mjr wrote:Is it trolling to say without proof that a group holds certain dislikeable views?
Should unsubstantiated accusations that a group of people hold certain obviously-dislikeable views be explicitly included in the forum terms as an example of trolling? I feel it only occurs when someone is trying to misrepresent the views of others in order to start or prolong an argument and they cannot or will not argue on the basis of words people have actually written.
The forum terms already forbid defamation and trolling, but it seems that the mods don't regard this tactic as either, based on some examples which have survived being reported. If you have a better idea of how to tackle this, please reply with it.
I have a couple of concerns. The use of the term "proof
" could be difficult. I have noticed one poster who sometimes provides links to fairly politically extreme blog sites suggesting the opinions expressed "prove" the point they are making. Even e.g. the Guardian can publish some commentary articles that are totally daft and are "only the opinions of the author and in no way represent ...
". So in cases of news you have to start distinguishing between factual news reporting and opinion pieces (even in mainstream media) ... even the New York Times (that purveyor of "Fake News" - maybe because of the nationality of their biggest single shareholder (a Mexican)?).
I think it fair for people to express opinion not based on fact. I regularly do e.g. I consider that the type of motor vehicle relates to the probability of a close pass, the lower the petrol consumption the higher the probability you'll get a close pass - I don't have any fact to support that opinion, not even collected any of my own data but I feel it a valid opinion to express without proof (maybe prompting others to agree/disagree based on their experience). Maybe the important thing is for people posting to be clear if they are posting personal unsupported opinion or posting established fact. But then trying to prove a point you believe some posters seem so strong minded that they wont "weaken" their case by pointing out the limitations of their supporting evidence.
I do find some posts rather irritating in that they supposedly (and repeatedly) raise "fact" with pitiful supporting information (e.g. a link to some alt-right blog ...). But then am I being irritated by the lack of credible supporting information, irritated by the opinions or irritated by use of the "repeat rubbish often enough and some will start to believe it".
So to start acting when it comes down to an opinion judgement call that is easily biased by personal opinions is not a call I'd want to make.
So I feel that if a post addresses the subject being discussed (rather than being directed the individuals posting to the thread) follows the rules of being polite, on topic (variable depending on thread), etc. then maybe people who keep posting some ludicrous thought only supported by some alt-right blogger are saying more about themselves than about the issue being discussed. I do get angry when I see people responding to a post they disagree with by attacking the poster and trying to damage their credibility rather than responding to the points they raised (and I do tend to report such posts).