I thought it might be useful to discuss the whole issue of how to deal with trolls in a community such as this. This discussion is of course related to the Hive Moderation thread, but that relates more specifically to moderation and how it has been applied.
So are there in fact active trolls, or do they simply represent an "alternative viewpoint?"
This post from DailyKos is instructive:
As is this site:
So how should a site respond to trolling? I analogize this to a human immune system - when it detects what it assumes to be a "foreign invader" the immune system responds with inflammation and a direct attack on the invader. Sometimes the immune system overreacts and starts attacking its own cells - then it is termed an autoimmune reaction.
So clearly there is a delicate balancing act needed.
Here are two relevant stories from today's NY Times: