Civility and Trolls

by Munks

A friend shared this recently:  http://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/hack-higher-education/naming-names-and-calling-out-trolls#ixzz29sQbdLGw

It has to do with some loser on Reddit reportedly engaging in all kinds of unsavory behavior and the issues that came up as a result of the fallout from the downfall of this alleged “troll”. Many of the issues have to do with censorship/free speech concerns. Frankly I could not care less about the troll that is described in the article and his issues. It pokes into a world I am not interested in investigating – I have a finite number of minutes on the planet and I do not want to waste them learning more about this guy or the behavior he allegedly exhibited.

But, as a person who writes – writes with passion and has a remarkable, if not mythical low tolerance for “taurus excreta”, this article has raised my monobrow a bit.

I have been described as “uncivil” in closed forums supposedly set up for “artists”. I have been labeled a “troll” by others burdened with the intellectual capacity of a discarded hair tonic canister and a wingnut or two.

I have been the reluctant recipient of a few “wagging finger” notes from a matriarch (or her designee) of a website for artists that has descended into a crafters’ circle of so much peace, love, and handholding that you have to clutch a copy of 1984 next to your heart and take a few units of insulin just to get in and read the sugary posts without lapsing into a coma.

I write with passion and I believe what I write. I use a pen name. Nom de plume. Big deal. Samuel Clemens did. Stephen King (the author) did. Lots more. To the people that can’t get over the use of a pen name, my sage advice is to get over it – it’s not that hard to figure out.

Another author, not me – but I wish it was me, wrote this brilliant response to the article linked above. It is in the “comments” section of the article, but I am going to paste it below for your convenience:

Troll 4 days agoin reply to Lee Skallerup

Here’s how the world really works:  A “troll” is anyone who disagrees with ideas that I take as a matter of faith. Rather than counter the troll’s wrongness with reason and evidence, I will label the troll a troll, and advocate for the troll’s punishment. I will ban the troll, and delete his postings. Oh I support free speech for all, just not for trolls.

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Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. Trolls are bad. Trolls are uncivil. Unless one agrees with them.

I write. I paint. I do both with passion. During my funeral, my enemies will never be able to say I wrote and painted without passion. My biggest fear is they will be able to truthfully say I painted and wrote without passion.

No one would dream of censoring a painting. Why is it some go ballistic if I, and those like me express feelings, concerns, ideas, and views on a keyboard? Why is it ok to insist or even advise an author to change a writing style on an internet forum or on a blog, but it is a mortal sin to tell a painter how to paint?

Why is it I get hundreds more hits when I am banned from “artist” sites for expressing my views and question the motives, mentality, and views of the more “civil” yet pompous element of the art community?

“Oh I support free speech for all, just not for trolls. -Troll” . . . 

Beautiful. Beautifully civil words from a troll.

I’m not done writing or painting yet. I’m going to continue what I do under the boardwalk – it’s more civil there the more I think about it – even with all the goat parts lying around.

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