CNS adds ‘troll’ button to comments

| 26/08/2012

internet_troll.jpg(CNS): In addition to the ‘thumbs up’ and ‘thumbs down’ and ‘LOL’ voting buttons under each comment posted on CNS, we have now added a ‘troll’ button so that readers can help the moderator and other readers to identify internet trolls. These are people who post comments not to voice their personal opinion but in order to change or inflame the discussion or produce a particular emotional response. An internet troll will often assume a false identity, for example pretending to be a Caymanian when they clearly are not, and may post the same opinion multiple times to give the impression that many people hold a certain point of view when it is in fact just one person.

“Trolls are an issue on any website where anonymous comments are allowed and, since it is a subjective decision, they are very difficult to weed out,” said CNS moderator Nicky Watson. “A troll is a commenter who uses deception of some kind or another to sway opinions or divert the conversation, which can be for fun or malice, or for political or financial gain – for themselves or their paymasters — or to discredit a particular entity.

"As the political situation in the Cayman Islands heats up, especially as we get closer to election time, I am sure there will be an increase in comments by political operatives and public relations experts repeating the messages that politicians want to get out over and over. Some of these messages may be true and some may be outright lies, but politicians know that if they are repeated often enough, a certain section of the voting public will believe themanyway,” Watson said. "And the way the current political discourse is headed, I suspect there will be as many trolls out to discredit the media as to bash political opponents."

Anyone who frequently visits a variety of websites will be familiar with the term ‘internet troll’ but there may be some readers for whom this is a new concept. So, for the purposes of the CNS comments, we have defined a troll as a commenter who falls into one or more of the following categories:

  • Someone who fakes an identity or pretends to be what they are clearly not. If the vernacular or vocabulary does not fit with their claimed identity, they are probably a troll.
  • A person whose sole aim appears to be to inflame readers or misdirect the discussion.
  • A commenter you suspect is a politician or a political operative or a PR professional whose aim is to garner support for a particular project or political message, rather than present a genuine personal viewpoint.
  • Someone who posts multiple times as if they are different people. This does not include people who post multiple times using the same handle or pseudonym, but if there are numerous postings under “Anonymous” with the same message and in the same style, or someone who uses a variety of names but is clearly the same person, this is a troll.
  • A liar – not someone who you think has made a genuine mistake or believes something that you know to be wrong (in which case other readers will hopefully react by correcting them) but when a false statement is made deliberately to achieve a particular reaction.

Some of the points above overlap but are set out separately for the sake of clarity. And some of these troll definitions might be known by other terms elsewhere on the internet but we want to limit the number of buttons and have generalized them under ‘troll’.

“A commenter is not a troll just because their postings are controversial,” Watson explained. “Whodatis, one of our frequent commenters, often irritates other commenters with his postings but I am always left with the impression that he genuinely believes what he writes. Therefore, I personally would not click the troll button on his comments but may click the thumbs up or the thumbs down.

“We have another regular commenter who calls himself ‘UDP Supporter’, who often posts extreme views. Now, some genuine UDP supporters may give him a ‘thumbs up’ vote, others may identify his comments as deliberately inflammatory and click the ‘troll’ button, while other readers see his comments as clever satire and may well click the ‘LOL’ button,” Watson said. 

“If someone claims to be a high flying player in the financial services industry but is only semi-literate, they are probably a troll. If they claim not to be a supporter of a political party but then make a number of points firmly supporting one party while trashing the other, you may want to click the ‘troll’ button. If a commenter on another website (Sir Turtle) claims to have seen unpublished comments on CNS, he/she is a troll and a liar.”

However, Watson noted, “This does not mean that I will not delete obvious troll comments, since they are often malicious or repetitive. However, with the new ‘troll’ button I will be leaving it to our readers much more often to decide who are the trolls on our site.”

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Comments (55)

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  1. Sir Trollington says:

    I hate all of you.

  2. Anonymous says:

    The "report" feature works better. People have to be genuinly interested and make an effort. Its to easy for a lot of the readers to click on the gummy bear picture. They cant help themselves. Its like not eating the last one out of the packet.

  3. Kung Fu Iguana says:

    Now I have seen the bigger picture of the troll on the "What's A Troll" link, why is the troll wearing an S&M outfit?  I am saddened that S&M is being degraded by being linked to trolls.  I have a similar outfit to the one that the troll is wearing, and I look mighty fine in it.

    • Anonymous says:

      I'll bet I could make one out of some old spear gun rubbers and a calabash 🙂

  4. Anonymous says:

    Might as well have a YOLO, WTF, GTFO, and other buttons… 

    Troll button is dumb.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Let me get this straight…A troll is someone whose opinion you do not like because you suspect it is not based on a genuine premis….

    Isn't that the device used by McKeeva Bush every time someone expresses an opinion that makes him uncomfortable…?….

    Surprised that YOU of all people would allow the same dismissive response to any opinion which does not accord with the reader's view….or am I being a Troll…?

  6. Like It Is says:

    By the little red rash, the CNS troll has been a dirty troll and no-one should touch him until the STD clinic gives him some anti-biotics.

  7. Voices says:

    So far it's looking like the little green troll button just isn't going to work in your favor CNS. Sometime new things work, and sometimes they don't. You don't know until you try. With a ton of hits on the troll buttons already maybe, their like a kid with a new toy. Or maybe they just want to see if he hits them back with his club. OR' maybe in a few day the newness of the toy will wear off. 🙂

  8. NeoSurvivor says:

    I think the 'troll" button was added with good intentions, however judging loosely from the use of it in just today and yesterday's posts, I don't feel confident that [some] users have a good understanding of its purpose.  

    What I see is it being used for posts with which people disagree.    Myself, I haven't seen one post thus far (imo) was worthy of 'troll'.  

    An internet troll's purpose is to disrupt, or incite a reaction via a baiting post — political baiting, or otherwise.   I know the shiny new button begs to be used, but hopefully after the new wears off, we will use it a tad more judiciously.  

    As I interpret it:

    Disagree = thumbs down

    Agree = thumbs up

    More funny than agree = lol

    More funny than disagree = lol

    Pure trollery = troll.  

  9. Voice of Reason says:

    I am not a troll, more of a gremlin. I expect your vote next year. 

    Yours sincerely

    Mogwai

    ("Hey!!! Watch that water!!!!!")

  10. Anonymous says:

    The key is not to say "as a Caymanian" or any other nationality (definitely not Jamaican) lest you be labelled a troll.

  11. Cmon son says:

    Seems as if people are just clicking troll for the sake of it.

     

    For those of you who dont know what trolling is, look up Troll Face.

    :3

  12. You're So Vain says:

    LOL!

    A "troll button" and a whole article about the new troll button feature and ways to spot a troll!

    Ridiculous. Really. And I like your website.

    You should have introduced a "Zzzz" button.

    Just Sayin'

     

  13. Anonymous says:

    I dont like this button. It detracts from the site. You would do yourself a favor by removing it – have it as a one day joke and thats it.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Seems now everybody is a troll..

  15. Anonymous says:

    I'm a grumpy old troll, who lives under the bridge!!

    • Anonymous says:

      There are bridges in Cayman..?:)

      • anonymous says:

        Yup.  At the Ritz.  and Dart is building one also on the new bypass, which is not really a bypass but a relocation of our wonderful West Bay Rd that Mac is giving away.

  16. Ed says:

    I think it is pretty clear already that this “troll” button can never work, as one person’stroll is another person’s perceptive thinker.  I am not even sure that your meaning of a “troll” is in accordance with the everyday definition current in IT.  There is much more of an air of malice about a troll’s activities.  A troll is not just a mischief-maker.

    If there are to be four buttons that can be clicked now, may we please be able to click the ‘lol’ as well as thumbs up or down.  Sometimes I agree with an observation and it’s funny while sometimes the comment is so ridiculous that it is both absurd and therefore also funny.

     

     

  17. Pit Bull says:

    Apparently the visitors to CNS are not adult enough to make their own decisions about the views to take about a post they read. 

  18. Anonymous says:

    I've only looked at this and one other page so far and it seems CNS will have their work cut out finding the trolls as every comment has at least one !

  19. Shrek says:

    Some of the people and all of the politicians of Cayman constantly use the term "bloggers" when reffering to the people who visit the site and leave comments. *SMH

    They don't even understand web terminology.

    A blogger is the person who posts articles to a blog (short for web log) and the people who visit the site are called visitors. If the owner of the blog allows comments on their articles this allows visitors to engage in a discussion or with the blogger.

    Now we're gonna release the term "Troll" on to this country that is under the autocratic reign of a man who called his critics "Devil Worshipers".

    Let the embarrasment ensue.

    I feel like I'm living in the town in Footloose.

    • Pitt the Even Younger says:

      The town in Footloose seemed quite liberal compared to certain aspects of living in Cayman in 2012.

  20. The lone haranguer rides again! says:

    Looks like a troll hunt to me.

  21. Anonymous says:

    All together now, "I'm a troll fol-de-rol and I'll eat you upfor supper." LOL!

    If this works about 90% of the posts on CNS will have to be deleted.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Having gained so much moral high ground with briefing debacle, CNS just lost a lot more of it with this unnecessary attempt at censorship.

  23. Hic C. Up says:

    Can we get a beer glass to click on too?

    • Anonymous says:

      And for those posters that don't seem like they're drinkin, but still "ethereal", maybe a li'l spliff?

  24. good move says:

    Things just got interesting. ^_^

  25. Anonymous says:

    “If someone claims to be a high flying player in the financial services industry but is only semi-literate, they are probably a troll."

    The financial services industry is littered with the stupid and barely literate, especially at c-suite level. The primary qualifications to reach such a level are arrogance, bullshit and sociopathy  and/or psychopathy. This island appears to attract these people, unfortunately.

     

  26. Anonymous says:

    Trololololol

  27. Slowpoke says:

    All,

    Please note that I am not a Troll. 

    I look forward to your endorsement and vote next year.

    (Soon to be) Honourable Slowpoke

  28. Anonymous says:

    I have to say I just lost a bit of respect for cayman news service.

  29. Mr and Mrs Troll says:

     This is just an outright attack on all UDP/Premier Bush Supporters,fairness is certainly alive with you guys,now bring on the thumbs down and troll attack………………..

    • Just Commentin' says:

      I can see your point, really I can…

       

      I can see how you would think this new Troll-clickey-thingy has something to do with the UDP seeing as how many trolls exist amoung the UDP – and seeing as how Nicky apparently used a portrait of an angry Mac holding his Big Bad Bully stick, (darlin'), as the icon to click. Or is that his Smoke and Mirrrors Budget Conjouring and Deal of  the Day Magic Wand he is holding?

       

      There is really no need to take offense, I am sure that CNS did not mean to target any particular group. (Rational ones, anyway.)

       

      But, hey…if the shoe fits…

  30. Knot S Smart says:

    Oh Dear!

    Now everybody will figure out that I am really a troll.

    Cause I am pretending to be not so smart, when infact I am really so very smart…

    (pats self on the shoulder and smiles)…

     

    • ripvantinkle says:

      everybody's pretending to be smarter than others here on cns, knot s smart… bring on the trolls!   

  31. Anonymous says:

    CNS, can you please tell us who took the picture of Mac that you used for this article?

  32. Anonymous says:

    I don't know how I can tell who's a troll,  either. How about dwarf or fairy? Easier to spot.

  33. Aunt Pootietang says:

    Nothing against your troll button but people have to understand that it's going to be used based only on hunches and suspicions.

    For example, you write: "An internet troll will often assume a false identity, for example pretending to be a Caymanian when they clearly are not."

     

    Really? How exactly does one know that someone posting a comment is clearly not a Caymanian? Last I checked, Caymanians come in all flavors. Some are smart, some are idiots. So many crazy things are said and written these days that it's impossible to identify fake stuff from legit madness.

     

    People can be so incredibly and genuinely stupid that one can't be sure in every case if a given post is a joke, a sincere comment, or troll fodder.

     

    For exmaple, what if I posted the following comment?

     

    –McKeeva Bush is Cayman's greatest leader ever.

     

    How can anyone know if I'm joking, posing, or if I sincerely believe that he is? You just can't tell.

    • Grandfather Troll says:

      If you really do make a comment like, "McKeeva Bush is Cayman's greatest leader ever", Aunty, you will be cast out of the Troll family!  Us Trolls don't want that kind of fib spread around.

  34. Whodatis says:

    Re: “Whodatis, one of our frequent commenters, often irritates other commenters with his postings but I am always left with the impression that he genuinelybelieves what he writes."

    LMBO!!!

    Oh my goodness! (I'm dying over here … lol!!)

    How am I supposed to take that statement, CNS?!

    That's like someone saying; "I saw my Grandma's ghost last night – do you believe me?", and the other person replies; "Well, I believe that you believe."

    🙂

    Anyway, for the record, I never post with an intention to simply provoke. Yes, my postings may be contrary to the CNS "mainstream", however, each and every (initial) uttering is serious and sincere. That being said, I am most willing to match a respondent's sarcastic or insincere tone.

    Lastly, I do miss the early days of CNS when there was less prevalence of group-think and pack-mentality.

    There was a time when many a fascinating debate was hosted on this forum. Unfortunately, nowadays one is almost guaranteed to be shunned and outcast if you fall outside the unspoken but clearly understood acceptable boundaries.

    (E.g. A suggestion that the industries and economy of the Cayman Islands are doing very well in light of the current (global) times appears to be a major no-no as of late.)

    It really begs the question – Why bother having a discussion / forum at all if only like-minded users are appreciated?

    • NeoSurvivor says:

      Whodatis, I personally have no problem with you — you speak your mind and for that I applaud you.  

      While I don't often agree with you, I recognise the value of a person who does not follow the herd.     I don't expect to be agree with either, and I don't post for that purpose;  I post because I have something to say and this is our primary venue for doing so.  

      I don't doubt that most of us could sit down face-to-face and have a lovely beverage and an adult discussion.    Adult discussion = that which doesn't lead to violence as a resolution.  

      The future ain't what it used to be, and our opinions are not for sale.   You keep onyour own track Whodatis, and I will also, and hopefully both of us will keep an open mind toward those who express a different view, but not so open that our precious brain cells leak out.    

       

      Respect.  

  35. Michael Mouse says:

    This is probably going to cause more problems than solve them.  We, the braves footsoldiers of CNS, have always called out trolls as they appear and there is really no need for the creation of the "Troll Police".  I suspect you are right that Whodatis is not a troll, he is clearly a flamer.

    • Whodatis says:

      I am unaware of the source of certain individual's information, but please let the record show thatWhodatis is a proud heterosexual.

      Thank you.

      🙂

      • Anonymous says:

        "I'm not gay. It's just my boyfriend."

        Here's a vote in favour of free thinking. Although the concensus does not always represent pack mentality (as I am sure Whodatdis is aware). There is, indeed, a global slow down. The Cayman Islands, as fantastic a place as they clearly are, is still part of the globe (although some of the opinions expressed herein do seem better placed on Mars).