Friday, October 16, 2009

Dealing with Trolls

Gentle readers, I've been blogging for 3 years now during which time, I've tried to keep this blog and my other blog as open as possible. We've had a few unpleasant guests over the years, and I've made a few unpleasant comments which I've been called on.

To offer two examples...

Right when I started, I did a post about African-Americans, and how I felt their biggest problem was that they had lost sight of their rich heritage. The post is here. In response to that post, so bigot with out the balls to identify himself, left 2 posts (trying to appear as two different people) espousing their racist souls. I left those comments up so people could see the kind of attitude that still exists in the US.

A little later, I put together a post about an annoying experience at Walmart. Part of that post involved a rant about the benefit program in Utah. I've changed my thinking a lot since then and largely because of the response I got. It's still one of the most click to posts on this blog as people try to find out more information about the program and are then offended by my comments. Personally I'm offended by my comments as well. I've thought about taking it down, but to me it serves as an important reminder of where I've come from, and why being a judgmental self-righteous pig like I used to be, is not a good thing. That post is here.

At the end of the day, I use these blog to share my opinions and learn from others. It is only by listening to other that I think we can grow, even if we don't like what they are saying.

On Tuesday of this week, a leader in the LDS Church gave a speech about the response to Prop 8 in California. Somehow he had the gall to compare the response to LDS involvement in the election to the treatment of blacks during the civil rights movement. A movement which ironically the LDS Church was vehemently opposed to. It was blatantly offensive to gays, blacks, and pretty much anyone else who doesn't follow the words of LDS leaders with blind and unquestioning obedience.

In response to my posting on the matter though, someone decided to respond. It was a member of the LDS Church, who decided to take on an alternate identity, and criticize my position on the matter, as well as my personal standing with the LDS Church.

Folks, Urban Koda isn't my real name. It's an online identity I created to protect myself and my family from things which I say. The character of Urban Koda is however based on me. It's the way I honestly feel about things, and once I get to know and trust someone, I have no problem sharing my true identity with them. Some of my closest and most active friends on FaceBook are people I have never met in person, but we began as friends through this and other blogs.

If you're going to assume another identity, please put some thought into the character!

Anyway, so this person was being disingenuous, and making baseless assertions that he defended vigorously, but got offended when we asked him to back them up. In addition to that, another reader accurately identified him as a shill to which he responded with profanity and indignation.

I don't like the idea of cutting someone off, since it's contrary to the type of society I would like to live in, but there comes a point when you've had enough ridiculous arguing and accusations of hostility. This person came with the intent to start a fight, and when didn't give it to him, I think he got frustrated.

I'll be honest too, that I like to have the last word in an argument, and so it makes it hard for me to let things drop - this may be due in part to my genetic history, my upbringing or 30 years of involvement with a religion that has to be right.

Anyway, so I've asked to troll not to return. Suspecting that he will no doubt respond with a string of profanity, questioning my integrity and all of that, I elected to turn comment moderation on. Hopefully I can catch any of his trollish comments in the future and so you won't be subjected to them.

I may turn this off again at some point, so we can return to the open community we had before, but for now, I feel this is the best course of action.

When Elder Russell M. Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve encouraged BYU-Hawaii students in December to use new media to promote discussion of the church, I don't think lying and being argumentative in online discussions was what he had in mind!

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