Troll awareness week

Service: Narrative

Troll awareness week

Service: Narrative

Hello all,

I wanted to bring up a couple of things here, rather than on the platform, so as not to feed the rep of one of our trolls.

1) Trolls like conflict.  Their game is to upset, and cause chaos and division.  They delight in it.

2) Narrative is uniquely vulnerable to this because so much of it is designed to be community driven.  Especially at this early stage when moderation is not in place.

3) Both of the trolls, Gage (@default), and D.K (@Ethereum) are intelligent and have been running circles around us in a couple of ways.


 

First, a mea culpa.  I haven't had to deal with trolls for 15 years or so, and it took me a little while to remember they have to be dealt with swiftly and efficiently: if you put more time into responding to them than they do into causing the trouble, you're failing.

So I engaged with Gage more than I should have.  Didn't take me too long to come to my senses though...

Second, @Emily Barnett: I read your response to Gage, and am deliberately responding here, and not there, and only in a limited fashion as my hope was that hatchets were being buried.

I'm afraid, in my view, you fell hook line and sinker for Gage's main play.  He named you as the only person creating proper content on the site, and leveled accusations at me that he knew you would feel sympathy for - and he did this very deliberately.  Divide and conquer is the oldest play in the book.  Trolls like to see people quarrel, and the easiest people to make quarrel are people who have already been quarreling. 

You responded with a long post mainly sympathizing with him. 

Please consider the niche suggestion he put forwards (the only niche he has suggested since he joined in November):


Trolling

Description: The act of starting quarrels or upsetting people on the Internet to distract and sow discord by posting inflammatory and digressive, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community and normalizing tangential discussion for amusement.


 

Sound familiar?  Recognize anything between the niche Gage suggested, the description he wrote, and his actions on the platform?

The next event in this very deliberate chain reaction would have been for me to respond to you @Emily Barnett, from a place of ego.  After all, you wrote a veiled threat in rather dramatic terms, speaking of alerting the community to problematic niche approvals as something that could cause the 'demise' of the alerter on the platform.

Instead, I'm starting this conversation here to help us not fall for these sorts of tactics, even if they use very compelling methods appealing to our egos.  Don't fall for it.  We have to be better than this.  Otherwise trolls will run circles around us.  That's the real threat to Narrative right now.  People alerting the community to look at problematic niche approval votes?  Nothing, compared to letting trolls stoke divisions between the most committed Narrators.  Lets always keep our priorities.

And if anyone thinks I'm overstating the threat, please think twice.  Narrative is designed to be community governed.  We are the community.  Some of us will be moderators, and Tribunal members, and Committee members.  There will trolls in greater numbers soon, and they will try to drive wedges between owners, moderators, and members of the Tribunal.  Whether the Narrative model survives and thrives or not depends on us keeping our priorities straight and remaining united in the face of malicious actors.

Original Post

Activity Stream

I agree that you are not overstating the problem, @Malkazoid. I did not read the interaction between a known malicious actor and @Emily Barnett, but I do know how very tempting it can be to get drawn into conversation with this sort of person. (I say "person," but these malicious trolls are hopefully only caricatures of their real-life counterparts.)

It's sad that people who are unhappy with the system would choose to destroy it rather than work to make it a better place. I think it's fair to say that MOST of us from the alpha period are not exactly content with the platform the way it is now, but that we are doing what we can to suggest improvements one by one and hope they get taken seriously. There are probably a fair number of beta members who are unhappy with the platform the way it is now, but because of those choosing to behave badly, they may not bother with sticking around until it gets fixed up.

TL;DR: Don't feed the trolls. Downvote all their comments and posts with the "low quality" reason, as one of the Narrative staff members instructed, unless there is an actual TOS/AUP violation.

Malkazoid posted:

Hello all,

I wanted to bring up a couple of things here, rather than on the platform, so as not to feed the rep of one of our trolls.

1) Trolls like conflict.  Their game is to upset, and cause chaos and division.  They delight in it.

2) Narrative is uniquely vulnerable to this because so much of it is designed to be community driven.  Especially at this early stage when moderation is not in place.

3) Both of the trolls, Gage (@default), and D.K (@Ethereum) are intelligent and have been running circles around us in a couple of ways.


 

First, a mea culpa.  I haven't had to deal with trolls for 15 years or so, and it took me a little while to remember they have to be dealt with swiftly and efficiently: if you put more time into responding to them than they do into causing the trouble, you're failing.

So I engaged with Gage more than I should have.  Didn't take me too long to come to my senses though...

Second, @Emily Barnett: I read your response to Gage, and am deliberately responding here, and not there, and only in a limited fashion as my hope was that hatchets were being buried.

I'm afraid, in my view, you fell hook line and sinker for Gage's main play.  He named you as the only person creating proper content on the site, and leveled accusations at me that he knew you would feel sympathy for - and he did this very deliberately.  Divide and conquer is the oldest play in the book.  Trolls like to see people quarrel, and the easiest people to make quarrel are people who have already been quarreling. 

You responded with a long post mainly sympathizing with him. 

Please consider the niche suggestion he put forwards (the only niche he has suggested since he joined in November):


Trolling

Description: The act of starting quarrels or upsetting people on the Internet to distract and sow discord by posting inflammatory and digressive, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community and normalizing tangential discussion for amusement.


 

Sound familiar?  Recognize anything between the niche Gage suggested, the description he wrote, and his actions on the platform?

The next event in this very deliberate chain reaction would have been for me to respond to you @Emily Barnett, from a place of ego.  After all, you wrote a veiled threat in rather dramatic terms, speaking of alerting the community to problematic niche approvals as something that could cause the 'demise' of the alerter on the platform.

Instead, I'm starting this conversation here to help us not fall for these sorts of tactics, even if they use very compelling methods appealing to our egos.  Don't fall for it.  We have to be better than this.  Otherwise trolls will run circles around us.  That's the real threat to Narrative right now.  People alerting the community to look at problematic niche approval votes?  Nothing, compared to letting trolls stoke divisions between the most committed Narrators.  Lets always keep our priorities.

And if anyone thinks I'm overstating the threat, please think twice.  Narrative is designed to be community governed.  We are the community.  Some of us will be moderators, and Tribunal members, and Committee members.  There will trolls in greater numbers soon, and they will try to drive wedges between owners, moderators, and members of the Tribunal.  Whether the Narrative model survives and thrives or not depends on us keeping our priorities straight and remaining united in the face of malicious actors.

At @Malkazoid your crusade to exterminate a troll (righteously or not) has no baring on my response. It is unfortunate that you think so little of me, as to assume that at 50 years of age, that I lack so little confidence that a would fall prey to silly compliment. I assure you I am no silly-nilly girl whom blushes at attention, and loses all her convictions. I am here to tell you quite the contrary. I make up my own mind about things. 

As for the trolling accusations on this person. I have no idea if they are a trol,l or not. I don't actually care. But what I do know is I don't like being tagged in a post like this, and being told I need to be better than this. This is EXTREMELY condescending of you.

I raised valid points in my comments that have nothing to do with being flattered or manipulated. Clearly you don't like what I said, and your response is to insult my intelligence, AGAIN. It is I, whom is seeing a pattern in you. You don't like what someone says, and your publicly try to undermine their intellect.

As for my "veiled threat" about posts that seem to just be about informing people how to vote on things. Let me be very clear this was no threat, but rather a warning to you. I think it is tacky. No one is going to like being at the receiving end of posts like this. Other people will soon grow tired of them too. And I think this entire thread of yours, trying to make me look manipulated by someone I don't even know, simply because they said they like my content, is also tacky.

I am here to make good content, and to build a positive community around me. I don't know anything about this at Gage person. I thought his post could have used some diplomacy, but there did seem to be a lot of hostility towards his post, for commenting on the quality of content on the platform. He is entitled to that opinion. He isn't banned from the platform. Vote him down if you disagree. Vote what I said down if you disagree. What he has done in auctions, or in niche bidding has nothing to do with his post. 

What you don't do is start a thread and tell me I need to not comment on his posts unless I agree with you! I did not bask in his compliment. I stated what parts i agreed with. I stated my insights about some content that I think is lacking in quality from a senior member, that I too feel is getting votes based on a persons longevity, not for it's quality. 

I then stated what parts I disagreed with. I disagree with his perception that i am the only person making good content. There are plenty of people making good content, and we all can stand to improve.

Finally I will always post my own thoughts. I don't want my content to be about picking at threads, especially other peoples niche suggestions. You and I are very different that way. You would be best not to make anymore assumptions that I need some schooling on the ways of the world, from you. It too, seems to be a pattern with you.

Also don't tag me again.

p.s.

I actually believe in the Narrative reputation system working. If we have a problem with trolls I am confident that our democracy will work in making that type of content sink. And when the block feature comes out, it will be even less problematic. 

My so called 'veiled warning', that people whom make a lot of content about the problems they have with other peoples niches or niche suggestions, on a regular basis, may also find themselves not doing as well as they hoped. Or maybe I am naive...maybe people do want to focus on what is wrong all the time, not what is right. but i am willing to bet that will get tiresome soon enough.

I am not responding to this thread again. I am disgusted with your preaching to me in this post. So go ahead, have all the last words that you want. I have positive, community building posts to write. 

Emily, I took the highest road I could.

In response to someone who has said openly his 'thing' is to troll, you responded to his flattery by writing one of the longest comments you have written on the Beta - perhaps THE longest.  It might be the longest comment anyone has made on a post so far.  It doesn't all fit on my laptop screen!  And it was entirely sympathetic to him, and referred to my civic sense as tacky and arrogant. 

I could have responded in kind, but I didn't.  Instead, I tried to make this about uniting so that avowed trolls can't weaken our community.  I came here, instead of posting on the Beta, and I let you know he's a troll.  Forgive me for thinking you might already have known - you used to be so involved in niche approval votes...  But I let you know here.  I didn't insult you.  I just pointed out that you'd fallen for his ruse. 

I tried to take the high road, but I think it is time for me to spell out your hypocrisy once and for all since you won't let me take the high road.

This is a community-driven site.  It is part of the very spec that we're supposed to govern ourselves.  When we turn to the Narrative Company and ask them - they confirm that we have to come up with our own standards, appeal niches that might be problematic, etc...  I haven't even done that much of it since the Beta launched.  I asked the community to reconsider a couple of niche approval votes that were underway - one of which was your's.  And I've appealed one niche: the BLOG niche, along with four other people appealing it too, and yet others who agreed that it was problematic.

I've also posted 17 pieces of content that have nothing to do with any sort of problem on the site, so if you want to make me out as being focused on negativity, I think that might come across a pretty contrived.

I wish we could rise above this - this is exactly what Gage wanted to happen and he is laughing at how successful it has been, I have little doubt. 

You campaigned heavily before the Beta, when you thought there was a problem with a niche.  You even badgered me at length privately once because you wanted me to change my vote on a particular photography niche.  I never held a grudge, or called you tacky for it, because I knew it was because you wanted the Narrative niche system to work well, just as I do.  But I didn't change my vote - I stuck with my understanding of things.  Just as I have faith people will do, even if they are invited to take a second look at things in a simple open and above board post (which is nothing compared to your insistence when you tried to make me change my vote in private).

Suddenly when a niche you suggested had issues (the Conversations niche), you hated the community looking at it.  That's when you changed.  Nobody is blind to that, except you apparently.  

Now that the Beta has launched, you've mostly lost interest in helping the niche voting process and are focusing on making content.  I couldn't even get you to look at Gage's niche proposal and the comments there - you just don't care, and you've said that again here.  You prefer to believe I'm on a crusade against him, rather than to even look at the evidence: his very own admission that he's a troll who enjoys disrupting online communities and making people quarrel with each other.

Fine - that's your prerogative: make content!  You're good at it.  But don't knock me for trying to strike a balance.  I want to post content (and I am), and I also want to keep the civic spirit that we all enjoyed during the Alpha.  So if I see a problematic niche, I'll invite discussion about it.  If I see a troll, and someone taking his bait to cause quarrels and division, I'll mention it.  I even called myself out for having engaged with him more than I should have - so you see, my criticism gets directed to myself as well.  You should try it... it can be perceived as a peace offering if the other person is open to such things.  Apparently you really weren't.

You think it is tacky to alert the community to votes that need a closer look on the Beta, but how much engagement is there here on the community support forum?  Only the people who already care enough about the community governance are here and that's a small handful of people.  On the niche approvals?  People tend to vote and leave, without commenting - again, the commenters are the same people with a sense of civic duty.  You used to be one of those people, BTW.

Democracy only works with an informed pool of voters.  So I've tried to engage folks on the Beta to think a little more about their votes.  

You once argued very forcefully that niches would clean up easily via discussions with owners once Beta launched, while others thought some sort of cleanup process might be needed.  Guess what - I'm here, with a few other folks who still care, trying to have the discussions with niche owners and the community that you said were the solution.  You're NOT doing that.  And you're repeatedly attacking me for taking time out to implement the solution you preferred, once upon a time.  

We've discovered in the process of having those discussions that you advocated, that some owners are incredibly resistant to fixing issues.  You yourself turned out to be one of them, irony of ironies!  So no biggy - a community member files an appeal and lets the Tribunal decide.  That's the system, it is in the spec, and you know that's exactly what is supposed to happen.

The BLOG niche owner, rather than improve his description, preferred to mock and insult the community, then create more than half a dozen dummy accounts to troll the community members who were in discussion with him and who appealed his niche. You can't even consult that discussion because he deleted it... but @Brian Lenz at least recognised its value, regretting it had been deleted because of the thoughtful comments the community had contributed. 

When you visit the post I had made with the only purpose of passing on important materials to the Tribunal, your only comment is: why are people upvoting my post?  Your gripe with me, born from me having the audacity to actually suggest one of your niches might need some help, blinded you to all the discussion that the Team found useful in evaluating that appeal... and instead led you to express disgust at the low quality of my post.   It was only ever meant to alert the Tribunal to a resource relevant to their deliberations.  It served that purpose.  A few people thought that was a reason to upvote it, and that sets you off!  It is so sad that your issues with me have led to this, and all a troll had to do was saunter in and flatter you, while insulting me, for you to stoke further divisions.

If I had wanted to spam the network with that post, as if I thought it was some sort of general interest piece of bona fide content, I could have tagged it to three niches.  I only tagged it to one: the Narrative Disputes niche, because that niche is, by definition, for providing the Tribunal with relevant community discussions to give context to their discussions.  

If you want to only post non-community related content now, and forget about the community governance aspect of Narrative - you are free to do so.  But don't demean the people who still care about it.  You call these things insignificant dramas, while we try to help niche owners who have been put off from niches they were actively bidding on and now don't want to be involved in that way anymore, and Telegram users complaining about troll problems they feel we're defenceless against. 

All the people whose sense of civic duty you used to respect in the Alpha are spending some of their energy trying to remedy this situation.  And some new people too - I'm thankful to say.  Now our concerns seem like insignificant dramas to you, all because you hold a sad grudge against me.

Narrative needs an involved community.  It needs moderators, Tribunal members and Committee members.  That's an integral part of Narrative's definition and always has been.  At least the Narrators who are still trying to improve Narrative's process have kept that in mind.

We're aware now that something about this paradigm causes some people to take things very personally.  You and the owner of the BLOG niche have taught us that.  I'm not sure what the solution is to that yet, but guess what - we're actively talking about what it might be because that's part of figuring out a Narrative platform that works.  We're learning, adjusting as we go.  All of us.  Feel free to get over me, get over yourself, and come back to help that process, if you still want to?  It will take REALLY letting go of the things you obviously haven't been able to let go of yet.  But I would like to think you can do that.

@Malkazoid you are just too cool for school. You have it all figured out. All the time. 

In the beginning I found you to be interesting and community minded, but lately, it seems more meddlesome and controlling. 

And today downright manipulative..

there are two people that I have ever stated that i am a fan of on this platform.

neither of them are you. nor this Gage that i have had one encounter with. 

I don't have to justify the length of my comments to you or anybody on here. 

I don't have a grudge against you. I just find you to be acting like the authority of Narrative quite a lot, and it seems to be ramped up for the past month. And I know that I am not the only person on the platform whom thinks so. 

As for your completely condescending, and ill-informed comment about my lack of commitment to governance. I started back on my day job last week. that means i work outside for 16 hours a day. and when i am not working i am trying to deal with my own life, enjoy my marriage, and support the people whom contribute to my niches. So no, right now i don't have time for governance of narrative as much as you might think I should be. I also don't have time to read all your posts about somebody who may or may not be a troll. Bidding high on niches doesn't necessarily make him a troll. And if he turns out to be obnoxious then i will simply vote down content and comments i don't like. Because that is how the system was designed. 

Just stop telling people to do what you want them to do. Freakin relax man. This isn't your platform. Stop acting like it is yours, and that you must defend it all the time. You are the worst one on here for taking it too seriously!! 

Emily Barnett posted:

This isn't your platform. 

But that's the thing. It is his platform. And yours. And mine. It belongs to all of us. If you don't have time for housekeeping right now, that's fine. Real Life is the priority. But please don't fault those of us who are trying to keep other people from trashing the place while you're not around. Some of us are trying to turn this into a place where we can eventually make a living, so defending it IS important to us.

you cannot even see that my comment had nothing to do with the appeal on the blog niche. But that your post was not a very good post. You didn't offer anything but tribunal names and links. That isn't what the other content looks like that is posted to Narrative disputes, so stop making excuses, that this is exactly what the niche is for. You talked at length for the quality of content to be high and this post didn't cut the mustard, at all, in my opinion. Not from you, who talked so much about quality.

I am not on beta to review the community board. I will go to the community board all on my own. I expect to read new content on beta, that has fresh words typed up...not links and an arbitrary stock photo that took very little effort. That is a standard I have. deal with it. Don't drag me into your mudsling fight by saying I have been hood-winked by a troll. or make up some bullshit story that @gage has a new fan.

No... You have a critic. and that happened when you started posting content that positions yourself as some sort of niche police. 

To bad you cannot see anyone's perspective but your own. You and I got along swell, as long as I agreed with you. When i don't agree with you well ...you try to make me look like a jerk. Or confused. Or not smart enough to figure it out. You inferred that I am a fan of a troll to try and discredit me. That is a huge load of b.s.

 

Christina Gleason posted:
Emily Barnett posted:

This isn't your platform. 

But that's the thing. It is his platform. And yours. And mine. It belongs to all of us. If you don't have time for housekeeping right now, that's fine. Real Life is the priority. But please don't fault those of us who are trying to keep other people from trashing the place while you're not around. Some of us are trying to turn this into a place where we can eventually make a living, so defending it IS important to us.

it isn't his alone. of course it is all of ours. But right now he is the only one making posts on beta, appealing to people change niche votes. The rest of us seem quite content with using the forums that are a given to us.

Before beta, we had no assurances that the system would work. so there was a more urgent nature to make sure niches were not redundant. But that isn't the case now. He is deciding how he thinks things should be and then making posts to try and pursude. Just leave it in the HQ niche section. Or the community board. But keep it out of peoples, content streams.

Christina, I have put in plenty of time to be considered one of those people who are trying to eventually make a living at Narrative, too. I have stated it numerous times, too. I think you wouldn't be excluding me from that camp, since I am the second person on the community leader board. My  commitment record should be more than ample to satisfy you that I am just as much invested in the platform as yourself.

I just don't think people have to meddle so much, and then try to disguise it as civic duty. I think the platform is designed to be more sophisticated than that. We don't need posts that act as alarm bells, and then act surprised when people aren't too happy with them.

 

@Emily Barnett I don't need to quote your whole post, but @Malkazoid isn't the only one using the community niche to campaign for votes one way or another. As you've stated yourself, you've been busy with RL things, so you may not have noticed. Sometimes he is the first one to post about an issue that I or someone else would have posted about eventually, but I think that's a time zone thing. He's awake first.

Those of us who have been targeted for harassment by our current trolls are understandably, as I think you should grok, more invested in getting the situation under control.

If you want to sit this out, by all means, sit this out. But I think there's a lot you haven't seen happening, so that's why your viewpoint differs about the importance of various issues related to community governance. 

Agree with @Malkazoid that this kind of discussions is part of what some users want. And that's why I'm staying prudent engaging with them on Narrative. My opinion and my way.

I'm one of those attacked by the owner of five niches - not just by trolling but with insults and menaces, and then by mean of several fake accounts -, just for asking collaboration in fixing the name and description of a niche - a niche that needs fixing, as recognized by the Tribunal -, so I'm maybe more concerned about what's going on and about trolls. But it can happen to everybody, and it shouldn't. The future of the platform certainly depends on being immune or resilient to them. The team clearly said that they don't want to ban a single user. Maybe it's right, I don't know, but collaborating - with this scenario - becomes key.

This is a long and unfortunate thread. I won't take sides. I did not read the thread it relates to. I don't think my opinion on this topic will help the community as a whole in anyway right now. I'll only recommend in the future to try and have these sensitive discussions in private, as it will have far less bad outcome.

Please don't reply explaining who might have caused this, as I am not here judging that, and I won't reply to it. I'm suggesting this for the future. Everyone commenting here obviously cares about the platform. For such sensitive topics, private chat might yield better, or at least far less negative outcome if any.

Yes - I tried privately.  Emily was so enraged that though she initiated the private discussion, she also stormed out of it a few minutes later.  She wasn't there to try to patch things up, just to rage at me.  I accepted the communication even though it was 3am here... so believe me, I tried.  But yes - don't respond, and don't choose sides - you are right, it would accomplish nothing.

So if we're going to be constructive, Emily, how do you define the difference between meddling and civic duty, when the platform specifically asks us to figure out together how niches work, how they should be described and to appeal them if we feel they pose a problem for the platform.

If you aren't holding a grudge and you just think I meddle too much, tell me how to engage the community at large (not just the handful of people who show up of their own accord to discuss these things on the community support site).  And explain why you think it is was ok to badger me for something like 20 minutes straight, privately, to try to get me to change my vote in the Alpha, but my single post to the Beta about two niches that merited a closer look, and why I thought that was the case, constituted meddling?

I think you can appreciate why it seems like this is coming from a grudge?  So explain yourself if it isn't.

Meanwhile, I am doing my best to elevate the discussion to how the system defined by Narrative creates this sort of situation.  We are all supposed to be doing what I'm doing.  We're all supposed to be co-creating not just the content, but the process itself!  The fact that only a few people do it makes it ever so easy to feel animosity towards them, and call them meddlers.  So I'm thinking about how to fix it, and struggling with whether it needs fixing, or whether people will be big enough to rise above the personal tensions that are created by telling community members to govern the community.  You can help answer that last part since you're one of the two people who have struggled intensely with taking community governing personally.  

These are big questions for Narrative, I know you understand that.

It doesn't matter that you are busy in your life - you don't have to justify being busy - just don't underhandedly, and passive aggressively write a page worth of agreement with a troll when he criticizes those who are still making the time for civic duties, mentioning that those who are doing so might meet their demise on the platform.

 

 

×
×
×
×