Author Topic: When You Suspect Someone is a Troll  (Read 5331 times)

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yokozbornak

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When You Suspect Someone is a Troll
« on: October 19, 2012, 04:17:44 PM »
How do you handle it?  I post in another, much smaller forum, and there is someone that I suspect is a troll for a variety of reasons (fantastical stories with very shortened  timelines, friends of hers who also started posted but have an identical posting style, lots of details that just don't add up, etc).  For whatever reason, I seem to be the only one that is suspicious.  She currently has a 70+ page thread going, and people are wanting to send her things to help her family get through it.

I am thinking of contacting an admin or moderator, but many of them seem enamored with her stories, too so I am not sure if it will cause forum issues.  I am at a loss for what to do because I don't want anyone to get scammed, but I am also not someone who feels comfortable calling someone out online especially over suspicions.  I would feel horrible if I was wrong.

Any ideas about how to handle this politely would be appreciated.

sparksals

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Re: When You Suspect Someone is a Troll
« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2012, 04:53:39 PM »
I have suspected that a couple times here.  I just contacted the mods with my observations and let them do what they will.  Just wanted to get the info to them in case they didn't know. 

demarco

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Re: When You Suspect Someone is a Troll
« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2012, 05:18:28 AM »
I have suspected that a couple times here.  I just contacted the mods with my observations and let them do what they will.  Just wanted to get the info to them in case they didn't know.

This and I also might enter the thread to ask some factual questions and see how the poster responds. If she is defensive, evasive or adds even more inconsistent information it provides a heads up to other people.  I hate to see people taken in by a troll. 

BC12

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Re: When You Suspect Someone is a Troll
« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2012, 06:03:51 AM »
How do you handle it?  I post in another, much smaller forum, and there is someone that I suspect is a troll for a variety of reasons (fantastical stories with very shortened  timelines, friends of hers who also started posted but have an identical posting style, lots of details that just don't add up, etc).  For whatever reason, I seem to be the only one that is suspicious.  She currently has a 70+ page thread going, and people are wanting to send her things to help her family get through it.

This is where I would draw the line. Embellishing stories online to get a reaction or sympathy or attention is one thing, but to accept gifts or donations due to embellished stories is fraud. I would message the moderators and inform them of what you suspect, and provide some examples.

If the mods didn't act on it at all, I might get a bit confrontational and post my concerns in the thread and question the details where everyone else could see it. It might initially make you the bad guy, but at least it might stop others from donating their resources to a scam artist.

Redsoil

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Re: When You Suspect Someone is a Troll
« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2012, 06:14:16 AM »
I guess if you wanted to avoid possible conflict, another way of giving a heads-up would be a "softer" approach.  Post up some links about online trolls/stories that may be useful as a Public Service Announcement.  Obviously, care is needed with this approach.  But something along the lines of "My friend sent me these links"  (Hey, if you don't want to fib, I'm sure one of us here could find something to post up or PM if need be, so you can then say it was sent by "a friend".)  Maybe work it in with some other info on general online dangers/phishing/taking care of safety online?

Hoping it all goes well.  It's concerning that people abuse the trust of those who care in such a way. 
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yokozbornak

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Re: When You Suspect Someone is a Troll
« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2012, 12:06:22 PM »
My big concern is that many of the board moderators are just as wrapped up in the saga as anyone else.  I went through a lot of the threads yesterday to see if I could find a moderator who didn't seem to post on them.  I found one and contacted her.  She said that she also has had some concerns and has decided to voice them to the site owner since many of the moderators are involved.  I hope that will help the situation. 

I am not the most savvy person, but some of the stories she shares are just over-the-top unbelievable that I am not sure how anyone could take them seriously.   

Slartibartfast

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Re: When You Suspect Someone is a Troll
« Reply #6 on: October 20, 2012, 04:43:49 PM »
Sounds like you've got a handle on it.  In general, calling a troll out on their own thread will only result in more attention, which is exactly what they want (if they're a troll) or incredibly frustrating and embarrassing (if they're not).  Usually it's better to either not read the thread at all, ask factual questions without any hint of accusation ("Wait, if you did X, why didn't you do Y first?"), and/or contact a moderator about your concerns.  In general I think the best way to deal with trolls is to ignore them, but I agree that if people are offering to send things it's going too far.

Venus193

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Re: When You Suspect Someone is a Troll
« Reply #7 on: October 20, 2012, 05:13:44 PM »
There is only one site where I call trolls out and I only do that because I can click on the user name and see a list of their previous posts going back over the previous year to detect a posting pattern.  Otherwise I'd say that contacting a mod or site owner is the right approach.

LilacRosey

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Re: When You Suspect Someone is a Troll
« Reply #8 on: October 21, 2012, 12:30:09 AM »
I think you should contact the official in chareg when you think that., lilacrosey

sweetonsno

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Re: When You Suspect Someone is a Troll
« Reply #9 on: October 21, 2012, 03:47:03 AM »
If things are as bad as she claims they are and she's really reaching out for help, there's very little chance that your internet forum is the only place where you'll find the information. I'd be doing some digging and let the results speak for me. As Slartibartfast suggested, I'd then stick to the facts.

"PantsonFire, you said that the house that burned down was in Springfield, right? I was trying to find more information on the community fund you mentioned that your church set up for you and your family. Unfortunately, I couldn't even locate the Church of the Cosmic Muffin in your city. I know that some churches don't have Web sites, so I checked the yellow pages as well. There was no listing. Here are the posts that I was looking at for my information [insert quotes here], did I miss something somewhere?"

or if she claims some sort of malady

"I was really interested in learning more about your banshee anvil kidney, as I'd never heard of the condition. It's apparently really rare. In fact, according to the CDC, there haven't been any reports of it in this country in over ten years. I thought that perhaps the CDC hadn't been updated, but your state's health department also says that there haven't been any cases. If your doctor hasn't reported this to the proper authorities, she could lose her license to practice medicine. You should really be pushing her to report this to the proper authorities. The State Health Department or the CDC likely has more experience dealing with BAK and would have a better idea of how to treat it."

yokozbornak

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Re: When You Suspect Someone is a Troll
« Reply #10 on: October 21, 2012, 03:20:50 PM »
I have done a little research, but the way she has approached this has made it so that she can't really be traced.  I would go into more details, but I do know that there is at least two posters from that site who also post here so I don't feel comfortable mentioning specifics.  You can PM me if you are interested in details.  It is so unbelievable that it's almost hysterical except for the fact that people think that she is a saint for doing what she does. 

Winterlight

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Re: When You Suspect Someone is a Troll
« Reply #11 on: October 22, 2012, 11:11:21 AM »
I think if you've contacted the mod, then leaving it to her is probably best.
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yokozbornak

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Re: When You Suspect Someone is a Troll
« Reply #12 on: October 22, 2012, 04:28:18 PM »
I think if you've contacted the mod, then leaving it to her is probably best.

I noticed last night that the moderator I contacted was doing some questioning last night so I think she took what I said seriously.  That makes me feel better.

MiseryLovesYou

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Re: When You Suspect Someone is a Troll
« Reply #13 on: October 30, 2012, 09:34:29 AM »
I hope they reach a conclusion soon either way, that can really sully one's experience with an otherwise pleasant online community.  There is one person who posts here and looks like they have been posting for a looooooong time, but every post I read of theirs is just improbable.  It's always harmless stuff like, oh you wouldn't believe what happened to me today, this man approached me in the grocery store and took my cart full of groceries so he wouldn't have to carry his milk to the car.  Right, because that happens all the time, and something similarly crazy happens every week to most people.

cass2591

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Re: When You Suspect Someone is a Troll
« Reply #14 on: October 30, 2012, 05:29:41 PM »
Now we're  entering speculation and gossip zone, so locked.
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