Advanced search

Bunbury’s Public Service Announcement 2

(1000 Posts)
arranbubonicplague Fri 30-Nov-18 12:54:53

The useful Bunbury Guide to Spotting Community Disruptors is constantly evolving.

The best research and advice is not to engage with community disruptors and trolls. As ever, if you suspect troll activity, report it to MNHQ.

This is a continuation of the first Public Service Announcement thread:

If and when you see threads plopped into FWR, especially a curious repeat of well worn topics, maybe check for poster history before engaging.

There are a number of posts/posters/threads that are reproduced on Twitter or Facebook to foment controversy using screen shots & flagging to either MNHQ to have threads or posters deleted. Sometimes, it’s used to approach commissioning editors with ideas for articles. It’s a tiresome tactic that we’ve had several community disruptor posters who themselves post the comments that they then highlight elsewhere as purported evidence of racism, religious intolerance, anti-men sentiments, or transphobia.

Some helpful links in following posts.

arranbubonicplague Fri 30-Nov-18 12:59:17

A research project involving Cornell and Stanford looked at ways to automate the classification of particular categories of poster: Antisocial Behavior in Online Discussion Communities pdf

The researchers highlighted implausibly poor spelling and punctuation as characteristics of such posts. These posts tend to score a difficult readability index.

Aside from the interesting research issues, it's disrespectful to people with specific learning disabilities and it's a mess for posters who rely upon screen reading software.

This video sums up the research findings and highlights the characteristics of: Bad grammar, spelling, and punctuation.

arranbubonicplague Fri 30-Nov-18 13:04:08

The paper emphasises the secondary gain of anti-social behaviour in online discussion groups, it seems that this behaviour is (inadvertently?) rewarded by the community.

We find that such users tend to concentrate their efforts in a small number of threads...and are more successful at garnering responses from other users.

Responses are rewarding for the disruptors and collaborate in their vandalism of some ideas, discussions, and threads: they increase the risk of deletions/suspensions.

arranbubonicplague Fri 30-Nov-18 13:05:31

Quoting from the Cornell & Stanford paper I linked above:

While most users tend to be civil, others may engage in antisocial behavior, negatively affecting other users and harming the community. Such undesired behavior, which includes trolling, flaming, bullying, and harassment, is exacerbated by the fact that people tend to be less inhibited in their online interactions (Suler 2004).

[We are addressing] several questions about antisocial behavior: First, are there users that only become antisocial later in their community life, or is deviant behavior innate? Second, does a community’s reaction to users’ anti- social behavior help them improve, or does it instead cause them to become more antisocial? Last, can antisocial users be effectively identified early on?

The study is helpful as a lens to view the posts from users - particularly the researchers' discussion of the work they did to predict FBUs (Future Banned Users).

In fact, we only need to observe 5 to 10 user’s posts before a classifier is able to make a reliable prediction. Further, cross- domain classification performance remains high, suggesting that the features indicative of antisocial behavior that we discover are not community-specific.

LangCleg Fri 30-Nov-18 13:07:27

Thanks, Arran.

arranbubonicplague Fri 30-Nov-18 13:12:18

Guardian Guide: How to handle a troll … and neuter a sea lion
From asking innocent questions before mounting an attack to inciting online abuse by others, trolling is entering a new, subtler era. Here’s how to deal with it

Sea lioning

Sea lioning is the process of killing with dogged kindness and manufactured ignorance by asking questions, then turning on the victim in an instant. “In this, the perpetrator endlessly nitpicks and relentlessly pursues the topic, but oh so very politely and, when the target finally gets annoyed and retaliates, the sea lion takes on the wronged victim of abuse role,” says Hardaker.

The solution is a simple one: just don’t engage with the troll in the first place. However, this can be difficult to do – a suspected sea lion may in fact just be a genuinely curious individual looking to learn more. So rather than ignoring them outright or devoting precious time to discussing the individual merits and drawbacks of a point with them, courteously directing them to a third-party resource – a couple of links to news stories about the matter at hand – can help nullify their attempts to derail your day.

What to say: “Here’s a peer-reviewed, academically rigorous link explaining all the information you need. Have a great day!” Block

I have to say, I'm with the don't engage camp because the above strategy might work on Twitter or social media with a block function but we don't have one on MN. I know other people feel differently on the issue of engagement.

FermatsTheorem Fri 30-Nov-18 13:54:19

In the absence of a block/hide poster button, I suggest the following strategy (given that you're talking to the lurkers).

Do not name check the sealion. Instead, respond to a depersonalised paraphrase:

"It is sometimes erroneously suggested that blah. Blah is wrong for the following reasons (short and pithy). If you need more information re. debunking blah, here's a link."

Then (this next step is important to combat derailment) go back up thread to the last useful contribution to the discussion, make sure you do name check that contributor, and pick up the discussion from that point.

VickyEadie Fri 30-Nov-18 13:56:00


I like that advice.

VickyEadie Fri 30-Nov-18 14:06:57

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

ErrolTheDragon Fri 30-Nov-18 14:08:02

I think MN is particularly vulnerable to derailing strategies because replies aren't nested, it's a 'flat' thread. Mostly I prefer this, but it can be problem when a lot of people more or less simultaneously want to respond, even if each individual response is great.

With this in mind, I'd suggest that whenever we've crafted a good response to a troll or sealion, we should save it, refresh our page and see if someone else has got in before us with a reply that's 'good enough' - and be willing to ditch our own even if it's better. Easy to say, hard to do!

LangCleg Fri 30-Nov-18 14:12:28

Then (this next step is important to combat derailment) go back up thread to the last useful contribution to the discussion, make sure you do name check that contributor, and pick up the discussion from that point.

Perfect advice.

VickyEadie Fri 30-Nov-18 14:17:31

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

BirdseyeFrozen Fri 30-Nov-18 16:07:59

All noted with thanks.

welshgendercrit Fri 30-Nov-18 18:13:11

Very useful advice, thanks.

scepticalwoman Sat 01-Dec-18 20:39:57

Probably time for Saturday evening bump before the energy vampires suck the life out of women on here.

arranbubonicplague Sat 01-Dec-18 20:40:58

It's your Saturday night incoming alert (based on a recent sighting)...

On the (now closed) PSA thread, some mentioned:

teenage philosophy students, impressed by their own brilliance for reading a bit of Plato they think they can come on here and use the socratic method to illuminate the dark 'transphobic' cave of Mumsnet for us

It's popular and seems to be increasingly so on MN as a spreading out from other boards but it's part of a wider phenomenon that Donna Zuckberg has recognised:

In the summer of 2015, she noticed an unprecedented level of traffic towards a piece entitled “Why is stoicism having a cultural moment?” and went down a rabbit hole to determine why. The results stunned her: men – or rather, misogynists – were using an armchair enthusiasm for the classics to justify manifestos of hate against women. The results were spreading online under a pseudo-intellectual guise, twisting ancient world philosophy to buttress a contemporary hatred of feminism. And it wasn’t a one-off.
But in the case of stoicism’s sudden revival, Zuckerberg found that an active corner of Reddit was applying Hellenistic philosophy to explain the pain and hardship white western men were suffering in the 21st century. Except these men didn’t consider themselves angry – they considered themselves oppressed.

"The ancient world was deeply misogynistic – it was a time when there was no word for rape, feminism did not exist and women’s actions were determined by male relatives,” says Zuckerberg. But now the classical texts are being “distorted and stripped of context” online to lend gravitas to campaigns of misogyny and white supremacy. Not only is it toxic but, as Zuckerberg calmly outlines in her new book, Not All Dead White Men , it is deeply dangerous.

scepticalwoman Sat 01-Dec-18 20:42:28

Great post arranbubonicplague

BlytheSpirits Sat 01-Dec-18 20:45:07

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

LurkingWaspi Sat 01-Dec-18 21:12:20

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

VickyEadie Sat 01-Dec-18 21:14:08

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

ABitCrapper Sat 01-Dec-18 21:15:49

Well quite

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Sat 01-Dec-18 21:16:04

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

VickyEadie Sat 01-Dec-18 21:19:20

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

littlbrowndog Sat 01-Dec-18 21:21:54

I went to watch am I celeb and the manky X factor is still on
Jeez been wearing here recently
If I was gaming that lot would be getting the boot 🥾

LurkingWaspi Sat 01-Dec-18 21:29:06

ItsAllGoingToBeFine flowers It's cheeky fuckery of the FWR kind.

This thread is not accepting new messages.