I had to go back and look at the comment. I didn't think he was talking about you @Emily Barnett, but now that I've read the comment, it doesn't come across like a "fan" to me. It sounded entirely reasonable and rational.
When I first read Gage's post, it sent up a red flag to me, for a few reasons. First, there's no profile pic. Secondly, The account has no other posts that I can find, before or after. Thirdly, this one nugget of irrational thought slipped into an otherwise pretty good post:
People with high point value tend not to actually contribute value, so stop affording them so much authority and respect. Their posts would have zero claps on Medium. Yet look at how well junk content flourishes
While none of these in and of themselves spell "troll," it is suspicious that someone leads, just days after launch, with a criticism rather than attempt to add some value to a platform. I'd say that about any platform. Other than that one comment, I found myself agreeing with the post overall. So I was faced with a dilemma. Do I upvote it or downvote it? I did neither. Instead, I left a somewhat snarky comment designed to draw something of a response. Funny, but that comment is the only comment I've seen on Narrative with a high-quality star next to it.
At any rate, this happens at about the same time as our known troll ramping up his activity, even going so far as to comment on Gage's post. And Gage responding to what we all are sure is a fake account. None of this connects Gage to the troll, inherently, but I were a troll and I wanted to throw people off my scent, I'd do just that.
When I step back and read Gage's comments as if they were anyone else's and not a possible troll's, most of them make good sense. I agree with some and don't agree with others. But they don't come across as troll-ish behavior. It did come across as a bit suspicious, to me, that Gage complimented Emily on her posts claiming hers are the only quality on the platform (especially after complimenting mine previously), but that doesn't take away from the value that Emily's comment had. I particularly like the following comment by Gage:
@Guest over and over you talk about activity level, as if that dictates authority, validity, and value on the platform; that however, is not the case.
I happen to agree with that comment. Activity does not translate into authority. As someone who specializes in writing authority content, I know this for a fact. Spammers tend to focus on quantity while true authorities focus on quality. And Narrative does currently have a quality issue, but I'd say that's not because we have poor content creators. I'd say it's because it's a new platform and there is still plenty of room to grow. There are plenty of good writers here, content creators, who could be taught to improve their content. And I think this is the gist of Gage's post. He's calling for Narrators to quit upvoting low-quality content. The message is certainly apt. But there are other ways to encourage better quality content and to raise the bar for content creators. It's still a bit early in the game to implement some of those, but niche owners can play a part in that.
Then there's the Trolling niche suggestion. It's clear this Gage character is smart and crafty. He admits to being a troll. The fact that he is shouldn't be questioned. I'll take him at his word. What I'm not sure about is whether or not he's connected to the cabal of trolls that lead back to the parent. It's possible, but when you admit to this:
You don't want to hear my stories about what I've done? I am the guy behind Stargate World's destruction, I created a fake beta client that exceeded 50,000 downloads, I built a clone of SGworld's website, put on a similar domain and created a fake beta client in adobe flash that I compiled to a .exe, it was a never-ending installation animation. They shut down their forums for a week, they warned everyone about my harmless flash beta client.
I think it's pretty obvious what he's up to here. But the problem isn't the niche suggestion. It's actually a pretty good suggestion. And it's too bad. I'd actually like to vote for it. With only one hour left before voting closes, I'd consider changing my vote if I thought it would make a difference in the outcome. I think, as a community, we need to put more thought into how we approach situations like this. It's not going to get better and I'm not counting on the Narrative staff to fix it. We need to develop our own positive and forward-looking solutions.