Stowe, (11th comment)
It was a short comment -- that's all I had time for. I really thought the first paragraph made my point (the P.S. was just meant to give a case very in point of just how doubtful it is that a system of figuring out trustworthiness would succeed in practice). And I didn't say true trolls should be tolerated, just that the *focus* should be on getting useful comments. As far as I'm concerned somebody who has serious trust issues of his own has no standing preaching to people about trust. And I don't see how pointing out serious documented concerns (I gave the direct links so people can see what I'm talking about) could constitute personal attack. You should always be able to point-out the truth -- how could anybody feel attacked by it, unless they are hiding from it...
P.S. I gotta go... will check tonight (Eastern time) if you'd like to continue this -- take care! D.
MORE: Twitter: @ stoweboyd trolls or "truth fighters"? re: Craig Newmark: Who do you trust? your blog -couple of issues, left comment http://bit.ly/aqLLkp less than 20 seconds ago via web
The real problem is that just as somebody's "terrorist" often turns out to be a freedom fighter, "truth fighters" online are often labeled as trolls. I think the worry is misplaced. People should be preoccupied with getting as many useful comments as possible, rather than making sure there is no barking going on... At best, comments are pointing out fundamental flaws and truly helping out the author (if the pursuit of truth is really the ultimate objective) and at worst they are just barks that are bound to die down relatively quickly.
P.S. I seriously doubt a technological way of figuring out trustworthiness would really work in practice. I think it's telling that somebody like Craig Newmark has no problem complaining about trust issues and being taken seriously, especially in the wake of the ebay v. craigslist suit. It's hard to see how he did not abuse craigslisters' trust by having them believe he did not financially benefit from the ebay deal (to the tune of about $10 million, as it turns out) or when he vowed ebay didn't get more than 25% of craigslist.