William Taliesin and trolling a forum

A forum to discuss and examine my journey through Druidry, specifically my thoughts and observations on my journey with OBOD.
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Laneth
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William Taliesin and trolling a forum

Post by Laneth » 9:26 am - Wed Aug 15, 2018

It’s moments like this that I’m almost sad that I didn’t collect screenshots of everything that went down, but by the same token am not sad that I cannot relive it.

Essentially, it boils down to this:

WilliamTaliesin began posting here several months ago, and the nature of their posts were one of an almost authoritarian/lecture quality, with sentence structure and grammatical leanings that didn’t leave room for question or comment.
As a couple of us suggested, it was almost stream of consciousness or journal entry in form.

There were a number of posts that began with such structures as, “The only way you can understand...”, “If you view it any other way...”, “You must do/believe/etc”, or the countless assertions that Druidry is a Celtic Christian religion replete with priests and dogma.

When a number of us were confused by the motive or method behind their posts, we’d reply or comment on how we weren’t sure exactly what the agenda was of such a thing, or something to that effect, and ask for clarification - granted some of us were more tactful than others.

More often than not we were ignored, however much of the time when we received a response, it was as if a cryptic poem or yet another excerpt from a book would suffice. The most arrogant responses came in the form of questions addressed to a specific member, asked in Welsh (easily googleable, but still).

When they began to cross-post the same message without alteration between an original post of theirs and in several other places as a reply, it became clear there was more than just an innocuous purpose, and we were either being trolled or spammed or that they really actually had no idea the impact they were having.

Several of us were discussing this via PM or off-site and resolved to ignore the troll, as they would likely stop if not engaged with. Our greatest fear, however, was that OBODians that didn’t visit the forums often, or especially new members, would join up and see his posts going unchallenged and assume this is what OBOD was like or believed, and they would leave without knowing any better.

I made a big post asking what people felt the best way to deal with a ‘snake in the grass’ so-to-speak, and when WT came into my post and asked directly who I was referring to, it proved that they were aware of the impact of their posts and had - until then - chosen to remain abstract and removed from directly engaging with people asking them for clarification or explanation.

The thing that set me off was a victim mentality response I received that was then posted as a new post elsewhere, decrying the “hate-filled attacks” on his character and spiritual beliefs and that he had the right to express his learnings.
I picked that response apart, diplomatically, but offering an explanation of exactly what it was we were trying to do in responding to them the way we had been, but their refusal to engage or reply was what was furthering the problem.

They doubled-down and began to post really aggressive posts.

It was here that the forum administration finally stepped in as it became clear that WTs intentions were not honourable and they were not going to abide by the forum rules.
They offered a temporary period of moderation on their posts, to help them present their content as personal opinion rather than solid fact, etc. however WT cried foul and screamed in more public posts (quoting the admin PMs) that they aren’t their (WTs) editor, free speech etc.

They then self-moderates almost 20 recent posts of theirs, removing all content. And then, I’m not sure exactly what happened, but the user was removed from the boards entirely and Selene has been cleaning up the mess diligently to try to keep a record of what’s left but also not leave behind the crap that caused all this.

Here’s a link to my thread I mentioned, specifically the response I told you about wherein I tore their reply apart: http://messageboard.druidry.org/viewtop ... 15#p493715

And here is Selene’s thread explaining her activity: http://messageboard.druidry.org/viewtop ... 24&t=48553
Laneth Sffarlenn

“As a spirit schooled to power, his perception stems from one absolute. Universal harmony begins with recognition that the life in an ordinary pebble is as sacred as conscious selfhood.” ― Janny Wurts, The Curse of the Mistwraith
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Re: William Taliesin and trolling a forum

Post by Laneth » 10:09 am - Wed Aug 15, 2018

Speaking with OBODian Daerwin about our engagement with the troll, he had this to say on my writeup above:
That’s more-or-less spot on.
He started the victim hood stance a few days before your thread, where he received a “divine message” from a Druid called “Ross” (assumingly Ross Nichols) where he stated that Druids should not criticise each other or put down another Druids beliefs

That’s when I decided to start to have fun with it.

I replied in his style that I had had a similar “divine vision” from a Druid, but I used the names he gave in his “extant writings” thread (puffendorf etc), and that this Druid told me it’s ok to disagree, but then also warned me of (paraphrasing for conciseness) a troll - and I described all the trolling things he’s done, but in the third person and future tense (to match his wackado style)

I think my reply to that is what encouraged others to become more vocal.

http://messageboard.druidry.org/viewtop ... 87#p493487

That’s my WT-style response. I’m sad I didn’t get screenshots because it’s out of context now his post has gone, but also equally glad I didn’t do I don’t have to relive it all.
And below I present his post as linked above:
…at the end of the meditation I found myself on the pathway that leads to the Sacred Grove. In the distance I heard the sound of harp music, and a light tenor voice humming in counterpoint to the harp.

As I approached the Grove I noted that, other than the harp music, the Grove was strangely silent – almost as if the ancient trees and the wildlife were waiting with bated breath to see what transpired.

Upon entering the Grove, an elderly Druid dressed in a white robe and a long greying beard sat near the campfire. This was the source of the music. When he saw me the harp music stopped and he smiled at me. Despite his apparent age, his smile gave an impression of youth and of mischievous fun. He introduced himself as Edward, but said he also goes under other names, such as Roger, and in rare instances, Puffendorf. He invited me to sit to have a natter.

He explained to me that along my spiritual path, I will not always agree with everyone. He said this is healthy and is one of the things that keeps Druidry alive. He advised keeping an open mind to different points of view but also to question those different views and to not accept anything blindly. He said I will hear a lot of nonsense, but that most people will be able to defend their world-view and this makes for a rich and dynamic conversation.

He then gave me a warning: in any religion, belief system or spiritual path, there will always be one person who thinks they know the hidden truth. This is dangerous. There is no one-single truth. He said this person will speak with an air of superiority, looking down on all those who do not subscribe to his world-view. They will talk about obscure and outdated theories that bear no resemblance to the path you are on or the material provided by the Order you are studying with, often quoting literature out of context and tying themselves up in contradictions after contradiction.

He then cautioned me not to try to enter into meaningful debate with this person. He said that they are riddled with extreme emotional conflict, unable to engage with other people in a respectful manner, and when challenged to explain their view so that the rest of us can understand it, he will sulk and whine about all views being equal, while completely missing the irony that they are not in themselves respectful of other people’s views.

He said it’s best to ignore this person, but with a twinkle in his eye said it can be fun to poke the bear.

——

WilliamTaliesin: I can’t speak for others, only for myself. I am usually the first to stand up and defend people’s right to voice their opinion. However this message forum exists for the purpose of conversation and debate around Druidry and related topics. The key words there are CONVERSATION and DEBATE.

It’s not my intention to criticise your character, nor is it my intention to bully or attack you, but as others have said, you don’t engage in debate, you don’t have a conversation. You just state your view as if yours is the final word on the subject, and when people respectfully ask you to explain what you mean, or expand on the points you make, you don’t answer. It’s akin to setting off a stink bomb in the room and then running away so you don’t have smell it.

When you do answer people, you often contradict people, telling them they are wrong, but offer no real points of debate.

So yes, all view are valid, including my view that you talk a lot of nonsense, and that you need to learn better communication skills if you want any meaningful conversation on here. If you don’t want meaningful conversation and just want to state your views without recourse, then you must accept that your views and opinions will be criticised and ridiculed.
Laneth Sffarlenn

“As a spirit schooled to power, his perception stems from one absolute. Universal harmony begins with recognition that the life in an ordinary pebble is as sacred as conscious selfhood.” ― Janny Wurts, The Curse of the Mistwraith
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