Does being referred to as a troll or describing a person's behavior as trolling break the Be Nice policy?
Specifically, does it constitute name-calling and assuming bad intentions?
If you find yourself asking a question like: "is calling somebody an X bad?", you can pretty much get the answer from "calling somebody a", regardless of what X is. Name-calling is not constructive and runs afoul of Be Nice.
(I realize that's not the exact language of the question, but I see it in answers and chat so I'm addressing it.)
It's ok to object to, and discuss, behavior. It's best to avoid perjorative terms in doing so, because that can lead to quick escalation from discussion to argument. Consider the following two comments:
That doesn't seem constructive. Can you rephrase?
Lately this site has seen a lot of provocative posts, comments, and chat messages. Some of those people are very likely trolling. That's definitely not nice, and we appreciate it when people use their flags, downvotes, close votes, and delete votes to respond to that. It's...less helpful...when people engage with accusations instead. A true statement can still be a "be nice" problem.
By the way, the very best way to discourage trolling is to not engage. Don't answer their questions, don't comment, don't respond to bait in chat. A troll thrives on stirring up trouble; if you think someone is trolling, then feeding that person should be the last thing you want to do. So don't.
See also: Why should trolls not be fed?
The word "troll" has innocuous and descriptive definitions which can mean anything from someone posting for reaction all the way up to and including being synonymous to "griefer".
Posting a controversial topic is by definition trolling, because it will get reactions, and rather spirited ones. This is not in and of itself a bad thing, but the person is still being a troll.
When Trolling is a bad thing is when it degenerates to the point of being done to elicit a negative response or reaction from people. That does not, in fact mean that if someone reacts negatively, the person who posted was trolling. Many people will act offended to get a reaction. In that case, the person acting offended is trolling.
So, when you say is calling someone a troll not being nice. It depends on what kind of troll you are referring to. If someone is being a troll to spark discussion, it's not a bad thing. If they are being a troll by making fun of someone who just lost a family member, it is most certainly a bad thing.
IMO, "troll" is not an insult, it is a descriptive.
"GRIEFER", however is an insult as it is used specifically for someone causing a disruption in a negative form.
does it constitute name-calling and assuming bad intentions?
At that point it is no longer assuming bad intentions, it is acting on it. The assumtion leads to questions asked to the "misbehaving" user, based on that they someone calls out an "internet troll".
Wether or not that is the right thing to do.... I wont go there.
I think it would break the "be nice rule" if the person in question actually says they don't want to be called one, anything else would stop us from being an functional community.
In case I'm the one being cited: my usual use if the term is to explain why I'm dropping out of a conversation that appears to be deliberately structured to create debate rather than to lead to an answer. Debate is explicitly not what SE is structured for.
I agree it's probably not the most polite phrasing, and that the ideal would be for me to drop out without the parting comment and just flag and/or vote to close.
I'll work on it.
I am highly insulted whenever someone calls me a troll. Am I being overly sensitive? I think not, and here's why:
Any cursory review of internet discussion can show that calling someone a troll is only going to upset them, and virtually never leads to constructive discussion.
I don't think the word has any use outside of inflammatory comments and it therefore has no place on Stack Exchange.