Oh Yes, Dear Troll, Please Do Comment

July 29, 2011

“Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data, ability to repeat discredited memes, and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Also, be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor even implied. Any irrelevancies you can mention will also be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.”

This is from the post /  50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God

A delightfully clever invitation, and it gets right to the point.

I agree. It is so frustrating to see threads hijacked by irrelevant comments. If one has presented a case for the pleasure humorously-captioned cat photos bring, a comment that dog photos might be equally humorous is acceptable, however misguided 🙂  But to state that animals are abused in all research, and that anthropomorphizing cats in these photos is tantamount to equal abuse is not.

A complaint about sexual harassment might be a place to add a comment that links to a thread on racial discrimination. It is not a place to say that since worse abuses exist, the current case is irrelevant.

The great thing about reading posts, along with accompanying intelligent, insightful comments, is that you get so many ideas. New information, new ways of considering an issue, new things to chuckle over: reading posts can brighten and illuminate your life. You can learn.  But if all you see when you read is an opportunity to preach your own view, then why read?

One could, and people do argue that they don’t read. They glance at the headline, skim the first paragraph (if that), and skip to comments. I’m inclined to suspect this happens frequently.

These people are simply seeking to take advantage of other people’s genuine thoughts to tout their own beliefs (note — not knowledge or ideas. I am making a clear distinction there. Beliefs don’t require proof or even reasonable probabilities, just emotional attachment).

I wish such trolls would stay in their own caves and leave other more thoughtful sites to thoughtful, in both senses of the word, readers.

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