TROLL: according to Wikipedia, In Internet slang, a troll is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a forum, chat room, or blog) with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.
Trolls live all over the internet. PTR, however, is not their natural habitat. They are one of the Creatures of Irk. As with any other aggressive creature outside its’ natural habitat, a CoI will damage its’ new environment, sometimes on purpose but often without intending to. A normal reaction would be to jump and yell at the Creature to make it go away, but often this will excite the critter to more trollish actions which then cause the public to run around screaming "Trolls!!!" Not ideal. No, dear Pounders, the best thing to do is usually to keep a calm, safe distance, and call Troll Control by flagging the trollish comment. You can then go about enjoying your PTR experience and allow for the quiet removal or subduing of said troll, imp, gremlin, and lesser Creatures of Irk.
What’s that Pounder? "How can you tell for sure what should be flagged?" Good question. There are many Creatures of Irk. Some are harmless, some are not. I’ve put together a list of descriptions for you to help you identify the different species you may come across. I’ve also included some of the PTR natives to help you recognize them, too.
Regular Pounders: We’ve been here at least half the season, maybe even for years. We don’t use the subject line and are highly sensitive to the calling of games before the final buzzer. As the hosts of PTR, we have to/get to put up with a lot of people who’ve come in at the end of the season or for the playoffs and don’t know our little quirks. Some of us don’t like it, but I bet the Suns’ fans would jump at the chance to be so encumbered. It is a privilege to have so many visitors and we need to treat it as such.
Neutral Visitors: Your team is out of the running (sorry) but you’re still actively interested in the Playoffs. We realize there are three other teams and multiple other sites you could participate in, and we’re glad to have you here!
Opposing Team Visitors: We’ve gotten your attention for the next 4 to 7 games. While we hope to turn you into Neutral Visitors within those 4 to 7 games, we want to enjoy your company as much as possible. Your opinion and expertise on your team is welcome and can enhance the understanding of the series for all of us, just like we hope our observations help you. We just need to make sure you remember that this is a Spurs’ fan site and we may be justifiably biased, so some things will need to be taken with a grain of salt. We do not, however intend for you to have to put up with any types of insults here.
Now, on to the Creatures of Irk…
Pixies: These are the goofy, smart-alecks that use sarcasm in witty or silly ways. (I admit to being in this category once in a while.) While generally harmless and enjoyable, too much pixie dust sprinkled around can get annoying. It can be distracting and take away from the flow of the game. Sparkles belongs on court, right next to Timmy. Pixies are fine in moderation and usually come and go without issue.
Ogres: These guys can really drag a comment stream or gamethread down and create unneeded animosity. While seeming to carry on a discussion, Ogres refuse to be wrong and keep coming back with the opposite of what the other person is saying. Tempers flare and opinions are hardening. Someone needs to just back off from the argument or a moderator may need to step in and reassert some sanity. Rants and tirades where the other person involved is always wrong no matter what bring no enjoyment to the table.
But He Started It Gnome: Even the best of us can fall into this category. Someone makes a comment we don’t like or disagree with, so we respond in a "helpful, informative" manner to correct their beliefs. Surprisingly, that person still disagrees with us. Next thing you know, two perfectly rational people are frothing at the keyboard at each other. The best suggestion I have for that situation is to reread the back and forth and rethink your answer. If you feel yourself responding with vigilante aggression to make them understand you, take a breather. Sometimes we have to agree to disagree. Is it really worth it to force your opinion down the throat of someone you will probably never meet in real life?
Twix Halfling: This here is Spur fan on Spur fan action. One person thinks Danny Green is a 3pt threat first and a defender second, while the other thinks Danny is an outstanding defender first and streaky on offense. "Toe-May-Toe" versus "Toe-Mah-Toe", Six of one and half a dozen of the other. The left Twix is coated with chocolate and the right Twix is enrobed in chocolate. Again, does it really matter? Not enough to ruin the game experience over. Everyone has their own personal opinions and they are entitled to be wrong; even you, and especially me. (but I’m not :P)
Cousin Eddie Goblins: This goes for both teams. It happens every year: someone who never posts here or at the opposing site comes on and starts bashing the other team and all who care about it. F-bombs are thrown and tempers are pricked. We don’t do that here. It’s kinda like having a party at your home with a bunch of different people. Your drunk cousin comes over and acts like a jerk, thinking he can because he’s part of the family and that makes it ok. Guest will get mad and say "What a rude family, I’m not coming back here, and I’m telling my friends not to come back here either." This is wrong. We don’t want anyone to feel run off. Regular Pounders usually do a good job of keeping that wacky cousin in check and reminding him/her that they’re visitors, too.
And finally, we have
The Hobbit/Lord of the Rings Trolls: These guys just want trouble. They want to wreak havoc and boil you in a pot of oil. They’re the one persona not welcome at PTR. LotR Trolls thrive on personal attacks, insults to parentage or family, disparaging others’ intelligence and just plain ugly behavior. The only way to deal with this type of troll is to ignore the comments and click on the flag comment icon for the offending statements. The mods will make like the sun and turn them into stone.
What makes Pounding The Rock so special (aside from the amazing writers) is the variety of opinion and fandoms found here. We can’t have that variety if there are trolls and other Creatures of Irk stomping around. PTR tends to think that ranting between posters reduces the quality and enjoyment of sharing the games with others. It also chases people away from participating. This is not to say that we all think alike, or even want to. We just realize that everyone is coming here to enjoy the experience, not get pissed off because of it.
Don’t Be a Creature of Irk. If someone says you’re being disagreeable, don’t attack them back. Reread what you said. It’s probably a misunderstanding.
Don’t Feed the Trolls. Flag them for Troll Control to deal with.
Enjoy the articles. Enjoy the fanposts. Enjoy the gamethreads. Enjoy the gifs.
And Go Spurs Go!