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I'm curious why Jacob or whoever does not actually remove these offensive threads in their entirety. I think many of you know which threads I am talking about without listing them here which gives the troll more attention. Yes, the topic is eventually closed for further posts but the whole thread(s) are nonsense. It is a waste of everyone's time.

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Entertainment value?

There are reasons that a body stays in motion
At the moment only demons come to mind
@bgriffin wrote:

Entertainment value?

Some disagreeing forum interactions can be entertaining but this multiple personality troll does not have any value at all.
I'm confident that there are many "multiple personalities" on the forum. smiling smiley


I intend to live forever. So far, so good.
This is something that has more recently become an issue. I've been thinking a lot lately about how to make the best/most useful posts also be the most visible posts, while making the less useful posts less visible. This might require some serious changes, but hopefully nothing drastic. I'm about to go on a trip, but hopefully this is a project I can tackle in a few weeks.
Jacob, as the forum owner, don't you have the ability to block the IP address of this/these troll(s).
Maybe I'm perverse but I enjoy the trolls. They make me laugh with their outrageous comments. I wouldn't like to see the threads completely deleted as it's entertaining to me!
I think we should keep the trolls. They're a hoot and a half. What I suggest is set up a special section and transfer all the trollish threads to that section. Then those who don't want to read the troll threads can avoid that section and those of us who love to mix it up with the trolls will have a place to play.

What pops my cork is the rant threads started by new posters. I got nothing against new posters in general but come on now, jump on this forum with a No. 1 post and tear up a company? Gimmie a break. I'd like to see the titles of every one of those rant threads revised to just the company name ONLY. Stop the disparagement in the thread title and see how quick the OP loses interest. They're not after solutions. They're after vengeance.

Mary Davis Nowell. Based close to Fort Worth. Shopping Interstate 20 east and west, Interstate 35 north and south.
Great ideas, Mary! I especially like the one about moderating disparaging rant threads. I also disagree with allowing these needlessly flamboyant thread titles to remain on our forum.

LIJake made a great post the other day on one of the "Beware" threads - and I feel like repeating it over and over anytime someone feels the need to vent inapropriately.

"Beware of any post that starts out with "Beware". Just saying. " - LIJake

I don't have a problem with people venting when they are upset or unhappy. But an angry, abusive post on an internet forum is, to me, the internet version of a person stamping their feet, screaming, and throwing a temper tantrum. I've been known to throw a good old tantrum but I do it when I'm by myself. When I want to vent to other people, I try to use my language skills to explain the problem and the details clearly and without emotion and I'm open to other interpretations and advice. If I don't want other opinions or advice, I don't post my vent.

Some of the abusive posters tend to say they are not venting, they are "warning other shoppers." I call that B.S. Telling other shoppers "XXXX are SCAMMERS - STAY AWAY" gives no valid warning to anyone at all. A poster who truly feels wronged and actually wants to warn others provides a detailed description of what happened and why they feel wronged.

I agree that these unprofessional over-the-top threads announcing "BEWARE," "SCAMMERS," "CHEATS," and other incendiary, attention-grabbing titles should be neutralized. I think it would encourage professional behavior and help us focus on real issues, like providing actual input to posters who want other opinions and advice. And it might cut down on some of the troll posts we've seen lately. JMHO
Maybe instead of changing the thread name just to "Market Force" or "ACL" or whatever, the thread title should be changed to say "Market Force said I made a mistake on a shop" or "Market Force was not able to pay me for a shop" -- something neutral that gives a way of distinguishing one thread about MF from others, while not assigning any blame in the title of the thread.

Time to build a bigger bridge.
@MDavisnowell wrote:

I think we should keep the trolls. They're a hoot and a half. What I suggest is set up a special section and transfer all the trollish threads to that section. Then those who don't want to read the troll threads can avoid that section and those of us who love to mix it up with the trolls will have a place to play.

I'd be afraid of catching something nasty from these trolls. Please practice safe trolling; wear a full body and mind condom.
No, I mean the troll with the body condom should take a really deep breath. Without air, (or maybe from the smell, that would work too) they would pass out and not be able to "troll" us.

Unless you were saying we should wear the body condom before engaging a troll in debate?

Time to build a bigger bridge.
Yes, I meant that we need to be proactive and protect ourselves. You really think that a troll would take the necessary precautions to not infect someone else?
Trolls are trolls and trolls will always find us and try to play with us.

But I'm sick of online temper tantrums, not just those from trolls but those from posters I believe may become valuable contributors to our forum. There is a major difference between "venting" and explaining your position reasonably and stamping your feet and screaming obscenities with - - - to get them through the censoring software. That simply isn't professional - or even acceptable social - behavior.

Would one of the tantrumers go into a public place - a store, park, school, office - and scream obscenities when "venting?" Probably not. No one deliberately behaves the fool when people are staring at them in a public place. But, because they are on an anonymous internet forum, where no one sees them, they feel it's acceptable. And I think in some cases they get a kick out of anonymously slapping the MSC with a very public condemnation that will be available online forever. In other cases, they are simply naive enough to believe this is a "safe" place where no one but mystery shoppers will ever see what's said and they don't realize the mass availability or the public nature of the post.

And, in some cases, I think those throwing an online tantrum don't realize how they actually sound. People (and I'm no exception) lack objectivity when reviewing their own work. We recently had one relatively new poster "vent" - and it was the most objectionable I've seen in a long time - but she commented that she thought her post wasn't nearly as bad as the vents of others. Go figure. Objectivity and perception.

Whichever - whatever - I'm sick of the tantrums. I wish we could neutralize the anger and incendiary comments.
The "anger" posts don't solve anything and having them on the forum temporarily or forever makes us look childish, temperamental, and hateful. I'd like to see something done to not accept these posts as originally written on the forum. Most of the time they're from relatively new posters, and we could eliminate a lot of them if we required all new posts to be screened for a period of time. That would not eliminate all of them, but it would certainly catch the majority.

Screening them sounds like a huge job but I don't think it would amount to much. We don't get a lot of new posters every day and a fourteen day screen shouldn't be too hard to handle.

A section could be set up where everything newer than fourteen days goes through screening. Satisfactory posts could be released for publication immediately, and there would be an opportunity for deletion and counseling on the unsatisfactory posts. The "counseling post" should be prewritten stating what is and is not acceptable and should be used for each and every counseling event. Everyone would get the exact same counseling post setting out the guidelines along with an invitation to rewrite the post and submit again.

Something similar to this would clean up the forum to a great extent. It would also free up the efforts of established forum members to assist legitimate concerns rather than wasting their time mopping up tantrums.

Mary Davis Nowell. Based close to Fort Worth. Shopping Interstate 20 east and west, Interstate 35 north and south.
Wait a second. Didn't I suggest something similar in another thread and nobody liked the idea? I think new members' post should be screened until either number of posts or a certain time period or whatever has lapsed.

There are two types of people in this world: Those who can extrapolate from incomplete data.
LJ, I believe you did suggest something along those lines. Mine is just a more detailed suggestion and includes a standardized "counseling" response and invitation to rewrite and post again.

Mary Davis Nowell. Based close to Fort Worth. Shopping Interstate 20 east and west, Interstate 35 north and south.
Perhaps that idea also will cut down on the number of times new posters and ICA violations.

Dejavu. Remarkably similar to another mystery shopping forum, in its heyday. Pre-moderated posts, moderated forum. I recall members of this forum breathing sighs of relief that MSF was not like that. We can tout to be lightly moderated, but are we? And, does heavier moderation have to be the solution?

Not long ago, a member posted about the difficulty he had taking pictures. In an effort to submit an acceptable report, he submitted a picture of a sandwich he purchased across the street. Of course, a shopper with a conscience knows that is renegade behavior, and wrong. Replies were posted until closing the thread was evidently seen as the only option. Was that due to the the hotdogger, the replies, or all of the above?

I believe in freedom of speech. Moderation should not be necessary unless there are IC violations, abusive or obscene language. If someone makes an ass of him/herself, so be it. The flamer would crash and burn, sinking to the bottom of the page, if fuel were not continually added to the fire. On the other side of the coin, some members want to engage, disagree, defend and mix it up. Moderating would take away their right to do so. An old song comes to mind, "Let it be, let it be. . .", but that's me.
Mert, can you define "abusive" in your opinion? I think that is where the disagreement usually begins.

There are two types of people in this world: Those who can extrapolate from incomplete data.
Let it be is my thought. Don't delete the threads. Keep them there to show this forum is not over-moderated.

As for the trolls themselves, they thrive on attention. Don't feed them or look at them and they won't be in your personal universe. Isn't that what really matters?

Happily shopping Rhode Island and nearby Massachusetts and Connecticut
I love the trolls. I don't care where they are, they're fun and I don't want to lose them.

Mary Davis Nowell. Based close to Fort Worth. Shopping Interstate 20 east and west, Interstate 35 north and south.
I don't know, Vlade. A part of me agrees with you and another part is just embarrassed by it. Honestly, with the way things have been going here lately, I would be embarrassed to let my friends or family see this forum and admit I'm a part of it. Would anyone be ashamed to tell them, "My nickname is xxx on this forum; go check it out."

I thought this forum was a place to share MS information, learn, ask questions, and even joke around or vent a little. Yes, sometimes people snipe a little at each other over disagreements and misunderstandings, but the outrageous comments that have been flying lately are just childish and hateful. It's no wonder schedulers think so little of shoppers. Look how they behave in a forum!

I have come to expect a certain of new posters each week to drop in and vent and I get that. I really do. Think about it. If you believe you have been wronged by a company (whether you have or not is irrelevant since we're talking about perception here) you naturally want to vent and warn people about your experience. We've all done it on Yelp, Google reviews, etc. So the "newbie" maybe Googles the company name looking for other reviews and comes across this forum. They think that's great because they found a whole bunch of shoppers they can warn. The sign up, post their rant, sit back and smile because they have gotten even with the offending company AND done a good deed to all other shoppers - or so they think. Then come the replies. Comment after comment of other people dogpiling them for ranting about their experience. The newbie disappears, never to return (why would he?). Days later, the thread is now four pages of "veteran" posters insulting each other.

Sometimes I think all this forum needs is a handbasket for where it's going.

There are two types of people in this world: Those who can extrapolate from incomplete data.
I agree. I used to be proud of our forum and what we do to help newbies while having a good time.

The ability of one troll to create multiple screen names and turn the forum into a joke is making the forum a far less interesting place to be. At this point, I am not proud to recommend our forum.

As for the unprofessional and abusive rants and warnings from trolls and newbies, I favor neutralization. Saying we are "self-moderated" sounds good and it makes us sound like we are allowing freedom of speech, but I don't find it to be working effectively. Our correction process does seem, as LJ pointed out, to be a dogpile effect. The trolls love the dogpile because they can fight back and get lots of attention, which is their objective in the first place. The newbies who are actually on the level, and who might (or might not) stick around to become productive contributors to the forum if they are properly welcomed, many times run away because clearly their ideas are not welcomed. What they do not realize because they are overwhelmed by the dogpile effect, is that their ideas are welcome but the unprofessional style and language of their post is unwelcome. If an objectionable post was neutralized, with guidance given, there would be no need for a dogpile. It would give a newbie the opportunity to understand that professional behavior is expected and if they chose to conform they might stay. It would take away the sting and embarassment of having multiple posters dogpile them. Or, worse, an argument ensues over whether a poster "has the right to say whatever he wants." Of COURSE, a poster has the right to say anything. Anyone has the right to make a fool of himself anytime, anyplace. But does that mean most of them actually WANT to do that?

Neutralization of an over-the-top post, along with ONE gentle explanation, would eliminate the dogpile. It would make it far less fun for the trolls and they might decide to find another playground. It would set standards for newbies and allow them to present their ideas in more socially-acceptable way and encourage them to stay and participate.
"Neutralization." I like that.

There are two types of people in this world: Those who can extrapolate from incomplete data.
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