Every now and again we have a clear-out of the Trolls who inhabit – and attempt to dominate Bella’s discussion.
We’ve done this again this weekend and we’d point people towards our Comments policy here which we’ll pin to our new About Us section.
There’s always a tension between having the complete liberty of a free-for-all and the realisation that not everyone is acting in good faith. Our definition of a Troll is someone who’s main motivation is not to put across their view but to wreck the site and undermine the debate.
There’s a continuum from the persistent lingering visitor who disagrees with almost everything we write but likes the argument (fair enough) to the professional troll who seems to spend day and night on the site and appears to be, shall we say, ‘well resourced’.
One thing that puzzles me is the regular visitor who has nothing in common with Bella’s values or outlook yet spends a lot of time on the site (to which they’re welcome). I just can’t conceive of what they get from this. I visit sites and read writers I disagree with regularly but I don’t dwell.
I struggle to understand this.
It’s not that right-wing sites and magazines don’t exist.
Explanations of this phenomena are welcome.
From our Comments policy:
“Bella has basically been one long massive argument argument for over a decade, and that’s exactly as it should be. We like to allow wide-ranging dissenting and sharp debate. It’s one of the things that makes Bella different, we don’t have a stagnant consensus of nodding heads all agreeing with each other.
But we’ve removed people who are just Trolls, people whose only purpose (and for some a considerable amount of time and expertise) is to attack every single article. Some of these people are clearly professional. But whether you’re amateur or professional, if your only purpose is to undermine and oppose everything we write, you will be tolerated for a period and then removed. It is the same as meeting someone in the pub who turns out to be obnoxious and abusive on every occasion.
Secondly, ad hominem attacks and personal abuse won’t be tolerated. If you don’t like an article that’s fine – but try and address the authors ideas – not the person.
Third, while we tolerate some people using pseudonyms, and this can be useful, if we feel you are doing this simply so you can spread bile, you’ll be removed.
Finally, racism, xenophobia, misogyny and selling stuff won’t be tolerated. Neither will climate change denialism.”