Up Front by Emma Hart

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Up Front: Fairy-Tale Autopsies

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  • Danyl Mclauchlan,

    Your scarf it was apricot?

    Once you get past the cliché of that song, it is actually a pretty good song.

    Speaking to the substance of the post, the underlying contention is that there are two classes of internet commentator who have different opinions to those of the author: 'tinks' and 'trolls', who are either stupid or evil respectively.

    My experience debating people on the internet is that these groups are in the minority, and that people disagree with me either (a) because I've said something inaccurate and they know more about the subject than I and want to set me straight, or (b) the subject under discussion allows for a plurality of different but valid opinions.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to BenWilson,

    How to reconcile Russell's guess at 10,000 who read discussions with Nielson suggesting that 53% of readers contribute - surely there aren't 5,300 contributors?

    The Nielsen figure was for readers who contribute somewhere on the internet, not necessarily here.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Aha. How do you come by your 10,000 guess btw?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10641 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart, in reply to BenWilson,

    How to reconcile Russell's guess at 10,000 who read discussions with Nielson suggesting that 53% of readers contribute - surely there aren't 5,300 contributors?

    Depends on what "53% of readers contribute" means - if it's "ever contribute" then, well, I get the feeling PAS has a solid core of a few dozen contributors who do a *lot* of the talking (i.e. thousands of posts), more who contribute reasonably often, and even more who may have only actually posted ten or twelve times in several years, but are regular readers. If it's "contribute per thread"....yeah, something's screwy there.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2105 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to BenWilson,

    Aha. How do you come by your 10,000 guess btw?

    I guesstimated it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

  • JLM, in reply to Lucy Stewart,

    I get the feeling PAS has a solid core of a few dozen contributors who do a *lot* of the talking (i.e. thousands of posts), more who contribute reasonably often, and even more who may have only actually posted ten or twelve times in several years, but are regular readers.

    I usually glance at people's numbers at the end of their post, and am often amazed to see posters with hundreds to their name who I don't recognize - so it's a very big place, though I suppose there are heaps of threads (tech, sport) I never lurk on.

    I really just posted this to see what my count was (and to admire my new gravatar)

    Judy Martin's southern sl… • Since Apr 2007 • 240 posts Report Reply

  • Jacqui Dunn, in reply to Russell Brown,

    But still, maybe 10,000 reading some discussions. So many! Who are all these people? It's like the visible part of the universe versus the dark matter.

    Do you know if they're all separate individuals or are they the same people coming back repeatedly? Is there some way of knowing? NB: I'm showing total ignorance about how these things are tracked. NB2: I'm one of those who has a look often during a day.

    Deepest, darkest Avondale… • Since Jul 2010 • 585 posts Report Reply

  • DCBCauchi,

    As jokes go, this is pretty elaborate.

    A wee while ago in the 'Limping onwards' thread, Danyl got into an argument that ended up with him criticising the local culture's 'enforced niceness', specifically citing the situation where, when an outsider insults a regular, the moderator sternly steps in (in marked contrast to a regular insulting an outsider). Within a short time, this criticism had been turned completely on its head and people are slapping each other on the back about what a virtue it was (the general criticism, I mean, not the specific one cited). Cognitive dissonance? Or set up for the joke?

    Not so long ago in the 'Perverse entertainment' thread, someone calling themselves Kracklite embarked on a jaw-dropping series of posts systematically dehumanising and objectifying another human being. You'd think, especially given its proximity to Danyl's critique, that this would've been quickly stepped on. But no-one bats an eye – it's the straight-face delivery.

    And then, here, along comes the punchline.

    Hats off!

    Since Feb 2011 • 320 posts Report Reply

  • linger,

    no-one bats an eye – it’s the straight-face delivery.

    cricket: ur doin it wrong

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1889 posts Report Reply

  • 81stcolumn,

    Some thoughts in no particular order.

    Lurkers - Is there a connection between guardian lurkers, pedants and those waiting with a “weapon” loaded with expertise (sniper ?). I don’t post often these days but at times I catch myself dying for a chance to show how smart I am (second sentence and its already about me- I could so easily be a troll).

    In defence of those that appear to be trying to side track a thread, sometimes they just see a connection between things that seems obvious to them but not others (and then they read it later; often with a sense of regret).

    Shouldn’t speak for others but I always thought a “glad” of gays would be cool.

    PAS has made me relentlessly self conscious about my language and I’m an academic.

    Nawthshaw • Since Nov 2006 • 790 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Megan Wegan,

    That, and my famed reticence

    Yes I'm sure that was the word Emma used to describe you

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4451 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to DCBCauchi,

    As jokes go, this is pretty elaborate.

    Performance art, David. You'd know about that.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19688 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to DCBCauchi,

    Not so long ago in the ‘Perverse entertainment’ thread, someone calling themselves Kracklite embarked on a jaw-dropping series of posts systematically dehumanising and objectifying another human being. You’d think, especially given its proximity to Danyl’s critique, that this would’ve been quickly stepped on. But no-one bats an eye – it’s the straight-face delivery.

    The individual concerned is a troll, one I’ve spent a bit of time talking to by email in the past, to no avail (and at the cost of being abused). He’s been banned and come back under multiple names and I’ve given him chances under those. I did try.

    You also presumably didn’t see the comments by the individual concerned in the ‘Perverse Entertainment’ thread that I deleted. Among other things, he has a bit of a hang-up with Aspergers (or “ass-burgers"as he put it) and I was inclined to let Kracklite, who is an Aspie, play with him good-humouredly for a while – there’s something of a record of people dealing with the trolling with irony. It was either that or ban the individual under yet another name.

    That said, I did get a bit uncomfortable with how long it went on. But it was the weekend and I was a bit over it.

    Hope this clears things up.

    PS: I’ve closed the thread.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew Stevenson, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Speaking as a lurker/occasional contributor...
    I try to keep my comments related to

    "I know a lot about that, perhaps I should kick this discussion in the right direction".

    It's pretty much in my own self interest
    - so I don't look like a fool if I jump into a thread where I'm not competent to add anything enlightening
    - usually one of the regular contributors says what I was thinking, but in a far better manner then my posts can – and the thread has progressed by the time I finish typing my less adequate response
    - Its just so addictive that I could easily lose most of my productive time in reading and responding, and the boss might have something to say about that.

    Going back to the care and feeding of trolls and tinks; I’ve found I’ve developed an autofilter for some commenters. If someone appears to be developing trollish or tinkish tendencies, I tend to skip right over their posts and go onto the next. Can make for a bit of a disjointed read, but I get the gist from the other contributors and without the elevated blood pressure.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 206 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    I think one problem with the Tinks/Trolls labels is that I think everyone has a little of both in them. I think we've seen in this community most of the posters have a "hot button" that will shift them from useful contributor to raving troll in a keystroke. We've also seen people displaying their true beliefs sometimes to the level of Tink.

    I know I can (and do) troll sometimes, I know I sometimes (frequently) derail into my favourite (Tink?) topics. But I also contribute usefully sometimes. I think that's the real demarcation between trolls and the rest of a community, the trolls really don't contribute.

    I wouldn't call Damien O'Conner a troll because I really don't see political grandstanding as trolling. It isn't about seeking attention, it's simply a cynical planned and staged statement designed to win votes from a gullible public, much like any other politician really - see now that's an obvious troll.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4451 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Andrew Stevenson,

    Its just so addictive

    You say that like it's a bad thing

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4451 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to 81stcolumn,

    In defence of those that appear to be trying to side track a thread, sometimes they just see a connection between things that seems obvious to them but not others

    I enjoy that, personally. So many smart, insightful and generous people.

    We discussed some time ago the relationship between views and posts per thread. Unless the numbers shown are for unique viewers, Giovanni was right that it's not simple division of the number of active posters out of total active readers (which seems a more accurate description to me than 'lurkers').

    If it was, then for this thread as I write, that's 87 posts out of 1888 views - or about 1 writing for every 22 readings.

    Standard ratios I've read for any discussion are 90% pure readers, 9% infrequent commenters and 1% frequent ones. We do not all need to talk, but we are all part of the sharing and weaving of knowledge and of community.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19688 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew Stevenson, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    You say that like it's a bad thing

    Lets not put a value judgement on it, just say that if I did indulge there could be long term implications that need to balanced against the short term gratification. I'm sure I can stop anytime I want to.

    Perhaps Russell could open a lurkers only thread for a Friday, invite those who have not registered or have less then say 100 posts to put in a comment (even a blank one) and then count them up. Tell 'em they are doing it for the good of PAS and maybe throw in a prize draw...

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 206 posts Report Reply

  • JackElder,

    Speaking to the substance of the post, the underlying contention is that there are two classes of internet commentator who have different opinions to those of the author: 'tinks' and 'trolls', who are either stupid or evil respectively.

    I think Emma is arguing that some, not all, commentators fall into these categories, and that they're useful ways of describing specific behaviour patterns that some individuals tend to fall into. I would be astonished if she were arguing that everyone who disagrees with her falls into one or the other category.

    Wellington • Since Mar 2008 • 708 posts Report Reply

  • JackElder,

    And a comment on lurking; I lurked for quite a while until a thread hit a subject that I was both passionate and reasonably knowledgeable about. I think that's how quite a few people get sucked into commenting.

    Wellington • Since Mar 2008 • 708 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart, in reply to Danyl Mclauchlan,

    Speaking to the substance of the post, the underlying contention is that there are two classes of internet commentator who have different opinions to those of the author: 'tinks' and 'trolls', who are either stupid or evil respectively.

    Nope. Not at all. You have to bear in mind that I mod in a bunch of different places, some of which are very different environments to this. And I tell you, I find it way more excrutiating when someone on MY side of "the issue" is Behaving like a Dick. I thought that was fairly universal.

    I don't think Tinks are necessarily stupid, either. Of the two people I had in mind when I wrote this - neither of them Danyl - no, actually, I don't consider either of them stupid. But they're evangelical, they're feelers rather than thinkers, and both have had other commenters produce research that strongly indicates that what they're saying is wrong, and they've ignored it. Both were hugely hurtful in the process. Neither needed banning or modding.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Wain,

    Did I miss the whole "Damien O'Connor is a bigot" thread? Sorry if so but he didn't actually say anything offensive to my mind, unless the words "gays" and "unionists" lumped together are somehow too rude to be said out loud... I just do not get why anyone got at all jumpy about this.

    Some journo ran the numbers of out gays/unionists/husbands or wives on the Labour list in an article I read somewhere, and O'Connor did look inaccurate.

    And obviously it was not helpful to his party, who I could care less about (ditto the Nats) but why was his statement offensive? I mean, really?

    Not trying to be a troll here, mkay? Just a tad bewildered by it all... Incorrect, fair call. Offensive? Not.

    Since Nov 2006 • 155 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart, in reply to JackElder,

    Thanks Jack, yes. And Bart is right about the push-button issues too. We can't... I actually don't know what Sacha wants us to do with people who don't listen, because everybody has Listening Fails sometimes. Both the commenters I referred to above are absolutely fine as long as you don't Candyman them.

    I am astonished when people complain about the treatment the p-troll has received here. I have to assume it's because they haven't seen the worst of the comments that have been deleted - ableist, homophobic, violent.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    I am astonished when people complain about the treatment the p-troll has received here.

    Yeah, David, I think you might have chosen UTTERLY the wrong dude to defend against our terribly 'dehumanising' discussions.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Emma Hart,

    I am astonished when people complain about the treatment the p-troll has received here. I have to assume it’s because they haven’t seen the worst of the comments that have been deleted – ableist, homophobic, violent.

    If they even make it onto here in the first place. Intellect is the perfect troll repellent.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5420 posts Report Reply

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