So I have been monitoring when of our more notorious trolls for the purpose of getting inside the strategies they employ. I am sure many of you are familiar with him. But who he is is not as important as what he is doing. And why.
I know many of you have read my post “When will we have no rules?” about the issue of when the ZM will be without rules and moderators who enforce them. I pointed out in this blog post that the intention of many of the people who want to remove these fail-safes want them removed so that they can be the new authority. Some of the trolls claimed that even some of the moderation team thought my show on this subject was BS. Then recently on another forum one of our star trolls revealed why it is he behaves the way he does.
The premise that must be understood is that these people engage in hostile behavior to assert control over other users in a chat room, forum or voice chat. Some of them are better at this then others. But it is still very real. I pointed out how they will become the real despotic authoritarians but they do it without moderator powers or rules. (Which is why they claim we don't need them.) They do it by directly insulting and therefore mentally assaulting users who do not tow the line and respect their authority.
So the quote I am about to bring up exposes this in great detail. Before I quote it though I will give you a little background on the conversation that lead to this troll exposing himself. Recently on an anti-ZM forum the users there began to go after him because of his belief in 911 conspiracy theories. Because this forum is not moderated the inevitable free-for-all of insult slinging went back and forth. They started to attack him for what is rather obvious mental delusions and derangement. After a user who obviously knows who he is exposed information about him and linked a couple of recordings of his previous maniac rants on various ZM voice chat mediums he defended his behavior of attacking a user by stating he was trying to re-program the brain of his victim. The following quotes are about this:
“I definitely was acting like a drill sergeant, I was reprogramming his mind, and it was successful. Now he feels a twinge of anxiety any time he contemplates threatening people, and it curbs his behaviour somewhat.”
“I know how to change minds, the technique is called repeated, rhythmic insult, and it's virtually infallible. The marines use it to turn librarians into paid killers. “
Here is a link to the recording in question. Some of the parts of this recording are not really relevant, but if you get through it you will eventually get to the lunacy that ensued when this individual took it upon himself to try and modify the behavior of another person.
Here you have someone who is actively engaging in what amounts to psychological warfare. Ironically after stating that we are failing because we are using all the same failed methods of control that the “state” does. So his solution? Turn to the far more insidious methods of the “state” that are used to brainwash our soldiers. An interesting grasp on morality to be sure.
I understand the big scare people have of moderators and authority figures getting out of control. The funny thing is we are actually creating these problems within the moderation team when we constantly hound them and allow them to be hounded. There may have been one or two examples of abuse of authority by members of the moderation team. But there is also a large number of trolls who cry “WOLF!” whenever a moderator acts against them at all. And this brings to bear our inherent fear of the abuse of authority.
Then we find ourselves turning on the mods who are here to protect us. And more importantly protect the quality of conversation. And then the call of abuse of authority is itself abused. People start calling abuse of authority even when they are in the wrong. The hysteria created leads to a situation where a tiny minority continues to project itself as a majority. This minority being people who actually have problems with the moderation team. They project over and over again that “a lot of people” or “many people” or “more and more people” have a problem with the moderators.
Just a little while ago on my Facebook someone went so far as to say “This behavior is pushing out the majority of the movement! All that is left on the forums now are moderators and people in positions of authority within the movement!” which is obviously absurd. But like Hitler said
“Repeat a lie often enough and it will become truth.”
I tried to explain in detail in my previous post about authority what exactly was taking place. About how these trolls ask us to eliminate all authority and that if we do this we will all be free to talk and express ourselves.
The part they leave out is that they actually want to do this so that they will be free to control the minds of the people in the chat rooms through bullying, intimidation and repeated rhythmic insults so that they can be ones who effectively “ban” or “mute” people through their destructive language.
We can have free speech. But free speech was meant to be the free exchange of constructive criticisms and exchanges of ideas.
You cannot have either in a situation where the only people actually free to do this are the ones who are more creative and diligent in their insults and bully tactics then other users.
I realized that the best person to explain it was the worst troll in the history of Wikipedia. Codie Eugene Vickers. A.K.A Hominy Grits, A.K.A. Plautus Satire, A.K.A. Kyle Troy. And this is how he explained it:
“I know how to change minds, the technique is called repeated, rhythmic insult, and it's virtually infallible. The marines use it to turn librarians into paid killers.”
Let me ask you to consider this. Is it free speech if someone has the ability to destroy conversation anytime they want by employing these tactics?
Allowing the absolute freedom of speech in situations like this is like saying that the right to own a handgun also gives you the right to shoot people with it if you feel like it. In allowing people to shoot each other with impunity in the name of freedom we just hand the reins of tyranny over to whomever is willing to do the shooting.
The whole time that this person is whining that we are supposedly using all the despotic tactics of the system that we oppose, he is using something far more insidious then laws or people to enforce them. He is willfully and intentionally engaging in psychological warfare.
The biggest threat to freedom of speech is also people abusing it. They blame the system but the reason even the best intentioned systems eventually have to put restrictions on things is not because of peaceful people speaking their minds. It's because of people acting like this. And some of them even revel in that.
“I've induced them to put harsh restrictions and an even harsher face on this movement.”
So despite all of his self-glorified delusions of being some sort of freedom fighter it is people like him that are the text book examples of the downside of freedom of speech. Along with the racists, bigots, etc.
It's important that if you want your forum to be free of pollution of this kind that you speak out against it. And if you really want to see less out of the moderators there needs to be a paradigm shift in how people address this sort of thing. The notion that it's going to happen by just throwing a lever and eliminating all authority when we are still living in the value system that makes that infeasible is absurd. The fact that people even value or think this sort of behavior is productive in any way proves that we are not ready for that. And people acting like it, enabling it or justifying it keep us further and further away from the days when we actually will have no mods or rules.
Author's note: Here is another episode of Codie Vickers the troll.