Is MidasMulligan trolling? March 5, 2002 1:24 AM   Subscribe

Troll, Ignorant, or Other?
posted by jacobw to Etiquette/Policy at 1:24 AM (30 comments total)

I'm a little unclear on the definition of troll, but this comment seemed over the top.
posted by jacobw at 1:25 AM on March 5, 2002

def. This was not a troll*. It's a different perspective. Imagine what the world would be like if the two of you could actually listen to one another.
posted by sylloge at 2:25 AM on March 5, 2002

*"This is really unfair" is probably a little over-dramatic, and I certainly would argue for shifting the tax burden downward, but his point of view is perfectly valid: he was fortunate, (presumably) worked very hard, and for the benefit of those who don't even make enough to pay taxes, he gave over half of what he made.
posted by sylloge at 2:27 AM on March 5, 2002

D'OH! Wouldn't. WouldN'T. "Would not argue for shifting the tax burden downward".
posted by sylloge at 2:59 AM on March 5, 2002

When did everyone become so hypersensitive? The dude was just expressing an opinion. A valid opinion, I shouldn't have to say. Jeez.

PS. This isn't a troll either.
posted by donkeyschlong at 3:03 AM on March 5, 2002

I could say the same of the comments in that thread that paint all rich people with the same brush. As sylloge said, dissent is not trolling.
posted by owillis at 3:05 AM on March 5, 2002

Troll, Ignorant, or Other?

Other. Next...?
posted by NortonDC at 4:15 AM on March 5, 2002

Not a troll by any stretch of the imagination. Let it be noted that diversity of viewpoint on MeFi is something that I love with a passion, but there are certain MeFites that I'd like to beat like a redheaded stepchild, were I given the opportunity.

That said, and at the risk of being trite, because it was the song playing as I clicked into this thread, synchronicitously :

"One love
One blood
One life
You got to do what you should
One life
With each other
One life
But we're not the same
We get to
Carry each other
Carry each other"
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:22 AM on March 5, 2002

definitely other.
posted by crunchland at 5:55 AM on March 5, 2002

I wouldn't go so far as "troll," but I think MM was misrepresenting the facts and either knew it or should have known it. He used all taxes (i.e., including payroll and sales taxes) to get to his tax figure but then claimed that 40% of the population pays no taxes at all. If you include sales and payroll taxes, the people who pay no taxes at all are pretty much limited to kids under 16.

I don't know whether his logic was careless or intentionally misleading, but it doesn't really matter. It still doesn't rise to the level of trolling since he obviously believes what he's saying.
posted by anapestic at 6:50 AM on March 5, 2002

Other. And while his tax calculations may not have been exactly right, the "Matthew Effect" idea is a broad generalization that is a perfectly valid thing to argue with. I wanted to respond to it myself but I was so annoyed I held off for fear of posting something angry. I think he did a fine job of making a legitimate argument.
posted by bingo at 7:16 AM on March 5, 2002

what exactly is "The Matthew Effect"?
posted by dash_slot- at 7:33 AM on March 5, 2002

Running to MetaTalk to cry "troll" or "bigot" is getting very old. If this is the trend, it should be renamed "MetaTattleTale."

MeFiers shouldn't be so thin-skinned. When someone says something you don't like, call them on it and move on.
posted by pardonyou? at 7:46 AM on March 5, 2002

Saying that you think you pay too much in taxes is a position that can be debated. It is not character defamation (of an individual or a group). It is not the cynical pot-stirring to get a reaction that is trolldom. It is not name-calling. It is not propaganda. It is not pseudoscience. It is not a hysterical pronouncement. It is not knee-jerk political correctness or knee-jerk anti-political correctness. It is not remotely outside what one would expect to hear someone say at a party, which is a good rule of thumb for where the bounds of politeness on MeFi lie.

It is not even a declaration from on high which we are to accept unthinkingly; it is a starting point for a conversation. MidasMulligan included some points with which one can take exception (as Anapestic just did). In what possible way was that comment worthy of calling out as somehow unworthy?
posted by snarkout at 7:51 AM on March 5, 2002

I, umm, like the word "worthy."
posted by snarkout at 8:00 AM on March 5, 2002

As sylloge said, dissent is not trolling.

Agreed, and the very point I have been trying to make elsewhere.
posted by rushmc at 8:28 AM on March 5, 2002

Midas wasn't trolling. Geeze - just because he says he has some cash, he can't hope to keep some?

This is more 'trollish':
"Yeah, you deserve breaks. You can buy a new Lexus, while the poor ass person can't afford shoes for her kids.
posted by andryeevna at 1:11 AM PST on March 5 "

But, even then I wouldn't have run to Meta Talk to cry about it. My first question for andryeevna would be 'Why's the poor ass person having kids, then?'

Would that be trollish? I don't think so, since in my opinion it goes back to discussing the issue as opposed to throwing out pure 'rich vs poor' retoric. But I'm sure *someone* would come up and start screaming about how insensitive it is for some rich, white, heterosexual upper middle class male driving minivans and Tahoes with his 3 kids, wife and dog to even pretend to think he might know a little bit about what its like to be a poor downtrodden person.
posted by rich at 8:36 AM on March 5, 2002

My first question for andryeevna would be 'Why's the poor ass person having kids, then?'

That's the one post that's gonna have me fuming all day. Thanks man.

Which came first, the chicken or the egg?
posted by Hildago at 8:46 AM on March 5, 2002

Troll, Ignorant, or Other?
posted by dagny at 9:19 AM on March 5, 2002

jacobw, you're crying wolf here, making metatalk less useful for everyone by making an accusation that you don't even know the definition of.

(oh! did I just troll you? No, I didn't.)
posted by mathowie (staff) at 9:23 AM on March 5, 2002

I think that had Midas' comment not caused such a knee-jerk reaction, I would have just passed it by as a different point of view. This MetaTalk thread is a troll in itself merely because it asks if MidasMulligan is ignorant. Nothing in his post makes him sound ignorant. So he complains in a thread about salaries that his total income is lessened by a fairly big tax chunk. What's the problem?
posted by eyeballkid at 9:24 AM on March 5, 2002

Hildago.. the comment was illustrative, not figurative. But you did prove my point that people tend not to read and interpret the whole of someone's post, but will zero in on a comment that they find inflamatory.

Sure, there is a sector of mothers with children who are in the poor level because of circumstance - battered wives would be a big one that comes to mind, as well as all the deadbeat dads.

But then there are people who have children when they are already stretched beyond their means. Many reasons underlie this, from religious isses of abortion to women who are mistreated by their spouse or boyfriend, and those that are uneducated. But then there are some that just don't care, or see each child as extra welfare money.

But mainly, I take issue with the characterization that all poor people are single mothers who work hard and still can't afford shoes for their kids. And we aren't talking $60 Nike's but $2.00 Keds on special.
posted by rich at 10:47 AM on March 5, 2002

I see the merit in everybody's argument. I didn't mean to come across as thin-skinned. In response to pardonyou, I think that running to MetaTalk to cry is generally a bad thing. This is only my second post to MetaTalk, and it was less to cry out, and more to clear up the definition of troll in my head.
As to snarkout, I never said his comment wasn't worthy. I like dissenting opinions. They make conversations and arguments worth continuing.
As to dagny, I think that was rather rude of you to call me a troll. I've been hanging around just as long as you. Perhaps something more constructive next time?

And Matt, this is your home, you may feel my one post is making MetaTalk less useful to others, but if I've been hanging around this long and still couldn't figure out exactly what trolling was, even after reading the definition, perhaps others are finding this post useful.

I think the most helpful comment in this thread is eyeballkid's "This MetaTalk thread is a troll in itself merely because it asks if MidasMulligan is ignorant." I didn't mean to be a troll, I was merely seeking to find out how being a troll differs from making a comment that I thought borderlined on ignorance. Why did I think it was ignorant? Because I thought he was implying that he needed more money, deserved more money, and that those who didn't pay taxes were somehow better off than he was. I called him on it, but then I came here to see if he was "posting purposely inflammatory things for the sole purpose of baiting others to argue the points until blue in the face - basically people do this for kicks, to destroy conversations and communites, for the hell of it".
And I see Matt's quick definition on the posting guidelines as rather different from the definition he links to.

But now I more clearly understand the definition...and that's what my post was meant to be about. I apologize for not being more articulate in my motives of posting this.
posted by jacobw at 12:07 PM on March 5, 2002


I said metatalk is less useful because you've essentially cried wolf. No one wants to see people "telling" on other users every single day, but if there is an egregious breach of etiquette, the only thing a user can do is mention it here or email me. But what you pointed to as troll was the farthest thing from troll. If you wanted to know what troll meant, I would have suggested emailing me, or looking around the About page of metafilter, which has an explanation and a link to a deeper explanation. People take the word troll very seriously around here, in a way, it's like yelling "fire" in a crowded theater. It should only be done in very extremely obvious cases and hopefully the instances of it are rare. If people see your post and think anytime they disagree with anything someone else says, it's now a troll and wants to post it here, that makes metatalk useless.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 2:56 PM on March 5, 2002

Interesting reasoning. I don't agree with it, but it's interesting. I looked at the About page of MetaFilter and still couldn't figure out the definition. I thought this would be a good place for discussion over that topic.

In regards to your last sentence, if someone sees my post and thinks that anytime someone disagrees that they are a troll, this thread isn't going to encourage that thought, it's going to dispel that myth, thereby making MetaTalk more concentrated and further filtering out people who want to "tell" on others, which as I believe I have already stated rather clearly, is not what I had meant to do, as I realized after my first/last MetaTalk thread, which actually turned out to be a great discussion over the spirit of the guidelines.
posted by jacobw at 9:33 PM on March 5, 2002

I would disagree that it's a great discussion, sorry. I think it's a discussion we've had in some form or another many times, and it's a drag to have to have it again. Your personalizing it, and the way you framed it, doesn't seem to me to be a disinterested query about the nature of a troll. It would have been better just not to do it.
posted by rodii at 9:49 PM on March 5, 2002

I can't wait to be dragged into Metatalk for stating my opinion!
posted by evanizer at 9:56 PM on March 5, 2002

Don't push your luck, sonny.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 10:03 PM on March 5, 2002

Rodii- I said that my last thread was a great discussion over the spirit of the guidelines. Are you saying it wasn't? Or are you saying this one isn't? (And I'd agree if it's the latter.) See, that's what I don't understand about a discussion website like Metafilter...things are always read incorrectly.
posted by jacobw at 11:02 AM on March 6, 2002

Oh, my mistake, I meant this one. I think. Now I'm confused. Oh wait, I'm always confused.
posted by rodii at 11:05 AM on March 6, 2002

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