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Re: [OFF-TOPIC technically, but relevant to this group]

On Sun, 8 Jun 2014 21:45:40 +0100
Terence <terence.john@gmail.com> wrote:

> I think this whole thing has gone too far. The response to this
> trolling cretin has led to a fragmentation wholly unlike the tenor of
> our normal Debian lists,
> and, I regret to see, list members whom I hold in general high regard
> being attacked after their initial attempts to help or intervene.
> I do not know if anyone could untangle the interlocking and overlaid
> posts around one person's troll aggression, and it certainly would
> not repay even five minutes effort to do so.
> Over many years on this and other non-Debian lists, I think I
> perceive a pattern: the first signs of a troll are often given by
> their lack of willingness to find out for themselves, an
> unwillingness to understand the help and advice freely given, their
> failure to comprehend that list support has a cost, and, not least,
> their swift recourse to abuse and excuse.

Apart from the last, of course, it is not always easy to distinguish a
troll from a respectable newcomer who has learned other ways. Many
people arrive here from Windows via Ubuntu.

Occasionally a search leads me to one web forum or other for Another
OS, where a certain amount of aggression seems to be almost necessary to
survive. Someone used to that environment may react to criticism more
actively than they might otherwise have done.

It's worth hanging on for a while. I used to help out on an MS
newsgroup, now a (fairly high-class) web forum, where people of similar
quality to those here (apart from being misguided, of course) would
help out. I distinctly recall a fairly prickly individual arriving one
day and immediately getting involved in a few rather terse exchanges,
but after a couple of months he had become a valued contributor and
continued on the group for some years. He was worth putting up with a
few yahoos for a while.

> They either do not know, or do not care, that the costs of the
> support they apparently seek is borne by the comparative few who
> offer all their hard earned learning and experience in providing such
> excellent support to the many. Added to this generosity is their
> priceless willingness of those able to help and support those less
> able, or trying to learn,
> So, may I suggest, that at the first indication that a troll has
> infected our lists, we cut off his/her (or her/his!) oxygen supply by
> refusing to reply?

I think this happens anyway, with different people having different
tolerances. Anyone is free to walk away at any time, and some modern
email programs can display subjects, so the offending thread(s) can be
> With luck this may stop my long time colleagues here from the
> stressful and abusive posts of the recent past, and, denied the
> recognition of a reply, the troll will find another bridge to hide
> under.
> My best wishes to all you who support this list in such an excellent
> way. Long may the real list last!
Indeed, but I don't think we should over-react. It's gone quiet now, and
presumably we've lost this one, but I think it's worth persisting for
at least a while with thin-skinned newbies. They don't always appreciate
they've arrived among the Council of Elders, where boisterous behaviour
is frowned upon. Well, mostly...


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