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Journal Journal: blog

Well, some may have noticed: I don't write much in the slashdot journal system. And only sporadically on my other blog.

But, if you're interested, you can find it at

User Journal

Journal Journal: Don't feed the trolls

It's strange how trolls are capable of making you answer them, even when knowing very well you shouldn't and are only feeding them. There is little reasoning nor argumentation possible with a true troll; mostly they go 'blahblah' mixed with some provocative crap.

"Don't feed the trolls" is something that should be enshrined on slashdot, somewhere.

And yet... I also think some of those trolls are just people that react out of anger or some other emotional response. They often lack the ability of either responding in an eloquent way (not comming out of their words, not knowing how to write it), or they just feel powerless to argument something in a rational way (mostly because, somewhere deep down, they realise their arguments are purely based on emotions, not rational reasoning).

It's funny to see how some ppl revert to basic trolling, once they realise they don't have a leg to stand on.

Of course, I have been accused of being a troll myself, sometimes (mostly when I try to make a funny remark that some moderater didn't think was funny ;-).

I personally never reverted to a 'blahblah - all what you say is BS' sort of response when I was argumenting something, however. I think all responses to me deserve an equal thoughtful response back, according to what the worth of that response was. (Ofcourse, troll-flamebaits do not deserve much, in this regard).

But that has nothing to do whether people agree with me or not (though I may question their reasoning for reaching a particular conclusion). In fact, on one of my more succesfull posts, about human space-exploration, I got some really useful responses, even though I did not, or not always completely agreed with their line of reasoning (at which point I always try to demonstrate where a contradiction is apparent).

Sometimes, this has to do with the basic premise one takes, and those are the most difficult ones to counter. For instance, in the above example, if one starts with the premise that the ratio cost/science output or the economic benefit of spacetravel as being of overruling importance above all other possible goals and considerations, one can very rationally argument that human spacetravel should be abolished.

Are they wrong, then? Well, their reasoning is not. It makes perfect sense, even. But only if you accept the basic tenet they started with.

This is fundamentally different then an error in reasoning, which can be pointed out fairly easily (and is the common mistake of ppl that try to argument purely on emotional drives). Such contradictions in ones' reasoning lead to internal contradictions, which makes the argumentation itself worthless, and even hypocritical, when persevered.

With 'premise-errors' it's something else; the error there can not be demonstrated through logic reasoning, since it is a proposition upon which an argument is based or from which a conclusion is drawn. The only thing possible here, is to either agree on a particular premise, or agreeing that other premises are possible, and look at the conclusions one can make on those.

Ah well...the trolls won't care either way :-).

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"This is lemma 1.1. We start a new chapter so the numbers all go back to one." -- Prof. Seager, C&O 351