Watch: Panel debate about property social media trolling?

A panel debate about property social media trolling took place earlier today.

On the panel was Simon Whale of Kerfuffle, estate agents consultant Iain White, content writer Christopher Watkin, Vanessa Warwick of Property Tribes, and Russell Quirk of Properganda PR.

The debate, which started at 11am, aired live on the Kerfuffle Facebook page. But if you missed it, you can watch it here.

Russell Quirk said: “Simon Whale put this together as no doubt a fun look at the world of commentators being lambasted.

“There is a serious side of course in that some of the comments, whilst often wildly inaccurate and unnecessary, are libellous and can certainly pierce the skin of even the thickest epidermis.”

One of the issues Quirk raised in the debate was one of anonymity.

He added: “Whilst I am the most passionate advocate of free speech – I think that you should be able to voice any opinion as long as it does not falsely seek to harm the reputation of another person. But I’m not sure that it’s right that those trolls without the courage to say who they are, have the right to represent their bile.

“More to the point, they wouldn’t be so bold face with someone that they are abusing, would they? I know this because I have asked many of those that have attacked me from behind their yellow curtains to face me for a debate yet they always immediately skulk off back to the bosom of their mummies.”

Vanessa Warwick

Vanessa Warwick told EYE: “I’m keen to explore and expose trolling behaviours and also share some of my proven methods of dealing it.

“Some people seem under the mis-apprehension that a troll is an anonymous person, hiding behind a keyboard, when in reality some of the biggest trolls on the property web don’t hide at all and are in plain sight.

“Trolling is a certain behaviour type – mostly to do with causing harm and mischief, and more often than not involves “ad hominem” commentary and personal abuse.

“People should not be fearful of trolls.  Trolls are people who are suffering with their own warped internal dialogue, narratives, and self-esteem.  When you think of them like that, they actually deserve our empathy!”

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38 Comments

  1. AlwaysAnAgent

    I have to say that after reading the comments under the first article on this debate last week, I was surprised by the aggression and venom displayed by some of the panel attendees.

    Should be quite an interesting debate.

     

     

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    1. Vanessa Warwick

      Who are you referring to please?  There are five people on the panel, but I only saw two responding on the previous thread.

      Perhaps you could be clear about your comment so that two people are not tarred with the same brush and also that the person you believe to be aggressive is given the chance to clarify their position.

      For what it is worth, I didn’t see anyone behaving like that, hence I would appreciate clarification of what you are referring to.

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      1. AlwaysAnAgent

        i would prefer not to get personal about anyone on this particular subject as it’s emotive and I can see both sides of the argument.

         

        I’m sure you will respect my perspective too. I was surprised, that’s all. And it’s my prerogative whether I feel surprised or not.

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        1. Vanessa Warwick

          Yes, it is your preorgative whether to feel surprised or not and I did not suggest otherwise. I asked you for clarification but it seems you are not willing to clarify, which seems a little unfair to me. With regards to the previous thread, fact checking trolling claims is a perfectly legitimate way to deal with them, and is for the benefit of people who ARE willing to learn, not the troll, because trolls have no desire to debate and learn, just the desire to harm, cause mischeif, muddy the waters, discredit by casting vague aspersions, and evoke emotional responses.

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          1. AlwaysAnAgent

            You seem to think everyone is a troll or a hater and you clearly dislike any challenges to your position unless it’s in writing with someone’s name, address, telephone number and email address. The world doesn’t work that way I’m afraid. 
            Not everyone is attempting to troll you but you seem to think they are. As far as PIE is concerned is it possible that you’re overreacting or  being over-defensive? 
            Just a thought. 

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            1. Vanessa Warwick

              What utter rot.  Can you provide evidence of your claims please?  I’ve never asked for any such thing. Further down in this thread I defend anonymous comments as long as they are substantiated.The fact is, I only ask for substantiation and anyone who is interested in learning or reasoned debate should have no problem providing that.I asked you for clarification of who you were referring to and never implied anything about you, and you’ve now made an ad hominen and unsubstantiated comment – ironically, the hallmark of a troll.I’ll let others decide as to your motive, but as you rightly pointed out, everyone has the right to choose how they react to something and I am very experienced at detecting trolling behaviour due to having been on social media for 15 years and seeing it in all its forms, as well as trolling of myself by people who don’t like the service that Property Tribes offers to the public.

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    2. KW

      AlwaysAnAgent, I didn’t see that first article so just checked it out. I agree with you. Also, I think Vanessa, you are going out your way to incite negative responses and reactions then calling them trolls because they have a different perspective to yours. I won’t be responding to any more of your comments because from what i see here, and now the other earlier article, I find you aggressive and defensive and not helping the cause at all. To the best of my knowledge Caroline Flack never used tactics like this and her name shouldn’t have been brought in to it.

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  2. Robert_May

    Confusing what Vanessa Warwick has to put up with incited reaction to clickbait comment is in my opinion unfair to  Vanessa.  Iain, Chris and the other panellist are looking for a reaction  to their presence on the internet, Vanessa  doesn’t need or deserve the abuse she gets. What the others receive they crave.

     

    Posting a comment or opinion on here as a reaction to an advertorial, press release or an opinion piece, sharing views on the news isn’t trolling and should be painted as such.

     

    The fact that Smile please, Woodentop, Property Pundit post  inciteful  comment from behind a moniker that disguises their identity isn’t trolling. Their comment is as valid as the piece they’re reacting to.

     

    If the comment and opinion of the readership isn’t wanted or appreciated remove the  comment section

     

     

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  3. AndSotheStoryBegan

    It’s a fallacy to state that those posting anonymously haven’t the courage to say who they are. Many of the posts now on this platform are simply Propaganda that polarises opinion – the very job it was designed to do. Would readers prefer a sanitised version of events that conforms to norm and drives the egos and agenda  of a few individuals, or hear from some who think differently but for whom circumstances may demand anonymity?

    “Say what you think because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”  – Dr. Suess.

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    1. Vanessa Warwick

      I agree 100%.  These are the kind of issues I hope the panel debate teases out and brings clarity to.It’s so easy to label people “trolls”, “neg heads”, “haters” and all the other emotional rhetoric that goes with that, to avoid having to respond to perfectly legitimate challenges.

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    2. AlwaysAnAgent

      AndSo: Do you mean the articles or the comments are intended to polarise opinion. Assume you mean the articles? 

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      1. AndSotheStoryBegan

        Yep, the articles. There are some contributors that deliberately seek to be provocative.

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  4. ARC

    I think is dangerous to label anyone who disagrees with as troll. If you are going to place your opinion on the public record then you have to prepared to accept that people will disagree with you. There is a line that shouldn’t be crossed but you can’t just label someone anonymous or not as a troll simply because they disagree with you. That is a slippery slope!

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    1. jan - byers

      exactly

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  5. Andrew Stanton Proptech Real Estate Strategist

    As a person who writes over 3,000 words every day, I choose to always put my name next to those words, I also totally accept that everyone has the right not to do so. I also feel that everyone has a right to their opinion. But, trolling is a different thing and is motivated by persons with a different agenda. It amuses me that 10 regular people who post on this site, do so under a different moniker, as I am sure 90% of PIE readership know who they are, but I also totally support their right to do so.

    The use of trolling to beat down or diminish a person in any shape or form is of course – unacceptable – a reasoned debate – for example with RQ, who many will be amazed I agree with on about 95% of issues is a better way forward.

    I would add that away from my journalist activities, I spend many hours with really exceptional teams who develop some truly remarkable tech innovations – only to have the default – boo hiss on PIE when they launch or raise monies on a series A etc, my advice, count to 10, talk to these people, understand what it is you are about to comment on before commenting. As you may think it is harmless fun, but in the world of digital – a disparaging comment – can really make a difference to those seeking insight into new services and products – when they see your comment (when it pops up on our friend Google) in isolation alongside the launch of an enterprise that may have taken 3-years of a team life and a couple of million pounds of angel investor’s cash.

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    1. Robert_May

      the boo hiss from posters on this  site has  more value to projects than any  consultant can offer.

       

      Putting a project out there and being told what is wrong with a cunning plan or proptech innovation from the  agents it’s going to be sold to is a valuable part of agile  development.

       

      ‘Please tell me what’s wrong I’ll fix it’ is by far a more productive approach than  give me money, I’ll promote it, get investment, job’s a goodun, Kerchiiii…… oh ******

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      1. ARC

        Absolutely Robert, if the target audience think your idea is a non starter then you won’t have a market to sell it to.

        The wider issue here is that the industry has a number of self titled ‘gurus’ and ‘experts’ that have started to believe their own hype and don’t like it when they are disagreed with or ignored. So have now had to get their attention fix by coming together to complain about how terrible it is that the world doesn’t agree with them!

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      2. KW

        If I heard right, the host said he knew of one large tech company afraid to put anything out on sites like pie for fear of the backlash and comments. As an industry we don’t make it easy for these tech companies, partly because we have been bombarded with the next big thing, disrupters for years now. I am all for new innovations and anything that will genuinely make our jobs easier as long as the providers are trustworthy. it is more often than not those with a past history who get the most backlash.

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  6. Robert_May

    Vanessa Warwick absolutely owning Quirk who thinks deliberately damaging disparaging comment can be dismissed as banter.

     

     

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  7. smile please

    Personally think Vanessa came across very well on it and i am not one of her biggest fans.

    She understands people can disagree and not be a ‘troll’

    Some of the others reinforce my thoughts of them.

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    1. Vanessa Warwick

      Thanks for your feedback on the debate.

      Just for the record, what you think of me is none of my business and I don’t seek to be “liked”.  However, I respect people who are willing to change their viewpoint after reasoned debate and I hope I am afforded that same respect.

      My main hope of the debate was to air this topic and assist people who are suffering with being trolled, as I know how invasive and upsetting it can be.

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      1. smile please

        I think you came across very honest and genuine unlike a number of others.
         
        You might not seek my apporval (and nor should you) but your stock has risen.
         
        Its a shame in todays world a disagreement is taken as hatred or ‘trolling’ I disagree with Kristjan Byfield a lot (and him with me) but i think he is a top fella with his heart in the right place. I would hate to think he thought i ‘trolled’ him. 
         
        Some just cant take criticism and look to deflect, calling people trolls, neg heads, haters helps their own narrative. 

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        1. Vanessa Warwick

          Some just cant take criticism and look to deflect, calling people trolls, neg heads, haters helps their own narrative. Agree 100%.Thank you for your balanced comments – they add value.

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  8. jan - byers

    Surely the thing to do if you think a person is a troll is to ignore it.  That is what I do.

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    1. Vanessa Warwick

      You can ignore them, but many take that as a sign of weakness and re-double their efforts and it also does not stop the propagation of lies and misinformation.

      My method of dealing with them is tried and tested over 15 years …. so much so that when someone trolls me about something that someone trolled me on 10 years ago, and I can direct them to my original response from a decade ago. 🙂

      It shows a trail of accountability which is one way to diminish the impact of trolling.

      Trolls cannot survive or ply their falsehoods where there is light and transparency. They depend on muddy waters and darkness.

      So shine a light, fact check them, be accountable and they soon melt away.

      Everyone however must deal with it in their own way and that is respected.

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      1. Vanessa Warwick

        P.S.  That is why engaging with trolling activity is such a good use of your time. It puts down a marker in the sand and gives your version of the narrative.  If someone makes the same false claim against you in five years time, then you just direct them to the historical comment saying “I answered that accusation five years ago so you can go and view my response here”.Reply once, and your response can be used in perpetuity – one of the joys and positives of social media. 🙂

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  9. jan - byers

    exactly

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  10. KW

    Just to point out, many anonymous contributors on sites like PIE, EAT and NEG don’t do so because they are afraid to put their names out there, they do so because they are employed by others, and have to work to a code of conduct set out by their employers. When you work for someone else, or are a branch manager in a chain for a large corporate say, then you have to respect that.
    The people on the panel actively court publicity because they all own their respective businesses. They have no one above to answer to, the buck stops with them. There are many others on here (not all) who post under their actual names, that are also doing so to indirectly promote their own business, new cause or new venture. There is nothing wrong with this either. I believe too the Mr Quirk is a PR man so don’t shoot him down for doing his day job. Mr Watkin and Kefluffle similarly, participating in debates like this is publicity for them too.
    I hadn’t heard of Vanessa (or Ian) until this debate, and although she made some valid points, felt she was overly defensive both on the show and in her comments on here and seemed to have an axe to grind with Mr Quirk in particular, she needs to lighten up a little as a sense of humour and a light hearted approach is more what we the viewing public need these days, particularly with all the doom and gloom we are all going through at the moment.

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    1. Vanessa Warwick

      Hi KW,

      Thanks for your comments.  Can you tell me the name of my business please?  Check Companies House to be sure that you are correct that I was “promoting my business”.

      Can you also be so kind as to elaborate what I was selling, assuming I have a business?

      I have to ask for this level of detail because you’ve made some claims about me which are incorrect and feed into your preferred narrative.  You’re welcome to your opinion about me, but please don’t try and combine it with false claims.

      As for sense of humour, I’ve got plenty of that, but sometimes it’s not appropriate – especially on the topic of trolling – which , as we know, in extreme cases, can drive people to take their own lives.  See Caroline Flack.

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      1. KW

        Certainly Vanessa, it was promoted in the article on here and called property tribe.
        What false claims are incorrect that I made? Being on panels like this and elsewhere is free publicity for business owners full stop.

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        1. Vanessa Warwick

          It’s called “Property Tribes”, and, if you had a genuine desire to learn and had taken my advice to visit Companies House, you will see that I am neither a Director or a Shareholder.  Nor am I an employee. So it’s not my business nor am I a business owner, and I help out my husband on a voluntary basis.If you want your claims to be credible and stand up to scrutiny, then at least make them accurate.Can you also explain what I was promoting – other than best practice when it comes to trolling?  Property Tribes is a free to use resource and doesn’t sell anything. Thankfully, the facts and the truth don’t care for anyone’s opinions and that is why trolls will ultimately always fail.

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    2. Robert_May

      Telling the bullied  to toughen up, the trolled to lighten up or the raped to cover up  doesn’t curb the wrong-doing it makes an excuse  for the wrong-doing

      Quirk dismissing his attack on my project as  his humour is abhorrent.  It makes it worse for him and Eye that anyone should be the subject of  a conspirers’ joke

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      1. KW

        Robert, from what I have seen over the years you have been the subject of many attacks and not just the one I have just read on the previous post from mr quirk so understand what you are saying. 
        In the comment I made above it isn’t that people who have been trolled should lighten up, it was that the debate and responses on here from one of the panel came across as overly defensive and borderline aggressive. We can discuss these things intelligently in a more lighthearted way and probably get the points across much better in doing so IMHO.

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        1. Robert_May

          without emoticons  humour is often lost.

          I don’t mind  the attacks by posters  it is the site sponsored nastiness I don’t like and that’s because its broadcasting (credit Vanessa) not debate and there is no vehicle to appeal or reply

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  11. KW

    OK, you don’t own the business but it is publicised as you of property tribes in this article. Whether you work voluntarily or not it is publicising that business for whoever owns it. So it wouldn’t make any difference looking at your company house. It might be free to use like all these other sites but (assuming here) you probably make money from advertising. My wife has a small business and I do a lot of ‘voluntary’ work to support her with accounts and the like. I also help promote it where opportunity permits by passing on her details for her salon. I don’t introduce myself as Mr X of my wife’s salon. My claims are therefore credible other than (assuming) you owned the business, however you do have a vested interest in its success if it is your husband’s business.

    Also, I don’t appreciate being called a troll for not agreeing with you. The way you have responded all over this thread comes across to me as overly defensive, as it did on the debate. I am merely adding my reaction to watching the debate and found the approach of mr watkin for example better as he came across warm and empathetic and I think serious topics like this can be discussed more light-heartedly and even with humour.

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    1. Vanessa Warwick

      So we’ve established that it’s not my business.  Thank you.

      Yes, I do support my husband’s business, and it’s an advertising model, which is clearly signposted, but that never came up in the debate or had any relevance to it.  All the panellists gave freely of their time to discuss an important issue, so it’s a shame you are undermining the importance of that debate by such a side show.

      It’s important to be accurate when making claims about people and no one should have a problem with being accurate and apologising if they got it wrong.  If not, that’s the perfect example of being over-defensive.

      It’s the difference between:  “Your auntie died of Covid” or “Your auntie died with Covid”.  A single word can make a huge difference.  Whole economies have been affected because of that one word , bearing in mind that people killed in car accidents or of heart attacks and other illnesses, who tested positive for Covid have been added into the death toll.  Not to mention the distress this causes relatives.  There’s actually a petition going around of people who don’t want Covid19 on their relatives’ death certificates if they did not actually die of Covid.

      Please forgive the extreme example, but it’s a good metaphor for the point I am trying to convey.  How the truth can hinge on a certain word. This is also the case in defamation cases.  People have been sued hundreds of thousands over one wrong word.

      All my commentary is to assist in making communities more comfortable places, by people understanding the importance of accurate and substantiated commentary.  I am struggling to understand why you would have a problem with that and be fighting against it?

      So to conclude:  I am not over-defensive.  I am just explaining how people can muddy the waters with inaccurate and false information and unfortunately, you’ve been demonstrating that.

      I am quite certain that if you were on the receiving end of inaccurate commentary, you would want to set the record straight.

      Your view on how I came across on the debate is entirely your view and has zero impact on me.  What I will do though is correct false comments and innuendo and it is perfectly acceptable to do that.

      Thanks for adding to the debate and I am sure we can both agree that , if learning comes out of this discussion, and there is less trolling, then that’s a good outcome – regardless of what you think of me personally.

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    2. AlwaysAnAgent

      I think you’ve got the measure of the conversation KW. It seems like a control issue whereby our opinions can’t be controlled but on a family owned website the owner can control the narrative and be in “control”.

      If you agree with her opinion you get a pat on the head. If you disagree you’re a troll with an agenda. Simple. It’s a combative stance.

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      1. KW

        AlwaysAnAgent, you nailed it. Actually fees like a form of bullying.

        “Yes, I do support my husband’s business, and it’s an advertising model, which is clearly signposted, but that never came up in the debate or had any relevance to it. ”

        Actually, it did, for the entire 45 minutes as the website URL was emblazoned across her and our screens.

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