BBS invaded by logic trolls

Can I suggest a new category of friend; the logic troll. We seem to be invaded by a host of users whose main goal is to throw wrenches into conversations by insisting on legalistic or academic standards in discussions here. I don’t think that is what we are engaged in here. No, I loved BBS for the associative jumps in the conversations and the overall approach of brainstorming that is part of the maker and hacker ethos. Instead every discussion devolves into a single person insisting at great length that their standard of evidence is not being met. Ho hum already. We are not here to set standards or bore each other to death

We must flush these trolls out for what they are. There is no light coming from their obsessive blanketing of BBS with this stuff.


Citation needed.


I think I know what you are referring to. Here is one way to measure it: click on the user avatar or name in the left gutter. Note the number of posts they made in this topic relative to the total number of posts in the topic.

At one point a particular, er, “logician” had posted 9 times in a topic with about 40 posts overall (and being that it was a BB topic, the logician was not the topic starter either). That is simply dominating the conversation, not letting others speak.

We do warn about this but the threshold is high, we only warn when 20% of a topic contains posts by the same user and the topic has 50 or more total posts.

Anyway, being too talkative in a single topic is usually bad, it means you have proceeded to axe grinding and dissecting every single reply from other people in minute, excruciating detail.

Not that we all haven’t done this to some degree at some point, of course, just that we should probably be tapped on the shoulder and reminded to chill out when we do.


Why not have an automated cool-off period?

Not a ban, but preventing posting in a topic until x other people have posted, or y hours - once it’s been noted that you are overly dominating a thread.

Sure, but one person’s x is another’s y, and vice versa. Minutes seem like days to me sometimes, and weeks like hours.

btw you’re RUNNING AT 33% of the thread ALREADY

(do i have to?) /s


It is kind of a long story, but we do warn people who post 3 times sequentially in a topic, for a variety of reasons. That does not prevent anyone from continuing to post sequentially and ignore the warning, and users only get warned once per topic.

It would be extreme to force people not to respond to the topic, to block them from posting because freeedooommmm.

But I am curious, what thresholds do you – or anyone reading this – believe should warrant a forced cool off period for a given user in a topic?

(of course mods can give out time based account bans which prevent not just posting but even logging in, but that is kind of a different thing entirely)

Could we have … a report category where we get to indicate what we feel is wrong with the post? That could then aggregate into an automated decision maker. With human arbitration in the case of appeal, which is a fundamental judicial right. Maybe even human right, who knows right? From wrong. It’s not about a balance of probabilities, it’s about truth fairness justice and the Appian Way.

The square root of the number of posts, if they didn’t start the topic.

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Doesn’t “flag post” already include that function?

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Lacks a criminality categorisation list.

Edit: Actually, there’s space for words! Cool!

It does seem today’s DramaLlamas have very pointy ears, shall we say. I daren’t look at the ‘urban whore’ thread. It’s metastasized overnight…

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I had this weird dream last night where some commenter insisted that if he was surprised by a word it was up to the editor of BoingBoing to provide a legally binding definition. Almost as if he never heard of teh internets at all.

Man, I thought you were just supposed to be ashamed if you didn’t know a word.


I’m glad to see there is some kind of flag in the system for the multiple post in a row issue. (I moderate on another forum where we have a no double posting rule and it just makes twitch when I see it anywhere now.)

I think if someone’s a full quarter of a thread they might need a time out.

(Also, I’m so glad I’m not the only person annoyed/enraged/exasperated by the logic trolls)

Not to be all “logical” or anything, but… well, it’s not like we’re at a dinner party of fixed length, where any ten-second sentence you say takes the place of a ten-second sentence I don’t get to say. Even the trolliest trolls at BB aren’t exactly preventing anyone else from squeezing in their $0.02.

A week or two ago, when we had the BB post about the sexist kids’ books (sexist books for kids, not books for sexist kids), I myself ended up getting in many more comments than I usually do for any given topic. I hope I wasn’t spammy, but sometimes it’s tough when one takes up a complicated, nuanced, and not-instantly-popular opinion. Sometimes such opinions cry out to be defended, and sometimes such defenses take more words than one would normally feel the need to employ. I just checked and there were 230 comments, 32 of which were mine. So I put in nearly 14% of the comments on that article. At a certain point, it triggered the warning for me.

In retrospect, should I have shut up sooner? Was I beating a dead horse? Was I dominating the conversation, or derailing it, or keeping other people from voicing their opinions? I’m curious if anyone here thinks that was the case. As is to be expected when somebody posts a nuanced opinion, somebody else will get all reductive and the temptation is high to reiterate everything said up until that point, but even when one resists that temptation and doesn’t respond to the more obviously logically-challenged yahoos, sometimes it takes a few tries to get one’s point across.

I don’t think an arbitrary automated numerical threshold will reliably denote someone overstaying their time at the podium.

But of course, as a wordy futhermucker when I get my dander up, I would say that.

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Well, let’s look at the expanded topic map under the first post to understand who the Cast of Characters were in that topic:

I would say you and 5 others were major characters in this 230 act play, but you definitely had the starring role.

Remember too that this education panel about dominating the conversation is intentionally implemented as a Just In Time reminder as you begin to type, and only under very specific conditions: when someone has posted 20% of the replies to a topic, and only when the topic has > 50 replies.

Is it possible to do something on word count? To keep people pithy and smart?

Y’know, maybe if they’re filling up the radio waves, the machine can force them to submit in haiku, or limericks.

I once knew a man from Norway
Who was rather used to getting his way
Announced ‘I’m a troll’
Which I found quite droll
Till he ate me, to my dismay

Something like that

How about this - when the trolltrappe is triggered, all of the poster’s posts are shrunk to tiny wee size, and shown in a speech bubble coming from a tiny cute troll icon - really cute and sweet. The speech bubble could be expanded on clicking and accepting the blood pressure dangers of going “under the bridge”, whereupon the speech bubble would expand, showing itself decorated with nice vines and things around the edges, and all the words would be unedited, but displayed in a Hallmarkesque nordic type font - pretty, curly, mildly hard to read - to really bring the reader into the world of the troll.


You’re not meant to be ashamed, you’re meant to be enlightened. Though some resist even this.


I dunno, I like tailoring replies to whoever it is I’m talking to. I find the ‘list of quotes’ thing a bit distracting, unless it’s germane to a point of discussion, so I ignore its admonishments. I’m not particularly logical, though.

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Totally reasonable. I understand different boards, different rules and such. I just find it aggravating to see multiple posts in a row from one person. Feels like hitting the rumble strip on the side of the road to my brain.