Trolling, and a thought to live by

I've noticed how the Internet seems to bring out both the best and worst in people. I've been especially interested in how much snarkiness and rudeness I run into almost everywhere people are allowed to leave comments. Exceptions to this rule: Ravelry, and the blogs I frequent here and yonder.

Here is an article from the NY Times Magazine where a reporter met with a couple of guys who are genuine trolls. It's an interesting read. I've long struggled to come up with a personal definition of trolling. Based on this article, I have formulated the following description: the deliberate provoking of a negative emotional response from a person who is perceived to be weak. I sure hope I never run afoul of anyone who gets his or her jollies from trolling.

This article also gives a ray of sunshine - a precept for behavior that may well help me avoid problems. It's Postel's Law: “Be conservative in what you do; be liberal in what you accept from others.” Naturally, it's a variant of the Golden Rule. It is actually an Internet programming protocol, but golly, wouldn't it work well with our interactions with other humans as well?

The principle of tolerance, expressed as a programming protocol. Both code and human relations work better when based on tolerance. To quote Spock, "Fascinating."


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