It Has Been Noticed.............


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I find this forum, or any other forum, the opportunity to exercise one's skills in critical thinking. Richard Dawkins in a letter to his 10 year old daughter:

Next time somebody tells you something that sounds important, think to yourself: 'Is this the kind of thing that people probably know because of evidence? Or is it the kind of thing that people only believe because of tradition, authority or revelation?' And, next time somebody tells you that something is true, why not say to them: 'What kind of evidence is there for that?' And if they can't give you a good answer, I hope you'll think very carefully before you believe a word they say.

These forums also allow me to exercise my ability to change my thinking to realize I may have been wrong and that I have to do some reading! It's all good stuff...too bad emotions get in the way from time to time.

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I know exactly what you are talking about Kip. I have had people put up a troll cartoon in response to a reasoned argument. When I posted factual information about aerodynamics backed up by official report from an accident investigating agency, I was hinted at several times to be dangerous and mocked by others all on a thread about aviation safety not a political one. I have seen posts where a factual statement leads to a response of spring-loaded toward racism.

There is nothing wrong with opinion and disagreement, it is just how you do it.

But we do have moderators, so I guess they are making sure we stay within limits.

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  • 2 weeks later...

On the Troll topic,

A U of Manitoba study just came out on Trolls...

http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/climate_desk/2014/02/internet_troll_personality_study_machiavellianism_narcissism_psychopathy.html

Internet Trolls Really Are Horrible People Narcissistic, Machiavellian, psychopathic, and sadistic.
140214_CDESK_InternetTroll.jpg.CROP.origThe Internet is sadists' playground.

Medioimages/Photodisc

In the past few years, the science of Internet trollology has made some strides. Last year, for instance, we learned that by hurling insults and inciting discord in online comment sections, so-called Internet trolls (who are frequently anonymous) have a polarizing effect on audiences, leading to politicization, rather than deeper understanding of scientific topics.

That’s bad, but it’s nothing compared with what a new psychology paper has to say about the personalities of trolls themselves. The research, conducted by Erin Buckels of the University of Manitoba and two colleagues, sought to directly investigate whether people who engage in trolling are characterized by personality traits that fall in the so-called Dark Tetrad: Machiavellianism (willingness to manipulate and deceive others), narcissism (egotism and self-obsession), psychopathy (the lack of remorse and empathy), and sadism (pleasure in the suffering of others).

It is hard to underplay the results: The study found correlations, sometimes quite significant, between these traits and trolling behavior. What’s more, it also found a relationship between all Dark Tetrad traits (except for narcissism) and the overall time that an individual spent, per day, commenting on the Internet.

In the study, trolls were identified in a variety of ways. One was by simply asking survey participants what they “enjoyed doing most” when on online comment sites, offering five options: “debating issues that are important to you,” “chatting with others,” “making new friends,” “trolling others,” and “other.” Here’s how different responses about these Internet commenting preferences matched up with responses to questions designed to identify Dark Tetrad traits:

140214_CDESK_MachiavellianTraits.jpg.CRO

E.E. Buckels et al, "Trolls just want to have fun," Personality and Individual Differences, 2014.

To be sure, only 5.6 percent of survey respondents actually specified that they enjoyed “trolling.” By contrast, 41.3 percent of Internet users were “non-commenters,” meaning they didn’t like engaging online at all. So trolls are, as has often been suspected, a minority of online commenters, and an even smaller minority of overall Internet users.

The researchers conducted multiple studies, using samples from Amazon’s Mechanical Turk but also of college students, to try to understand why the act of trolling seems to attract this type of personality. They even constructed their own survey instrument, which they dubbed the Global Assessment of Internet Trolling, or GAIT, containing the following items:

I have sent people to shock websites for the lulz.

I like to troll people in forums or the comments section of websites.

I enjoy griefing other players in multiplayer games.

The more beautiful and pure a thing is, the more satisfying it is to corrupt.

Yes, some people actually say they agree with such statements. And again, doing so was correlated with sadism in its various forms, with psychopathy, and with Machiavellianism. Overall, the authors found that the relationship between sadism and trolling was the strongest, and that indeed, sadists appear to troll because they find it pleasurable. “Both trolls and sadists feel sadistic glee at the distress of others,” they wrote. “Sadists just want to have fun ... and the Internet is their playground!”

The study comes as websites, particularly at major media outlets, are increasingly weighing steps to rein in trollish behavior. Last year Popular Science did away with its comments sections completely, citing research on the deleterious effects of trolling, and YouTube also took measures to rein in trolling.

But study author Buckels actually isn’t sure that fix is a realistic one. “Because the behaviors are intrinsically motivating for sadists, comment moderators will likely have a difficult time curbing trolling with punishments (e.g., banning users),” she said by email. “Ultimately, the allure of trolling may be too strong for sadists, who presumably have limited opportunities to express their sadistic interests in a socially-desirable manner.”

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Good article Mr Lupin. Unfortunately, some people think that having information posted that proves a point is trolling. But it is not, as I'm sure you well know.

Sort of like the racism accusation when a politically incorrect but accurate statement is made.

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At the risk of being labeled (libeled?) same, perhaps a timely article in the TG&M?

Online ‘trolls’ show signs of being sadists, psychology study finds

Michael Babad

The Globe and Mail

Published Tuesday, Feb. 18 2014


http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/top-business-stories/online-trolls-show-signs-of-being-sadists-psychology-study-finds/article16930003/

The 'everyday sadist'

Internet “trolls” appear to have some extreme personality issues, based on the results of a new study.

They show signs of being sadistic and Machiavellian, says the recent study by Erin Buckels, a University of Manitoba psychology graduate student, and psych professors Paul Trapnell of the University of Winnipeg and Delroy Paulhus of the University of British Columbia.

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