stopped feeding that troll for some time. The bug spray isn't the first step if you've still got sugar or rotting meat strewn all over the floor. It is best if the motivation to try to figure out how to beat the ban is quite low before trying such. So everybody stop making trolling so darn entertaining first, then extra discouragements can be considered.

        Next, we have several people who think they are much too clever for some pathetic old troll and so reply but declare (or simply silently believe) "I am not feeding the troll". No, the troll is not more clever than y'all. Trolling isn't a game of wits. If one has so little of value in their life and so poor of socialization that they commence trolling in earnest, then there is no attention that isn't a reward compared to their pathetic lot. So those who think you aren't giving the type of attention that is desired, wake up!

        Then there are the people feeding the troll feeders. I've down-voted a ton of troll fodder and almost always I find that no small number of monks have already up-voted it. So it is no wonder so many keep dishing out the troll chow. And nobody should be shocked that we have so much business at our groaning board.

        - tye        

        I don't know that it's so much trolling (in general) getting out of hand in as much as one particular troll making an enormous spectacle out of themselves. Others (such as Mr. 223-years-and-or-degrees) are gnats in comparison to the programming legend in his own mind.

        The cake is a lie.
        The cake is a lie.
        The cake is a lie.

      While I can understand your rationale for wanting to exclude Anonymous Monk, I'd like to add a reason not to. (Not that you haven't already thought of it, but I'd just like it to be out there)

      Sometimes I post as an AM because I don't want to appear as if I am begging for XP. Other times, it's because I'm almost embarrassed at having to ask a simple question - or at least a question I thought should have been simple.

      I'd really hate to miss out on being able to contribute to (or benefit from) the incredible folks such as yourself who make up PM because I didn't include my username in an otherwise worthwhile post! (how's that for a run-on sentence!)

      Just my $.02

      (BTW, I was tempted to post this as an AM, just for the possible irony that somebody who might find it interesting may already be blocking AM posts)
        I seriously considered posting anonymously because of the XP reason and because the message was far, far more important than the messenger. However, I also felt I needed to give Fletch and perrin credit and I did not feel it was appropriate to mention their names without mentioning mine (e.g. in case there was any retaliatory downvoting).
      Thatís the original thread that inspired it all. The only problem with linking directly to it is everyone would assume Cop was the troll. I talked about this in the chatterbox and the suggestion was to keep things generic. I think that was sound advice and so I followed it.

      However, I did want to give credit where credit is due, so I mentioned Fletch and perrin and the Monks in the chatterbox that helped in the OP. It was the best compromise I could think of.

      "I suspect I'm not the only monk who's gotten fed up with the trolling and left or cut back on their participation."

      I am not taking either sides, after all, no side comes out as rightious in those flame wars.

      However there is no need for you to threaten the community just because you didn't win. In the past the community was never hurt because of anyone's quitting, regardless who he is. Abigail did so twice, so what? tilly did it once, so what? If you leave, there might be couple of thread about it - memorial services and that's it.

      I am not taking your side or your opponents' side, but you should have a better understanding where you stands and whether you can hurt the community by quitting.

        I'm not trying to "threaten" the community and I seriously doubt my leaving would hurt it. The negativity that's arisen here is affecting me. If I stay away, it will be for the same reason I left car sales so many years ago: it was turning me into a bad person because I, like many others, tend to absorb the local culture.

        A few years ago on this site, someone sent me a /msg telling me that they thought I was one of the most accessible of monks. I doubt anyone would say that today. I'm no longer as casually amiable online as I used to be.

        Will I leave Perlmonks permanently? I seriously doubt it, but this isn't the place it used to be and I feel like a stranger here now.


        New address of my CGI Course.

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Re: Do Not Feed the Trolls!!!
by perrin (Chancellor) on Dec 22, 2007 at 01:08 UTC
Re: Do Not Feed the Trolls!!!
by perlostitute (Initiate) on Dec 21, 2007 at 22:04 UTC

    This is absolutely not censorship. How many times we have told those idiots not to feed the troll, but idiots are idiots.

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