Friday, June 24, 2005

Beware of the Internet TROLL!

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In the context of the Internet, a troll is a person who makes inflammatory or hostile comments, which by effect or design cause disruptions in discourse, or a post made by such a person. Trolling can be described as a breaching experiment, which, because of the use of an alternate persona, allows for normal social boundaries and rules of etiquette to be tested or otherwise broken, without serious consequences.

Self-proclaimed "trolls" may style themselves as devil's advocates, gadflies or "cultur jammers," challenging the dominant discourse and assumptions of forum discussions in an attempt to break the status quo of groupthink. Critics have claimed that genuine "devil's advocates" generally identify themselves as such out of respect for etiquette and courtesy, while trolls may dismiss etiquette and courtesy altogether. As a pejorative, the term "troll" may also be a slander of opponents in heated debates, a tactic often used by trolls and non-trolls. (SOURCE: WIKIPEDIA)

Why do I concern myself with this? Because I was a victim when this Teacher Sol blog was just less than a month old (which was last month). I was so upset that I wasn't able to sleep soundly that night, thinking about who impersonated me and posted nasty things to a popular blog; the readers there sincerely believed the nasty comment made by the troll that I couldn't take to read the attacks made to my name. Yes, I was "accused guilty before proven innocent". The sad thing was that nobody among the attackers apologized after it was proven that the ISP used by the troll was from the Philippines. I am grateful to have good friends who believed in me that I couldn't do such a hideous thing, and I had to write an APPEAL TO BLOGGERS to express how I felt about the whole incident.

Sounds familiar? Did it happen to you or someone you know? We have to be careful, the troll is ready again to victimize those who are weak. You don't have to be so naive to be a victim. My blogger friend who was victimized yesterday was good with the internet technology: "medyo nahihiya ako. being a hacker myself, and an advocate of security, it was my own site that had been broken into. i admit i'd been not that tight about my passwords. it's a unique pwd, but i hadn't changed it for quite some time now". Our troll could be a hacker too!?

MAJOR TOM (see his April 25 entry), I believe you are not who they believe you are. Please continue blogging because we miss your entries. You were one of the first victims months ago. It could happen to anybody, it could happen to YOU too. Let us all be aware and beware.

To the troll, here's our song for you..."TROLLIN" .

34 comments:

Major Tom said...

Hi Sol, truly this is one meandering post that tackles our problem with trolls so incisively. I was a very huge victim of this trollin' jaggernaut that I feel that my site had suffered somehow from stained reputation.

How I wish those who use other names or personas, even those belonging to respectable persons or bloggers, should feel so much in their conscience that doing those horrible things is such way down low and speaks of how stinking he or she sees himself or herself.

Internet protocols such I.P.s, e-mail address, screen names should have been respected. These trolls do not respect the internet and how I wish their mischief will come back and haunt them for the rest of their blogging years.

Thanks for the special mention Sol, I truly appreciate it. Pardon my deleted comment. I had to make some editting and corrections.

Alan Ambot said...

"You don't have to be so naive to be a victim."

So, even those who are knowledgeable in computers can be 'victimized' too. Scary.

I wonder, is there a way of tracking all your comments in other blogs so you'd check those that you didn't post yourself?

Jayred said...

Thanks for the warning, Teacher Sol. Pero, honestly, di ko alam ang puno't dulo nito (and I guess should not ask you for the details). Minsan, mas maganda na pala ang maging clueless, tapos blog ka lang nang blog. :-)

TEACHER SOL said...

MAJOR TOM, keep writing. Get tough. We've got to be tough to do big things and little things in our life; big things like climbing the highest mountain, and little things like putting up with fools. But we must temper toughness with kindness realizing that most of the time, it's tough to be kind.

ALLAN, scary I don't know who the troll is up to now. But he left a comment in my tagboard yesterday impersonating a blogger friend. When I verified to him few hours ago, he said it wasn't him. Your question could be answered by one of our tech savvy friends. Panggap lang ako na marunong dyan...hehehe

TEACHER SOL said...

JAYRED, the only motive I see is "evil", and it lurks anywhere to victimize anybody, thus my warning. I was a happy blogger too, minding my own business and my own little blogging world. Until the troll decided to victimize me. There no safety and security in the internet, or anywhere in this world I guess. All we have to do is take precautions.

eruannie said...

i think that
sassy lawyer
has tips for bloggers who encounter trolls online.

J. Angelo Racoma said...

In blogspot, you can turn off comment posting by "anonymous" posters. Therefore, readers are forced to get their own blogger accounts. At least you have a better way of verifying the online identity of comment posters since usernames have passwords attached to them (i.e. just click on their profile to see if it's really them)!

In i.PH, blog owners can view the I.P. address of each comment poster. Not so tight a security measure, but comment-posters usually have an I.P. address pattern naman, especially if they use only a single ISP. So mamumkhaan mo kung sino ang tunay at kung sino ang medyo kahina-hinala. Best defense: comment in your own blog (i.e. in a blog post) and provide a link.

Angelo
http://jangelo.i.ph

balikbayan_box said...

we blog, they read, they read because the want to read but when they dont like what they read they post comments but some people are too scary to reveal who they are instead they hide behind the famous anonymous name.

if we let them affect us they will feel theyve won sad but true.

one thing for sure they are coward trolls who loves to create issues among bloggers.

tsk tsk tsk pati ba naman dito Filipino laban sa kapwa Filipino blogger?

Patrice said...

Scary. I have heard of plagiarism but trolling? That to me is the lowest of the low. To be using someone else's identity and making hateful remarks to destroy their reputation? That person must not have a life!
Thanks for the info. I haven't been victimized (hahaha, feeling ko naman!) but being able to track even your comments in other sites (like in Tabulas) would be good like what Alan Ambot said.

TEACHER SOL said...

ERUANNIE, thanks, I will check on that.

J.ANGELO, some anonymous posters in my blog are harmless, they're even giving really heartwarming comments. But they said they have to protect their security knowing that it's not safe in the internet world. Good for me. But some bloggers are getting horrible anonymous commenters, thus they have to enable their anonymous comment posting. Sometimes, bloggers decide to disable their blogger profile too, and we get "Blogger cannot be found" screen when we click on the name of the commenter; for security reasons of the blogger too I guess.

TEACHER SOL said...

BALIKBAYAN BOX, when your blog is getting interesting and you are being friendly to bloggers, I guess you are a good prey to the troll. HAY! Imagine the stress that this troll causes the victim, I know, I've been there. HAY! "Crab Mentality" pa rin, nasabi ko nga yan dati sa sama ng loob ko. HAY!

PATRICE, try technorati.com, thanks Milkphish et al. I tried it last night wala namang lumabas na plagiarista sa entries ko...hehehe...minsan pati comments mo nandun.

Pero how I was able to know that I was trolled? That night my sitemeter was extraordinarily up. I got curious, when I checked the referreals, lahat galing sa popular site na yun. To my dismay they were all attacking my name na pala (ang haba na ng thread, nasty attacks talaga, walang patawad, buti inawat ni Vonjobi *hug*). The wonders of your tracker!

nikki said...

maybe the trolls out there got intimidated by all of your achievements kaya nila nagawa yon. pero if you have been constantly posting comments to each other's blogs, i think you can recognize naman the style of writing ng isa't-isa so you'll know kung troll nga lang yung nag-comment.

anyways, i hope this will not discourage you from blogging.
God bless!

maila said...

Sol..it only means one thing..You are indeed becoming.. or I should say have become known to the blogging world. hehe..

Its a good thing..but at the same time..it could also mean bad things as being a troll victim..Stay safe.. :)

petite said...

Thanks for the tip, Teacher Sol! I hope you've recovered from the attack on you. I can just imagine how stressful that must have been. Good thing Vonjobi stood up for you...you really appreciate you true friends at times like those, no?

evi said...

I don't know what benefit they're getting from doing such a thing.

bw said...

ON IP ADRESSES

A about 5 years ago, I participated in a Buffalo Bills ( NFL) forum organized by a fan. There was a controversy brewing at the time - 2 equally good quarterbacks alternating on the job on a team that was playoff bound– Doug Flutie, 36 years old, 5’10” but a proven winner and Rob Johnson, 25 years old 6’5”, raw talent, potential franchise player. You can imagine the tension amongst fans when the question of which of the two will be playing in the playoffs needed to be answered. The forum was free for all and being unofficial , it was totally expletive ridden with the F and swear words flying all over the place but that’s just the character of unofficial site – everyone was in for the fun in the first place! To eliminate multiple personalities among the registered members who could register more than one moniker and take both sides in the debate, the forum host decided to publish the IP addresses of the members beside their moniker for every post! It kinda worked initially except when people started tracking the registered owner of the ip address which are mostly organizations and companies, and used the info as ammo in the debate ! In one instance, a poster fired a reply – “ I don’t understand how a decent company like “XXXYYYZZZ” could hire a numnuts like you ! Or – “ you are so thick skulled no wonder why you are working for ABC mattress company fixing beds!

People can capitalize on the most innocuous and trivial piece of info you give them !!

jove said...

tama ang desisyon mo SOL to come up with this post!

More power sa peers at sa lahat ng nagmamahal sa blogging!

TEACHER SOL said...

NIKKI,The first time I got trolled, the readers in that blog didn't even bother to think rationally if it's really me who posted the nasty comment to that blog (which I really don't visit). Even though they visited my blog and checked the contents of my blog and knew that I am an advocate of peace, they still attacked me. Sad huh, that some people are really capable of that. I don't really now the real motive...

HONEYPOOH, I don't want to think that this blog is becoming popular. Maybe it's getting more blogger friends because of the friendly and welcoming atmosphere, humility, and interesting posts. Everyone is free to participate in the discussion, you don't have to be intellectual in your arguments or a good debater to join in the fun in this "cyber classroom".

Let's all stay safe.

TEACHER SOL said...

PETITE, I am ok now, it took me two days before I could really sleep well. It was only when I was cleared of the conviction that I had peace of mind again. A blogger friend from the Philippines told me that it was proven that a troll posted the nasty comment, with the ISP from the Philippines.

Just warning everyone here that we can all be victims of the trool, wether tech savvy or not.

EVI, there are people who get satisfaction from draining other people emotionally, we call them "emotional vampires".

TEACHER SOL said...

BW, thanks for sharing. "People can capitalize on the most innocuous and trivial piece of info you give them !!", the more reason we have to be extra careful.

JOVE, more power to all of us responsible bloggers! CHEERS!

bugsybee said...

Hi Teacher Sol - it's been a long while since I've visited your blog (are you enjoying your vacation now?). I've been sick, then busy again doing my own blog.
I'm sad to hear about your troll experience. In my early days of blogging, I witnessed how sassy lawyer parried of trolls in her blog. When I opened mine to the public, I prayed I'd not become a victim.
We blog because we want to meet other people, make friends with them and have fun. So I can't imagine why other people would like to inflict pain on other people who just want to have fun. Weird. And to think that the troll comes from the Philippines! What a shame!
Fight on, Teacher Sol! And blog on!

ian said...

You just take care in there and continue doing those god things you're used to doing

We really can't control what other people's way of thinking... So realx ka lang.. hehehe...

teachersol said...

Hey TEACHER BUGSYBEE! I don't know if this is a vacation for me, but I am working my butt off until the end of summer with Professional Development trainings, HAY! Sad huh, that some people are really capable of inflicting stree/ headache to other people. I don't really now the real motive...we all have to take precautionary measures.

IAN, yep, all we've got to do is carry on...keep blogging. We've got to be tough to do big things and little things in our life; big things like climbing the highest mountain, and little things like putting up with fools. But we must temper toughness with kindness realizing that most of the time, it's tough to be kind.

phisch said...

saying hi lang. BTW, you can also do a search for yourself on Technorati.com in case you worry about trolls.

bw said...

It is ludicrous to think that there is no solution to nailing down trollers and cyberspace asungots. I recall a large internet provider in Canada converting all the log in names of their customers to their email addresses without giving any explanation. For example , if I have an internet account with provider abc.net, my email address and login name or username will be the same - buff.wings@abc.net . Interestingly, after a week of implementation, many users complained about the increased incidence of spam mail, especially those who surf a lot. This goes to show one thing - that every time we access a web site, we provide our identity. A regular user name does not mean much but a username that is identical to the email address means a lot! It was every elementary for the websites to take note of the usernames that looked like email addresses and add them to their email list. Not sure what the rest of the world does but this ISP wouldn't change and is sticking by their guns on the schema.

After 911 the homeland security instituted many changes to internet surveillance and control which the public is not privy to. It is known that the authorities didn't rush to jump the gun on those folks who showed the beheading of captives in Iraq. They deliberately let the site exist so they can get more info. They are able to nail down those who engage in child pornography. It is not impossible to track down trollers and impostors posters with the aid of their ISPs but the issue is, the infraction is not ( yet) considered a crime and ranks down the bottom of the queue in terms of severity level. Moreover , since the playing field in the blogging world is uneven as many have revealed their identities while most chose anonimity, we cannot be effectively policed by the same set of rules. At best I think we should be fair to those who revealed their identities by being respectful and conscientious with our posts because their lives will be affected with the disrespectful comments we throw at them.

Ka Uro said...

mam sol,
thanks for this post. i admit i'm one of those naive ones that think this kind of thing will not happen to me. honestly, i'm not sure yet how i would react should this happen to me. so to confirm the MO of trolls, they post nasty comments on other people's blogs and sign the name of a legit blogger. the legit blogger without he/she knowing it will then receive even nastier comments from other readers and in effect destroying his/her reputation. the troll in the meantime is in the background enjoying the effects of the bad seeds that were planted. i believe there is such thing as karma. babalik din sa kanya ang bunga ng pagtatanim niya.

schatzli said...

the photo really tickled me sol
its scary what this kind of nasties do to us.

but hey lets have fun and at least am learning the technical side of blogging..

Anonymous said...

Hey Teacher Sol,

Just like you said, if you remove the anonymous, some people who are not hackers ( like me ) would not be able to post any comment. I will respect your decision if you remove it. Kasi your security is most important. Sayang nga tulad ng sinabi mo, some exchanges do give us inspiration. I like reading your blog.

TEACHER SOL said...

PHISCH, i tried that one, so far di pa lumalabas na na-plagiarize ako...hehehe...I trust my tracker sa mga trolls naman.

BW, "At best I think we should be fair to those who revealed their identities by being respectful and conscientious with our posts because their lives will be affected with the disrespectful comments we throw at them"... that's the bottomline of my entry. You got it again, man! I hope everyone would adhere to this, I await for the day when the Pinoy blogging community would be safe, friendly and peaceful for everybody!

TEACHER SOL said...

KA URO, I used to just ignore this issue, thinking that it's a blog war in the Pinoy blogging community. Being a peaceful person I am not a supporter of any kind of conflict; until I was victimized by the troll. Hence this warning, to let everyone know that it could happen to any of us.

SHA, I am also amused with the pic of the troll...

ANONYMOUS, as I said earlier here in my comments, my anonymous commenters are very harmless, so you're welcome to post anytime, agree or dipute, as long as your comments are constructive and not offensive *wink*

TEACHER SOL said...

In his "What Other Bloggers Are Fretting About", Major Tom writes:


This is again a must-read article for all of us bloggers, concerned or otherwise. Never had the menace of trolls been discussed as incisively and as stalwartly as this time, when Teacher Sol meets the problem head-on and opens our eyes to this online juggernaut that had bugged many amongst us in the past and even as we speak. Lets us fight this evil called “trollin’”.

mei said...

hay, ngayon lang nabuksan ang mata ko sa mga trolls na ito...meron palang ganun, kala ko kathang isip lang ang mga lamang-lupa, lumalabas din pala sila.
honestly napaisip ako nang mabasa ko ang issue ng mga 'war of the blogs,' made me really sad to hear it happening to my fellow filipinos. di ko matanggap na sa panahon ng krisis sa pilipinas makukuha pa nating magkagalit at magkasakitan ng damdamin. siguro kasi isa akong idealist na gustong manguna sa world peace; siguro dahil kahit na hindi ko nakikita, napapalapit agad ang loob ko at the thought na may pilipino/pilipina akong ka-chat/ka-tag sa kabilang panig ng mundo; sort of 'lukso ng dugo' ba, na uy, 'pilipino kami pareho!' though i didn't judge at once, i admit napaisip ako na 'bakit ganun? pano nila nagawa yun?' kaya kung sino man ang may pakana ng mga troll na ito, i hope to God you're not a filipino coz that gives me a sick feeling in the stomach... sana lang, sana lang, tigilan na natin ito... kung sino ka man sa likod ng mukhang troll, sana maramdaman mo ang naramdaman ng mga biktima mo at sana i-touch ka ni Lord at marealize mong mali ka. wag ka mag-alala pag umamin ka naman at humingi ng tawad, papatawarin ka namin basta maging sincere ka lang. this is not the time to cause further division among filipinos! God help us!

*jsut sharing my sentiments*

Marc Macalua said...

Sol,

Here's the link: http://www.corante.com/mooreslore/archives/2005/08/05/gangs_of_new_blog.php

sandra said...

yikes, scary. those trolls have too much time in their hands, obviously.

Promethean Planet

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