6 Feb 2007

PAP - Trolls

First saw the term used in reference to the PAP here.

From wiki

In academic literature, the practice was first documented by Judith Donath (1999), who used several anecdotal examples from various Usenet newsgroups in her discussion. Donath's paper outlines the ambiguity of identity in a disembodied "virtual community" [2]:

In the physical world there is an inherent unity to the self, for the body provides a compelling and convenient definition of identity. The norm is: one body, one identity. ... The virtual world is different. It is composed of information rather than matter.

Donath provides a concise overview of identity deception games which trade on the confusion between physical and epistemic community:

Trolling is a game about identity deception, albeit one that is played without the consent of most of the players. The troll attempts to pass as a legitimate participant, sharing the group's common interests and concerns; the newsgroups members, if they are cognizant of trolls and other identity deceptions, attempt to both distinguish real from trolling postings, and upon judging a poster a troll, make the offending poster leave the group. Their success at the former depends on how well they — and the troll — understand identity cues; their success at the latter depends on whether the troll's enjoyment is sufficiently diminished or outweighed by the costs imposed by the group.

Trolls can be costly in several ways. A troll can disrupt the discussion on a newsgroup, disseminate bad advice, and damage the feeling of trust in the newsgroup community. Furthermore, in a group that has become sensitized to trolling — where the rate of deception is high — many honestly naïve questions may be quickly rejected as trollings. This can be quite off-putting to the new user who upon venturing a first posting is immediately bombarded with angry accusations. Even if the accusation is unfounded, being branded a troll is quite damaging to one's online reputation." (Donath, 1999, p. 45)[3]

Some of us know how best to deal with trolls.



Anonymous said...

that's intolerant; PAP guys have the right to take part in discussions and defend their positions; the point is how valid are the arguments they make

Tom - Daai Tou Laam said...

I don't think anyone is suggesting that PAP guys should not be part of the marketplace of ideas (in the way the Singapore Govt might deny to their published critics, like FEER).

And no-one is suggesting that anonymous commenting should end either (except the Chinese Communist Party), as anonymous comments allow for whistle blowers to comment without fear of retribution from the authorities.

But there is a diminished level of credibility for anonymous posters as their reputations, motivations, and authority cannot be established.

And if PAP wants to join the blogosphere, welcome. But joining as a bunch of anonymous trolls running around in your critics' comment threads is a bad marketing move, that may not threaten PAP's control on Singapore, but may threaten the reputation of the Singapore government in the broader blogosphere.

oh... another term you might find interesting at Wikipedia is sock puppet. The PAP trolls should look at the names of folks who've lost their jobs and credibility in the US due to being a sockpuppet online, including reporters at the LA Times and The New Republic.

Matilah_Singapura said...

Socrates and Voltaire were a coupla guys who developed trolling into a great art.

Fans of the PAP have the same rights to free speech and expression as everyone else — regardless of whether some more "influential" members of the PAP might not support the notion of free speech.

No one forces anyone onto the net, and no one is forced to respond to any post — regardless of the (subjective) value of the post.

At the end of the day, talk is cheap. Real change comes only from real action in the real world.

And everything is opinion.

Including what I just wrote :)

Anonymous said...

PAP defenders prefer anonymity both to avoid being seen as a sucker upper (so to speak), and in case tomorrow policies change and what is right today might be wrong tomorrow, e.g., if you came out strongly against gambling two years ago...

Anonymous said...

i would ban all references to "The Brotherhood"