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Conversational terrorism.

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posted on Jun, 20 2006 @ 01:06 PM
Aka how to spot a troll.

I've seen in my experience in conversations with people online and in person, that they may employ one or more of the tactics in the two links below in order to try to win the conversation or argument and/or move it into their advantage. IMO everyone has used one of these before. I've used them in my personal life and online here. I admit that. But it still pales in comparision to some trolls I've seen before on the internet (not talking about ATS specifically) who either primarily or only use these tactics to try to derail or belittle the other participants in discussion.

Check them out here.

Conversational Terrorism

All of the techniques listed in this document have actually been witnessed, told to us by someone else, or dreamed up. They are described in first person for clarity of motive.

The intent of detailing and naming these insidious tactics is so that the reader may AVOID USING THEM, to quickly recognize if someone else is using them, and for fun. There is much humor in the way people (consciously or unconsciously) conversationally cheat.

It is hoped that exposing these tactics will help muzzle the growing abuse in our conversational landscape. Give copies to both perpetrators and victims (only NOT for profit use).

The examples are overblown in an attempt to be both clear and funny. Use your imagination to think of how you (perish the thought) and others have used these techniques in the past.

They have been grouped by major category, with the best (worst!) saved for last.

And another one:

Seventeen Techniques for Truth Suppression

The Great Speckled Bird Strong, credible allegations of high-level criminal activity can bring down a government. When the government lacks an effective, fact-based defense, other techniques must be employed. The success of these techniques depends heavily upon a cooperative, compliant press and a mere token opposition party.
Dummy up. If it's not reported, if it's not news, it didn't happen.

Wax indignant. This is also known as the "How dare you?" gambit.

Characterize the charges as "rumors" or, better yet, "wild rumors." If, in spite of the news blackout, the public is still able to learn about the suspicious facts, it can only be through "rumors." (If they tend to believe the "rumors" it must be because they are simply "paranoid" or "hysterical.")

Knock down straw men. Deal only with the weakest aspects of the weakest charges. Even better, create your own straw men. Make up wild rumors (or plant false stories) and give them lead play when you appear to debunk all the charges, real and fanciful alike.

Call the skeptics names like "conspiracy theorist," "nutcase," "ranter," "kook," "crackpot," and, of course, "rumor monger." Be sure, too, to use heavily loaded verbs and adjectives when characterizing their charges and defending the "more reasonable" government and its defenders. You must then carefully avoid fair and open debate with any of the people you have thus maligned. For insurance, set up your own "skeptics" to shoot down.

posted on Jun, 20 2006 @ 02:25 PM

I feel like I just spent twenty minutes slapping myself in the face.

It seems that the more I try to walk the fine line(both, in person and online) of ethically sound conversational principles(if thats an accurate term); the finer that line becomes.

I am conciously striving to improve myself in these regards but its a tough tough road. Its hard enough when we are calm and collective. When you throw in daily stresses of life and our full gambit of emotions; it just becomes so easy to fall into these traps. Good thread TheBandit795

posted on Oct, 12 2006 @ 09:36 AM
Well I guess I am at disadvantage when it comes to playing with words, nouns and verbs because my Spanish/English problem?

So I may have been guilty in one or more ocacitons but does that make us bad?

After all we are only humans.

BTW I do believe that the internet is flooded with agents trying to do damage control.

I think I find one or two everyday.

posted on Oct, 12 2006 @ 10:31 AM
While the author certainly hits the nail on the head on most of these, there are a couple of thingsI take issue with:

The first is the title. Terrorism is already such an overused word, it's like being in the 90's again and having to hear the word "Extreme" used in every other sentence. The rather gruesome conversation techniques mentioned in this article are not generally committed by persons whom are actively seeking to destroy conversation or the other person, but rather by folk who simply don't know how to argue any better. Conversational "Terrorism" implies that anyone who commits these allegeed sins are the sort of people who would ram a jet into a building, rather than just being unskilled at debate.

The second issue I have with this is that some of the techniques are stretching the author's credibility.

NIT-PICKING: "We need to define just exactly what you mean by _________."

Sometimes this is neccessary. Especially in a forum atmosphere where people have time to research their response before they post it, and they need to make sure their time is not ill-spent on answering the wrong question. If, for instance, we're arguing the subject of UFO's and someone says "The proof is right there in the Korillians," then we in fact DO need to define what exactly they mean by "Korillians," before answering.

THINK VS. FEEL: "Your cold, analytical approach to this issue doesn't take into account the human element."

THINK VS. FEEL: "Your emotional involvement with this issue obscures your ability to see things objectively."

Sometimes this is neccessary, especially when an issue does heavily involve an emotional versus a rational debate. The audience is going to be split between those who give credit to rational logic and those who give credit to emotional sway. Establishing which side your opponent is on is often neccessary. It doesn't discredit the other side, as humans are capable of either, it just more firmly establishes your position.

CUT 'EM OFF AT THE PASS: "I don't think we can go on until we establish the scientific validity of that last statement."

This is another one of those easily abused, but often neccessary responses. If someone bases their entire argument off of something that blatantly defies the laws of physics, chemistry, etc, then yes, they need to be called on it, and the above gives the opponent a chance to explain themselves. For instance, if someone says "We'll never run out of oil, so here's how oil should be used for blah blah blah". Well that's a highly debateable subject. If, however, they began the arguement with the hypothetical "If we never run out of oil...blah blah blah", then there's nothing wrong with that and using the above would not be a constructive retort, as "if" already implies the speaker knows they could be wrong.

DESCRIBE THE ANSWER: "I'm glad you asked. Would you like a long or a short answer?"

In formal debate, this is wrong. You aren't supposed to ask questions of your opponent directly before speaking, it gives them a chance to waste your speaking time. However, in normal conversation, this is critical to keeping someone's attention. It is important to establish whether or not they really care about your response. Giving them the option to have a short answer to move on to the next point might actually cause them to really listen to what you have to say instead of zoning out.

DESCRIBE THE QUESTION:"The question asked, is basically _______, ________, _______."

Again, sometimes neccessary. Clarification is key when pressed for time and the question itself was vague. If I say "How can society possibly have considered the crashing of a plane into a building when we had such advanced warnings and be caught so unprepared that they allowed the government to strip civil liberties in favor of security?"

What the hell did I just ask? What was my question? Was it rhetorical? Did it even make sense? Sometimes you have to ask, but you don't want to lose face, so you offer what you think the question might have been so it doesn't seem like you just weren't listening.

OBVIOUS ANSWER: To give an obvious, over-literal, useless, or pun response to delay with humor.

Again, a tactic that is sometimes neccessary. Humans need a comedic break on occasion. This is known as the emotional roller-coaster. You find it in any movie, regardless of genre, there will typically be a very stressful moment followed by a moment of humor. The buildup of stress HAS to be released or it can be very detrimental towards one's attitude. A brief humorous interjection is a very polite way of admitting one doesn't know the answer, or is agreeing to disagree on a subject, while simultaneously providing an outlet for the stressful buildup that any argument entails.

NAME IT: "Your line of reasoning is called the MacGregor Phenomenon."

Yet another sometimes needed exchange when arguing with someone who doesn't know proper debate or research technique. The most common one I see is called "Aristotlean Reasoning" which is...

If A is B, and C is B, then A = C.

Which is just flat out wrong. Just because clouds are white, and sheep are white does not mean that clouds and sheep are the same thing. And while this rather obvious example seems ridiculous, you would be amazed at how many people REGULARLY use this sort of flawed-logic to arrive at a conclusion.

posted on Oct, 12 2006 @ 10:48 AM

Very well put..

If you take all of that for factual evidence, the art of Forum Debate will die.


posted on Oct, 12 2006 @ 10:55 AM

Originally posted by semperfortis

Very well put..

If you take all of that for factual evidence, the art of Forum Debate will die.

Thank you. This isn't to say, however, that they didn't also have some really good points, such as:

A specific escalation of YOU'LL PAY FOR THAT; make it seem as if the other person is attacking you rather than making a simple point or correction, especially if you suspect that the other party is correct. Rather than staying on the subject, begin to act hurt--as if you have been viciously attacked as a human being--rather than admit you are wrong, or could do better, etc.
"I can't do anything right..."
"I suppose in your eyes I am just a total failure."

( "I think the reason people are honking and gesticulating at you is that the sign says MERGE, not STOP." ) "Well, if you think me such a terrible, horrible person...."

I used to have to call my wife on this constantly. At least once a week in the beginning of our relationship, if I complained or suggested anything different than the way she did something, it couldn't possibly have been about the issue itself, but that I was calling her a horrible person. This is despite the fact that I would be very careful to omit any personal attacks or implication, and focus entirely on the action or item itself.

Such as "Honey, would you mind replacing the toilet paper roll when you finish using it? It's really awkward having to hobble across the bathroom floor to grab another roll when I really need it."

Her response would be "I'm a horrible person, and can't do anything right. It's a wonder you put up with me at all..."

It took the better part of 2 years to correct this problem and I still have to be very careful when wording any constructive criticism whatsoever.

posted on Oct, 17 2006 @ 06:07 AM
WOW. What an interesting post. Great information. Definately good reading material. I'll be referring back to this thread often. THANKS!

posted on Oct, 18 2006 @ 05:58 AM
I take exception to the thread title. These people are Freedom Fighters, more specifically, Free Speech Fighters, but not terrorists.

On a related theme, Umbrax had an excellent post on disinformation at this thread:

Man, it's getting harder and harder to have a convo without falling guilty to one of these infractions!

posted on Oct, 18 2006 @ 08:50 AM
You got that right John! Almost everyone one of us finds ourselves being guilty of at least one of those points mentioned sometimes.

posted on Oct, 20 2006 @ 04:01 PM
Bandit as you are available here, I'll pose this question to you..

Why is posting "WTF", &^%$, and other expletives tolerated?

The ""^&^%%"" stuff is IMO, more tolerable than "WTF" which is appearing more and more frequently on posts. There is even a Thread that was just started with that as the title..
It's not like we all don't know what it means.

Am I just being over sensitive, or is this not a violation of the T&C?

If I am being an over sensitive idiot, just tell me and I'll crawl back into oblivion..


Update, the thread that had that title was just removed...


[edit on 10/20/2006 by semperfortis]

posted on Oct, 20 2006 @ 06:31 PM
To tell you the truth... We've never addressed that. Even mods (including myself) use "WTF" or @$#%@!!! sometimes.

posted on Oct, 20 2006 @ 06:38 PM
When I saw where the page was going, I instantly thought about "Flame Warriors". It's the different characteristics of net chatting.

For instance:

Grammarian .........
Usually has little to contribute to a discussion and possesses few effective weapons. To compensate, he will point out minor errors in spelling and grammar. Because of Grammarian's obvious weakness most Warriors ignore him.

And BOY do we have a lot of those here !!! lol

Use the drop down on the right to choose the Warrior you want the definition of.

Flame Warriors

Have fun


posted on Oct, 20 2006 @ 07:34 PM
Thanks Bandit...

I'm crawling back into my hole of oblivion. LOL


posted on Oct, 21 2006 @ 09:54 AM
Misfit, that is a great link! And I love the picture of Mike Reed - what a nerdy outfit he is wearing! Poifect!

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