Wikipedia talk:What is a troll?/Archive 1

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Hi, well, it looks like good stuff, but I guess I still can't get past my dislike of the 'T' word. I really liked the comparision with a vandal: 'making things hard for editors and developers'. I'd be very grateful if you helped knock the rough edges off Wikipedia talk:Dealing with disruptive or antisocial editors Erich 02:11, 10 Jul 2004 (UTC)

I see where you're coming from regarding the word "trolling," but I think the word is in common enough use that it's probably better to go with the flow on it than to object to it. Incrimental revolution and all. :) Snowspinner 07:12, Jul 10, 2004 (UTC)
fair enough. I think this page is definitely a worthwhile addition given all the talk, as you say. But how about trying to focus on 'trolling' rather than 'troll'? mmm how about moving the page (again... sorry) to Wikipedia:What is trolling? just an idea... Erich 07:34, 10 Jul 2004 (UTC)

How to respond to trolling

Geez you gave me a fright with this: "Trolling is not allowed. Persistant trolling is a bannable offense. Sysops should enforce this policy at their discretion." I'm glad you deleted it! But I'm worried about the section on "Accusation of cabalism." given the obscure and often mysterious nature of wikigovernance then the accusation is not completely unreasonalbe and surely makeing it shouldn't be a terrible offense? Erich 07:49, 10 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Making an accusation of cabalism isn't itself a terrible offense. Doing it because you're a troll is. It's a frequent way of trying to disrupt Wikipedia. The methodology of this definition, hopefully, is that no specific behavior is made illegal, because the nature of trolling is that it involves conduct that can be reasonable in some situations. Unlike vandalism, which is somewhat cut and dry, trolling is generally behavior that could be done out of sincere belief or sincere ignorance, or that could be done out of malice. So the real trick is to determine malice. One of the things that this policy achieves, I think, is that it mandates being nice to trolls until proven a troll. I expect that there will be instances where the final ruling is "While person X may be a troll, you did not behave sympathetically towards him enough. Go back and give them another chance." Snowspinner 14:57, Jul 10, 2004 (UTC)

Trolls versus Fuckheads

We still need a more suitable word for the phenomenon discussed at . That is, people who are not trolls, but more akin to a POV-pushing crank. Because every one of the behaviours listed on "What is a troll" can also be caused by POV-pushing cranks. Mr-Natural-Health, Irismeister and Paul Vogel would not fall into the "troll" category.

While I agree that the text on this page lists characteristics of trolls, I suspect it will still be too easy to look at the characteristics and assume ill intent - David Gerard 23:51, 10 Jul 2004 (UTC)

SF-fandom used to use the word fugghead (and perhaps still does) though Google has only 135 hits for fugghead and only 15 for fughead while fuckhead gets 23,700 hits. The word had the advantage of also suggesting fog-head, that is, someone whose perception and thnking is fogged-up. A fugghead is sometimes a fugghead only in certain areas. But similarly someone may be a troll only in certain areas, delighting in baiting and causing trouble for particular people or on particular subjects, but not causing problems when dealing with other people or in other areas. But the matter of intent is often a red herring. It doesn't matter whether someone is discruptive or posting nonsense onto Winkipedia because that person is trying to cause trouble or because that person is irrational. And fuggheads or fog-heads can easily also become trolls by intent. Jallan 22:14, 28 Aug 2004 (UTC)


I think we should remove the language suggesting that accusations of a "cabal" are a near-certain sign of trolling. While I do agree that it's really rather silly to suggest that the Wikipedia as a whole is run by a "cabal", it's not an unreasonable accusation to make about a particular article, topic area, or even project. The word "cabal" is a bit strong, but there are some (relatively obscure) parts of Wikipedia I'm involved in where there are maybe three of us, with pretty good consensus, who are the only ones working in that area. While I'd like to think we are open-minded, maybe we are not, and certainly a new person coming into these areas and disagreeing with us would not have to be either crazy or a troll to see us as a "cabal". -- Jmabel 00:51, Jul 11, 2004 (UTC)


Another suggestion maybe to add in the category of "if you feel you are being wrongly accused of trolling": cite authoritative and verifiable sources. Unless it's just a matter of being off-topic (and then you may have to graciously place your material in another article) people are usually pretty open to letting clearly sourced material into an article (even if it ends up followed by contrasting opinion). However, unsourced material that represents minority points of view simply has a harder time getting into the article, especially because people may legitimately suspect that you are nearly the only person in the world who believes what you are espousing. -- Jmabel 00:58, Jul 11, 2004 (UTC)


Hmm,it says (paraphrasing) : if you don't want to be called a troll if the consensus happens to be against you, you have to concede. This is not the wiki way, I think. :-) Kim Bruning 19:04, 14 Jul 2004 (UTC)

The problem with this text

I have been through this text trying to clarify and tighten it. I ran out of steam half way through.

The trouble with this article is that it's a Wikipedia-weaselworded version of actual events. (e.g. the bit on VfD, which is really about Anthony getting a clip round the ear from the AC and being told not to be a dickhead).

The other problem, below that, stringing together real incidents in an overgeneralising fashion.

The other other problem is that a series of rules is intrinsically inadequate to deal with people whose joy is wrecking the place through finding new ones to break.

The other other other problem is really that this text is nowhere near maturity, nor a pressing enough problem to form a rule over. Compare the recent bleat discussions of "hate speech" on wikien-l.

I feel this current effort is doomed to failure, because it's not possible to meaningfully legislate "I knows it when I sees it." - David Gerard 21:28, 14 Jul 2004 (UTC)