Re: Oh, really?
“ It is very easy for someone who has genuine opposition to a point being made being labelled as a troll - you yourself have come very close to this in your replies to some people who have been disagreeing with you. Indeed, if I were of the right mindset, I could refer to you as a troll here, since you are persisting in putting forward a view that - from the number of downvotes you have received - puts you firmly on the other side of the argument.”
Your logic is flawed. You have to understand how factors are influenced. For example, this forum is usually frequented by engineers and computer buffs, who on average, spend less time being social in the community (seriously, I think that’s a fair comment). So I would expect the populous here to be somewhat less sensitive. Also, I have repeatedly asked various posters if they believe their views (defending the trolling examples I gave) reflect that of general society. No-one has even tried to answer.
Also, again, I don’t believe I am even risking offence of anyone. Furthermore, I believe I have shown that my opinions have merit – I have positively contributed to the discussions, not disrupted them. So to even hint that I’m trolling is a bit ironic.
“Some examples - if I go to a religious forum and ask for reasons why people believe in God, am I being a troll?”
IMO: Of course not. People’s relationships with God can be very complex and interesting.
“If I go to a cycling forum and say that I think that cyclists are a menace on the roads...”
IMO: if you substantiate that claim properly (which is unlikely, but assuming you can), then no
“and should have tax and insurance like other road-users, am I being a troll?”
IMO No. I believe that argument has at least some merit.
“If I go to the Conservative Party forum and state that I think that they are an objectionable bunch, is that trolling?”
No if you can substantiate that claim properly (and perhaps you could if you tried)
“ In many cases, the answer would likely be Yes”
Evidently, not. Granted some are conditional, but that depends entirely on the sincerity of the poster.
“Perhaps you, because sites like that are essentially clubs for the like-minded, and dissent is regarded as offensive”
I really hope you see the irony of your comment: “puts you firmly on the other side of the argument”