Monday, 6 October 2008

Time Wasters

Why do they do it? Where do they get the time?

It always amazes me to see people register at sites simply to stir trouble, such as the recent atheist who insisted on pushing his/her own agenda at a forum for those interested in the pre-xian gods of the British Isles. In the space of four days this person managed 60 posts, reviving old threads and stirring up trouble. Some saw his/her posts as an attempt at honest debate, but I saw it as stirring as this person did not read the respondent posts carefully, preferring to goad the members of the site into arguments and raised temperatures by deliberately misquoting or misrepresenting what was said. When called out, s/he then decried that the respondents' faith was weak if it couldn't stand up to questioning ~ poor logic. Erudite answers were provided, but this poster preferred to misinterpret meanings in order to push their agenda, which seemed to be that the gods didn't exist and anyone that believed otherwise was delusional. I later learned that said troublemaker had been banned previously, at which point it became clear they had registered in the hope of causing trouble for a respected member, knowing said member was also a moderator, who could scupper their plans but was unable to get internet access.

Apparently, this person has indulged in similar behaviour at other pagan or pagan-related sites. Why does an atheist feel so compelled to proselytise to pagans, or anyone for that matter? Perhaps they feel their position is unstable?

This, however, was not the only instance of "too much time, not enough brain cells" to come to my attention this week. At another, privately run message board we had a new joiner for whom the inevitable questioning by established members was too much and they left. When said new joiner left a cutting remark upon leaving, two of the established members joined other sites where (it was later learned) the new joiner had registered. In other words, they have decided to stalk this person simply because he left a cutting remark when departing. These people are registering at a site, where they have no commonality with the members ideals, for no discernably sensible reason.

Personally, I have better things to do with my limited time than run around after people who have bothered me (on the internet) simply to stir trouble. I mean, what will it achieve? I don't think I will ever understand this type of behaviour.


The Shepton Witch said...

Sadly, though the internet is a wonderful resource, it brings out the worst in people who don't have enough to think about. It can become an insidious master, sapping 'real' life in favour of spending hours hunched over a keyboard, developing that hacker tan, and forgetting what's really important.

I saw a T-shirt slogan that I'd like to get: "I'm not on MySpace, I have real friends"

Says it all really.

Geraldine Moorkens Byrne said...

I totally agree. I hate both the ordinary troll - registering to cause trouble - and the "clever" trolling where otherwise intelligent people allow themselves to forget that trolling is joining a site to cause trouble and that applies no matter how "justified" you think you are.

I think the first one comes from sheer stupidity - all internet fora suffer from it, no matter how innocuous the forum subject. The second comes from a misplaced sense of grievance - yes, this person was in the wrong to join, cause trouble, etc but following them and returning the favour is equally wrong.
You can see it's well meaning, but it's not a good idea! If only because the purpose of the troll is to lower us all to their level and by doing this you are actually doing the same.

Heron said...

As someone who took the trouble to engage with this individual I can only reflect that I probably wasted my time. But I think he probably does believe he has a point; problem is he can't seem to concede that anyone else might have one.

Ancestral Gael said...


I'm sorry you feel you wasted your time; I know I found myself getting frustrated by the posts almost screaming at the screen: "they've answered it already; read the response you daft git!" and getting more than a little annoyed. Of course, I shouldn't have done. Its just the internet after all (not life and death).

Still, I do hate seeing my safe havens invaded by certain types (whether consciously done or not).