Anonymity and Trolling

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Re: Anonymity and Trolling

Postby Jikan » Tue Sep 10, 2013 1:04 pm

Pithy just means it's short and to the point. It's possible to recognize that something's pithy without agreeing with the content of that thing.

It's true that there are some assumptions at work in this thread, shel. Here's one: the assumption that a user's interests and motivations and ideas can be understood by the kinds of posts that user makes, and the topics that user starts. This may or may not be a fair assumption.

The fact that this thread is in the lounge is the only reason why it's still open. This is not because the thread demonstrates inadequate "piety," but because it isn't particularly relevant to the purpose of this board: "Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism."
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Re: Anonymity and Trolling

Postby Seishin » Tue Sep 10, 2013 3:02 pm

shel wrote:The inspiration for this topic originated at Zen Forum International. There's a topic with the same name and subject on that forum. By comparison, that discussion has involved the whole community there, and has had several times the activity of the discussion on this forum. Only a small handful of members here have shown any interest.


I'm not sure what you mean by the above statement. Would you mind explaining the above?

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Re: Anonymity and Trolling

Postby shel » Tue Sep 10, 2013 6:05 pm

Jikan wrote:The fact that this thread is in the lounge is the only reason why it's still open. This is not because the thread demonstrates inadequate "piety," but because it isn't particularly relevant to the purpose of this board: "Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism."

Hmm, in a topic category that currently includes such high minded subjects as dive in sex boxes, objectophilia, and teen idols, a discussion about anonymity and trolling doesn't seem so terribly incongruent with the purpose of this board, comparatively speaking.

:cheers:
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Re: Anonymity and Trolling

Postby shel » Tue Sep 10, 2013 6:12 pm

Seishin wrote:
shel wrote:The inspiration for this topic originated at Zen Forum International. There's a topic with the same name and subject on that forum. By comparison, that discussion has involved the whole community there, and has had several times the activity of the discussion on this forum. Only a small handful of members here have shown any interest.


I'm not sure what you mean by the above statement. Would you mind explaining the above?


The confusion is understandable. The above only makes sense in the context of Jeepers pithy contribution to the topic. Though that contribution was concise and to the point, the meaning and purpose of it remain unclear. We do not ask for clarification because it's not particularly relevant to the purpose of this board. It is a mere curiosity and that's how it should remain.
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Re: Anonymity and Trolling

Postby Seishin » Tue Sep 10, 2013 7:36 pm

So essentially it was just a statement of comparison and no other? Because it seems to me you were trying to make a point. :shrug:
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Re: Anonymity and Trolling

Postby shel » Tue Sep 10, 2013 8:04 pm

Seishin wrote:So essentially it was just a statement of comparison and no other? Because it seems to me you were trying to make a point. :shrug:


I can only guess at the point of Jeeper's pithy posting.

I wrote: "I've read this [Jeeper's pithy posting] several times but can't quite decipher what this is supposed to mean."

I subsequently attempted to decipher it. The portion mentioning Zen Forum International was anecdotal in nature. Explaining origins and offering comparisons can help to elucidate the meanings of things.

Given the above, it seems to me that I wasn't trying to make a point. It seems to me that I was attempting to understand the point of Jeeper's pithy posting.
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Re: Anonymity and Trolling

Postby shel » Wed Sep 11, 2013 8:10 am

One surprisingly good post from our sister topic at Zen Forum International that I'd like to share here:

guo gu wrote:catching up on certain threads and found this one...

personally i feel that non-anonymity may help in encouraging people to take responsibility in what they post in this forum, but it's not a guarantee. as many people have expressed, some people may not feel comfortable revealing their identity.

the issue here may not be anonymity or non-anonymity, but trolling. yet, i don't see trolling or trollers (not sure if i'm using the word correctly) on this forum. i see a very few number of people asking different questions but not accept others' suggestions. but that's fine. i don't see a problem with that at all. i'm not familiar enough with online forums to comment but my impression is that the so-called "trolls" or "trollers" on other social medias/forums/blogs, etc. usually post many hurtful things. folks do get annoyed with each others' posts, but people get annoyed with others in real life. do we block them out of our life or do we use the opportunity as practice? if people are annoyed, don't bother responding. i say that in the context of this forum specifically. again, i don't feel members here are saying hurtful things, using inflammatory words, or being insincere. we may not agree with certain views, but we can't assume that the poster is a troller because their views are different. they may be quite sincere in sharing their own experience. using words like trolling or troller for any member here, i feel, do more damage than good.

the issue here is how to establish a shared sense of ethics in posting to make this forum a friendly and helpful community, how to post with a sensitivity towards other members. challenging questions and debates are part of a healthy forum. most people here share this sense of ethics. we should try to help those who do not yet have share this sensitivity. we don't just ban them! we don't give up trying.

this reminds me of a chan story. one time a mob of monks complained to the chan master abbot that certain so and so was doing something unethical--i think the monk in question stole something--and wanted to have him expelled. the master said, "if you want to kick him out then you'll have to kick me out too." when asked why, the master said, "all of you already know right from wrong but that monk doesn't. if no one wants to teach him, then i will." the monk was moved to tears and changed his ways. the point: people don't change necessarily because of external rules or pressures; people change because they're moved or inspired to change, because they want to change.

another story, actually it happened on this forum! when i was invited to be on this forum, i joined not knowing that teachers' advice to students in the "ask a teacher question" section cannot be challenged/questioned. so naturally when i felt that a teacher was not answering the question, repeatedly, despite the student's requests, i stepped in and gave an answer to the student and questioned the teacher. this was one of my first posts. unfortunately, my answer was perceived as a threat, so much that the teacher actually left the forum our of anger (despite my repeated apologies to him in pms)! another teacher jumped in and attacked my responses to nearly every thread, even outside of the "ask a teacher question" section. this continued until even the admins asked me to click on the "report" button several times. i never did. so the admins took it upon themselves one time to remove that teacher's posts. meanwhile, the first teacher returned to the forum, and i received many pm's by members asking me not to leave; some shared with me their own experiences/encounters with those teachers, thinking that i was offended and would leave the forum. actually, i didn't really see those as problems, but i did feel sorry for the teachers, members, and admins. the point: there's always a choice in whether we get offended or not. what's the sound of one hand clapping if there's no hand that claps back?

we're all growing and learning together here, and nothing remains the same. yet in this process, what kind of forum ethics do we want to propose? what kind of online zen community do we want to have? since people's views are divided on whether someone is a troller or not, on what grounds do we judge others?

more words to add to the entangling vines...
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Re: Anonymity and Trolling

Postby Simon E. » Wed Sep 11, 2013 8:32 am

I am curious. Why are you conducting your part in this discussion here on DW Shel, when it seems to be driven by your wanting to respond to a discussion on Zen Forum International ? Why are you conducting it by proxy here instead of putting your views on Zen Forum International..or even on both forums ?
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Re: Anonymity and Trolling

Postby oushi » Wed Sep 11, 2013 8:37 am

:lol: This gou gu post is a killer for ZFI.
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Re: Anonymity and Trolling

Postby Simon E. » Wed Sep 11, 2013 8:57 am

oushi wrote::lol: This gou gu post is a killer for ZFI.

What does that mean ?
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Re: Anonymity and Trolling

Postby oushi » Wed Sep 11, 2013 9:15 am

It reveals the mechanisms that work underneath the surface. Nobody would believe a common user, but we have a teacher here. "Normally" he would face an avalanche of accusations of trolling, biting, being disrespectful, sect bashing etc.
Been there did that.
It exposes the ways of the "other side" which uses "trolling" etc. as a device of influence, to enforce their views on Dharma. Simply speaking, if you don't agree with our views, you are a troll.
Look how those teachers behaved while facing disagreement. Like children... Children with moderation power and support. Monkeys with razors comes to my mind.
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oushi wrote::lol: This gou gu post is a killer for ZFI.

What does that mean ?
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Re: Anonymity and Trolling

Postby Simon E. » Wed Sep 11, 2013 9:27 am

And your relationship with Zen Forum International is what, Oushi ?
See, I find it curious that a critique of another Buddhist forum is being conducted on THIS forum, no matter how thinly disguised it is as making general points ..I have absolutely no axe to grind against or for Zen Forum International..I stopped dropping in even to read only some time ago..But to proffer a critique of another forum from the safety of this forum seems to me to come perilously close to breaching the 6th listed of those behaviours proscribed by the TOS.
Last edited by Simon E. on Wed Sep 11, 2013 9:42 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Anonymity and Trolling

Postby oushi » Wed Sep 11, 2013 9:33 am

Simon E. wrote:And your relationship with Zen Forum International is what, Oushi ?

Presently, none.
It shouldn't be concluded that ZFI people are evil... but it can work as an extension of an area from which we draw information for this discussion. It's a very vivid example, especially after this gou gu post.
Beside trolls, there are people overusing the notion of troll to win an argument, and that is in my opinion, very dangerous and destructive behavior. Worse then careless trolling.
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Re: Anonymity and Trolling

Postby shel » Wed Sep 11, 2013 4:01 pm

You would much rather be discussing me than Buddhism as such? Hence the topic, PeterB, hence the topic! :tongue:
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Re: Anonymity and Trolling

Postby shel » Wed Sep 11, 2013 6:19 pm

oushi wrote:It reveals the mechanisms that work underneath the surface. Nobody would believe a common user, but we have a teacher here. "Normally" he would face an avalanche of accusations of trolling, biting, being disrespectful, sect bashing etc.


I thought they'd delete the whole post, but they just removed the interesting part. :tongue: You can tell it was an admin who edited the post because there's no sign it was edited. Too funny.
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Re: Anonymity and Trolling

Postby Dan74 » Sun Oct 06, 2013 11:53 pm

(Posting here against my better judgment, folks, please prove me wrong!)

OK, ZFI is more heavily moderated than Dharma Wheel.

Sometimes people feel hard done by and maybe with some justification. I remember when oushi used to post at ZFI, for example. He had a smug-looking mug-shot as an avatar and would come at people with very glib-sounding Zennisms. I am pretty sure this was the common perception, but it may have been wrong. It also came at a time when many were already feeling jaded with self-proclaimed Zen masters and he may have just gotten off to a bad start with the Mod team. Perhaps it was more about the context and communication than any ill-intent of the user and then it's regrettable. Sounds like there is some bruising that persists which is great fodder for practice.

As for light moderation, I see its pitfalls here. Someone starts a thoughtful topic which quickly descends into being a soapbox for people's old agendas. I've seen a number of topics hijacked in this manner here and thoughtful people leave in exasperation.

So at the end of the day, it is about the ethos of the forum. At ZFI the Admins are keen to keep the forum on track and away from contentious issues. This can make it sterile and alienate people who don't like such environment. It sometimes comes down hard on people who are genuine but appear to go against what real Zen or Zen practice is all about, according to the folks in charge. I think the team there means well and wants to foster a good environment. Just the same as here, I am sure.

I think we can be adult enough to accept that different fora have different policies and call for change in constructive ways when we are moved to do so.
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Re: Anonymity and Trolling

Postby shel » Mon Oct 07, 2013 12:50 am

Dan74 wrote:(Posting here against my better judgment, folks, please prove me wrong!)

We can only guess at what you're capable of handling skillfully, Dan. Perhaps you should trust your instincts.

As for light moderation, I see its pitfalls here. Someone starts a thoughtful topic which quickly descends into being a soapbox for people's old agendas. I've seen a number of topics hijacked in this manner here and thoughtful people leave in exasperation.

The worst expression of this was when Malcolm left because of harassment by another member. But he's back now. It seems a little patience can be mightier than intolerance. We should all trust our instincts in regard to what we can skillfully handle though.

So at the end of the day, it is about the ethos of the forum.

Indeed, and that ethos is expressed in every action.

At ZFI the Admins are keen to keep the forum on track and away from contentious issues. This can make it sterile and alienate people who don't like such environment. It sometimes comes down hard on people who are genuine but appear to go against what real Zen or Zen practice is all about, according to the folks in charge.

Did you read the post above by Guo Gu? It seems they 'came down hard' on Guo Gu, so much so that many asked him not to leave the forum. Why? Does he not appear genuine? or does he seem to go against what real Zen or Zen practice is all about?

They deleted a paragraph from Guo Gu's post shown above. What ethos does that express exactly?
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Re: Anonymity and Trolling

Postby Dan74 » Mon Oct 07, 2013 12:58 am

Shel, with Guo Gu, I think it was the case of a simple misunderstanding. The other teacher thought he was being undermined probably. After the initial kerfuffle settled, everyone seems to coexist quite happily now. The deleted paragraph was talking about moderation - against ToS.

Look, you know I have my views and I am not an apologist for how things are done at ZFI. I am just saying it is not some megalomaniac Nazi conspiracy like some of the posts here seem to imply. Those folks do things a little differently, that's all. You can criticise, but I think it's important not to lose perspective.

Yes, perspective.
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Re: Anonymity and Trolling

Postby shel » Mon Oct 07, 2013 2:27 am

Dan74 wrote:Shel, with Guo Gu, I think it was the case of a simple misunderstanding. The other teacher thought he was being undermined probably. After the initial kerfuffle settled, everyone seems to coexist quite happily now. The deleted paragraph was talking about moderation - against ToS.

Look, you know I have my views and I am not an apologist for how things are done at ZFI. I am just saying it is not some megalomaniac Nazi conspiracy like some of the posts here seem to imply. Those folks do things a little differently, that's all. You can criticise, but I think it's important not to lose perspective.

Yes, perspective.


Megalomaniac Nazi conspiracy? I don't believe such melodrama is necessary, Dan.

Where exactly have I lost perspective in this topic? Please, point it out so that I may have the benefit of your clear perception and assessment.
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Re: Anonymity and Trolling

Postby Dan74 » Mon Oct 07, 2013 2:42 am

How much energy have you already spent on this particular issue?
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