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I was going to write a lengthy article about trolls, with clever definitions cut and pasted from dictionary.com, peppered with wise comments, but I've decided not to.
Berka's job is tough. He is moderating the site's active content. Admins like JJJ and I can ban, deduct points, etc. Users can easily create new accounts over and over ad nauseum, poking and prodding at others.
Everything is about how one responds to torment. In many cases, explosive violence may be the answer. However, I suggested IP tracking long ago and that didn't work out. Furthermore, I'm much calmer these days, because my testosterone has undoubtedly begun its gradual decline, until finally my muscles will become withered and I will be stooped and broken, a shell, really of my violent, youthful self.
Hmm, I seem to have digressed. Everything is about how one responds to torment. When I look through the forums, I see constant, petty bickering. I see people immediately attacking new users because they imagine them to be the incarnation of some annoying past user. Everyone may very well be right.
But try to put yourself in the mind of the troll. It doesn't care what the response is, as long as the response is immediate and visceral. Good or bad. I should have taken my own advice and not attacked the troll's character, and I apologize for that. As I said, IP tracking and subsequent death at my hands is now out of the question, due to technical limitations and my rapidly decaying body.
Therefore, what is to be done? Short of upgrading the site into modern forums, such as SMF or PHP, and hiring several moderators (like a larger site such as Gamespot or Facebook might do), we have to rely on our moderator, Berka, to delete wildly inappropriate posts, and perhaps even more importantly, we have to moderate ourselves.
You, the users, have to behave in a rational, mature manner. This means respecting others and not personally attacking others. We've all heard this before, since kindergarten.
The blame is surely not on any of you, but there are ways to respond. If, for instance, we simply deleted troll posts and never acknowledged the troll, it may go away.
It is very easy for an online forum, and I mean that literally, a forum where one cannot see the other and there seems to be no penalties, to descend into a bickering pit of flaming and tongue-lashing.
We must prevent this. While we cannot keep out all undesirables, we certainly can come together as a community, and rise above it.
That is the most positive speech you will ever read from my fingers, and I am only now realizing that I sound like an adult. It is disturbing.
Let me be clear. Any posting of child pornography WILL be reported to the FBI. This site is equipped with a way for admins to see IPs and it is very easy to call the internet provider and demand to know the user's name. When a claim is based on child endangerment, the FBI is required to follow-up, and the cable/DSL corporations release the information very easily, and without a court order. EU law is similar in this regard.
So, everyone, ignore the troll(s). Playing their game means you lose.
There is your lengthy article, after all.
October, madglee and I have decided that the site could use another moderator to clean up forum threads that the three of us aren't participating in. We've decided to give moderator powers to BerkaZerka because he seems to be the perfect blend of responsible and engaged.