Let's take A2.com back from the trolls: Part 2

Tony Dearing's response to the letters of my friends and I didn't mean he agreed with me or "bought" my logic, but it did indicate something very important: he does pay attention to numbers. If my extremely small private group can affect a change at A2.com, what could as many as even twenty people do?

Most UM comment fields contain between two and twenty comments. If even twenty people from the UM fan community started posting on A2.com, even one-sentence posts, we could double the volume and drastically change the ratio of positive posts to negative posts. If most of us posted two times, we could add forty to each thread. Trolls are going to troll, but multiple people posting opinions that oppose those of the "vile, multifaced troll" while not acknowleging his/her presence would keep the troll from kidnapping most of the threads.

So, I would propose that anyone who wants to help do the following:

1. Post in every UM article. If we are going to read them anyway, we might as well post. It only takes another minute or two.

2. Unless it is really neccessary to the style of your post, try not to mention the troll. I occasionally mention trolling in general, but the troll loves it if he/she can suck you into personal arguments. I have gotten to a point where I often post and don't bother to read anyone else's posts to keep from being baited into personal arguments. It has taken me two years to get to this point.

3. If the troll does mention MSU, don't be afraid to mention the Great Frathouse Beatdown, Misdemeanor State, Saint Dantonio, or Orange Jumpsuits. If this is repugnant to you, don't do it, but it does help create a "brand name" for Sparty, the same way Spartan trolls try to create a vulgar "brand name" for Michigan. And none of these phrases are on the level of the standard Sparty slams, because they are not vulgar or obscene. Also, all of the phrases contain at least a little bit of documented truth.

4. Most importantly, if the troll does anything that is the least bit questionalble, flag the post. Dearing has shown that he pays attention to numbers. It appears that if he sees enough of his readers objecting to a comment, he will act on it. It may be fun to flag all of the troll's posts. Twenty flags on each post would be quite entertaining.

Some of you probably don't care about this. Many probably believe in "turn the other cheek" or "we're better than that." We are better than that, but we do need to neutralize the behavior of the trolls who ruin the enjoyment of UM articles for fans and possibly have a deleterious effect on the University's image to a reader who doesn't know better.

Am I suggesting that we sink to Sparty's level? Of course not. I am not suggesting that we use vulgarity, blatant or subtle, nor am I suggesting that we make post after bilious hate post. But I am suggesting that we do something to combat and balance the troll's two main objectives: hijacking all UM threads by turning them into personal arguments/referendums on RR's hiring and having a negative effect upon the image of the University.

Five or ten trolling posts out of fifteen total is a great percentage. It gives the illusion to outsiders that many people hate UM or RR. If we can get an extra twenty, thirty, or more pro-UM posts in each thread without being personal with the troll, we can make a difference in the overall projection of the University and its sports teams to those who read the threads.

When this happens, the troll will do two things: either realize that he/she has lost or start trolling so obviously that when we flag his/her posts, we create a pattern that Dearing cannot continue to ignore. I haven't read the troll's posts for awhile, but macabre sunset, salinegoblue, and walmartwolverine were his/her main A2.com identities; I'm sure there are at least five new ones now. I have seen a couple more but haven't paid enough attention to remember them at the moment. Since the writing style is always the same, he/she will become quite easy to recognize.

Anyway, I plan to continue to try and neutralize the trolling. If as many as twenty people joined me, we could have a lot of fun and make A2.com a lot more fun for UM fans.

Most of all, we might show enough numbers to make MSU grad Dave Birkett think twice before he pulls a Rosenberg or Sharp at RR's next presser.

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