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Posted by hyperfocus on January 23, 2013, at 14:34:57

The goal of any forum troll is to have as many posters as possible pay attention to their troll posts -- preferably in an angry and indignant state. When people are getting trolled they are not carrying on the business of the site -- which is what the troll wants. The best way to deal with trolls on any forum is simply to not read their posts, until the admin decides to put a stop to it. Ordinary forum posters DO NOT have the power to stop trolling. It is not a matter of standing on the sidelines and doing nothing to help others.

There are a lot of misconceptions about trolling that people on PB seem to have:
a. It's done by kids with nothing to do and/or who just want to annoy people.
Trolls can be any age or sex and have their own motivations stemming from intense feelings, be it of hatred or anger or regret. Some people may even truly believe they are doing good by attacking a community. The ultimate goals of trolling vary but like in anything and anywhere else in life there a lot of people who think hurting other people will solve or ameliorate or rectify or justify some deficiency in themselves or adversity they have undergone or injustice they believe they have suffered.

b. It's done by posting crude statements or profanity or behaving in a stupid and offensive and crass manner
The best way to troll any forum is through psychological manipulation of the posters. It's very easy to manipulate people on the Internet where you can say anything and pretend to be anyone or to believe anything or take any side or any position -- as the current 'Catfish' phenomenon shows. Humans will always tend to have theory of mind deficits and be vulnerable to being manipulated and abused when it comes to interacting with strangers in a new communication medium and through non-verbal modes of dialogue -- it is why predation is so rampant over the internet. If people were in a psych ward or halfway house and every time they came out into the common area to start a conversation one person tells them over and over they are all stupid and ignorant and drug addicts and liars and bigots and unfit parents and death-worshippers, they would probably recognize it as abuse and take steps to protect themselves. A lot of people on PB seem to have a hard time doing that because when communication is done through writing it's easy to be covert with one's intents.

c. Trolls are stupid
Trolls are usually clever. Psychological manipulation can be hard to spot. Just like in real life psychological manipulation relies on vulnerability and an over-indulgence of qualities in the victim's character that should be assets -- people who are too altruistic, too trusting or fair-minded, too willing to defend others against unfairness are always the ones who get trolled the most on forums.

It takes intelligence to know what to say and who to say it too and when to say it to achieve one's abusive intents. Long-standing forum members who contribute the most will always be targeted the most. It's easy to troll people who try to be fair-minded by accusing them of bias and people who are knowledgeable by accusing them of ignorance and deliberate ignorance of facts. Contention between posters will always be exploited, opposing sides shored up and reinforced. Knowledge of human nature and a fine sensitivity and timing to one's statements are the hallmarks of all psychological manipulators.

It takes intelligence to use logical fallacies. Logical fallacies cannot be refuted -- it is why they are fallacies -- but can be hard to spot if you don't look for them or as is usually the case here, don't believe somebody would deliberately and exclusively use them on a forum like this dedicated to support and education.

d. Ordinary forum users should stand up to trolls
Trolls do not care about you or what the forum you contribute is about or about what is true or factual or fair or right. All they desire is for you and your friends to spend your energy in angry defensive and hopefully uncivil replies to their posts. When you say uncivil things and break forum rules it just gives the troll more ammunition in their campaign to use against the community. "See look at what they're saying about me and my carefully researched and rational and civil statements -- and the admin does nothing. I am right about this place."

The ideal situation on PB for any troll is to have posters spending their energy on time on defending themselves and others and not posting about support and education. People expend all their energy, post less, become upset and disillusioned, stop posting all-together, and the community deteriorates. New posters find less reason to stick around and the community cannot replenish itself. Victory.

Despite struggling with their own illness and having their own lives people like 10der and Larry Hoover have given a lot to this site -- far more than any healthy person would attempt. Pretty much all PB posters unselfishly give their time and energy to try to help and support and educate people who are very ill. I didn't think anyone would have enough callousness and hatred in their hearts to abuse people who are ill and still trying to help others but it seems every day I keep learning the futility of assumptions like this in life. However there is nothing I or anyone can do about it. Maybe I should have made a post like earlier but like I said I just don't have the energy most of the time. We all choose how we react to things on PB and in life -- you can't fix everything and everybody.

You can't get bullied or abused or manipulated on a forum if you don't read the troll's posts addressed to you or anybody else. When you read what trolls say and get upset -- you are doing exactly what they intended. People get trolled on PB through their own actions. If you're not spending your energy on support and education then you're part of the problem. If you really want to defend PB then post more on meds and focus on helping and supporting and educating people who really want those things from you.

C-PTSD: social phobia, major depression, dissociation. 20 yrs duration.
Asperger's Syndrome.
Currently: 150mg amitriptyline single dose at night. 75mg Lyrica occasionally.
Significantly improving.




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