Category: Misc

Quantifying Trolling

Posted on Mar 26, 2014

Having run this blog for many years (which was once upon a time popular) and now running Flippin' Awesome (which has become heavily trafficked), I've received my fair share of trolling comments. The obvious ones are easy to spot. The language is offensive, the comment features little in the way of constructive or usable feedback and the user is generally choosing to remain anonymous.

However, with many comments the line isn't so clear cut and since I prefer to err on the side of allowing valid criticism even if it is harsh, I often find the determination a struggle. Perhaps they use offensive language or a fake name but the content was legitimate, for instance. Or, take for instance, a comment I received on an article this morning on a recent article. The site was fake, and the email, while not obviously fake, seemed questionable, and here was the contents:

*sigh* And this is the state of software engineer discourse regarding the front-end? Dismissing full-featured, battle-tested frameworks and approaches based on little more than aesthetic distaste, hypothetical performance problems, and – most hilariously – that they dare to *enforce* modularity? What a shame that they stop you writing your big ball of template mud -sorry, I mean your “holistic” template.

Articles like this are pure nonsense, are incredibly damaging to web development. They contribute to the community's complete inability to settle and build on frameworks and concentrate on building applications that can compete with native experiences. Instead wasting years flitting between various half-baked new frameworks, each one rabidly evangelised by neophiles who promise that *this time* it really it is an architecturally sublime silver bullet, far better than last month's framework de jure, which incidentally is a bloated and deficient piece of shit.

The criticism makes some valid points and does so, right up until the end, without veering into questionable language (I'm not trying to be puritanical or anything but I think cursing in comments only serves to degrade the quality of the discussion over all). So, this isn't an obvious troll.

The main issue I am having is that the entire tone of the comment is argumentative and intentionally insulting to the author (and potentially other commenters). The topic of the article was admittedly and openly opinionated, but I haven't approved the comment because I thought it's author was “picking a fight” rather than contributing to the discussion. It's definitely a judgement call though and I haven't deleted the comment yet because I am still somewhat on the fence about approving it - but clearly leaning towards no.

What about you? Do you have a way you like to “quantify” comments of this sort when you are moderating your sites? Do you disagree think this comment should be approved? I'd love to hear feedback.

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On Departing Adobe

Posted on Feb 07, 2014

For the last three and a half years I have held a variety of roles at Adobe and these were some of the best years of my career so far. Years ago, I wrote a post asking what the next step would be for a lifelong developer. At the time, I didn't have an answer. It had always been a dream of mine to work for Adobe (and Macromedia and Allaire before that), but I never knew what they'd want with a ColdFusion developer like myself. Thankfully, they did.

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The Lasting Impact of Arbitrary Decisions

Posted on Feb 05, 2014

Lately I have been giving a lot of thought to arbitrary decision-making and it's long term effects. In each day, both personally and professionally, we are asked to make a large number of decisions ranging from large and impactful to small and relatively innocuous. In many cases, our decisions are somewhat arbitrary, based on limited knowledge or research. This is both necessary and unavoidable. We simply do not have the time to adequately research every decision that has to be made and a choice must be made, so we make it.

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2013 in Review

Posted on Jan 14, 2014

I actually enjoy reading people's year in review. I see it as a great exercise in acknowledging your own accomplishments and where you could have improved while setting goals for the year to come. Along those lines, 2013 was an eventful year for me. Professionally, my job changed twice which caused me to change my own efforts and focus outside of work. Personally, I continued my focus on improving my health and fitness, but changed it up a bit.

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On Corporate Community Management

Posted on Apr 10, 2013

The role of community manager has become a burgeoning career over the past few years, even if it is still somewhat loosely defined. By one definition perhaps, I have been a community manager for many years going back to my days running the local user group and conference. For the past two and a half years though, I was actually employed as a community manager in various capacities by Adobe. Mine was probably not a typical community manager role, if such a thing exists. Nonetheless, there are issues community managers face seem to be in common. Therefore, I decided to share some of my own guidelines and experience, specifically as it relates to representing a large corporation, in the hopes that it will benefit someone.

I should note that these guidelines are my own and don’t represent my employer. Not that I think they’d disagree, but just to be clear. None of these will be earth shattering (and given that I don’t read a lot on the topic, are probably not new) but they have served me well.


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My name is Brian Rinaldi and I am the Web Community Manager for Flash Platform at Adobe. I am a regular blogger, speaker and author. I also founded RIA Unleashed conference in Boston. The views expressed on this site are my own & not those of my employer.