If You Post on Ricochet, Do the Job Right

 

I put up an OP a couple of days ago, and it was so delightful that I didn’t want it to end. But of course, all good things must come to an end (so they say).

What made the post especially fun was that we had a controversial topic with people sharing honestly, forthrightly and fairly. There were a few dustups, but they were pretty mild, and the discussions of differences were genuine and tactful. In other words, it was just about a perfect post, IMHO.

I commented on the nature of the discussions, and one person commented that it went so well because the usual trolls hadn’t shown up. I don’t know who the current trolls are, quite honestly, but I think the commenter was at least partly correct. There could be a number of reasons for their not participating: (1) they don’t like me, (2) they don’t like my views, (3) they didn’t like the topic, (4) or you can fill in the blank. Then the light bulb came on. I wondered if the managing or moderating of my own posts makes a difference.

From the first time I posted on Ricochet, I tried to be courteous to people: after all, I was honored that they were commenting, and I still feel that way. Only rarely did I get caught up in a nasty argument, and I tried to make sure I apologized afterward. More than that, when people started to argue vehemently with each other, I stepped in. At first I would be polite. Then I gave them a piece of my mind: get off my post! Surprisingly, most people did. (You can always flag a post as a last resort.) It usually took a certain level of nastiness for me to intervene (usually the result of personal attacks), but people seemed to take me seriously. Sometimes people who were known for trolling on other posts were courteous on mine, even when they disagreed with me, and I always recognized them for being gracious.

So when we write posts, you might think our only job is to write an intriguing, beautiful, newsworthy, or funny post. And it should be well-written, too. And we should participate with comments.

But perhaps just as important as all of those responsibilities is managing our own posts.

Now I realize that task might bother some of you posters: you want to get in there and duke it out. Or you don’t want to get into the middle of a fist fight and take a right jab. Or you think you’ll make things worse because you’re not especially tactful. Or you might have trouble determining if the “discussion” has crossed the CoC line; sometimes it’s really hard to tell where that point is.

Those might all be true, but they aren’t responsible conclusions to draw.

So I’m appealing to all writers of posts to keep an eye on your posts. Step in in the comments with at least a cautionary tone if things start to go south. And tell people to leave when it gets seriously ugly. You don’t have to be ugly to do that.

For some of you, it might seem difficult. But some of you out there do a great job of managing your own posts when people behave badly—what do you say to stop it?

And I’d like to hear from moderators whether this whole idea of posters moderating their own posts is bogus: is it only the moderators’ job to moderate posts?

For you people who like to troll, stay off my posts. Please.

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  1. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    It’s kind of an active Goldilocks rule. It may not start out just right so you’ve got to do something to the temperature.

    • #1
  2. Spin Coolidge
    Spin
    @Spin

    What is a troll, anyway?  I have a feeling I may be considered a troll.  I often pop in and just through out a goofy comment, just for laughs.  I’m really not as smart as most of you people so my thoughts and opinions aren’t as highly valued, so I just go for the wise acre comment.

    I have a feeling that, for some, troll is defined as “That person who always disagrees with me.”  Not for you, Susan, I’m sure.  But for others that seems to be the case.

    Today I saw a comment on a post, referencing an opinion voiced by Republican senator, and the comment was “He can’t be that stupid.”  Unfortunately, that sort of comment causes me to just move on.  Because it says “If you have any sort of opinion that is in any way similar to this, I think you are stupid, too.”

    I feel that, when it comes to certain issues we have all retired to our corners, having beaten each other senseless, and now just stand over there saying “Oh yeah?!  oh YEAH!  Well same to ya, buddy!”

     

    • #2
  3. Spin Coolidge
    Spin
    @Spin

    Susan Quinn: And I’d like to hear from moderators whether this whole idea of posters moderating their own posts is bogus: is it only the moderators’ job to moderate posts?

    If we were doing Ricochet right, we’d all be doing this all the time.  A quick PM to say “Look, you are being a kneecap, knock it off.”  Or a flag.  Or just an inline comment “Take the guy at face value instead of trying to assume his intentions.”  Whatever.  We don’t do that.  We are on our sides, now.  We don’t want to get along.

    • #3
  4. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Susan Quinn: I don’t know who the current trolls are, quite honestly …

    • #4
  5. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Spin (View Comment):
    What is a troll, anyway? I have a feeling I may be considered a troll. I often pop in and just through out a goofy comment, just for laughs. I’m really not as smart as most of you people so my thoughts and opinions aren’t as highly valued, so I just go for the wise acre comment.

    I have a feeling that, for some, troll is defined as “That person who always disagrees with me.” Not for you, Susan, I’m sure. But for others that seems to be the case.

    Today I saw a comment on a post, referencing an opinion voiced by Republican senator, and the comment was “He can’t be that stupid.” Unfortunately, that sort of comment causes me to just move on. Because it says “If you have any sort of opinion that is in any way similar to this, I think you are stupid, too.”

    I feel that, when it comes to certain issues we have all retired to our corners, having beaten each other senseless, and now just stand over there saying “Oh yeah?! oh YEAH! Well same to ya, buddy!”

    I’m one of those who also feels I’m not as smart as everyone else. I suspect we are probably both wrong, @spin. We have everyday wisdom, which is invaluable.

    I agree with all you say–that people overreact, take things too personally, or denigrate others and don’t even realize it. (I’m also especially sensitive to people who call others stupid!)  And I really identify with the bolded comment above. Thanks.

    • #5
  6. Valiuth Inactive
    Valiuth
    @Valiuth

    And who are the usual trolls? Going from post to post I usually always see the same people about, and sometimes we get into our usual arguments and other times we don’t. What I find about the internet is that because the normal social ques are not present that would be in a live setting it is hard to tell when things have gotten awkward. In person a room would go quite as two people shouted at each other, which they would notice. Posting usually doesn’t stop when a heated exchange starts going, people just post around it. I recall the days of the great SSM debates. We had 300 reply posts that would contain essentially several different argument threads of varying levels of intensity. Having participated in a few I can’t honestly say I felt any I was involved in got out of hand by my reckoning but I was probably only reading about a third of the comments. I imagine someone coming in and reading it all might have had a different impression.

    • #6
  7. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Rodin (View Comment):
    It’s kind of an active Goldilocks rule. It may not start out just right so you’ve got to do something to the temperature.

    And sometimes the adjustment just needs to be subtle–not a roaring forest fire! Thanks, @rodin.

    • #7
  8. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Percival (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn: I don’t know who the current trolls are, quite honestly …

    Oh, Percival, if you’re trying to identify as a troll, it won’t work. You’re just too darn sweet!

    • #8
  9. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Valiuth (View Comment):
    What I find about the internet is that because the normal social ques are not present that would be in a live setting it is hard to tell when things have gotten awkward. In person a room would go quite as two people shouted at each other, which they would notice.

    All your points are spot on, @valiuth. But when a person might  be trolling you, check it out. I can’t tell you the number of times someone ticked me off, and instead of punching back, I either ask the person to re-state or clarify; sometimes I try to guess at what the person meant, but nine times out of ten, I’m wrong. People are almost always happy to clarify and it adds a friendly connection to the exchange. I know other people will skip over that initial remark and assume they understood (and they don’t). I think I’ve asked you to clarify now and then, haven’t I? Do you recall, and also recall your reaction?

    • #9
  10. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn: I don’t know who the current trolls are, quite honestly …

    Oh, Percival, if you’re trying to identify as a troll, it won’t work. You’re just too darn sweet!

    If you read a fraction of the stuff I write but don’t post…

    • #10
  11. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Percival (View Comment):
    If you read a fraction of the stuff I write but don’t post…

    Ah, but we all have our shadow sides . . . bwa-ha-ha-ha!!

    • #11
  12. PHenry Member
    PHenry
    @PHenry

    I wonder if ‘Troll’ isn’t getting misused these days.  My understanding of a Troll is someone who is only interested in starting fights for the fun of watching the action.  They don’t care a whit about one side or the other, they might be taking completely opposite positions in two different posts at the same time, just as long as they can get a rise.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_troll

    In Internet slang, a troll (/trl, trɒl/) is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting quarrels or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory,[1] extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a newsgroup, forum, chat room, or blog) with the intent of provoking readers into an emotional response[2] or of otherwise disrupting normal, on-topic discussion,[3] often for the troll’s amusement.

    By that definition, I don’t consider any Ricocetti I know of as Trolls. Sure, there are those who are spoiling for a fight over their pet positions, but they are consistent in their positions and just want to agitate their opposition.  And there are those who take any comment that they disagree with as a call to arms, (I fear I sometimes fall in to that category.  )  but I really don’t think Troll fairly describes those groups.

    A Troll is a troublemaker, but not all troublemakers are Trolls.

    • #12
  13. PHenry Member
    PHenry
    @PHenry

    Susan Quinn: So I’m appealing to all writers of posts to keep an eye on your posts. Step in with at least a cautionary tone if things start to go south. And tell people to leave when it gets seriously ugly. You don’t have to be ugly to do that.

    Don’t sell yourself short, @susanquinn, you have a unique ability to incite civility.  I see you as a sort of motherly leader who makes me want to be a better person to live up to her standards.   I can’t say I know any other online personality I feel that way about.

    Thank you for being that, for me, and for others.

    • #13
  14. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    PHenry (View Comment):
    Don’t sell yourself short, @susanquinn, you have a unique ability to incite civility. I see you as a sort of motherly leader who makes me want to be a better person to live up to her standards. I can’t say I know any other online personality I feel that way about.

    Thank you for being that, for me, and for others.

    That is so sweet, @phenry! Some people think that motherly figures are just plain annoying! So I appreciate this lovely compliment.

    • #14
  15. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    PHenry (View Comment):
    By that definition, I don’t consider any Ricocetti I know of as Trolls.

    Technically you might be right. I do know of some who were here at one time who probably were trolls, but we can’t read people’s minds. The point is, whether they are true trolls or not, the effect is the same. I don’t know if in the moment people are going to ask themselves, is this a real troll? But they can do a “check-in” to see if they understood correctly; that not only clarifies, but gives the person a chance to calm down. Very interesting point.

    • #15
  16. J.D. Snapp, Possum Aficionado Coolidge
    J.D. Snapp, Possum Aficionado
    @JulieSnapp

    As a moderator, I’m perfectly happy to let people moderate their own posts. If it gets so ugly that you need to flag people, that’s where we step in.

    • #16
  17. Vectorman Inactive
    Vectorman
    @Vectorman

    Susan Quinn: And it should be well-written, too. And we should participate with comments.

    I would like someone to describe what is a well-written post. Should it be a stream of consciousness, long winded, one sentence paragraphs, or organized and relatively terse?

    And I agree that the author should participate with comments. For some, such as the founders of Ricochet, it’s understandable that they have a paying job for their focus.

    • #17
  18. KentForrester Coolidge
    KentForrester
    @KentForrester

    Easy for you to say, Susan, because you mediate, meditate, and machinate (OK, that last one didn’t work, but I couldn’t resist the law of threes and alliteration).

    But for the rest of us hotheaded trolls, who lurk beneath the bridge waiting to attack hapless victims who have the wrong opinions, it’s not so easy.   We have to control ourselves without the advantages of mediation and meditation. (That’s an inside joke.  Sorry, fellow Ricocheters.)

    Hey, where’s an emoji when I need one.  I guess I’ll have to rely  on typewriter keys.

    (:~-)    That’s a look of surprise on his face. Why?  Because I couldn’t find a key that expressed vexation.

    I remain, madam, your humble servant,

    Kent

     

    • #18
  19. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Vectorman (View Comment):
    I would like someone to describe what is a well-written post. Should it be a stream of consciousness, long winded, one sentence paragraphs, or organized and relatively terse?

    Good point, @vectorman. I will note that I sometimes write in incomplete sentences, for effect. But from my viewpoint, well-written means well-organized, providing citations if necessary and overall coherent. I think everyone would agree with those–do you agree? I also rarely write long posts–I rarely read long ones and I assume others feel the same way. Also, I’m too lazy to write the really long ones! ;-)

    • #19
  20. Al French Moderator
    Al French
    @AlFrench

    Oh c’mon. Everyone likes Susan.

    • #20
  21. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Al French (View Comment):
    Oh c’mon. Everyone likes Susan.

    Can’t butter me up, @alfrench. I’m immune. Well, most of the time …

    • #21
  22. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    KentForrester (View Comment):
    But for the rest of us hotheaded trolls, who lurk beneath the bridge waiting to attack hapless victims who have the wrong opinions, it’s not so easy.

    Nice try, @kentforrester. Your reputation precedes you as being one of the sweetest guys (after @Percival, of course) at Ricochet. Hey, if I’m going to have to live with being “motherly,” you get stuck with nice. Live with it.

    • #22
  23. PHenry Member
    PHenry
    @PHenry

    J.D. Snapp, Possum Aficionado (View Comment):
    As a moderator, I’m perfectly happy to let people moderate their own posts. If it gets so ugly that you need to flag people, that’s where we step in.

    This raises a question I have asked myself at times.  Do I as a run of the mill member have any responsibility, or even any business, calling out other members on other’s posts for mean, over the top or offensive stuff?  ( I don’t really consider flagging in that case appropriate, unless it is clearly a COC violation, and I’m not one for flagging anyway. )

    On one hand, we are all responsible to maintain the civility, on the other, me sticking my nose in to an already volatile situation is as likely to make it worse as it is better.

    Is it recommended, or sensible, to ever say ‘Hey, you are out of line’ if you are not part of the conversation nor the OP’er or a mod?

    • #23
  24. PHenry Member
    PHenry
    @PHenry

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    Hey, if I’m going to have to live with being “motherly,”

    I was hesitant to use that term, considering I’m pretty sure I’m much older than you,  but it fit better than anything else I could come up with.

     

    • #24
  25. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    PHenry (View Comment):
    This raises a question I have asked myself at times. Do I as a run of the mill member have any responsibility, or even any business, calling out other members on other’s posts for mean, over the top or offensive stuff? (

    Good question. I’m talking about our speaking out on our own OPs. I have, in my recollection, only spoken up a couple of times on another person’s post: one, when two people locked horns on a silly argument. I asked them if they really wanted to go down that road. One responded in a bit of snark, but the other thanked me later. And they both stopped. I think anyone can say anything on another person’s post, especially if you own up to your own reaction. “I’m really having a hard time watching you two fight–would one of you consider backing off?”  You are having to watch the show, after all. You may also PM the OP author and ask him or her to intervene; the problem is that we aren’t always on line when something happens. What do you think?

    • #25
  26. Manny Member
    Manny
    @Manny

    You are quite right Susan.  The reason I don’t post more OP’s is because I don’t know if I will have the time to commit to managing them.  One has a responsibility to it.  Unfortunately I may not be on Rico for a week or two at a clip.

    • #26
  27. J.D. Snapp, Possum Aficionado Coolidge
    J.D. Snapp, Possum Aficionado
    @JulieSnapp

    PHenry (View Comment):

    J.D. Snapp, Possum Aficionado (View Comment):
    As a moderator, I’m perfectly happy to let people moderate their own posts. If it gets so ugly that you need to flag people, that’s where we step in.

    This raises a question I have asked myself at times. Do I as a run of the mill member have any responsibility, or even any business, calling out other members on other’s posts for mean, over the top or offensive stuff? ( I don’t really consider flagging in that case appropriate, unless it is clearly a COC violation, and I’m not one for flagging anyway. )

    On one hand, we are all responsible to maintain the civility, on the other, me sticking my nose in to an already volatile situation is as likely to make it worse as it is better.

    Is it recommended, or sensible, to ever say ‘Hey, you are out of line’ if you are not part of the conversation nor the OP’er or a mod?

    As long as you can express that without resorting to personal attacks, or any other CoC violation. If someone is getting ugly on a post, it also never hurts to flag a comment just to bring it to our attention.

    • #27
  28. PHenry Member
    PHenry
    @PHenry

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    What do you think?

    My nature is to call out unfairness or meanness when I see it.  My nature is also to get pretty ornery when challenged.  So I probably should just keep my distance.

    • #28
  29. Manny Member
    Manny
    @Manny

    PHenry (View Comment):

    J.D. Snapp, Possum Aficionado (View Comment):
    As a moderator, I’m perfectly happy to let people moderate their own posts. If it gets so ugly that you need to flag people, that’s where we step in.

    This raises a question I have asked myself at times. Do I as a run of the mill member have any responsibility, or even any business, calling out other members on other’s posts for mean, over the top or offensive stuff? ( I don’t really consider flagging in that case appropriate, unless it is clearly a COC violation, and I’m not one for flagging anyway. )

    If the lack of civility is directed at me, I would push back.  If it’s directed at someone else, it becomes a decision.  My impulse would be to let them settle it themselves or let the moderators settle it, but if the person seems to need help in defending oneself I would probably get involved.  Hard to say, but most people on Ricochet are more than adequate at defending themselves.

    • #29
  30. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Manny (View Comment):
    You are quite right Susan. The reason I don’t post more OP’s is because I don’t know if I will have the time to commit to managing them. One has a responsibility to it. Unfortunately I may not be on Rico for a week or two at a clip.

    That’s a very responsible and considerate attitude, Manny. I think trying to stick around, more or less, for two or three days is important, especially if an OP takes off.

    • #30
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