Wednesday, December 21, 2011

What is an Internet Troll?

By Timothy Campbell

Here are a few excerpts from Timothy Campbell's article on Internet trolls:

An Internet "troll" is a person who delights in sowing discord on the Internet. He (and it is usually he) tries to start arguments and upset people.

Trolls see Internet communications services as convenient venues for their bizarre game. For some reason, they don't "get" that they are hurting real people. To them, other Internet users are not quite human but are a kind of digital abstraction. As a result, they feel no sorrow whatsoever for the pain they inflict. Indeed, the greater the suffering they cause, the greater their 'achievement' (as they see it). At the moment, the relative anonymity of the net allows trolls to flourish.

Trolls are utterly impervious to criticism (constructive or otherwise). You cannot negotiate with them; you cannot cause them to feel shame or compassion; you cannot reason with them. They cannot be made to feel remorse. For some reason, trolls do not feel they are bound by the rules of courtesy or social responsibility.

Perhaps this sounds inconceivable. You may think, "Surely there is something I can write that will change them." But a true troll can not be changed by mere words.


Why does it Matter?

Some people -- particularly those who have been online for years -- are not upset by trolls and consider them an inevitable hazard of using the net. As the saying goes, "You can't have a picnic without ants."

It would be nice if everybody was so easy-going, but the sad fact is that trolls do discourage people. Established posters may leave a message board because of the arguments that trolls ignite, and lurkers (people who read but do not post) may decide that they do not want to expose themselves to abuse and thus never get involved.

Another problem is that the negative emotions stirred up by trolls leak over into other discussions. Normally affable people can become bitter after reading an angry interchange between a troll and his victims, and this can poison previously friendly interactions between long-time users.

Finally, trolls create a paranoid environment, such that a casual criticism by a new arrival can elicit a ferocious and inappropriate backlash.

The Internet is a wonderful resource which is breaking down barriers and stripping away prejudice. Trolls threaten our continued enjoyment of this beautiful forum for ideas.

The only way to deal with trolls is to limit your reaction to reminding others not to respond to trolls. When you try to reason with a troll, he wins. When you insult a troll, he wins. When you scream at a troll, he wins. The only thing that trolls can't handle is being ignored.

What about Free Speech?

When trolls find that their efforts are being successfully resisted, they often complain that their right to free speech is being infringed. Let us examine that claim.

While most people on the Internet are ardent defenders of free speech, it is not an absolute right; there are practical limitations. For example, you may not scream out "Fire!" in a crowded theatre, and you may not make jokes about bombs while waiting to board an airplane. We accept these limitations because we recognize that they serve a greater good.

When a troll attacks a message board, he generally posts a lot of messages. Even if his messages are not particularly inflammatory, they can be so numerous that they drown out the regular conversations (this is known as 'flooding'). Needless to say, no one person's opinions can be allowed to monopolize a channel.

The ultimate response to the 'free speech' argument is this: while we may have the right to say more or less whatever we want, we do not have the right to say it wherever we want. You may feel strongly about the fact that your neighbor has not mowed his lawn for two months, but you do not have the right to berate him in his own living room. Similarly, if a webmaster tells a troll that he is not welcome, the troll has no "right" to remain. This is particularly true on the numerous free communications services offered on the net.

Conclusion

Next time you are on a message board and you see a post by somebody whom you think is a troll, and you feel you must reply, simply write a follow-up message entitled "Troll Alert" and type only this:

The only way to deal with trolls is to limit your reaction to reminding others not to respond to trolls.

By posting such a message, you let the troll know that you know what he is, and that you are not going to get dragged into his twisted little hobby.

July 13, 2001 members.aol.com/intwg/trolls.htm#WIA


Thursday, December 15, 2011

La versión original como horizonte

Un informe encargado por los ministerios de Educación y Cultura aconseja que en dos años las televisiones emitan por obligación en VOS - Solo un 3% consume cine sin doblar

Establecer una obligación de programar sesiones de cine en Versión Original Subtitulada (VOS) en un porcentaje creciente en el tiempo; que se vean en los colegios programas en VOS; y que de aquí en dos años el canal de audio de las televisiones sea por defecto el original, y no como ahora, que al encender un televisor se oyen las películas y las series extranjeras dobladas. Estas son las principales propuestas de la Comisión para el fomento de la versión original en la exhibición de las obras audiovisuales, creada por los Ministerios de Educación y Cultura, que se reunió durante julio, agosto y septiembre. Su informe final, no vinculante, al que ha tenido acceso EL PAÍS y que se hará público en los próximos días, recuerda: "España es, junto con Italia, el país donde el doblaje goza de una mayor implantación en la emisión de contenidos audiovisuales".

La propuesta más llamativa es la referente a la televisión. Sobre la posible respuesta negativa de las cadenas privadas o de los actores de doblaje, Carlos Cuadros, director del ICAA, el organismo que regula el cine en el Ministerio de Cultura y uno de los impulsores de esta comisión, explica: "El mundo del doblaje no se verá afectado, porque seguiría existiendo. Creo que la educación acabará provocando una demanda de cine en VOS. Las televisiones públicas están a favor de ese cambio, porque apoya emisiones en diversas lenguas oficiales".

La TDT ha hecho posible ese salto tecnológico. "Las cadenas ya emiten en dual. Solo hay que cambiar el canal de sonido que sale por defecto, y que el subtitulado para sordos aparezca automáticamente. Si los ancianos ya saben manejar ese mando, apretar un botón si quieres oírlo en doblado no requiere esfuerzo", dice Cuadros. Sin embargo, las cadenas privadas no quieren ni hablar del cambio. Desde UTECA, asociación que agrupa a las televisiones comerciales, ningún portavoz quiere hacer declaraciones, pero en conversaciones off the record califican la iniciativa de "absoluta tontería y sinsentido; nadie lo quiere".

"A mí me parece que es el momento", responde la filósofa Victoria Camps, una de las integrantes del comité. "En educación se están haciendo progresos -aún hace falta más- que deberían prolongarse en casa. Yo creo que la gente está dispuesta a este esfuerzo, porque facilita la asimilación de idiomas".

Hay clasificaciones que merecería la pena que España no liderara. Como que solo el 27% de los españoles puede expresarse en inglés, según un Eurobarómetro de la Comisión Europa de 2006; o que el 63% de los españoles no hablan ni entienden un idioma extranjero, según un Barómetro del CIS de 2010. En Internet, igual: el 58% de los españoles considera que se les escapa información importante en la Web por estar redactada en una lengua que desconocen o no dominan, porcentaje solo por debajo del de los griegos (60%) y por encima de la media europea (44%), según otro Eurobarómetro del pasado mes de mayo. Son datos que ratifican el runrún de toda la vida: en España se hablan poco y mal los idiomas extranjeros.

¿Hablan más lenguas quienes ven la tele y el cine en versión original? En Europa parece que sí. Y ese "parece que sí" es la madre del cordero. No existe un estudio que relacione directamente un mejor aprendizaje de idiomas con la versión original en el consumo audiovisual, pero sí es cierto que donde se emite la televisión en VOS se hablan mejor los idiomas extranjeros (un estudio de la Comisión Europa titulado Study on the use of subtitling desarrolla esa posibilidad).

En España la televisión se ve doblada, y en el cine menos de un 3% de los espectadores escogen películas en versión original subtitulada. "Esto viene de la ley de 1940 [la que impuso el doblaje durante el franquismo], que a mi entender es desde luego anticonstitucional, porque es anterior a 1978", asegura Francisca Sauquillo, presidenta del Consejo de Consumidores y Usuarios y miembro de esa comisión. Junto a Sauquillo y a Victoria Camps, estuvieron en el comité, entre otros, el abogado y expresidente de la Junta de Andalucía Rafael Escuredo, el presidente de la Academia de Cine Enrique González Macho o el director académico del Instituto Cervantes Francisco Moreno. En su informe piden al Gobierno que aborde "medidas audaces". "Hubo grandes discusiones, sobre todo en el apartado del cine, pero creemos que debemos fomentar un bilingüismo real en España", cuenta Sauquillo. El exhibidor y distribuidor Enrique González Macho explica: "Los idiomas no se aprenden en el cine. Algunos compañeros propusieron cuota de cine subtitulado, lo que hundiría el mercado de las salas. La gente se iría a casa a ver las películas en la tele dobladas. Por eso no incluimos límites temporales para las pantallas de cine y sí en la televisión. No es un problema de oferta y demanda, sino de educación del país. Y los primeros educadores son los padres en las casas".

La comisión nace tras una Enmienda transaccional en la mesa del Senado que instaba el pasado 12 de julio al Gobierno a fomentar la versión original y la difusión de las lenguas oficiales. Todos los grupos votaron a favor, excepto el PP, que se abstuvo. "A nosotros nos dijeron que pensaban que se debía ir más lejos", asegura Cuadros. "No hemos presentado el informe antes porque no podíamos hacerlo durante la campaña electoral. Efectivamente, nos han faltado meses de legislatura para desarrollar esta iniciativa". El nuevo Gobierno deberá decidir si el informe es papel mojado o el inicio de un profundo cambio social. (El País, 15.12.11)

Monday, December 12, 2011

L3 Composition 4: A Covering Letter

After doing the Reading and Language Focus self-correcting exercises 1 + 2, on page 79 of the Straigtforward WORKBOOK, write a 3-paragraph, 150-word, double-spaced covering letter. Hand it in on Monday 19th or Tuesday 20th in class. Write about an imaginary vacancy and use Mark Goodsworth's letter to Mr Wright as a model. It is essential to proofread your composition. Look up words if you are unsure of their spelling, check your punctuation, etc. You may want to revisit the punctuation rules.

L3 Composition Linking Exercise KEY

A “Typical Spanish” Myth

People all over the world are enchanted by Spain—its perfect climate, beautiful beaches, and vibrant social life—but many common ideas about the country aren’t particularly true. One the most pervasive myths about Spain is that it has a “fiesta/siesta” culture: that people stay out late at night and sleep off their excesses during the midday siesta. Spaniards, it is said, are relaxed and even lazy at work but energetic on their own time, which is typically devoted to eating, drinking, dancing, and other diversions. In other words: they don’t live to work, but work to really live.

Spain’s reputation of having a high quality of life isn’t entirely false, but neither is it the whole story. On the one hand, Spaniards are less stressed than other Europeans—and have lower levels of productivity. On the other hand, Spain has the longest working hours of any nation in the EU, and few people take siestas nowadays. In fact, Spaniards sleep, on average, an hour less per day than other Europeans. What’s more, several of the world’s most profitable and innovative companies (Banco Santander, Zara, Iberdrola, Telefónica) are Spanish. Therefore, it’s hardly fair to suggest that Spaniards aren’t hard-working—even offensive, given the current level of unemployment; if there’s one thing that the unemployed do care about, it’s work. To sum up, the idea that they are lazy and hedonistic just isn’t true.

It’s safe to say that the image of Spain’s “fiesta/siesta" culture has always been an exaggeration. These days, however, Spain is even further from the easy-going, fun-loving place people imagine. Its quality of life has suffered in recent years. The Euro has made it more expensive, and the financial crisis has brought ruin to Spain’s main industries, construction and tourism. Just as fewer Europeans are choosing to spend their vacations in places like Benidorm and Mallorca, Spaniards are increasingly forced to relocate outside of the country to find work. They don’t work to live, but emigrate to work. Nowadays, young people worry that a new myth is taking shape: that Spain has a weak economy and a workforce that can’t keep up with the rest of Europe.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

It's called bullying (video)

A French colleague, who also teaches English, sent me this video with the following message: A VOIR, A MEDITER, A UTILISER EN COURS...



UPDATE, PLEASE READ
To all my friends and supporters,
I made this video 4 months ago just before school was about to start. I was 13. It was a very emotionally dark time in my life. I made the video at 4 am in the morning; I hadn't been sleeping at night for a long time, too many things going on in my head. I was dreading going back to school and I had not come out to my family yet. Only my closest friends knew. I didn't know how to say what I needed to say. All I could think about were all the bad things that had been happening at school last year, every year for that matter. I just couldn't bare to go through that anymore. I was done being fake happy, pretending hateful words didn't hurt, done hiding it from my family.
So this video was made for my friends that had moved on to High School who were worried for me, to say to them that I was going to take a stand, and to the haters at my middle school that I'm not going anywhere. I am who I am. I posted the video here and told people were to find it. That was it.
My friends were moved by the video and thought I did something important. I was encouraged to upload it to my Facebook page so more people could see it. Maybe it could help someone else going through the same thing. So I linked it Dec. 1st. My Parents saw it for the first time Dec, 2nd.
Then..... all this happened.
I never expected in a million years that it would have such a wonderful impact on so many people. I am truly humbled and truly thankful for all the love, encouragement and support from people all over the world. It's been incredibly overwhelming. I don't know what to say. Thank you so, so much!
Lastly, yes you have seen me happy in a couple short videos replies I posted; I would think that would be a good thing, and yes I do have friends, my High School friends, and I have made friends because when I came out they realized that they had hurt me and that they fealt sorry. The video is real, and true.
In the last few months everything eventually came out in the open, I felt a huge weight off my shoulders; I'm happy, I'm excepted for who I am, I'm more confident and feel stronger every day.
Thank you all, Love and peace to all who are hurting.
Jonah Mowry

Language Humour