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Tags internet incidents , internet issues , John Synott , madeleine mccann , manfromatlan , trolling

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Old 18th April 2017, 04:40 AM   #121
angrysoba
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Originally Posted by William Parcher View Post
Anti-McCanns and Pro-McCanns are both plumb crazy. Each spends more than one minute per year thinking about the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.
Heh heh! Methinks you are paraphrasing something you have heard on a certain cryptozoological topic, no?
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Old 18th April 2017, 01:55 PM   #122
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Originally Posted by Bill Williams View Post
Why ask these silly rhetorical questions? Why not, instead, express an opinion and back it up with citations?
I thought my opinion was clear. We have freedom of opinion in the Western world. If something offends you on twitter, ISF or Facebook, just block it.

If someone is acting within the law and within good taste, what is the problem? If you believe the McCann 'chattering classes' should be dealt with, then lobby your MP or congressman to get the law changed.

We are all responsible for our own actions. Lead by example.

You can't be responsible for other people's poor behaviour.
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Old 18th April 2017, 02:06 PM   #123
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Originally Posted by Vixen View Post
Is the type of 'vigilanticism' you describe applicable to those who agree with you, or only to those who do not?

It's applicable to those oddballs who assume the mantle of "online vigilante", to pursue what they see as "justice" on behalf of the victim of a violent crime by making persistent and vindictive accusations against people whom they've decided are the "real perpetrators" but against whom there exists not one shred of credible, reliable incriminating evidence*. I thought that was obvious.


* In the McCann case, for example, there is not one single piece of actual evidence (credible, reliable evidence, that is...) pointing to the McCann parents as having participated in any way in their daughter's disappearance. And, what's more, there are several other potential explanations which, practically and logically, make much more sense. In that context, the very most that any rational, reasonable person can say therefore is that one cannot categorically rule out the McCann parents, but that a) there's no proper evidence to that effect, and b) there are several other possible explanations that seem more likely in any case. And, therefore, to take those conditions and to decide that the McCann parents deserve to be vilified and accused for participating in their daughter's death is as disgusting as it is logically bereft.

Last edited by LondonJohn; 18th April 2017 at 02:23 PM.
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Old 18th April 2017, 02:17 PM   #124
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Originally Posted by Vixen View Post
I thought my opinion was clear. We have freedom of opinion in the Western world. If something offends you on twitter, ISF or Facebook, just block it.

If someone is acting within the law and within good taste, what is the problem? If you believe the McCann 'chattering classes' should be dealt with, then lobby your MP or congressman to get the law changed.

We are all responsible for our own actions. Lead by example.

You can't be responsible for other people's poor behaviour.
To repeat a previous post.

Quote:
The notion of a relationship between trolling and antisocial personality disorder is further supported by the McCann trolls’ unwavering endorsement of the right to unfettered free speech and their profound resistance to authority, particularly where online censorship is concerned. This adversity to the regulation of online spaces has been shown to be one of the only consistent characteristics of internet trolls (Phillips, 2011), as well as a defining feature of antisocial personality disorder (Black & Larson, 2000).
Synnott 2017

Last edited by Planigale; 18th April 2017 at 02:19 PM.
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Old 18th April 2017, 03:33 PM   #125
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Originally Posted by Planigale View Post
To repeat a previous post.

Synnott 2017
as well as a defining feature of antisocial personality disorder (Black & Larson, 2000).
Synnott 2017:


Do you have any idea what this means?

In what way is ASBD specific to those with an opinion on the McCann case?

I rather suspect they are no different from any other demographic.
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Old 18th April 2017, 03:34 PM   #126
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What's the central question in this thread? Is there a point to make?

Please limit your answers to those questions to no more than three sentences. I'm trying to understand what's going on with the topic here and would appreciate it distilled down to extreme brevity (3 sentences or less).
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Old 18th April 2017, 03:37 PM   #127
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Originally Posted by NotEvenWrong View Post
You asked a question and I answered it.

If you don't know any online vigilantes who harass the McCanns then what is the problem? It's clear they exist because it is documented. Why so defensive? Do you always defend trolls you don't know and have no association with (you swear honest!)
Because as the saying goes, I may not agree with what you have to say, but I defend your right to say it. Within the bounds of the law and decency.

You haven't provided any argument as to why people who want to discuss the McCanns on their forums and other social media should be censored.
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Old 18th April 2017, 03:51 PM   #128
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Originally Posted by William Parcher View Post
What's the central question in this thread? Is there a point to make?

Please limit your answers to those questions to no more than three sentences. I'm trying to understand what's going on with the topic here and would appreciate it distilled down to extreme brevity (3 sentences or less).
1. The problem as I see it is that there are some people who believe the media version of Madeleine McCann's disappearance is a hoax.

2. The McCanns take exception to this and have spent millions suing newspapers and policemen who suggest alternative theories for the disappearance.


3. In the meantime, it appears Dr Synott a psychologist at Huddersfield Uni, has jumped on the bandwagon of wanting to tar people who speculate on the case as 'anti-McCann trolls', with a psychopathic personality disorder and calling it a scientific study, published in NATURE and a couple of newspapers.
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Old 18th April 2017, 03:56 PM   #129
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Thanks. Just as an aside (not a complaint)... those three sentences could be combined and shortened to make one single comprehensive sentence.
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Old 18th April 2017, 04:03 PM   #130
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Originally Posted by William Parcher View Post
What's the central question in this thread? Is there a point to make?

Please limit your answers to those questions to no more than three sentences. I'm trying to understand what's going on with the topic here and would appreciate it distilled down to extreme brevity (3 sentences or less).
It's as per Vixen's opening post, it has to do with trolls on the internet who have attacked the McCann's and where there is a study on the why's and where's of it all:
Quote:
Highlights

Case study analysis of Anti-McCann internet Trolling Group.

The role of language, group identity and in group cohesion is examined.

Language is central to Anti-McCann group in the construction of identity.

Several strategies were employed by Anti-McCanns to provoke outsiders.

Support for previous research linking trolling to western media culture and ASPD.
Edited by Agatha:  Edited material which belongs in FMF. Please open a thread in FMF if you wish to explore this matter.


My guess is that Vixen does not support the initial study that she posted in the OP. She may have a point, in that the "case study analysis" might be simply assuming the outcome that the study wishes to arrive at.
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Last edited by Agatha; 21st April 2017 at 05:36 AM.
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Old 18th April 2017, 04:20 PM   #131
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Are the anti-McCann people suggesting that there is a conspiracy, or only just a dark secret held between the Mr. and Mrs.?

Single sentence answer please.
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Old 18th April 2017, 04:37 PM   #132
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Originally Posted by William Parcher View Post
Are the anti-McCann people suggesting that there is a conspiracy, or only just a dark secret held between the Mr. and Mrs.?

Single sentence answer please.
They are just a cross section of the population; their views will vary as widely as the range of views available.
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Old 18th April 2017, 04:44 PM   #133
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Originally Posted by Bill Williams View Post
It's as per Vixen's opening post, it has to do with trolls on the internet who have attacked the McCann's and where there is a study on the why's and where's of it all:
This study has applications for other threads on ISF, but the mods have shut down discussion on that dimension of it - too bad, as it may have more general application.

My guess is that Vixen does not support the initial study that she posted in the OP. She may have a point, in that the "case study analysis" might be simply assuming the outcome that the study wishes to arrive at.
Put it this way. Suppose as a psychologist, I set up a study setting out to prove that 'anti-Trump trolls' (my label) were disturbed psychopaths. I set up a fake twitter account and send tweets to those I perceive to be the aforesaid, linking to studies which show Trump is a wonderful being.

I then shut down my fake twitter account, write up my paper which proves that 'anti-Trump trolls' are disturbed psychopaths because when I tweeted them a link to his wonderfulness, I was met with suspicion that I might be a 'shill' and some were downright abusive!

Do you think Democrat campaigners might not feel just a little bit outraged to be 'scientifically' labelled 'disturbed anti-social anti-Trump trolls'. (official.)
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Old 18th April 2017, 05:48 PM   #134
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Originally Posted by Vixen View Post
1. The problem as I see it is that there are some people who believe the media version of Madeleine McCann's disappearance is a hoax, who have decided that the McCann parents had something directly to do with their daughter's disappearance (without there being a shred of credible, reliable evidence pointing at the involvement of the parents), and have made persistent and vindictive accusations to that end aimed at the McCann parents

2. The McCanns take exception to this and have spent millions some money suing newspapers and policemen who suggest alternative theories for the disappearance have made direct accusations in print that they (the parents) played some sort of role in their daughter's disappearance.


3. In the meantime, it appears Dr Synott, a psychologist at Huddersfield Uni, has jumped on the bandwagon of wanting to tar people who speculate on the case correctly suggested that it may be appropriate to label many of those known as 'anti-McCann trolls', with a psychopathic personality disorder and calling it a via a scientific study, published in the internationally-respected and peer-reviewed scientific publication NATURE and a couple of newspapers.


I amended the above statements using strikeouts and red text, so that they now reflect the truth of the matter. You're welcome
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Old 18th April 2017, 06:52 PM   #135
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Originally Posted by Vixen View Post
Because as the saying goes, I may not agree with what you have to say, but I defend your right to say it. Within the bounds of the law and decency.
Do you defend Synott's right to publish his findings on internet trolls and personality disorders related to the Anti-McCann trolls?

Quote:
You haven't provided any argument as to why people who want to discuss the McCanns on their forums and other social media should be censored.
Vixen why do you keep saying discussion on the McCanns should be censured? I've reiterated like 5 times that I don't think that is true. People should be able to discuss the case as much as they want!

Here let me try something. Do you understand the difference between these two things?:

1) Discussing something.

2) Harassing the parents of a (likely murdered) child.

Because you keep flip-flopping between defending these two things and saying one thing but acting like you mean the other. I mean I realize we have all been Vixen'd here and that's the way it goes but some clarification is in order I think.
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Old 18th April 2017, 07:36 PM   #136
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Originally Posted by Vixen View Post
Put it this way. Suppose as a psychologist, I set up a study setting out to prove that 'anti-Trump trolls' (my label) were disturbed psychopaths. I set up a fake twitter account and send tweets to those I perceive to be the aforesaid, linking to studies which show Trump is a wonderful being.

I then shut down my fake twitter account, write up my paper which proves that 'anti-Trump trolls' are disturbed psychopaths because when I tweeted them a link to his wonderfulness, I was met with suspicion that I might be a 'shill' and some were downright abusive!

Do you think Democrat campaigners might not feel just a little bit outraged to be 'scientifically' labelled 'disturbed anti-social anti-Trump trolls'. (official.)
Well, suppose you set it up as a theologist. What happens then?
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Old 18th April 2017, 11:33 PM   #137
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Originally Posted by William Parcher View Post
Are the anti-McCann people suggesting that there is a conspiracy, or only just a dark secret held between the Mr. and Mrs.?

Single sentence answer please.
Yes that is correct, a large conspiracy including many people whose views can be dismissed by labelling them as shills, paid advocates, a conspiracy which as Vixen alludes to costs millions of pounds to sustain, the McCann may be only part of a larger criminal network that funds the multi-million pound campaign and ensures the corrupt involvement of e.g. the British police and diplomatic service.
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Old 18th April 2017, 11:46 PM   #138
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Originally Posted by Vixen View Post
Because as the saying goes, I may not agree with what you have to say, but I defend your right to say it. Within the bounds of the law and decency.

You haven't provided any argument as to why people who want to discuss the McCanns on their forums and other social media should be censored.
I think this is the issue.

1) trolling is illegal in the UK.
Quote:
The Malicious Communications Act states:

• Any person who sends a letter, electronic communication or article of any description to a person that conveys a message that is indecent or highly offensive, a threat or false information. If the reason for that communication was to cause distress or anxiety to the recipient or to any other person, then the sender is guilty of an offence.

• This includes mobile phones and the Internet (any form of electronic communication).

• The offence occurs whether those targeted actually receive the message or not.
2) In my opinion the sort of comments made by the anti-McCanns (and examples have been posted above and are given in Synnott's paper) are not decent. Totally non evidence based accusation of the parents being linked to a paedophile ring or planning future crimes goes beyond decency and does I think meet the definition given in the paper (and other referenced papers) of sadistic personality trait.

ETA this is the heading of the most current post on a relevant web site

Quote:
Kate McCann (Ambassador for Missing People) and Gerry McCann (Professor of Cardiology at Leicester University) both of [address deleted] have committed some of the worst crimes against a child in recent British history - and the UK Government and Police are letting them get away with it.

Last edited by Agatha; 21st April 2017 at 03:56 AM. Reason: removed address
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Old 19th April 2017, 02:38 AM   #139
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Originally Posted by Planigale View Post
I think this is the issue.

1) trolling is illegal in the UK.


2) In my opinion the sort of comments made by the anti-McCanns (and examples have been posted above and are given in Synnott's paper) are not decent. Totally non evidence based accusation of the parents being linked to a paedophile ring or planning future crimes goes beyond decency and does I think meet the definition given in the paper (and other referenced papers) of sadistic personality trait.

ETA this is the heading of the most current post on a relevant web site


It's interesting how some commentators appear to seek to minimise and excuse this sort of online vigilante behaviour and its attendant result of making direct criminal accusations against the McCann parents as "speculation about the case" or "the suggestion of alternative theories about the case" - and see any attempt to close down this sort of disgusting and unsupported defamation as an attempt to "stifle free speech". IMO this, in and of itself, tends to support certain aspects of Synott's conclusions in respect of his study subjects..........
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Old 19th April 2017, 02:50 AM   #140
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Originally Posted by LondonJohn View Post
I amended the above statements using strikeouts and red text, so that they now reflect the truth of the matter. You're welcome
Actually I am one of the rare number of people who DOESN'T criticise the McCanns for stupidly leaving their children alone. As parents we have all made mistakes, which thankfully came to no ill.

There but for the grace...


However, facts are facts. It is ridiculous to pretend that cadaver dogs are unreliable.
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Old 19th April 2017, 02:58 AM   #141
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Originally Posted by NotEvenWrong View Post
Do you defend Synott's right to publish his findings on internet trolls and personality disorders related to the Anti-McCann trolls?



Vixen why do you keep saying discussion on the McCanns should be censured? I've reiterated like 5 times that I don't think that is true. People should be able to discuss the case as much as they want!

Here let me try something. Do you understand the difference between these two things?:

1) Discussing something.

2) Harassing the parents of a (likely murdered) child.

Because you keep flip-flopping between defending these two things and saying one thing but acting like you mean the other. I mean I realize we have all been Vixen'd here and that's the way it goes but some clarification is in order I think.

As a professional Dr Synott is obliged to uphold professional ethics. I do think his experiment was carried out in a questionable way.

He is obliged to be: objective, and this includes safeguarding oneself against: self-review, familiarity, intimidation, etc. His study appears to be based on a non-partisan disapproval of what he perceives as 'anti-McCann trolls'.

Did he have a control group? Why did he not debrief his subjects after the experiment as required by psychologists.

If his aim was simply to wind up the 'trolls',t hen he is bringing the profession into disrepute.

The McCanns do not have twitter so cannot be 'harassed' by it. Twitter provide complaint forms and unacceptable tweets and accounts can be suspended or blocked.

If there is a problem with the law, why not lobby your MP or senator to bring it up in parliament/congress/legislature chamber.

As I keep saying YOU are the one 'harrassing' (by your definition) the McCanns for suggesting Madeleine is a 'murdered child'.


You have been told that the official line is that she is 'abducted' and that they hope to find her.
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Old 19th April 2017, 02:59 AM   #142
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Originally Posted by abaddon View Post
Well, suppose you set it up as a theologist. What happens then?
Theology is an art not a science, so you wouldn't set up an experiment.
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Old 19th April 2017, 03:09 AM   #143
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Originally Posted by Planigale View Post
I think this is the issue.

1) trolling is illegal in the UK.


2) In my opinion the sort of comments made by the anti-McCanns (and examples have been posted above and are given in Synnott's paper) are not decent. Totally non evidence based accusation of the parents being linked to a paedophile ring or planning future crimes goes beyond decency and does I think meet the definition given in the paper (and other referenced papers) of sadistic personality trait.

ETA this is the heading of the most current post on a relevant web site

Well, there you are then. If trolling is illegal, as you claim, then simply report it to the police when you see one.

BTW do you think it ethical to publish the McCanns' full address on a public site?
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Old 19th April 2017, 03:11 AM   #144
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Originally Posted by LondonJohn View Post
It's interesting how some commentators appear to seek to minimise and excuse this sort of online vigilante behaviour and its attendant result of making direct criminal accusations against the McCann parents as "speculation about the case" or "the suggestion of alternative theories about the case" - and see any attempt to close down this sort of disgusting and unsupported defamation as an attempt to "stifle free speech". IMO this, in and of itself, tends to support certain aspects of Synott's conclusions in respect of his study subjects..........
That might be true, but that's what people do in all such cases. Look at the abuse footballers get. It is just the downside of being a free country.
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Old 19th April 2017, 04:48 AM   #145
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Originally Posted by Vixen View Post
Is the type of 'vigilanticism' you describe applicable to those who agree with you, or only to those who do not?
That seems like a loaded question. And as (1) this thread is not about the McCann case itself but about the reactions to it, and (2) I have not followed that case nor have the intention to, and (3) I have not followed which positions the various ISF posters have on that, I feel that as a lurker in this thread I should not be compelled to read between the lines what their positions on the McCann case are to be able to follow the discussion.

That said, the online vigilantism that LondonJohn describes requires an actual, concrete, target. You must be able to shout "string X up", otherwise there can be no vigilantism. Mind, I'm not saying this must actually happen.

The anti-McCann side has such a target: the parents. They can shout "string Kate and Gerry up". The pro-McCann side, however, can just argue: someone unknown must have abducted Madeline. They can hardly shout "string that unknown person up".

In the Chamberlain case, the guilty side could shout "string Lindy up", while the innocent side pointed to a dingo and they can hardly shout "string every dingo up".

In the Amanda Knox case, the guilty side could shout "string Amanda up", while the innocent side pointed to Rudy Guede as lone actor, who had already swiftly confessed and been convicted; and there's no point in shouting for vigilante justice when the real justice system has already convicted someone.

I think that covers most of the cases that are discussed in public: one side has a suspect of whom they're convinced they're guilty, while the other side has either
(1) an already convicted perpetrator as lone actor;
(2) accident or natural causes (drowned, dingo, etc.) so no crime;
(3) an unknown perpetrator.
Those are all explanations you cannot lash out against with vigilantism.

Cases where there are two, or more, competing suspects, are comparitively rare. One that comes to mind is the Dutch Deventer murder case, where Louwes, the tax advisor of the victim, was prosecuted, convicted and served his sentence. Some of those who thought he was guilty pointed to handyman Michael as the perpetrator; a ringleader of this group was ordered by court to cease his accusations and pay €45,000 in damages, which is a stellar amount in Dutch legal cases.

Concluding, I think the answer to your question is: in most cases, only one side can commit vigilantism because the other side lacks a target for vigilantism.
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Old 19th April 2017, 05:47 AM   #146
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Mod WarningThread needs to be cleaned-out and the relevant edits made, infractions, suspensions and bans issued. Putting thread on moderated status until clean-up complete. As ever don't try to continue the discussion elsewhere on the forum to avoid the moderation of this thread.
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Old 19th April 2017, 09:35 AM   #147
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Originally Posted by Vixen
Dr Synott is a shill, by his own account. He sent provocative tweets to his target subjects in the hope of winding them up, by claiming cadaver dogs could not be trusted.

In the view of many this would be classic (Dare I say "traditional"? ) troll behavior.

Is there perhaps an element of irony to be seen here?
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Old 19th April 2017, 10:34 AM   #148
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Originally Posted by quadraginta View Post
In the view of many this would be classic (Dare I say "traditional"? ) troll behavior.

Is there perhaps an element of irony to be seen here?

Well, it might be if that had been an honest and accurate description of what had happened.

What actually happened was this:

The researchers tried to talk to the people they had identified as core members of the #McCann community, but that attempt was pretty unsuccessful. “If you try to speak to them directly, they don’t want to. They know you’re going to tell them stuff they don’t want to hear,” he said. So, they tried something else: setting up a Twitter account and joining in the discussion. They did so by introducing a scientific paper that debunks the core piece of evidence cited by the McCann group into the discussion. From the paper:

This conversation was initiated on the evening of July 5th, 2015, after the researcher posted a tweet stating that cadaver dogs make false positive errors 10-20% of the time when working in hot temperatures, alongside a link to the journal article from which this finding was obtained. The trolls’ responses were plentiful and instantaneous, prompting an in-depth discussion which lasted approximately 3 hours.

And this is how Synnott and his team got to observe the importance of the word “shill.” Because their Twitter account was new, the #McCann hashtag members soon became suspicious of the researcher account. That led to the inevitable conclusion that the account must be a paid infiltrator, hence the “shill” label. Once the researcher account was labeled as a “shill,” things really took off....


https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/...olling-groups/
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Old 19th April 2017, 12:30 PM   #149
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Originally Posted by Vixen View Post
Actually I am one of the rare number of people who DOESN'T criticise the McCanns for stupidly leaving their children alone.
Really?
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Old 19th April 2017, 12:52 PM   #150
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Originally Posted by Vixen View Post
Well, there you are then. If trolling is illegal, as you claim, then simply report it to the police when you see one.

BTW do you think it ethical to publish the McCanns' full address on a public site?
No, I think you are right. Although I think it is less of an issue here than some sites. I cannot edit my post.

Mods can the address be deleted?
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Old 21st April 2017, 05:55 AM   #151
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Mod Warning I have done a clean out, and this thread will be taken off moderation.

Moving forward, please observe the following:
  • Discussion of the disappearance of Madeleine McCann should be done in another thread; this thread is for looking at the online (chiefly twitter) reaction to the disappearance as investigated by the authors of the paper in the OP.
  • If you want to query any of the mod-set parameters for this thread, please do so in FMF, not in this thread.
  • Do not use this thread as a place to continue arguments imported from other threads.
  • Be civil and polite, and address arguments rather than the person making them.
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Old 21st April 2017, 09:44 AM   #152
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Originally Posted by LondonJohn
Well, it might be if that had been an honest and accurate description of what had happened.

What actually happened was this:

The researchers tried to talk to the people they had identified as core members of the #McCann community, but that attempt was pretty unsuccessful. “If you try to speak to them directly, they don’t want to. They know you’re going to tell them stuff they don’t want to hear,” he said. So, they tried something else: setting up a Twitter account and joining in the discussion. They did so by introducing a scientific paper that debunks the core piece of evidence cited by the McCann group into the discussion. From the paper:

This conversation was initiated on the evening of July 5th, 2015, after the researcher posted a tweet stating that cadaver dogs make false positive errors 10-20% of the time when working in hot temperatures, alongside a link to the journal article from which this finding was obtained. The trolls’ responses were plentiful and instantaneous, prompting an in-depth discussion which lasted approximately 3 hours.

And this is how Synnott and his team got to observe the importance of the word “shill.” Because their Twitter account was new, the #McCann hashtag members soon became suspicious of the researcher account. That led to the inevitable conclusion that the account must be a paid infiltrator, hence the “shill” label. Once the researcher account was labeled as a “shill,” things really took off....


https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/...olling-groups/
That seems, minus a little bit of POV slant, to be substantively the same as what Vixen posted. I don't see how it affects the point I was making in any way.

The researchers posted with the intent to provoke exactly the response they got. Classic (in the purest sense) trolling behavior. B1FF would have been proud.
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Old 21st April 2017, 09:48 AM   #153
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Originally Posted by LondonJohn View Post
Well, it might be if that had been an honest and accurate description of what had happened.

What actually happened was this:

The researchers tried to talk to the people they had identified as core members of the #McCann community, but that attempt was pretty unsuccessful. “If you try to speak to them directly, they don’t want to. They know you’re going to tell them stuff they don’t want to hear,” he said. So, they tried something else: setting up a Twitter account and joining in the discussion. They did so by introducing a scientific paper that debunks the core piece of evidence cited by the McCann group into the discussion. From the paper:

This conversation was initiated on the evening of July 5th, 2015, after the researcher posted a tweet stating that
cadaver dogs make false positive errors 10-20% of the time when working in hot temperatures
, alongside a link to the journal article from which this finding was obtained. The trolls’ responses were plentiful and instantaneous, prompting an in-depth discussion which lasted approximately 3 hours.

And this is how Synnott and his team got to observe the importance of the word “shill.” Because their Twitter account was new, the #McCann hashtag members soon became suspicious of the researcher account. That led to the inevitable conclusion that the account must be a paid infiltrator, hence the “shill” label. Once the researcher account was labeled as a “shill,” things really took off....


https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/...olling-groups/

Well, he was, wasn't he?
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Old 21st April 2017, 10:05 AM   #154
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Originally Posted by quadraginta View Post
That seems, minus a little bit of POV slant, to be substantively the same as what Vixen posted. I don't see how it affects the point I was making in any way.

The researchers posted with the intent to provoke exactly the response they got. Classic (in the purest sense) trolling behavior. B1FF would have been proud.
In a sense, scientists engaged in the study of human behavior have always been trolls. They have to be when they're attempting to study human reactions to stimuli. Hell, a good talk therapist is likely to "troll" a patient when the therapist believes the patient is holding back something important.
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Old 21st April 2017, 10:13 AM   #155
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Originally Posted by Babbylonian View Post
In a sense, scientists engaged in the study of human behavior have always been trolls. They have to be when they're attempting to study human reactions to stimuli. Hell, a good talk therapist is likely to "troll" a patient when the therapist believes the patient is holding back something important.

That's true.

Doing it by anonymously posting on the Internet with the intent of provoking a specific response among a specific group of people, study of human behavior though it may be, is still a classic example of trolling on the Internet.

It isn't necessarily the motives which are the defining factor, it's the methodology. People troll for all sorts of different reasons, with varying levels of sincerity, hoping for a wide spectrum of results.

The process remains the same.

This is why attempts to agree on a rigorous definition of trolling are so difficult. It is many things to many people, and not all of them are intended to be harmful.

But the process remains the same.
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Old 21st April 2017, 10:18 AM   #156
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Originally Posted by quadraginta View Post
That's true.

Doing it by anonymously posting on the Internet with the intent of provoking a specific response among a specific group of people, study of human behavior though it may be, is still a classic example of trolling.

It isn't necessarily the motives which are the defining factor, it's the methodology. People troll for all sorts of different reasons, with varying levels of sincerity, hoping for a wide spectrum of results.

The process remains the same.
The methodology here seems to have been to post potentially relevant information from a scientific study and a link to same. Would you really call someone who did that on this forum a "troll?"

We could use more trolls like that.
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Old 21st April 2017, 11:21 AM   #157
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Originally Posted by Babbylonian View Post
The methodology here seems to have been to post potentially relevant information from a scientific study and a link to same. Would you really call someone who did that on this forum a "troll?"

We could use more trolls like that.
There is nothing wrong in a setting up a project of this kind to discover what makes people the type of troll Dr Synnot refers to.

If I were to design such an experiment, I wouldn't just target one demographic, i.e., 'anti-McCann trolls', as Synott calls them, even before he undertakes his experiment.

To obtain useful generalised results, you need to target several perceived types of troll, and in addition, have a control group to measure how these subjects differ from the norm.

Finally, in order to come to a conclusion that 'anti-McCann trolls' are psychopaths with sadistics instincts, you do need to invite a representative cross section (=sample size of at least 200, to iron out the self-appointed and the flukes) to come along for a battery of personality tests, including Hare's diagnostics.

To diagnose psychopathy you need to know a person's history (= trouble at school, with the law, employers). You can't accurately state a person is a psychopath just because they sent a rude tweet in response to your deliberately provocative tweet, which in any case is from an anonymous fake account designed to get a rise from the unwary.

Finally, in the interest of professional ethics, you must declare your vested interested (for example, say you represent the tobacco industry and you want to present a study claiming, 'Smoking is not harmful'; or from the sugar industry, ' Sugar does not rot your teeth').

Dr Synott studied under Professor David Canter, Director of Investigative Psychology at Liverpool University, one of Britain's foremost behavioural profilers. Canter has publicly stated on TV ('Dispatches') that he alone of five experts - including police detectives - who visited Luz the crime site, fully supports the view as espoused by the McCanns.

So we see a lack of partisanship here.

How much credibility can we give Dr Synott's study?

Anecdotely, there are vile hateful people on social media, but does Synott's study add any clarity to their behaviour?


Simply showing that a behaviour exists, does not explain it. Nor why it would be specific to 'anti-McCann trolls' and not, say, to 'anti-Piers Morgan trolls'.
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Old 21st April 2017, 07:57 PM   #158
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Originally Posted by Vixen View Post
There is nothing wrong in a setting up a project of this kind to discover what makes people the type of troll Dr Synnot refers to.

If I were to design such an experiment, I wouldn't just target one demographic, i.e., 'anti-McCann trolls', as Synott calls them, even before he undertakes his experiment.
Then you'd be doing it wrong. Scientists don't try to test for everything. That would be a fool's errand. While they attempt to make generalizations from specific data, good scientists know that science is a process and one makes the generalizations in order to hopefully provide a framework for further research and experimentation. Dr. Synott likely understands that one case study is one case study.
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Old 22nd April 2017, 12:16 AM   #159
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Originally Posted by Babbylonian View Post
Then you'd be doing it wrong. Scientists don't try to test for everything. That would be a fool's errand. While they attempt to make generalizations from specific data, good scientists know that science is a process and one makes the generalizations in order to hopefully provide a framework for further research and experimentation. Dr. Synott likely understands that one case study is one case study.
Indeed as he discusses in his paper, he builds upon previous work on the psychology of 'trolls'.

Quote:
Similarly, in two online studies exploring the relationship between the dark triad of personality, sadism and trolling behaviour, throughout which a total of 1215 participants were accumulated, trolling behaviour was found to be positively correlated with sadism, psychopathy and Machiavellianism (Buckels, Erin E., Paul D. Trapnell, and Delroy L. Paulhus. "Trolls just want to have fun." Personality and Individual Differences 67 (2014): 97-102.
Computers in Human Behavior 2017 71;70–78

The dark triad (sadism, psychopathy and Machiavellianism) is not his creation.

As anyone who reads any scientific paper would expect the discussion highlights the need for further research (anyone from the funding body reading this?). Synnott is also planning to profile the pro-MCCann posters. Certainly it would be easy to point the researchers towards other similar groups on the internet.

Observational psychology, and in particular ethnological techniques derived from social anthropology do require ethical behaviour but do not require explicit prior consent from the observed (for obvious methodological reasons). The 'subjects' were already anonymised by themselves. There is not a need to be neutral, particularly in forensic psychology (the background of the workers) one should be clear that bad behaviour is wrong and not condone it. My guess is complaints to the university or BPS are going to be unsuccessful not because someone has got to them but because the complaints are groundless.
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Old 22nd April 2017, 12:24 AM   #160
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Originally Posted by Babbylonian View Post
Then you'd be doing it wrong. Scientists don't try to test for everything. That would be a fool's errand. While they attempt to make generalizations from specific data, good scientists know that science is a process and one makes the generalizations in order to hopefully provide a framework for further research and experimentation. Dr. Synott likely understands that one case study is one case study.
The argument is familiar to those presented by creationists, anti vaccine proponents and HIV denialisms. Each experiment is not complete in itself so the conclusions can be ignored. What they do not understand is that science progresses not by the single all encompassing experiment, but by the slow accumulation of multiple small and overlapping observations. A particular observation is an example of a general effect.
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