Sunday, January 31, 2016

BEING CALLED AN INTERNET TROLL IS MILD COMPARED TO WHAT PSYCHOLOGY TODAY CALLS TROLLS: "INTERNET TROLLS ARE NARCISSISTS,PSYCHOPATHS AND SADISTS!" CAN I DISINVITE THESE TROLLS FROM COMMENTING ON MY BLOG?

I saw this at the former Deacon's Bench:

“Social networks can facilitate relationships and promote the good of society, but they can also lead to further polarization and division. … The digital world is a public square, a meeting place where we can either encourage or demean one another, engage in a meaningful discussion or unfair attacks. … Access to digital networks entails a responsibility for our neighbor whom we do not see but who is nonetheless real and has a dignity which must be respected.”

Believers can stand firm in defending the faith, he said, but “even in those cases where they must firmly condemn evil” it’s essential that they not resort to using words and arguments that “try to rupture relationships.”

Alas, there’s the rub, especially when “trolls” stir havoc in online communities. Psychology Today, in the article titled “Internet Trolls are Narcissists, Psychopaths and Sadists,” defined the term this way: “An Internet troll is someone who comes into a discussion and posts comments designed to upset or disrupt the conversation. … Trolls will lie, exaggerate and offend to get a response.”

At the heart of the pope’s argument is a call to focus on the humanity of those encountered online, even if they behave as trolls, noted writer Elizabeth Scalia, known as “The Anchoress” during her 12 years in the Catholic blogosphere. She is editor of the English edition of Aleteia.org, a global Catholic website.

“I think that trolls are miserable and they want the world to be miserable with them. They aren’t even trying to make a coherent argument anymore,” she said. “That’s why I try to resist the temptation to punch down. … It’s one thing to be involved in a real debate. It’s something else to deal with people who are not even arguing in good faith.”

The problem, especially in debates about faith, worship and doctrine, is that it’s easy to focus so hard on winning that you “lose sight of the humanity of the person on the other side,” Scalia said. That’s crucial when the goal — especially during the Year of Mercy — is to “admonish” sinners who the church believes are in need of mercy.

Striving to “correct” errors, she said, doesn’t mean “getting out your hammer and hitting people with it.”

14 comments:

Flavius Hesychius said...

Now you can learn another word: 'flame bait', which is intentionally writing a provocative post in order to anger people or attract trolls.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I am sorry that you consider provocative posts as inflaming the passions of people who aren't trolls. I consider the Psychology Today description of actual trolls fitting only narcissists, psychopaths and sadists not those who might disagree with this, that or the other and cogently put their thoughts into writing not as narcissists, psychopaths and sadists but as intelligent individuals with something to contribute to the discussion even if they disagree with my most cogent and truthful posts.

Anonymous said...

Intelligence never gets in the way of many, many posts on this blog. They are readily identofied by the use phrases like "enemies of the Church," "modernist/modernism," "ilk," or the like.

Flavius Hesychius said...

I didn't make up 'flame bait'. There's a whole lexicon of words and phrases used in internet communities. Troll is one.

It's what happens when socially awkward nerds learn to communicate with one another. (And I freely admit to being one of those socially awkward nerds.)

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Pope Francis warns "There is pleasure in feeling bitter, an unhealthy pleasure."

John Nolan said...

You have one troll on your blog, who sometimes posts anonymously and sometimes identifies himself with a shortened vernacular form of the Latin 'excrementum oris'.

Julian Barkin said...

Lol! Flavius that is hilarious! I can only picture a bunch of people like the Simpson's "comic book guy" and multiple Sheldons from Big Bang theory all sitting at computers ranting and typing. And I love that you can make fun of yourself in a good manner. Shows humility and humour.

Anonymous 2 said...

This is a post I have been saving for an appropriate thread. This is the appropriate thread. The post concerns the recent horrific experience of Fareed Zakaria as the target of a trolling campaign (Fareed is host of CNN’s Global Public Square, which airs on Sundays). I saw him deliver this account on his program. Normally a very calm person, he appeared to be visibly angry and upset, understandably so. For the full Washington Post article, see:

http://fareedzakaria.com/2016/01/15/bile-venom-and-lies-how-i-was-trolled-on-the-internet/

Here is the essence:

“As it happens, in recent weeks I was the target of a trolling campaign and saw exactly how it works. It started when an obscure website published a post titled ‘CNN host Fareed Zakaria calls for jihad rape of white women.’ The story claimed that in my ‘private blog’ I had urged the use of American women as ‘sex slaves’ to depopulate the white race. The post further claimed that on my Twitter account, I had written the following line: ‘Every death of a white person brings tears of joy to my eyes.’

Disgusting. So much so that the item would collapse from its own weightlessness, right? Wrong. Here is what happened next: Hundreds of people began linking to it, tweeting and retweeting it, and adding their comments, which are too vulgar or racist to repeat. A few ultra-right-wing websites reprinted the story as fact. With each new cycle, the levels of hysteria rose, and people started demanding that I be fired, deported or killed. For a few days, the digital intimidation veered out into the real world. Some people called my house late one night and woke up and threatened my daughters, who are 7 and 12.

It would have taken a minute to click on the link and see that the original post was on a fake news site, one that claims to be satirical (though not very prominently). It would have taken simple common sense to realize the absurdity of the charge. But none of this mattered. The people spreading this story were not interested in the facts; they were interested in feeding prejudice. The original story was cleverly written to provide conspiracy theorists with enough ammunition to ignore evidence. It claimed that I had taken down the post after a few hours when I realized it ‘receive[d] negative attention.’ So, when the occasional debunker would point out that there was no evidence of the post anywhere, it made little difference. When confronted with evidence that the story was utterly false, it only convinced many that there was a conspiracy and coverup.’

I am not posting this to start yet another conversation about Islam and Muslims (in fact I hope we don’t), but to provide a striking illustration of this nefarious practice and its associated mob psychology and “group think,” and how we all need to be vigilant, cautious consumers of information on social media who keep our critical reading skills well honed.







TJM said...

Kavanaugh, and Francis' bitterness and lack of charity towards faithful Catholics is disgusting.

Gene said...

Anon 2, Who cares about Fareed Zakaria..another Harvard liberal, one world without borders kook.

Gene said...

Fr, don't you have the capability on the blog of banning trolls? Forums do it all the time....you know, trolls like the one Nolan is talking about, "gob."

the gobster said...

EVERY TIME that I, or anybody else submits an offering here, Fr.McD. has the option of publishing or not publishing it. If there is a particular posting from me that he doesn't like, for any reason, he can simply ignore it. If he were to decide that he does not want to hear from me at all, he would just have to convey that to me, and I would be gone. It would require no "banning" or court order or police action....

It is clear that there are some who don't like what I say...who don't like me (though they don't know me). (I wonder if they fear me...) Johnny Knowland and Newgene probably head the list. I'd just like to say to them both..."Hey, I love you man".

Gene said...

Gob, you never say anything...you have never contributed anything of substance your whole time on the blog...nothing but "nananana-boo-boo. You don't love anyone but yourself.

Gene said...

Anon 2, BTW, in Europe, the citizens have formed vigilante groups and are kicking the butts of Muslim thugs using things like ASP batons...nothing to play around with. I am glad to know that there is testosterone left in Europe. More power (and ASP batons), to them.