I have been a poster on this site for over 5 years now and I have been able to do it quite well.
I personally don't understand how much 'serious' discussion there can be on any tennis related topic after a point of time. Most such discussions seem repetitive and superfluous to me. That said, I have always been able to find the information I need, identify a few posters I trust (even if I disagree with what they say) and filter out what I consider useless or at least tolerate it with some detachment and amusement. The onus of finding out your corner lies on you( not you specifically but the generic you)- there's nothing to be gained by lecturing other people to act or behave in a manner that you find conducive or suitable or bemoaning the lack of certain standards. I find that many people who are 'trolls' are that way because they have a certain attitude of lightheartedness- not that they are automatically ignorant just because they don't indulge in repetitive or 'serious' discussions. I also find that most people cannot deal with dissent and differing opinions on a topic and respond to it by reducing the other person to a troll.
Well, I am not criticizing the fact that some discussions are "not serious". I think we should really be careful not to mix everything up. I have no problem with silly discussions and jokes.
Of course it is possible to ignore negativity and stupidity, as in, I'm not going to die, end up crying or in depression, or smash my computer in anger because someone is trolling in a really annoying way.
But still, there's a reason why Internet forums have rules, and why moderators exist.
Using the same logic, it is also perfectly possible to ignore racist abuse, insults, personal attacks and offensive attitudes of all sorts. But these will not be tolerated on most forums.
Why? Because it damages the general atmosphere of a forum, and it makes it less agreeable for most sensible and respectful posters to read that forum.
I also think it's wrong to say that people who complain about trolls are people who are unable to hear an opinion that differs from theirs. As I said, I like debate, and if I do, that's because I'm interested in listening to opinions contrary to mine and discuss them. People who cannot bear to hear opinions that differ from theirs flee from debate, or else, they don't have true "debates" but only bash the opinions they don't like (without having any sort of discussion).
But I believe there is a big difference between expressing opinions and trolling. I mean, for instance, with the anti-Ferrer hate, what bothers me is not that they hate Ferrer. I don't care that they hate Ferrer, it's not my problem really. No one is universally loved and there are always people who dislike the players you like. What's more, there are plenty of nice people on the Ferrer forum to talk to, if I'm looking for people who share my love for Ferrer.
Where I draw the line between expressing opinions and trolling/hating, is when this turns almost into a sort of gratuitous harassment: repeating the same things over and over, going on with this long after it has lost any kind of value (even to those who might find it funny, I'm sure after the 100th time you make the same "vulture" joke, it has ceased to be funny for 99% of posters reading it).
And also, I repeat myself, but it becomes a real problem when it ends up diverting the conversation from the original topic to turn it into a stupid battle of trolls. If I want to discuss one of Ferrer's matches on the general board, I'd like to be able to do that without the conversation turning directly into a "is he a vulture or not" debate. Because it does prevent people from going on with the original discussion if one, then two, then three posters begin a parallel conversation about this.
(and of course this goes for threads about other players that end up in haters vs tards battles).
In other words, I get your point, a mature poster should be able to overlook the stuff they find irritating and focus on the stuff they like, instead of "feeding the trolls" and getting into arguments.
But still, what I mean to say is this: does the fact that it is possible to ignore trolling mean that it's a good thing to let it go on? Wouldn't the atmosphere on the forum be more agreeable, and lead to better quality posts in general, if something was done against those who use constant provocation and re-hash the same old insults and annoying comments over and over?
Now, I don't know, maybe I'm the only one who thinks like this. Maybe some people think the forum would really lose a lot of its value and fun if posters were not allowed to engage in conversations and jokes as valuable as "X is a disgusting vulture" "Y is a talentless mug and anyone who supports him is also a mug" "haha suck it your player lost you're so lame" "Z plays like a WTA player" and so on.