On Forum Moderation

H. S. Teoh hsteoh at quickfur.ath.cx
Tue Oct 22 22:16:17 UTC 2019

On Tue, Oct 22, 2019 at 08:40:52PM +0000, NaN via Digitalmars-d wrote:
> On Tuesday, 22 October 2019 at 20:11:56 UTC, Walter Bright wrote:
> > On 10/22/2019 1:01 PM, Jonathan Marler wrote:
> > > How do you decide when someone is trolling and when someone is
> > > making valid criticism?
> >
> > Great question.
> > 
> > Trolling is when the criticism lacks any sort of actionable
> > specifics.  Even if it isn't intended as trolling by the writer, it
> > has that effect.  For example:
> > 
> >  Trolling: D is no good.
> That's only trolling if the person saying it is doing so specifically
> to wind people up. Otherwise it's just regular complaining.
> Trolling is literally defined by the intent. You cant say the intent
> is irrelevant, it's the whole point of trolling.

I think you missed Walter's point. The crucial operating word here in
Walter's post is "specifics".

No matter how "trollish" a complaint may sound, if it contains a
description of a specific problem, such as "D sucks because when I tried
to import std.zip, it gave me error XYZ!", then action can be taken to
ensure that the same complaint will no longer be valid in the future.
Regardless of how "trollish" the intent behind it may be, such a
complaint is actually useful because it points out actual, specific
problems that can be addressed.

But when a complaint is vague and has no specifics, then no action can
be taken. Saying "D is no good" is non-specific, and inherently
unfixable, because even if you try to make D better in the general
sense, that doesn't mean the author will think that it's better now. He
can continue repeating "D is still no good" forever, and you can never
fix the problem because the problem is non-specific and undefined.

Usually, the reasonable response to a non-specific complaint like "D
sucks" is to ask for more specific details.  But when all efforts to
obtain specific information fails, then it becomes clear beyond any
reasonable doubt that the author is just mud-slinging; he does not
actually have a specific problem in mind but is merely making vague
complaints that can't ever be addressed. The persistent evasion of
specific complaints proves beyond doubt that the intent is to troll, not
to help.


Doubt is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

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