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You have probably heard various opinions about how to deal with people who write insulting or provocative remarks on various Internet forums (also known as "trolls" or people who "flame"). The most common is "Don't Feed the Trolls", which says that all the people in the forum should avoid responding to the troll. However, as you will see below, "Don't feed the trolls" is also a wrong and ineffective approach for dealing with trolls.

Luckily, I discovered a much better way to handle criticism in the book Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy, which is an internationally best-selling self-help book by Dr. David D. Burns for learning how to deal with periods of clinical depression. The book teaches cognitive therapy, which was proven to be effective in dealing with a variety of mood disorders. The book has helped me a lot both in learning the cause of my psychological conditions, and in giving me tools to overcome them.

cover of Feeling Good

This post will focus on a certain chapter in the book called "Verbal Judo: learn to talk back when you're under the fire of criticism", as adapted by me to the world of online, Internet-based, communication. What this chapter does is instruct depressive people (and other people in general) how to properly handle criticisms from their peers. The super-executive summary for this post is: "On the Internet, don't be right - be smart."

One final note: I am not a mental health professional and this is not professional psychological advice. I believe anyone is allowed to give such insights from their knowledge and experience, just like everyone is allowed to give their opinion on computing or on legal matters, while stating the usual disclaimer. So don't blame me if this thing back-fires, and use your reason and judgement with what I'm saying here.

Case Study

Someone joins a Python IRC channel and says "Perl rocks my socks and Python sucks balls, LOL. Python programmers are incompetent imbecile losers, ROTFL…"

(I'm giving it about Python to avoid Perl-elitism on my part. I'm also using "him", "he" consistently, though the troll might be female. )

What not to do?

  1. Criticise his judgement:

    • "Python does not suck, and you are being rude."
    • "WTF are you saying? Everybody knows that Perl sucks."

    Saying sentences like that will likely irritate the troll further, will likely yield an even more aggressive response from the troll, and will only escalate the heat in the conversation.

  2. Don't feed the troll" - i.e: ignore him. Someone will "feed" him eventually and the troll may continue trolling and feeling he's right and superior, or alternatively that the Python people on the channel are being "jerks" for not responding.

  3. Ban him / call for banning him - a great way to create another enemy, and can also possibly start some "was it right to ban him" converations. Will also negatively contribute to the channel's atomsphere among the channel members.

    The troll may also prove to be a useful resource in the future, or can be taught to love Python eventually.

  4. Tell him not to troll. - you're labelling him, insulting him and making him feel like he's alienated. Some people may still respond harshly.

  5. Cancel the project, or close the channel - may seem very far-fetched but in a project I was involved in and made some suggestions which were perceived as annoying, I was told that they actually considered cancelling the project. Naturally, this is throwing the baby along with the bathwater, so you certainly must not do that.

What to do instead

So what should we do instead. It's very simple:

  1. Ask him what he means. ; interrogate him:

    • "Why do you feel that Python is so bad? What do you find wrong with it?"
  2. Agree with him (but use a softer language):

    • "Yes, Perl is a nice language, and I agree that Python has its downsides and/or trade-offs in comparison to Perl."
    • "It's OK to prefer Perl, we'll still accept you here."

    This will make the troll lose steam and help you find a common ground.

  3. And eventually negotiate a common ground: "Would you agree that some people like Perl better and some like Python better? (And some may like both equally.). Maybe you can still write Python code and be productive in it while still not in love with it. Who knows, maybe you'll even grow to like it. Feel free to stick around and ask questions."

(After I originally read that in Feeling Good, I immediately thought that it made immediate sense, and that it will likely work in most cases. However, later I thought that I probably would not have thought about it myself.)

Repeat that a few times and the troll will eventually calm down and will become more friendly and hospitable. Some people who've read a draft of this article claimed that such a person will probably troll further in the future, and so one should get rid of him as quickly as possible. While this may often be the case, one should understand that it is not always the case for all trolls. Moreover, you should learn to tolerate people that have some bad personality traits which you don't like, instead of deciding right away that you hate them and don't want to have anything to do with them. I have decided to do that, and often found these Internet people to be of some value, whether in entertainment, knowledge or technical help.

On the other hand, if you dismiss every one as a "troll" for any small problem, your community will not grow a lot and you'll leave people with a lot of bad taste in the mouth.

Practising

The rest of this post gives more useful advice for communicating with people who are making provocative statements, and can be read at your own leisure. After you've read that, you may wish to practice what was said here using role-playing, by one of the following scenarios:

  • Someone comes on a FreeBSD channel, and claims that Linux and the GPL have "won" and that the BSD licence and the BSD clones have no future.
  • Someone joins a channel of the GNU project and claims that the GPL licence is an "evil", anti-capitalistic and anti-commercial licence, that does a lot of harm to the open source world.
  • You are talking on a Perl channel, when someone joins and says that "Perl is dead".
  • You are chatting on a mailing list or chatroom dedicated to development of open-source software when someone says "Why are you people spending so much time making sure your programs run on Windows? One should prohibit running FOSS on Windows! Everyone should avoid porting their software to Windows? By providing Windows users with great FOSS software, you make sure Windows remains popular and are working against the cause."
  • You are discussing Emacs when someone joins and say "Emacs is a bloated operating system that lacks a good text editor. Only losers use it. vi FTW!".
  • You are on a Vim channel, when someone say "Everybody knows that vi sucks! Emacs is the only one true editor. Vi users are lamers.".

You can probably think of others.

Some Advice for Communicating with Trolls Properly

  1. Relax: don't worry if you don't get everything exactly right.

  2. Communicate clearly: write in the best spelling, grammar, punctuation, capitalisation, idiomatic speech, etc. that you can, no matter how bad the troll's messages were in this respect.

    It may be a good idea to avoid too high or complicated words, because many foreign speakers of English often have poor English vocabulary.

  3. Don't criticise what he says directly or the way he says it (Style over substance etc.)

  4. Avoid logical fallacies: see the Nizkor project about them and the List of fallacies on the English wikipedia.

    Especially avoid ad hominem: "You're under age and much younger than me and not a lawyer, so you're not qualified to give your opinion about open-source licences."

  5. Be polite and friendly.

  6. Don't be too terse. Write coherently, and explain what you want.

    Proper human communication has a lot of redundancy, but people prefer it this way. Even in Information Theory, you cannot compress an arbitrary amount of data to a message which is too short.

    Short and Sweet Cartoon

  7. On the other hand, don't be too verbose, as people won't bother reading you. It may be better to put a claim and reiterate.

  8. If using E-mail, always do bottom-inline post and never top-post (unless you know better than that, which you probably don't). When top-posting, the one who responds can often reply not to the point or miss many important posts:

    1. Quote a selected message
    2. Disarm the troll using the methods above.
    3. Repeat.

    See the English Wikipedia article about posting style for more information.

  9. Don't selectively trim the message without leaving enough context.

  10. Don't mis-interpret or jump to conclusions - ask the troll what he means if you don't know.

  11. Try to avoid using aphorisms, proverbs, "famous" quotes, rhymes or verse etc. Instead use free-form, coherent speech and say what you want in your own words.

    The problem with aphorisms, and their ilk are that they tend to project authority, and usually backfire because a person intuitively knows that.

    Sometimes they may lead to an aphorism war or for "correcting" the aphorism or discussing its larger context and origins.

    All of these can sometimes spice up a friendly conversation and add humour to it, though, but your kilomterage may vary.

  12. Don't make fun of the troll. Respect him and try to avoid unnecessary humour. Be pleasant - not funny.

  13. Don't be rude; use soft words such as "I think", "I believe", "In my opinion", "I find that", etc.

  14. Don't label: "open-source and Creative Commons are Socialism" (So what if they are? They are still beneficial.)

  15. Always start the conversation with a "Hi [name-or-nick]," and possibly thank him for what he says or otherwise start with a compliment. This will better allow disarming him.

Further Reading

  1. "Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy Revised and Updated" by David D. Burns.
  2. "How to Protect Your Open Source Project From Poisonous People" - by Ben Collins-Sussman and Brian Fitzpatrick of Subversion fame. A Google Tech Talk - not sure if there are subtitles or a transcript.
  3. The Book "Producing Open Source Software" - by Karl Fogel (of CVS/Subversion fame).

Licence

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License (Unported) (CC-by) or at your option any later version. Copyright © 2011, Shlomi Fish. CC-by is a common, permissive, free/libre/open licence for cultural works, which allows for almost unlimited use. See my interpretation and expectations from people who wish to build upon it (which I believe are pretty fair).

About the Author

Shlomi Fish is an Israeli software developer, essayist and humorist, who is passionate about open source, open content, and freedom and openness in general. He's been either trolling various online forums, or alternatively dealing with people who troll them, since he's been seriously involved in the Israeli and international open-source world.

Among his many sins, he can list writing many "farfetched" and avantgarde stories and screenplays, releasing a lot of open-source programs that he's not sure anyone besides him uses, adopting some programs and CPAN modules by other people that seem to be more popular, contributing to projects with many contributors (often not regularly), being called "passive-aggressive" and understanding that he is often over-domineering, regularly getting into undesirable psychomedical periods of being "hyper", (while lately deciding to openly admit it.), and writing many opinionated articles, essays and blog posts about various topics. He prides himself in being a geek, who is a person who is inclined in one or more creative or research endeavour, but does not have prejudice for or against either geek culture, popular culture or popular geek pseudo-culture. He chooses what he finds good and happens to like, not what other people consider as hip or trendy or passé. As such, he belongs to the empty set of people who like both Pink Floyd, as well as Shania Twain and Atomic Kitten (meow!).

Shlomi is interested in any contracts or commissions involving writing essays, blog posts or articles, or in publishing polished versions of his fictional stories or essays, or collections thereof, in print or E-book form. He can be contacted by various means, but please don't ask him to fix your computer or other personal help where an online forum will better do.

Coverage

Update 1

I may have misunderstood the word "troll" to be anyone who is provocative, including by intending well (see the comments), although saying that a person is "trolling" or even "spamming" in this case may be commonplace now. I still think that even if it's a consciously malevolent troll, he can eventually lose steam and lose all the fun they wanted to have by using the techniques above. But this is just a hypothesis. See an insightful comment about that.

Update 2

A few people said that I shouldn't have given this advice because I too have made provocative statements (what was nicknamed "trolled") in several online forums in the past (while usually having good intentions). I admit this is the case, because I'm an opinionated man, who tends to want to fix "inefficiencies", and expresses his opinion a lot. However, that does not invalidate the fact that my advice may still be sound, and that you can also safely apply it to disarm me, when I'm being provocative. Or to sum up, often the "Pot calling the kettle black" accusation is a variation of the "Ad hominem tu quoque" fallacy.

Update 3

IDEA.org has written a great follow-up post to this post and other posts by other people about how to deal with malevolent comments of various types, and also attempting to fully classify them.

Comments

( 72 comments — Leave a comment )
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igabe
Mar. 7th, 2011 04:20 pm (UTC)
Speaking of trolls--
"Hi wankison,

"I didn't fully read your message, but it seems to be very funny. Thanks for sharing this."

If you haven't read it fully, yet felt the need to reply, then you've just admitted to trolling--

Further proven by the simple fact you do not allow comments upon your own disingenuous responses.
shlomif
Mar. 7th, 2011 04:39 pm (UTC)
Re: Speaking of trolls--

Hi igabe! Thanks for your comment.

I admit that I may have admitted to trolling. I mentioned in the post that I've also been trolling some forums. Many people do at point. Just because I might troll sometimes, does not invalidate my advice regarding trolls (which may or may not be true).

I'm sorry I have not fully read your comment, as there many things I'd like to do other than read all past, present and future comments on my threads. (Hell, I kinda dread reading all the comments on the Slashdot page, despite the fact that I think I should eventually - guilt for the win).).

If you want me to admit that I will write provocative stuff in the future (not with malicious intentions, but still), fine - I'll admit it. "Pot calling the kettle black" and all. I suck, but at least I admit it. I'll try to improve next time.

Stay cool.

Re: Speaking of trolls-- - igabe - Mar. 7th, 2011 05:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
Margie Octarin Lazou
Mar. 7th, 2011 08:52 pm (UTC)
Use the troll-spray. They usually go away once they get ridiculed and see they've lost the upper hand. Big, nice, clean troll-spray image mid-thread is a sure-fire deterrent.

Trolls aren't people inept at communication. They are people who actively seek to disrupt the flow of a thread, post negative and derogatory remarks just to witness the indignation, even without actually agreeing, but just for fun. If you deprive them from the reason they do it, they probably stop doing it. If you spray them, aka, turn their own ridiculing around and towards them, they leave. Some even actually say fair enough, cheers, cool thread. And leave.

Don't get so overwhelmed and obsessed by something so simple, trolls are simple. Try addressing internet stalking instead.
quux.myopenid.com
Mar. 8th, 2011 02:18 am (UTC)
'Malevolent trolls' vs 'information seekers' or 'honestly opinionated debaters'
So I'm a channel operator in a fairly large freenode channel, and I can totally see what you're saying here. In fact we consciously structured our channels to use this algorithm wherever possible.

A huge problem in my mind is that a lot of people get labelled as 'malevolent trolls' (that is, people who intentionally say wrong or controversial things just to stir up reactions). Not all of them are in fact malevolent trolls; a fair number really are something else.

It's the motivation that matters. A malevolent troll really does want to provoke vehement reactions and sow discord.

Information seekers are sometimes mistaken for malevolent trolls, primarily because they lack information that others in the channel either cannot imagine anyone not knowing, or because or language difficulties, or both. And sadly, pretended ignorance is a tactic used by a number of malevolent trolls.

And then we have the 'honestly opinionated debater,' (HOD) very common on IRC. Often this personality type is a bit evangelistic, wants to spread the word about something the HOD genuinely finds superior. Yet the HOD has a tendency to oversimplify opposing viewpoints, or not be aware of reasons others may prefer things the HOD considers suboptimal. It's important to understand that the HOD doesn't intend to sow misinformation and/or discord, though often succeeds at doing so anyway, no matter how well intentioned.

Both of the above personalities are very amenable to the tactics you describe. They can be reasoned with; at heart they intend to be reasonable. But the malevolent troll has no such intention. He started out with the intention to sow discord, and this will conflict with (and usually overcome) any intentions of being reasonable. So attempts to be reasonable with such a troll tend to fail; they become nothing more than a contest to see who can outlast who in the 'dialog for supremacy'. Meanwhile, other discussions suffer while the contest grinds on, and on, and on.

Once having diagnosed a truly malevolent troll, I do believe in reverting to the common anti-troll wisdom: deny nutrition. With a ban or mute if you have privileges to do so, and with an ignore command if you don't. Sometimes the malevolent troll can be reasoned with privately and convinced to see the error of his ways (or at least to troll elsewhere), but to force all forum/channel denizens to sit through this remedial course in basic human decency is a waste of their time.

Thanks, Shlomi, for the interesting observations and discussion!
shlomif
Mar. 8th, 2011 02:54 am (UTC)
Re: 'Malevolent trolls' vs 'information seekers' or 'honestly opinionated debaters'

Hi, quux!

Just to note that it's a great comment and I feel you are right and I couldn't have said it better myself. I'll probably link to it from the main post. Thanks!

Lennart Denninger
Mar. 8th, 2011 08:25 am (UTC)
Typical example of someing who thinks they're smart because they're a Dr.
Calling yourself Dr. doesn't make you smart, Slomifish.
You are not above God's law, and God's law says an eye for an eye. So iff trollers start trolling then you better not relax but troll them right back in Jesus name.
shlomif
Mar. 8th, 2011 02:00 pm (UTC)
Re: Typical example of someing who thinks they're smart because they're a Dr.

Hi Mr. Denninger, thanks for your comment.

First of all, I never called myself Dr. and am not a doctor (at least not yet). I only have a Bachelor of Sciences (and in Electrical Engineering, though I'm really more of a software developer by profession). I don't rule out that I'll work on getting a Ph.D one day, but until then I never claimed to be a doctor. What is true is that David Burns is a qualified Medical Doctor (M.D.) and also a well-known and experienced psychotherapist and psychiatrist, and the author of some best-selling books including the book "Feeling Good", which I mention there. I've read this book and found it highly enlightening and helpful, and decided to share some of the insights from the book here for enlightening the rest of the Internet, who may not had that knowledge due to ignorance. Like I said, I do not claim to be an expert in psychotherapy, I'm just giving free advice without any warranties or guarantees.

That put aside, as desirable as your faith in Christianity may be (and I'm talking as someone who used to be an Atheist and still am not very fond of most institutional or political religions), you should understand that in real-life, one should not take what the Bible says as hard-written laws, but rather as general guidelines for enlightenment. An "eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth" is a good guideline for punishing criminals based on their crime. I.e: a 10-year old who downloaded a single copyrighted song from YouTube, which can be bought for less than a dollar on online music shops (and which some may argue is not a crime in the first place), should not be punished as much as a gang of professional robbers who robbed a bank for a million dollar in real money.

However, if you apply this to a case when someone criticises you, you're likely to just escalate the criticism very quickly. And if I recall, Jesus said you should "turn the other cheek", which may be more the right way to do here (I'm not a Christian, of course, but I don't automatically reject everything in any Christian philosophy, just because it is Christian.). Anyway, from my experience it's hard to lead your life based on any single philosophy or law-book, because life brings complex and previously unencountered situations, where we must use our own reason, logic, and judgement.

Like I said at the beginning, "Don't be right - be smart." - it's more important to have a great atmosphere and have a lot of fun, than it is to "win" the debate. I hope you understand.

(All of this is assuming this was not some silly "trollbait", in which case I suggest everyone to not respond after Mr. Denninger's response to this comment.)

blazyog.blogspot.com
Mar. 8th, 2011 01:34 pm (UTC)
Not Worth the Effort
Therapy and public forum discussions are two very different cups of tea. I doubt it's worth the effort to try to better the troll. Your approach gives him attention - which is exactly what keeps him going. Staying calm and not feeding is the most reasonable advice IMHO.
nancylebov
Mar. 8th, 2011 04:12 pm (UTC)
Hi-- I agree about the distinction between malevolent trolls and people who are annoying but basically of good will.

Back on usenet, I turned a couple of the latter around by politely replying to content and ignoring the insults. Eventually, they figured out that they were getting attention for content, and dropped the insults.

This was pretty hard work, though-- I felt like I had to keep passing the Turing Test even when the other person was being robotic.

On the other hand, I did see a malevolent troll driven away for a while-- some of the posters came up with what I called a fluff barrage. They would pick up on one word from one of his posts, and use it as a springboard for several paragraphs of boring but pleasant material. Memories of childhood crayons and such. Or duller than that.

Since he was a drama junkie, he was eventually bored into leaving. Unfortunately, someone eventually mentioned his name and he came back-- the energy for the fluff barrage wasn't there and he wrecked the group.
https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawmdBt9oUurdxfy3MKF9D5CD16qjsWVVqNE
Mar. 8th, 2011 05:21 pm (UTC)
They had that method fully automated ages ago :-)
On Emacs: M-x doctor

I am the psychotherapist. Please, describe your problems. Each time
you are finished talking, type RET twice.

Perl rocks my socks and Python sucks balls, LOL.
Python programmers are incompetent imbecile losers, ROTFL…

Why do you say python programmers are incompetent imbecile losers
rotfl?

Rain Wilber
Mar. 9th, 2011 11:08 am (UTC)
join the game
First, the term "troll" is the stupidest thing I've heard. Why not just play along and finish em' off in the conversation, otherwise you are admitting that they "may have a point", "may be right about something". Calling someone a troll is equal to saying "I am an arrogant, and no one is as smart as me"... that is why "trolls" appear in the first place, because there is so much arrogance, and like attracts like.
shlomifish
Mar. 9th, 2011 03:25 pm (UTC)
Re: join the game


Hi,




Yes, you're right that the word "trolls" sounds arrogant and I should have used a more accurate word, even though I've heard people refer to what I wrote as "trolling" or even to me as "a troll", to say nothing of calling some on-topic messages I've written "spam" only because they were sent to a mailing list. Since the post is already published, I cannot change it after the fact, and we'll have to tolerate it as a known bug in the article. I'll try to be careful from labeling such people "trolls" in the future, because it is indeed quite arrogant.

IDEA_org
Mar. 9th, 2011 01:21 pm (UTC)
Mean trolls vs. True believers
Thanks for your interesting post, and the discussion of different types of trolling among the comments. It got me thinking. I wrote a blog post this morning which differentiates mean trolls from true believers: bit.ly/dLkjsg at www.idea.org - It seems that for the malevolent trolls, DO NOT FEED, is still the right course of action. It's for the more sincere people (who are not often called trolls) that your advice comes into play.
shlomifish
Mar. 9th, 2011 03:19 pm (UTC)
Re: Mean trolls vs. True believers

Hi IDEA_org,




First of all here is a direct hyperlink to your post so people can follow without copy-and-pasting. Next time, please preview the comment, and you should use HTML.




In any case, what you've written is a really great and comprehensive post. It appears to be well-written and well-researched. I've ran into many of such types of "malevolent" comments in the my blogs and those of other people. I think I'll add a link to it in another update on the main post.




Thanks for writing it and letting me know.

Re: Mean trolls vs. True believers - IDEA_org - Mar. 10th, 2011 02:06 am (UTC) - Expand
waitlessness
Mar. 11th, 2011 10:08 am (UTC)
Nonviolent Communication
I thoroughly recommend 'Nonviolent Communication' for all situations like this. See http://www.cnvc.org. For testimonials, go to http://en.nvcwiki.com and click on the link for 'quotes'. (I have no official affiliation.)

It is great for conflict resolution. Behind an individual's anger, criticisms and moral judgements, is a scared person who has a cause to promote or protect (think The Wizard of Oz). Understanding this, we are less likely to react with our own counter-criticisms and moral judgements, saving ourselves and others' stress and blood pressure levels. And too the waste of (often) pointless effort?

If nothing else, it enables us to get quickly to a point of agreeing to disagree, with minimum of fuss and hassle.

It shares a lot with Client-centered therapy/counselling ideas of the psychologist Carl Rogers.

Do yourself a favour and check it out!

All my take. (Ie not necessarily officially endorsed.)

'I have laboured carefully, not to mock, lament, or execrate, but to understand human actions; and to this end I have looked upon passions, such as love, hatred, anger, envy, ambition, pity, and the other perturbations of the mind, not in the light of vices of human nature, but as properties, just as pertinent to it, as are heat, cold, storm, thunder, and the like to the nature of the atmosphere, which phenomena, though inconvenient, are yet necessary, and have fixed causes, by means of which we endeavour to understand their nature, and the mind has just as much pleasure in viewing them aright, as in knowing such things as flatter the senses' - Baruch Spinoza
pingback_bot
Mar. 12th, 2011 05:29 pm (UTC)
Finished Projects, Maintained Projects and Those that are Up For Adoption
User shlomif referenced to your post from Finished Projects, Maintained Projects and Those that are Up For Adoption saying: [...] at tech-savvy or knowledgeable about technology. I successfully Slashdotted the first real post [...]
psychobollox
Mar. 12th, 2011 08:29 pm (UTC)
"As such, he belongs to the empty set of people who like both Pink Floyd, as well as Shania Twain and Atomic Kitten (meow!)."

If he belongs to that set of people, then it cannot be 'empty', by definition!

Smart article, though! Thanks!
shlomif
Mar. 13th, 2011 04:04 am (UTC)
Context

I'm glad you enjoyed the article. Regarding the empty set thing, here is the context for that. It may be too much of a private joke among us Freenode Perlers, and not sure a lot of people got the reference.

Re: Context - psychobollox - Mar. 13th, 2011 04:41 pm (UTC) - Expand
the_zohar
Mar. 14th, 2011 11:05 pm (UTC)
Not gonna happen.
While these tips can(and probably will) work for the common angry user around the internet, it won't work on trolls. A troll's sole purpose on the internet is to aggravate as many people as possible. "Don't feed the trolls" is a very good standard to follow, because, while they might not give up and could continue to troll, they aren't winning, at least not against you. Trolls will not lose if engaged, they will use these comments to continue trolling, much like the Westboro Baptist Church might use anything that could prove it wrong into a twisted version of something that proves them right, even if it doesn't. This whole issue probably comes from the misunderstanding as to what a troll is. A troll is not someone who makes a bit of a stupid/angry comment and starts a comment fight. A troll has no sense(or rather, the character the troll is playing doesn't), and disagrees with /everything/ and acts ridiculously stupid just to make people as mad as possible, then laugh at the results.
shlomif
Mar. 15th, 2011 04:56 am (UTC)
Re: Not gonna happen.

Hi the_zohar,

What you're saying was heavily discussed on previous comments and I've also written an update about it in the main article. Please read that now. (You should have before commenting - :-) .)

Arnob Alam
Mar. 2nd, 2012 07:26 pm (UTC)
Who uses livejournal anymore
I was going to pay attention to this article, but then I saw the URL had LiveJournal.com in it. Seriously, 2012, get with the times man...
shlomifish
Mar. 3rd, 2012 06:37 am (UTC)
Re: Who uses livejournal anymore

Hello Arnob, thanks for your message.

First of all, I should note that the URL was not supposed to have “livejournal.com” in it, because I aliased the domain “unarmed.shlomifish.org” to point to it (while still being hosted on livejournal.com, naturally). Since then, something got broken in livejournal.com and now it redirects to shlomifish.livejournal.com, so that’s what you (unfortunately) see.

Now for why I prefer livejournal.com despite the fact that it went out-of-fashion (at least in the non-Russian-speaking world) lately. I have tried several other popular blogging services, either as someone who read the blog and possibly tried to comment it, or as someone who actually hosted the blog there, and I have yet to see something that works as well as livejournal.com. While livejournal.com is certainly not perfect, it works the best for me (and for people reading and commenting on my blog).

I can list some of the faults I found in wordpress.com and in blogger.com, but I think they are beside the point here. And hosting a blog on my home site would be too much maintenance for me and would be too risky, because I believe I’m not a good system adminstrator.

You should also understand that fashions come and go, and just because something went out of fashion, does not mean that it’s no longer good. I recall many popular and "hip" technologies in my time as a software developer, that are now either more established or have mostly disappeared from the hipsters' circles, but that does not mean the technologies that appear to have displaced them are better in every way.

As an independent thinker, I’m not trying to follow each and every fashion (which often lose their hip status to other fashions pretty quickly) because that would be the “blind leading the blind” syndrome, and because as some people noted “You cannot re-implement your code in the new fashionable language every 6 months.”

For more information see these resources:

One of my tweets once read: “Saying that LiveJournal is not Web 2.0 is like saying that a Pencil does not have the Buddha nature”. Since then, I feel that the term “Web 2.0” has fallen out of fashion, which is further proof of the statement.

If you don’t want to read my essay here, so be with it, but I hope you realise that you’re being prejudiced.

canzetyote
Nov. 23rd, 2012 02:46 pm (UTC)
Help with troll
Hey, I was on Google when I noticed someone flame one of my creations on twitter or flickr or one of those type of sites and I feel like I have a bone to pick with the guy.

I myself am into the furry fandom (a community dedicated to anthropomorphic cartoon animals) and there are certain types of trolls who call us furries "furfags". The guy even had the word "furfag" in his user name and it really upsets me he would troll me behind my back like a coward. He labelled by art as bad. How shall I confront this particular type of troll?
shlomifish
Dec. 4th, 2012 06:09 am (UTC)
Re: Help with troll

Hi canzetoyote, sorry for the late response.

well, as other people noted in previous comments, professional trolls are people who do not always flame, but attempt to provoke long conversations and detract from the value of the forum. In any case, regarding the person in question, you can try following my advice: first of all ask him why he thinks this way and why he behaves this way. Then try to agree with what he says and find a common ground. See what I wrote above for more information.

Regards,

— Shlomi Fish (who enjoys Ozy and Millie, and Swords and Sausages, which are both Furry Comics Strips.)

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