Friday, September 14, 2007

Forums and Blogs

I am tethered to my father. It isn't a physical tether but it is certainly real. Sometimes the tether is longer and less rigid and sometimes it is shorter and more rigid. Regardless I am doing a lot of sitting with Dad.

It is different than being in the hospital or even just sitting with someone at home. In the hospital you are in the same room alright but you can leave and the patient can't follow you. But "tethered" is when you leave and the patient leaves with you. You go to the bathroom and the the patient wants to be right there with you. I've read it called "shadowing" and that's a pretty apt name. At other times when I've been in the hospital or when I've been house-bound but not really tethered I read books, usually novels. But for some reason I find reading books really difficult right now. So most of the time when I'm sitting I read a few forums and blogs and I write entries to my own blogs.

I've noticed that all forums seem to have a few people who are just really difficult. There is even a name for them: Trolls. Basically the term has come to describe people who post in such a way as to draw argumentative responses.

The consensus seems to be that Trolls are people who crave attention. I think love, recognition, and respect are absent in their real lives and so they try to compensate in the virtual world. The busy forum seems to be the ideal venue for Trolls. Many visitors provide a continuing source of targets for the Troll and if there are always new people around then it is easier for the Troll to lure the unsuspecting newbie into his or her trap.

The Troll may or may not actually care about the subject at hand. But it is the response from which the Troll derives energy. It is much like feeding I think. So I think the warnings about "Don't feed the Trolls" are entirely appropriate.

I have read another viewpoint. It was to actually feed the Trolls. The idea was that since the Troll craved attention then it was better to just lavish praise and attention on the Troll and that would "keep him in his cave" so to speak. I haven't really seen that done.

Usually though what happens is that the Troll is successful in getting someone to feed him by posting an angry or hurt response. Then the Troll escalates the entire thread. Finally someone, often not the Troll, violates the forum rules and is suspended or banned. This, of course, is the Troll's greatest victory.

I am certain that psychologically the Troll suffers from a severe lack of self-love, self-respect, and self-identity. I've noticed before that sometimes the people who talk most about love are the ones who seem to show the least. Some Trolls talk on and on about their honor and reputation. Someone once said if you have to tell everyone how great you are then you aren't really very great. Or they tell you that they are so open minded and liberal (hardly anyone ever says they are closed minded - they say they have values) when in fact they refuse to tolerate anyone with differing opinions.

I've noticed it with the racists I've known. If someone tells you "I'm definitely not a racist" over and over then a lot of times there is a "but" that follows it and they tell you some story about themselves that shows they are racist.

Trolls are pitiful creatures. They are not only found on the Internet. They come in real life versions as well.

"Don't Feed the Trolls!"


nancy said...

great post flinty. you are SO right. fortunately i have been able to ignore their comments, although sometimes i am very tempted to respond. thanks for posting.

~Betsy said...

Every now and again I will post to the Trolls. As soon as I do it, I regret it. But sometimes I just get so tired of their narcissim. Like today - I answered one on the board because frankly, I am so tired of the same old same old.

I love your photo of the little boy with the harness. He looks a lot like Brian did when he was little, though I never had to tether him. When I was a teenager, I babysat for a family who used a harness on their son. I always thought it odd.

How is dad today?

Lori1955 said...

Many years ago when I was living on the streets, my friends and I had a saying "It's better to be wanted by the police than not to be wanted at all". I think the trolls have that same mindset. Sometimes I get angry with them but mostly I just feel sorry for him.

steflovesnonna said...

I know what your talking about. I worry about them but I mostly avoid them. I also try my hardest not to be on of these Trolls myself. I am glad you brought the topic up, its one to always be aware of.

SKYGIRL said...

You are such a wise & honest Man. I am glad you know of what you speak, and then, speak it!

My Mom used to follow me around, when I was staying with her. I think she used to 'pace' in front of my door, waiting for me to get up? We have, and had such different shedules, about three hours apart, for every meal, awaking, and going to bed.

I think they are frightened to be alone? I don't blame them a bit.

Mrs. Flinty is a rare find, in a Woman, that only get's to spend time with her 'newish' Husband on the Week-Ends! I think she is a 'keeper!'