Time for a moderator!

greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

It should be obvious to most of us by this time that we need a moderator. I, for one, am going to be history on this forum unless it is gotten under control.

I run my own site (a free personals page) so I know something about keeping troublemakers off.

1) it is possible to block all incoming messages from certain IP addresses.

2) it is possible to password-protect user IDs. This would mean that nobody can sign a message as you unless he has your password. This is much simpler than digital signatures.

3) it is possible to delegate responsibility for maintaining the site to trusted parties. Give them the administrator's password and let them delete offending messages and/or entire threads.

Jerry and Jimmy, please don't hesitate to post to this thread. It will keep it at the top of the 'recent answers' list.

-- Ned (entaylor@cloudnet.com), December 18, 1998


Ned, I don't know whether or not I agree with you.

On the one hand, I have a personal grudge against Jerry ever since he posted under my name and got half the forum thinking I'd broken down or something. Since then, I've wanted to apply a baseball bat to his face.

And I *don't* like reading the illiterate pornography that these jerks are posting.

On the other hand, Jerry seems to hate Jimmy, which raises my opinion of him (Jerry) slightly. More intelligently, I don't like the idea of either a moderator OR passwords.

I personally think that if we simply ignore these guys, they will eventually go away. Failing that, point a specific ban directly at them and nobody else.


-- Leo (leo_champion@hotmail.com), December 18, 1998.

Caution you may throw the baby out with the bathwater.

-- Richard Dale (rdale@figroup.co.uk), December 18, 1998.

Jimmy has me LMAO when he actually contributes. It's awful material, usually, but tragically funny nonetheless, IMO. I hardly ever laugh anymore, since I GI.

Maybe if the Jimmy & Jerry could keep ONE thread to themselves going and really burn it up... Although I appreciate Jimmy's occasional arrows and welcome them if they're....well, clean.

Jerry needs to cough up some worthwhile on-topic material, though.

-- Lisa (nomail@work.com), December 18, 1998.

Jimmy has me LMAO

What are you serious, no what a stupid question you're laughing.

Takes two to tango I suppose.

-- Richard Dale (rdale@figroup.co.uk), December 18, 1998.

Maybe someone could edit their posts for grammar and syntax at least?

-- Holly Caow (giveme@abreak.com), December 18, 1998.

The simple ways are often the most effective. While MSNBC forums do sometimes block a chronic abuser, their policy of including the IP address of the poster in each post keeps many offenders away. It is a pretty plain signal that the forum administrator does know who you are and where you are coming from.

-- Paul Davis (davisp1953@yahoo.com), December 18, 1998.

Alternatively, so that those who wish can maintain their annonymity, the admin could include MOST (but not all) of the IP address in the post, so those of us who are "Enterprising" would be unable to send unwanted e-mail.


"Shan, do strive for some ballance"

-- Chuck a night driver (rienzoo@en.com), December 18, 1998.

I'm not so sure anymore wether we can keep this forum going without something like Ned proposed. When I wrote my comments about freedom of speech on Ed's thread, I forgot to take off my rosy glasses tinted by what the net once used to be. Since it has gone mainstream, I had stoped going to Usenet and other posting forums. Started only again this last summer, and on this forum. I thought I had over-reacted at the mainstream invading, since this forum was on par with what I had been used to, flames and all. But today, I've seen the AOL type useless bandwith trashers, and I'm afraid it would only get worse.

About Jerry and Jimmy; Jimmy has been impersonated by Jerry. I agree with Lisa, he's harmless. He's simply a DGI who disagrees with Ed, and his language was the South Park type, tipical of younger generation, but he was making his views heard.

Jerry I believe he is Chittum, using the name Jerry to unleash his skin-head pent-up anger and psychopathic emotions to destroy Ed's forum. He certainly would at least have the motive of competition of sites, if not of ideas. Jerry's racist/bigot comments, foul language, and use of "jermany!1" in his address tells me he's a skin-head, if not Chittum himself. This type of troll is dangerous to the forum. It's free-speech destroyed alltogether if we don't stop it.

-- Chris (catsy@pond.com), December 18, 1998.

Chris... While I hate to see the kinds of posts Jerry and Jimmy make, your comment that failure to preventing them from speaking will destroy free speech is irony to the nth degree.

-- Vic Parker (rdrunner@internetwork.net), December 18, 1998.

Is it not possible for adults on this forum to deal with the magpies? Heckyl and Jeckyl will tire of their antics if they are ignored. It is a effective technique for behavioral change...do not respond to bad behavior,...they thrive on reaction. If you've had any experience with effective parenting you know what to do with pests. Do it.

-- Donna Barthuley (moment@pacbell.net), December 18, 1998.

I hate that fact that anyone would burn the American flag. However, I would fight and die to protect their right to do so.

It's the freedom that is the issue and not the "symbol" of the freedom. The freedom of expression and of free speech are essential.

Jerry and Jimmy and anyone else that "trolls" here must be reading some of the posts. If it makes them angry that is in and of itself a good thing. At least they've reacted. Eventually, they might even become a "GI".

As long as posts are on topic censorship shouldn't be imposed.

I'm guilty of posting off topic and I wouldn't be at all surprised if an off topic subject simply disappeared from the forum. However, self-moderation seems to work very well here. Eventually, the subject simply moves down the list and goes away.

Any point that is different than my own point of view offers an alternate perspective and a learning opportunity.

Even morons and trolls and idiots have the right to speak (or write) their mind. I know I've fallen into the category of a moron and an idiot before and I've even demonstrated it here. But, I cherish the right and the opportunity to prove myself a fool. I would hope that everyone might consider this before we decide who's posts are relevant and who's are not.

Mike ========================================================

-- Michael Taylor (mtdesign3@aol.com), December 18, 1998.


Maybe as things heat up in the non-digital world in 1999 the trolls will calm down and start looking at the Y2K truth or consequences issues. Or they'll just be blindsided. Sad.

Oh well, it's a big world out there and this is just a microcosm of the macrocosm. For the most part, this world and the outer one is still populated with reasoning people.


-- Diane J. Squire (sacredspaces@yahoo.com), December 18, 1998.

I can't deal with the smut, didn't like stumbling on it. If that can be managed, I agree. Just ignore them. They'll go away.

-- margie mason (mar3mike@aol.com), December 18, 1998.

If a few trolls cause this much chaos in a group of people such as I imagine this forum to be largely composed of, what are the prospects for us all in a Y2K dislocation?

Are any of you so sheltered or so fragile that you've suffered anything other than outrage or externally imposed disgust? I promise you all, there are far more outrageous and disgusting things in life and likely in all of our futures than any of the childish and mindless bits of garbage we have all been subjected to here. Get over it. If you have any illusions of being a Y2K "Major Event" survivor and you can't handle this, you're living in a dream world.

It is clear to me who is "winning" here, and it is not the "civilized" participants. My suggestions and advice for dealing with the situation are stated below in the re-post of what I'd said in the, "Thinning out the Morons" (or whatever), thread.

Unless I am greatly mistaken, "Trolls", by their very nature are defective beings. In my experience, they all have an inherent "self destruct" mechanism that will eliminate them unless that mechanism is "reset" by a response. There are ways to respond without resetting the clock, but it's a dicey proposition and not only doesn't always work, it's almost always different from troll to troll and instance to instance.

If a troll "gets to you" (and we can all be "had"), you must balance the internal emotional benefit of a response against the likelihood of its effectiveness against the troll and the possibility of "resetting" the troll's self destruct countdown.

I don't see it as a moral issue; trolls, like cockroaches, should be unprotected and an open season should obtain. If you're an effective "troll killer", go for it. If you miss and cause further spewing of garbage, everyone else will probably let you know you've blown it. If you short circuit the countdown, there will most likely be a collective cyber-sigh of relief.

There are too many variables (how thick your skin is, how effective your retort might be, how vigorous the troll is, etc.) to make hard and fast rules. Just remember that your judgement is one of the things that sets you apart from the troll.

-- Hardliner (searcher@internet.com), December 18, 1998.

I expect trolls (Snerts is the old IRC term) on the internet...always have...they don't really bother me unless I am misquoted.

Flexibility is the key to successful living as a human being. Unless as individuals we are very isolated we meet them every day, the trolls....There is no need for a call to arms,...there IS call for cogent problem solving. How do you deal with pests? Unless they have weapons that will take your life, ignore them.

-- Donna Barthuley (moment@pacbell.net), December 18, 1998.

What to do about trolls and malicious posters

Richard, the analogy would be better put as 'don't throw the diapers out with the fecal matter.' Well, quite frankly, the fact we are having to discuss feculence at all is a significant red-alert that corrective measures are needed.

Donna, it's true that ignorant behavior is best ignored, left unaddressed and unresponded, and one has the responsibility Do Not Feed the Trolls. In the face of unpleasantness, neither fan the flames of emotions nor fuel the fires of the mental disturbance by not feeding it the attention that it is calculated to elicit. This is like the story of the movie "Last Temptation" with music by Peter Gabriel which would have been just an obscure B movie were it not for the hysterical attention paid to it by the Church, leading it to be a big moneymaker. If one becomes highly polarized about something, the opposite response tends to be energized. However if you were to see your kids defacing your library of y2k books with waste matter, you will take action.

Mike, off-topic and relevancy are not the issue. At issue are posts which are offensive, including impersonation.

The offensive material is best viewed as evidence comprising a specific clinical picture of a certain kind of troubled soul, sometimes know as the Troll syndrome. Doubtless they had a difficult childhood and are facing difficult and inadequate relationships with those around them, few of them healthy. They wander the internet seeking acknowledgement and a response. They do not form real relationships with other human beings because they are living a virtual and vicarious life. The best they can do is gain attention online, try to get a dialog going on their wavelength, and try to come to grips with their personal unhappiness. There is hope for them but until they learn manners and to contain themselves, they need to stay in the infirmary.

Troubled ones will eventually turn up in any group or community as it reaches a critical size. This group seemed to pass that critical sample size a month or so ago. If there are say 1000 participants with 100 contributors (90% lurk rate) and a 1% troll prevalence (clinical immaturity), then the trolls don't start showing up until 100 or more contributors are present.

The suggestion for this type of mental and emotional trouble begins with discontinuing the stuffing of toxic junk food into the body. Diet soda with aspartame is particularly mind-rotting. Sugar, meat, and dairy cause an overacid body condition leading to many varieties of ailments. Eat at least one fresh salad per day, and try skipping meals when possible. Emotional health begins with physical health.

Meanwhile the simple short-term remedy for the troll problem is to delegate custodial/editorial duties to a few of the qualified participants. A few snips will save a lot of time. When you go to your office to work, you don't want to have spend your time mopping the floor, but someone has to do it once in a while. When it gets to be too much trouble to clean up after them, block out the trolls.

-- Jon (jonmiles@pacbell.net), December 18, 1998.

Methinks the issue has been addressed. Been a couple of hours since the last troll sighting. Nasty threads deleted. Nasty posts purged. And nothing new. Hmmmm. Could it be that the offenders have been blocked? Now that's how you handle pests . . . exterminate them.

The Troll Exterminator has been here. Or is that the Yourdonator?

-- David (David@BankPacman.com), December 18, 1998.


I appreciated your thoughtful post, particularly this paragraph:

"Troubled ones will eventually turn up in any group or community as it reaches a critical size. This group seemed to pass that critical sample size a month or so ago. If there are say 1000 participants with 100 contributors (90% lurk rate) and a 1% troll prevalence (clinical immaturity), then the trolls don't start showing up until 100 or more contributors are present."

I think this is something that people fail time and again to remember. It has been my experience working in the field of mental health that MOST folks think everyone else is just like them...and they are mostly right. They are not however schooled to deal with the 1% that is not like them. I agree that toxins are a part of the pot of soup that makes up the behavior we see demonstration of in trolls, or anti-social types,...but culture and socialization factors in at least as much. There is NO training in the mainstream for how to deal with people who are "not like you". None. Criminal, really...that that is not so. Is it better I ask to teach children to memorize useless dates of historical import, or to teach them about human behavior? I'll never understand this lack.

Thanks for your great post, Jon.

-- Donna Barthuley (moment@pacbell.net), December 18, 1998.

And the troll issue is not about rights, freedom, or free speech. (See the other discussion on Deleting offensive posts). It's about bandwidth allocation in a private domain. If I invite people over to my house for a discussion, the only right involved is the right to have only the people I want in my house! IMNVHO, they should feel grateful to be allowed in! If they want to whine about free speech they can go tell it to the wind. Visitors to a discussion website are visitors to a virtual community, and whether they are leaving their manners at the doorstep, or if they lost them long ago, or if they never had them, I would do what is needed to keep them out. The malicious troll problem is a test model for us to learn how to deal with troublemakers that eventually turn up in any group as it gets larger. Yes there should be tolerance, but there are also boundaries to what is acceptable.

-- Jon (jonmiles@pacbell.net), December 18, 1998.

Thank you Jon. Good points.

-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw GA) (cook.r@csaatl.com), December 18, 1998.

"Chris... While I hate to see the kinds of posts Jerry and Jimmy make, your comment that failure to preventing them from speaking will destroy free speech is irony to the nth degree. "

No irony in this whatsoever. Having the right to free speech does not equal having the right to physically attack people or destroy property.

Jerry's sexualy-degrading cut/paste spam posts are the cyber-equivalent to a scud-missile lunched at the forum. It not only does not contain ideas to the forum's topic, it scares away, disgusts away, people who HAVE ideas, whatever those ideas are, political/philosophical/technical/practical, about the topic, for or against.

Freedom of speech is freedom of saying what you think in a society, and mentally ill poeple who destroy society should be locked up. Or locked out in our case.

-- Chris (catsy@pond.com), December 18, 1998.

Mentally ill people cannot "destroy society". They are only a small percentage of the population. Don't be afraid. Ignor or placate. All will be well.

-- Donna Barthuley (moment@pacbell.net), December 18, 1998.

Anybody else's "cookie" signature record expire today?

-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw GA) (cook.r@csaatl.com), December 18, 1998.

-- Donna Barthuley;

You got that "RIGHT ON" Ma'am.


Folks: Just ignore them and eventually they will go away.

They have to have the same access as we do or we have given in to yet another loss of freedom in the illusion of a temporary safety.

If you can't use your "scroll past the troll" feature of the browser, you need to learn that before you bitch and moan about them so much.

It looks more and more like we only have a short time left to enjoy what ED has given us, for free I might add, and we can better use the time in the normal(?) course of information exchange.

If you people get this upset at such a trivial thing, now, while the lights are still on, what do you think you'll do later. What will you do when the "Pucker Factor" hits a 5 and the trolls are real?

Get a grip folks. It's going to be a whole lot worse before it can get any better.

This too shall pass.


-- sweetolebob (La) (buffgun@hotmail.com), December 18, 1998.

If you have read this far, you aren't really preparing for y2k. Really.


-- epigone (cc@kobold.com), December 18, 1998.

Mr. Doughnuts has left the building.

Before leaving he asked me to clear up a few things regarding his open post to Ed. He said he meant the Nazi slur as generic and not literal. In New Jersey they think even mens room attendants are Nazis'and he forgot he wasn't in his living room. Well actually he was in his living room but he didn't realize how crowded it was.

Jimmy most regrets the following which seems to have made a few readers go bonkers.

"You're nothing but a huckster selling snake oil to the nuts, wackos, racists and seperatists gay bashers and all around dickheads"

Jimmy said he was just using a little poetic license and he knows that most of the posters and readers of Ed's forum and buyers of Ed's stuff are just concerned about a problem that is indeed real and could impact their lives and families although to what degree Jimmy would like to debate anytime anyplace.

I wanted to start a thread with this post to make it easy to find but Jimmy said no it would just be flamed and Ed would have to remove it.

In closing Jimmy wanted me to wish everyone a safe and happy holiday and Jimmy hopes to return soon with a list of compliant bakeries in Northern New Jersey.

-- Almond Danish (workingwithout@net.com), December 19, 1998.

Almond/Jimmy I repeat this so you can see it twice:

PS Almond Danish/Jimmy Bagga... Thank you.


i suspected there was an ample supply of class somewhere there.

Thanks for proving me correct.

Chuck, Who Can (contrary to popular belief) Recognize a Class Act.

-- Chuck a night driver (rienzoo@en.com), December 19, 1998.

-- Chuck a night driver (rienzoo@en.com), December 19, 1998.

I think free speach is important. I am new to this forum, I am a poster in the very busy/hectic usenet newsgroup comp.software.year-2000 I use a filter, to filter out junk posts. Is there a way to do that here? That would be perferrable to having a moderator.

-- non given (yearbook@cet.com), December 20, 1998.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ