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Dealing with the trolls

(331 Posts)
margiebargie Tue 07-Jun-16 14:34:31

Lots of people reported the most recent big troll thread, but it obviously trundled on for a while regardless - I presume while you were looking into it behind the scenes. How about a system whereby if you've received a certain amount of reports, the thread is automatically "paused"/locked/hidden while you investigate?

And if a thread is revealed to have been from a troll, delete it (with the message "Yawn" or similar), and keep it up for a day or two but hide it from everyone apart from those who were posting on it (op excluded, obviously), so that they can discuss it among themselves without their discussions being public. I'm sure the trolls get a kick out of being called a sick fucker as much as from the original deception; as it's an attention-seeking phenomenon, the less attention they get, the better, no?

NavyAndWhite Tue 07-Jun-16 15:36:43

Some good points there.

I think because we can't troll hunt this particular troll got their kicks from knowing that people didn't believe her but couldn't say anything.

She was very goady in fact.

I do think there needs to be something out in place for the next time this happens. So many people were very hurt by what happened.

Doik Tue 07-Jun-16 15:45:14

I think locking them is a good idea, but I'm not sure about only allowing those who have posted to see them. Many people follow threads but do not post, particularly if they have doubts themselves about whether it is true. This could lead to people posting purely to see the outcome.

ThenLaterWhenItGotDark Tue 07-Jun-16 15:52:16

I'm for public naming, shaming and outing. Let the dogs at the fuckers. No deletions. Just total humiliation.

(I realise this isn't going to happen, but I bet HQ think 'if only we could' grin)

WannaBe Tue 07-Jun-16 15:55:08

I think that automatically locking a thread is a difficult position tbh.

Because while so many threads turn out to be trolls, equally there are many more who turn out not to be. Taking the stance that because so many people reported it must be a troll will automatically lead to more reports which might mean that threads are locked which shouldn't be. And I think that mud sticks, once a thread is locked once people will remain suspicious whether it's proven to be genuine or. Not.

I think that there needs to be greater emphasis on the fact that giving more than you can afford to is a bad idea, that the Internet is the unknown and that it is not possible to know that people are who they say they are.

And I think (and I realise this won't go down well) that pointing out inconsistencies on threads should be more permissible. There is a difference between the kind of troll hunting which is a poster coming on to a thread and saying "well, this is clearly bollocks/I think this is a troll/reported," and one who comes on to a thread and questions the inconsistencies in posts.

It would have been possible to stop this last troll early on if people had questioned more I.e. The speed of the diagnosis of the type of leukaemia (not the actual leukaemia but the type, there is a difference, and there is a timescale,). Or the fact that the OP was posting from her car just waiting to go into the hospital (and tbh I've seen a lot of those over the years from OP's claiming to be sitting in their car just going in/just coming home etc).

If the seed were sewn then more posters would have sat up and taken notice rather than be pulled in.

And less of the "you're so brave/just checking in/how fabulous you are," type posts would be less likely to resort in trolls needing to keep posting because they wouldn't keep getting validation.

margiebargie Tue 07-Jun-16 16:25:44

Do the genuine threads generate as many reports? Would be interesting to hear from MNHQ on that. Generally I think that when a thread is so obviously bs it must get reported more, surely.

Perhaps there should be a line at the top of every thread - "This thread has been reported x amount of times". That might make people stop and think before sharing their own stories.

I agree it's frustrating that we're not allowed to comment on the thread itself, but that just snowballs into its own fight anyway. Doubters vs believers - which happened a bit on the last one, even with very minimal questioning.

The giving more than you can afford is a good line but no one takes any notice because a lot of people WANT to believe the story and enjoy (sorry, can't think of a nicer way to put it) being part of the unfolding drama.

emotionsecho Tue 07-Jun-16 16:37:45

margie I think enjoy is exactly the right description, I think a number of posters need to take a look at themselves and their own reactions to these 'emotional' threads because if the truth were told they are getting as much out of being part of it as the Troll is.

Someone on the now deleted thread made some excellent points about threads which generate a collective noun name for the supporters and how those 'in the gang' then feed off this which leads to the dismissive, self righteous and frankly nasty attacks on anyone who dares to raise even the mildest of questions.

This is why Trolls, particularly the emotional vampire ones, love MN they get exactly what they are looking for time and time again.

WannaBe Tue 07-Jun-16 16:45:01

Oh yes there are absolutely posters who enjoy the unfolding dramas on these threads and are desperate to be a part of it.

The thing with threads is that HQ can only really say that they haven't found reason to suspect that the poster isn't genuine. Because with no recent history for example it's possible that someone could join MN to post about their situation, whatever that might be. And it's therefore possible that someone could join MN for the first time purely to troll here.

There are threads which I know have been left to stand which many posters have doubted and reported on mass. But as there's no proof MN can't delete just because a number of posters seem suspicious. I reported a couple last year, one of which ran into thousands and thousands of posts over a number of threads, and I know others did too and many other posters thought it was suspicious. But it was never removed because there was no way of knowing for sure that the OP wasn't genuine. I'm certain she wasn't genuine, but because it can't be proved people will always ask about her situation, for instance.

TouCanDoIt Tue 07-Jun-16 16:48:35

It would also help if threads that are "under investigation" were barred from appearing on Trending. There's one running at the moment (multiple reports about it, according to HQ) that keeps nudging its way onto the list and sucking more people in.

MrsDeVere Tue 07-Jun-16 16:54:14

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

fanjoforthemammaries7850 Tue 07-Jun-16 16:56:39

Didn't believe that one from start either. Sick bastard.

NavyAndWhite Tue 07-Jun-16 16:58:00

I think that's annoyed me most regarding this recent troll.
The way some posters seemed to enjoy giving the troll the attention and like you say they were in some sort of gang!

And all this signing up for ' Oliver's army ' was just cringeworthy.

emotionsecho Tue 07-Jun-16 17:04:59

WannaBe indeed there are and I think those posters are just as much emotional vampires as the trolls who start the threads.

I always find a bit strange when the 'supporting crew' lambast those who are a little more circumspect - "We know it's true, how dare you suggest otherwise", the simple fact is none of us know 100% that anything on here is true unless we are the one it is happening to or are intimately involved in the situation. Just because I wouldn't lie about something so awful doesn't mean someone else wouldn't, even face to face some people will tell the most appalling lies or make up the most terrible stories.

I know it's a difficult call for MNHQ as your examples show but I do think a better system could be implemented. We've been over it many, many times and a number of what I thought were sensible, practical suggestions have been made but MNHQ have decided to keep the status quo and whilst that is the case we will be forever witnessing the fall out of these type of threads.

WannaBe Tue 07-Jun-16 17:12:30

The defenders on the last thread were particularly cringeworthy. Posts along the lines of "MN HQ shouldn't even be putting that warning up there, anyone can see that you're genuine, how dare anyone question it," and even lambasting posters who had reported away from the thread for daring to doubt.

And yes, the whole collective noun bollocks is just nauseating. Even if the thread had been true it would have been cringeworthy, as if it were some kind of exclusive club... And actually, it could have been about someone's real life issue.

Peeporeader Tue 07-Jun-16 17:15:53

I think it would be great if just asking for updates /checking in/placeholder posts were deleted. They add nothing to the conversation and feed trollery.

A while back (different username) I reported a thread which I knew (based on my former job) to be absolute bollocks and I explained why. The response I got from MN was "we don't know why you're reporting this". Few days later it was gone, but I've never bothered reporting a post since.

margiebargie Tue 07-Jun-16 17:16:54

Wannabe, of course - there will be times when there's no definite proof and it's a grey zone. But that's why I think a message at the top of the thread could work, a sort of neutral "x [or many] people have reported this thread. We are looking into it / we have no evidence one way or another but please remember people may not be who they say they are / please don't give more than you can afford blah blah etc"

NavyAndWhite Tue 07-Jun-16 17:18:05

' anyone can see that you're genuine, how dare anyone question it ' and the like had me virtually shouting at the screen.

I wanted to write ' how can anybody be so bloody blind to think this bollocks is true '

At one time I would have done just that. But with all the clamping down on troll hunting I've had to behave myself.

margiebargie Tue 07-Jun-16 17:18:29

It's basically pure entertainment for many, as harsh as it sounds. Interactive drama, better than telly.

KatherineMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 07-Jun-16 17:21:35

Hi all,

Thanks so much for reporting. We can certainly re-raise this issue - but we've decided against this in the past, I think, because threads would start locking all over the shop. As mentioned above, not all threads that are reported are trolls, and we would hate for anyone to stop receiving support when they need it.

margiebargie Tue 07-Jun-16 17:21:42

I'm obviously not referring to those who shared their own experiences and gave kind, measured advice.

WannaBe Tue 07-Jun-16 17:23:53

IMO a message at the top stating how many reports they've had will just fuel the defenders though.

I agree that "checking in," posts need deleting, people would be less inclined to do it then if a thread has 500 deleted posts rather than "good morning, checking in" ones.

Navy yes I too was shouting at the screen wanting to post something. Although by that point the OP had marked her card by bringing a troll discussion to the thread which hadn't been started there. the supportive messages dropped off massively after that and I do think perhaps that some posters became more suspect then.

MrsDeVere Tue 07-Jun-16 17:24:41

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Asprilla11 Tue 07-Jun-16 17:24:53

Admin should have a new rule;

If you are found to be a troll and are banned then your email address will be posted on the forum.

I realise the majority of trolls will use a throw-away email address but at least posters on the thread could vent their anger (using their own disposable email of course).

emotionsecho Tue 07-Jun-16 17:25:03

margie you would of course still get the outraged "Who has been reporting this thread, how very dare they, etc., etc." as proven by the self righteous indignation when MNHQ put their warning up mid thread.

A number of posters on that thread really didn't cover themselves in glory, it was nauseating.

All placemarking should be banned outright, it's so damn irritating.

WannaBe Tue 07-Jun-16 17:27:00

katherine I wonder whether it would be possible to launch some kind of awareness though? Of how people need to be really careful when trusting online, with perhaps some stats as to how many threads you delete on a weekly basis to give posters an idea of just how big the problem is?

As MN is a large site it stands to reason that not all posts are going to be genuine, of course it does, and it also stands to reason that many posts which are not deleted might not be genuine either. But perhaps the sheer volume of threads which are deleted on a weekly basis might give posters a wake up call as to just how real trolls are.

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