What's a troll to do....

From Wikipedia:

In Internet slang, a troll is someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, chat room or blog, with the primary intent of provoking other users into a desired emotional response[1] or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.[2] In addition to the offending poster, the noun “troll” can also refer to the provocative message itself, as in that was an excellent troll you posted. While the term troll and its associated action, trolling, are primarily associated with Internet discourse, media attention in recent years has made such labels highly subjective, with trolling being used to describe many intentionally provocative actions outside of an online context.

There have been some recent discussions (comments, mostly) that are of the "troll" variety.  They ride a fine line, but I thought I would open a discussion of proper etiquette, self-identification, and the like.  For example, I'm pretty open that work for Iowa's Water & Land Legacy...the campaign working to pass Iowa's Water & Land Legacy constitutional amendment....Why are you here?  Why do you use a pseudonym? Discuss....

Tags: Meta, Troll
  • Why am I here? Why do I use a pseudonym?

    A.) Mostly I read this blog to get an Iowa grass roots liberal/progressive perspective on political issues.

    I follow mostly radical left blogs and media, so what I find here is pretty much center left to moderate of most of my daily intake.

    B.) Yes I troll here with some frequency, but not as much as I do elsewhere and offline.  I do not use profanity here, which I do elsewhere and offline.  

    I use my real name, not a pseudonym.  

    In my offline life, I try to engage in acts of creative non-violence to force a space for creative dialogue.  

    I am an anarchist of the Proudhon/Kropotkin/Hennacy/Chomsky school. Oh, and an unrepentant smart-ass.  

    I find that when I self-identify as an anarchist, what I tend to find here is little more than condescension to outright hostility from most center left to moderate folks who self-identify as Democrat.

    I would tend to engage in a more serious fashion if Iowa and the United States engaged in a full democratic process as opposed to semi-democratic process. I.E. Proportional Representation vs Plurality Rule. Plurality Rule being the "winner take all" system which we have, and in which Duverger's "Law" states that plurality rule tends to lead to an entrenched two party system.

    I do not believe that either the Republican or Democrat parties truly represent the "will of the people".  

    And then there is the media.

    I see on FOX where 2000 people at some "Tea Party" protest in Washington, DC represents the "will of the people".

    About 500,000 people showed up to protest at the 2004 Republican National Convention. 1800 people were arrested, and no mention of the "will of the people", and barely a mention of the true numbers of those in the streets or arrested.

    I saw about 500,000 people basically surround the White House in 2005 demanding an end to the Iraq war. About 400 people sat down in front of the White House and were subsequently arrested and detained by Secret Service and Park Police. I saw almost no mention of this in the mainstream media, again no mention of the "will of the people".

    I think in a full democracy with Proportional Representation, things like the invasion of Iraq, the USAPATRIOT Act, and Gitmo would have been very difficult to pull off.

    So maybe I am not really an anarchist by most folks definition, and maybe democracy isn't such a bad thing. Perhaps maybe I've never really experienced true democratic processes at work at the national level.

  • I have no problem with people using pseudonyms

    as long as 1) they are consistent about using one name at this blog (that is, no sock-puppetry), and 2) they are not paid campaign staffers pretending to be outside observers of the campaigns they're commenting on.

    I covered some other basics of blog etiquette (as I see it) here.

  • Well this is the best liberal analysis of Iowa I have seen

    and that is why I come here. Hope I am not a troll. I like to think I am consistently liberal.

    Rurallib came from thin air one night when I had to decide on a screen name. I live in a small town and I always like to tweak commonly held myths. Myths like all people who live in small towns are conservative.

    • I think of a troll

      as someone who tries to stir up trouble by pretending to be what he or she is not. For instance, a Republican coming here pretending to be a liberal or an independent and then using GOP talking points all the time, or a "sock puppet" created to give the appearance of broad support for another opinion. We have had a few of those at Bleeding Heartland, but fortunately not many.

      There's no problem with using blog comments to disagree with someone. I don't mind Republicans dropping by to comment either, as long as they are clear about their stance and not hiding behind a fake Democratic identity.

  • Trolling

    I do use a pseudonym but it is my email name, and online name that I've used for about 8 years.  Wahela means butterfly in Cherokee,  and also its the name of Lot's wife that didn't follow orders and turned around and turned into a pillar of salt.  

    I am probably more Socialist economically leaning than Democrat.  I am having a hard time with the divisiveness of the GOP, the lying, the covering up, etc.  While I realize that a lot of politicians do this,  I have difficulty with our political system, ever since I voted for Mondale (and quit for many years, since I didn't like our political system).  Obama was what pulled me out of apathy.  And I was hoping he was a bit more leftist than he is now.  

    So I am not a troll, anywhere.  I have read some conservative blogs and papers,  and I get so wound up, I have learned to stay away.  lol.  I love Sen. Bernie Sanders,  Rep. Alan Grayson,  and Dennis Kucinich.  

    I get so tired of people saying Hitler was a Socialist.  No,  he joined the Socialist party,  got into control, then got rid of all the Socialists,  and he started the Faschist party.  I go by the economic scale of Communism is 1, Socialist is a 3, Democrat is 4, Republican is 6 , The right wing, Fundamentalists we see today in our country is perhaps 8, and Faschism is 10.  The extremes are bad,  the center moderate right to left is acceptable.  I love this Country and do not want to move to Sweden or other Socialist countries.  But the "if you don't like it,  move." people just don't understand.  

    • Sweden = socialism?

      I find it interesting that everyone in this country - not just Republicans - appears to refer to Sweden and other Scandinavian countries as "socialist." Those of us who were born and raised in those countries would never use that term to describe our countries.  We refer to them as welfare states - and the word "welfare" has a very positive connotation in that part of the world.  We also call them "mixed economies," realizing that the U.S. and all other supposedly capitalist countries are mixed economies as well.

  • Great discussion...

    One reason I've been thinking about self-identification quite alot lately is the discussion of privacy issues in relation to Facebook.  A great number of sites (Iowa Independent among them) are starting to use Facebook Connect and other "reputation engines" to allow people to comment.  Ultimately, there seems to be a process of identity formation that's going on.

    As a political staffer, I find it very important to be up front about who I am online.  I live a pretty good portion of my private life in the public eye - so I choose to be open about it.  I don't begrudge anyone who chooses to use a pseudonym either.  It's just another aspect of ones identity.  Plus, I think discussions like this are good for community formation.  All of us have wondered from time-to-time "who's actually reading this...am I just typing away in a vacuum?".  DesMoinesDem gets to see the traffic numbers, I'm sure...but what about the rest of us?

    • I respect a person's right to use a pseudonym...

      However, what I have often found is that the courage many people exhibit in their statements made online, evaporates when confronted in the first person.  I find this is true with email as well, even when I know who the sender is.  

      I accept that some people are going to attack me for taking an unpopular position.  And when I do decide to publish something in the mainstream press, it seems that those with pseudonyms make the harshest comments and engage in personal attacks.  

      • that is very true

        People say things behind a pseudonym that they would not put over their real names. Almost any comment thread at the Des Moines Register site is proof of that.

    • for political staffers

      it's important to be up front about your blogging. Otherwise problems develop like Swing State Project experienced last year.

  • As Admiral Stockdale said...

    Who am I? Why am I here?

    Well, I use a pseudonym because (with any luck) I will soon be a hired teacher in this state, and as a teacher, I'm supposed to keep my political biases to myself. With Google, it would be too easy for some student to track me down and cause me a lot of trouble if I used my real name.

    Honestly, I've had this silly psuedonym for longer than I can remember--I'm not wild about it, or having to use it, but it works.

    I'm probably one of the more moderate/independent folks around here, with the exception of mirage. I come here for the news and the discussion--which is some of the most open and civil in the Iowa blogosphere. I try not to troll and to keep my disagreements with others civil. (Good practice for the classroom, I think!)

    • lol........

      American007...thanks for the shout out!  While I agree to a point about you and I, make sure I don't end up in the moderate/independent column at the end of the day.

      As my friend desmoinesdem will remind all, I am a proud republican, and on the conservative side of that.

      As for why I post here...I have a high degree of respect for desmoinesdem and her many efforts here.  She not only stays current, she usually has pretty good analysis of what is happening at the time.  I like the fact she covers republicans too on this blog, and does it in a way which usually drawa a smirk verses vitriol...a fine line to walk.

      Because I like her and her blog, I even give her a scoop from time to time (from inside enemy lines!)

      Keep up the good work.

    • smart move

      Although noneed4thneed blogged semi-anonymously for a few years while also working as a public school teacher, it's probably wiser not to do that.

      I am with you on wishing I had a different handle. I had been lurking on liberal blogs for a while when I decided to jump in and start commenting from around early 2004. I wanted a name that communicated roughly where I live, and I had read some things by Delaware Dem at Daily Kos (also DHinMI, DeminCT, and so on), so I picked desmoinesdem. For many months I hardly ever posted a diary anywhere, just comments. If I had known I would be posting daily at my own blog someday, I would have put more thought into the name. But by the time Drew Miller invited me to start posting here in 2007, I already had an identity as desmoinesdem on some other blogs.

  • Love this blog

    I'm here because this is by far the best local and partially national blog I have encountered.  All thanks to Desmoinesdem.  I continue to visit even though I now live on the more reliably blue East Coast.

    I started using my pseydonym for two reasons: 1) I used to work for the State of Iowa, and I had to be somewhat careful about expressing my views, especially on issues related to my work. 2) Early on when I started commenting on political blogs, I was most active on Republican blogs (Krusty Konservative and The Real Sporer being my favorites).  Since my Democrat opinions naturally made people quite mad, I figured it was best I used a pseudonym.  Of course, some of the R's probably considered me a troll.  However, I tried to have constructive discussions with people and also give some credit to good R ideas and criticize what I consider stupid or illogical D views.  I believe my honesty gained me some true friends in the R blogosphere, even though I am sure I was unable to convert anyone.  I enjoyed the discussions across party lines in many ways more than internal D elaborations.

    • you are too kind, RF

      I am glad you still drop by to keep up with things in Iowa. Too bad you're not around to volunteer for Francis Thicke this year, though...

      • If I was in Iowa

        I would surely volunteer for Francis.  Unfortunately, Bill Northey will be a tough nut to crack.  And I have to admit, I had a chance to get to know Bill a little bit, and he really is a pretty good and reasonable guy.

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