Some of you may have noticed that I have comment moderation on my blog. The reason for this is trolls. I love good reasoned discussion and have no problems with civil disagreement. On the other hand, I have no time for those who add nothing to the discussion and come to just sling mud.
Slate now offers an article that explains why people troll:
The research, conducted by Erin Buckels of the University of Manitoba and two colleagues, sought to directly investigate whether people who engage in trolling are characterized by personality traits that fall in the so-called Dark Tetrad: Machiavellianism (willingness to manipulate and deceive others), narcissism (egotism and self-obsession), psychopathy (the lack of remorse and empathy), and sadism (pleasure in the suffering of others).
It is hard to underplay the results: The study found correlations, sometimes quite significant, between these traits and trolling behavior. What’s more, it also found a relationship between all Dark Tetrad traits (except for narcissism) and the overall time that an individual spent, per day, commenting on the Internet.I always suspected there was some pathology involved in trolling.
In any case, as far as my blog goes, here are some basic rules:
1. No anonymous posts. Now I can't stop you from making up multiple profiles and posting under multiple fake ID's. But you have to give yourself some name other than "anonymous"
2. No ad hominem attacks. Whether you are speaking about me, another commenter, or some individual mentioned in the story, I expect everyone to try to treat others with respect and dignity.
3. No profanity. The English language is rich enough to express any idea without resorting to profanity.
4. Stay on topic. Some folks just have to offer the same comment no matter what the subject of the post. Lots of times it is just the same worn out insult. So be it. It will be deleted, not published.
5. No spam. If you leave a link in the comment, it needs to be relevant. If you are trying to promote your own blog or web site, I understand. I did that when I first started blogging. Just make sure the comment is at least tangentially related to my post. I will not publish a link to your Indian match-making site no matter now many times you leave a link on the posts I write about marriage.
6. Finally, it is my blog. I get to decide what is published and what is not published. If I think you are trolling or spamming, it will not show up here.