Not Supporting The Authors Concept Can Be Considered Trolling
Rebuttle Could Be Trolling
I recently read an interesting Hub in which the author describes how to determine if a house is haunted by a ghost. The author did an excellent job with her article, it discusses using the five senses to assist in determining if an individual is experiencing a paranormal or supernatural event. The Hub then goes into great detail on how to respond to these events and what someone can do to remove the paranormal energy from your home. These actions range from learning to live with this energy, cleansing the home using a sage smudging stick, having the home blessed, and as a last resort move out of the home.
After carefully reading this Hub, watching the attached videos, and viewing the pictures presented as evidence of ghosts and spirits. I made a comment sharing my skepticism about the videos and the pictures the author included in the Hub. While I was skeptical about the pictures the author shared, I was intrigued by a couple of them, specifically the one the author claims is a photograph of herself with ghost or spirit standing behind her. I connected my computer to my large HD TV and expanded the picture to have a closer look at it. The photograph shared is a scanned copy of a photograph taken by someone smoking a cigarette while the picture was being taken. The photo was then exposed to a liquid or some form of heat which damaged the surface of the picture creating a visible distortion. The smoke in the picture combined with the surface distortion created a form that resembles the head of a ghost, a form which the author claims is proof of a paranormal event.
After reviewing the authors picture, I read the authors response to my first comment, and wrote a second comment indicating that the picture is not proof there was a spirit or ghost present in the room when the photograph was taken. The combination of images within the picture and the damage to the surface of the photo paper created an anomaly that resembles a ghostly figure standing in the background. The author did not approve this comment and deleted it. A few days later, I submitted another comment on this Hub which was also deleted. Last night I came across this authors hub while Hub Hopping and out of curiosity opened the Hub and read comments posted by other readers. After reading all of the comments, I noticed that my initial comment was removed and that every comment posted and approved by the author were comments that supported the belief In the paranormal. There are no comments that contradict the subject matter or the validity of the posted pictures and the linked videos depicting the presence paranormal activity.
There is a possibility that I am the only skeptical person who commented on the validity of this Hub's photographic evidence, but it is highly unlikely. When writing my comment(s) I kept my skepticism focused on the photograph not the authors experience or expertise in the paranormal. While I do not believe in ghosts, spirits, poltergeists, ESP, Psychics, or other forms of supernatural abilities, I do believe that there are people that have instinctual heightened awareness that are attributed to an individuals reaction to an environmental condition. I did not question the authors abilities, credentials, or the written information and advice presented, just the photographic evidence presented within the Hub. Last evening I asked if I could make a comment on the authors photograph and the response from the author surprised me. I was accused of harassment and asked to stop submitting comments to not only the Hub in question but to any Hub written by this author. This statement was followed by a warning of being reported to Hubpages moderators for harassment if I did not adhere to the warning. While I do not feel that I was harassing this author, I may have been overly aggressive in trying to share my opinion that the author knowingly presented fictitious evidence to support the content of the Hub. As a result I have stopped following this Hub and its author in a good faith effort to honor her request.
Now that I have the description of the event out of the way, I could not really understand what the authors issue was with my comment. I was only seeing my point of view which was to debunk the picture as being a "fraud" and was trying to get the author to discuss the picture rather than the Hub, something I viewed as a rebuttal. After thinking about it for a while, I decided to do some research and here is what I found out. I may be guilty of being a troll Or engaging in trolling behavior.
According to Wikipedia, the term "Troll" when used as a noun, is someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as a forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion. It turns out that my actions were that of a troll and technically I was "trolling", something I did not realize I was doing. To be as accurate as possible, the actual term for the particular action I was taking is called a "Concern Troll". A concern troll according to Wikipedia, " is a person whose actual point of view is opposed to the one the user claims to hold". A concern troll posts in web forums as if they are devoted to the topic and attempts to sway the point of view of the group's opinions or actions with "concerns". The goal is to create fear, uncertainty, and doubt within the group.
While I did not pretend to support the topic of the Hub, as it was merely a description of the authors experiences and a detailed description of how to use one's five senses to determine the presence of a spirit energy. What I did do was express an interest in the authors evidence and then decided to debunk the validity of the authors personal photographic evidence. My intent was to create doubt about the evidence the author presented as proof of the existence of spirits. Regardless of how I feel about the severity of my actions, my behavior is unacceptable.
As a Hub author, I have received comments from readers that are inflammatory and off topic. There are also many times I have multiple responses from readers, occasionally multiple people respond multiple times not to the hub or its merits, but to another comment, something I must admit I do from time to time. Readers who respond to the authors responses or to other comments multiple times are more than likely people who are engaging in trolling activity.
Hubpages encourages open discussions, one of many things I like about Hubpages. I must say that if there is an issue with trolling, part of the blame should be placed on Hubpages. When I log onto Hubpages, I often have an alert that indicates I have notifications that there has been a response to one of my hubs or on someone else's hub that I am following. I am also receiving e-mail alerts on my yahoo account letting me know that there is a new comment, answer, or comment on an answer or comment posted by a reader on my hubs and questions; as well as; other hubs and questions that I am following. I am also alerted on both media sources when someone I am following creates a new hub or asks a new question. The alerts I receive on Yahoo also provide direct links to the hub or the question, so I can simply click on the link and go straight to the comment and respond to it. Such convenience encourages trolling behavior, especially if the topic is a controversial topic. Hubbers who consistently write questions and hubs that "encourage discussions" are easy targets for people who troll content with the express intent to spark a debate. As someone who enjoys open discussions about various hub topics, I have read and/or engaged in discussions on a question or a hub that deviates from the authors topic and creates a second topic or forum within someone else's hub. Allowing readers to comment on responses from the author and other persons comment also encourages trolling behaviors.
My final statement to anyone that reads this hub is this. If I have engaged in trolling behavior on any of your Hubpages content, I appologize. I will strive to remain professional and courteous to my fellow hubbers. When answering questions, making comments, and responding to fellow commenters I will keep in mind that my values, opinions, and beliefs are not absolute and that they do not apply to other people and every situation.