New Troll point of view

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The New Troll point of view is that the neutral point of view isn't neutral, and has systemic bias that favors big factions and often opresses minorities, that can only be fixed by piling in legions of trolls of an competing view that claim to represent the true neutral point of view, which is then naturally contested by those claiming to have the real NPOV due to might makes right mentality. It is a warlike view of what knowledge is - which is appropriate, as knowledge is power and that tempts to go to war for the spoils of ruling.

NTPOV assumes that existing rules and guidelines are wrong, because *someone* must assume that - else they never evolve.

Accordingly new trolls always assume that repute is either zero, or negative, and enter large public wikis with the intent of working quietly until they are harassed and excluded by those who believe in positive repute, typically those in the sysop power structure, or who believe that control or manipulation of technology, typically by developers is a necessary evil as no power structure is perfect but to avoid anarchy where there are potatos only for the thieves ( ie. vandals) a power structure is required to exist though optimally power-system is seldomly exercised in governance

The Lowest Troll is whatever troll consistently favours the New Troll over the most trusted longstanding user. Empowering this troll is the only way to prevent an insider culture from eventually skewing and biasing a large public wiki, as there is thus no advantage whatsoever to those who suck up to power. This is the most troll-friendly of the wiki best practices.

Typical classifications of the New Troll point of view include at least:

On this wiki's philosophy of trolling, and its relation to SoftSecurity

The wiki contains an interesting and peculiar philosophy of trolling.

Definition of trolling

Trolling is defined in the article about "The Troll" along the lines of "...a term of abuse that is levelled both at genuinely problematic users and users with contentious but potentially legitimate views."

"A wiki is by contrast troll-hostile and ruled by a GodKing if "deliberately disrupting work... in order to foster change, etc." can be unilaterally labelled as "problematic trolling" by one person or a small group, e.g. Jim Wales" (from here)
"In general internet terms, trolling can be described as making an undefended and polarised statement, to stimulate a large and reactive response. This annoys many people because it makes the culture unwelcoming to the newbie who is not used to seeing serious stuff mixed with BOFH attitude or tongue-on-the-cheek style. However, what constitutes "undefended" is usually entirely up to the observer.

However, the entire Consumerium project is seen as one big "troll" against powerful corporations, governments and other real life power structures


"One view of "real trolls" is that they are those who wilfully agree with Foucault and so reject both authorship and the association of authorship with fiction. To trolls, there is no such thing as an individual "troll", so the use of the term in the singular is confined to sysops." (from here).

Relationship to other definitions of trolling

The Consumerium school's definition of trolls is notably lacking an aspect of "lying to and messing with people for a joke at their expense". Compare to other sources:

"Trolls are for fun. The object of recreational trolling is to sit back and laugh at all those gullible idiots that will believe *anything*." (from here)
"Trolling is a game about identity deception, albeit one that is played without the consent of most of the players. The troll attempts to pass as a legitimate participant, sharing the group's common interests and concerns; the newsgroups members, if they are cognizant of trolls and other identity deceptions, attempt to both distinguish real from trolling postings and, upon judging a poster a troll, make the offending poster leave the group." (Donath, 1999, p. 45)

Of course, maybe "the Consumerium school of pro-troll philosophy" is just one big joke at the expense of anyone who believes that it exists. There's certainly some evidence that some troll(s) on Consumerium feel this way (see bottom of this page).

Relationship to "soft security"

The Consumerium school shares with the "soft security" school a distaste of "hard security". Similar to the view of hardcore proponents of soft security, use of hard security is permitted when all other avenues are exhausted, but this is considered a semi-shameful failure on part of the person forced to wield it. On this page may be found a joking prescription for an apology if you have to use hard security.

The Consumerium school may be said to think along the same lines as the "soft security" school of thought, but to also think that "soft security" doesn't go far enough. Soft security (at least, some variants of it) feels that hard security ("technology solutions") should be replaced with "community solutions". Soft security advocates that a "community solution" include conflict resolution when possible, but resorts to social pressure and specifically to the community "closing ranks" against an offender when the conflict cannot be resolved. By contrast, the Consumerium school feels that social pressure and "closing ranks" is also abusive and should also be avoided.


The underlying assumption behind this villification of people who most consider "community leaders" is that there is no way to objectively determine whether the target individual is actually harmful.

The Consumerium philosophy attempts to limit the power of these sorts of subjective value judgements. The only thing that is "real" is power. The Consumerium school assumes that the world will always be mostly divided into various factions, who are willing to do sneaky things (for example, to violate FairProcess to kick out someone they consider "obviously harmful") to win.

The Consumerium prescription is not, however, to "assume good faith" all the time, no matter what. They don't think that individuals should always be nice to others whom they consider offenders. Rather, the prescription is that checks in the underlying social system prevent the community from considering any individual as "offender" in an objective sense. This is to serve as a check against groupthink.

For a specific proposal as to these sorts of checks, see Sysop power structure

Due process

In general, there is a strong emphasis on DueProcess as a check against abuse of power:

"A wiki is troll-friendly when a friendly troll gets due process, and consideration of his "fiction" as a peer to other fiction, without regard to reputation. That is usually all they want. " (from here).

Contrast with "soft security"

So, the underlying assumption of the Consumerium school is that power is the only reality and people won't play fair when they deeply disagree. Their philosophy allows individuals to be nasty to each other (because there cannot exist any neutral arbiter who could stop them), but attempts to prevent "the community" from taking sides (because this might lead to groupthink).

The underlying assumption of "soft security" is "assume good faith", i.e that most individuals, if given a chance, will be fair even to others with whom they disagree. Under "soft security", individuals are supposed to be nice (& even polite) to others. Even if the community decides to reject an individual, individuals are supposed to be polite while carrying this out. But SoftSecurity gives "the collective" a blank check to consider some things, and some people, as beneficial and others as harmful.

Another difference between the two philosophies is their attitude towards disruption. Consider an individual who 'deliberately disrupts work... in order to foster change, etc.'

Soft security would say that the individual is working against the interests of the community, and that the community should protect itself. The Consumerium school says that disruption is sometimes necessary, and therefore almost all disruption be tolerated (since no one is in a position to say which disruption is good and which is bad).

This section does not take into account the realities of responding to people breaking rules and guidelines that are here to advance cooperation between contributors by stating framework of how to advance things. Sometimes use of sysop power is required however unfortunate that may be from the New Troll point of view. --Juxo 14:05, 14 Jul 2004 (EEST)
These aren't "realities" these are assumptions about reality made by the existing sysop power structure. A NTPOV does not take this into account since a new troll does not know, and cannot be expected to know, these so-called "rules" and even if they do, they are not necessarily going to agree with them, some of them may be leftovers from a prior level of large public wiki evolution, etc.. So there is obviously a community point of view and a Sysop Vandal point of view (doing damage to the wiki in front of trolls in the hope that they will be disgusted at sysop morality and give up on helping the project at all) but these are, obviously, NOT the same as the New Troll point of view being described here.
Like anything else, the "framework of how to advance things" is debatable, and the new troll might know more about it than any old troll or sysop who happens to have gotten to the wiki first and made friends. One must be open to new ideas about how to advance things, or criticisms from groups of people who are systematically excluded. The first time a tribesman from Borneo comments, he is a new troll. His comment might be "hey you people are really screwing up my forest by letting people get away with calling THIS sustainable forestry" while telling us the details. Of course all those who make comfortable livings in rich countries pushing paper and certifying lumber will call this person with actual first hand experience a "troll" and nitpick their English and try to argue that funds being spent to run a wide open wiki should instead be spent on their own personal expense account. All this is politics as usual or just bureaucracy. But there must be someone speaking up for that new troll from Borneo, and advancing his POV here.

Positive reputation considered evil

The Consumerium pro-troll philosophy holds that a system where individuals can acquire positive reputation is a bad idea and leads to power and hence to abuses of power. Incredibly (perhaps as a joke?) some within the Consumerium school apparently believe that reputation is useful, but only negative reputation, i.e. the best situation is where individuals can have bad reputations, but no one can ever have a good reputation.

One approach according to these lines seen on Consumerium is: "any conflicts between users necessarily lowers the repute of all involved - thus whoever is involved in all disputes by default is "Lowest", and there is no assumption of any positive repute at all." This explains their name of Lowest Troll for one kind of what others might call a "community leader"; someone who takes the time to make peace in the community, and, when necessary, defend against trolls.

How the host should behave

The Consumerium school has a particularly bad view of "sysops", what other might call "hosts". A bad sysop is what "soft security" would call a GodKing.

In "soft security", a arrogant host may be considered a GodKing, but for the most part only the use of "hard security" is thought to be a sin. By contrast, the Consumerium school faults any community leader for any abusive use of their positive reputation in the community. "Abusive," though, is defined quite broadly, and encompasses any effort to rally the community against perceived harmful individuals or points of view.

By contrast, the Lowest Troll is the Consumerium model for good leadership. The Lowest Troll actively fights groupthink by favoring outsiders instead of reputable community members:

"The Lowest Troll is whatever troll consistently favours the New Troll over the most trusted longstanding user. Empowering this troll is the only way to prevent an insider culture from eventually destroying a large public wiki, as..."

Token Foucault reference

As expected for a postmodernish philosophy, the philosophy of Foucault makes a confusing cameo:

"The author does not precede the works; he is a certain functional principle by which, in our culture, one limits, excludes, chooses and impedes the free circulation of fiction." - Michel Foucault

See also:

  • POVs - for a complete listing of different POV schemes proposed or in use elsewhere

Further reading