Brad Wardell's views about technology, politics, religion, world affairs, and all sorts of politically incorrect topics.
Published on February 25, 2013 By Draginol In Personal Computing

As we get more connected online, the haters of the world become more empowered. I am often astonished at some of the brazen behavior I see in comments and on forums by people who, one assumes, are functioning people in real life. 

I think a key ingredient is narcisism. i cant think of any other explanation for someone who puts effort into trying to upset other people while their own identities are just a bit of Google-Fu away. If you’ve ever read an article on someone before, there’s inevitably anonymous trolls who say unbelievably nasty things about them.  Of course, they do so because they think they're anonymous.

Imagine if their ugly behavior was quoted and attached to their “real name” when you Googled them? I suspect we’d see a change in behavior pretty quickly.

I have mixed feelings on anonymity on the Internet. On the one hand, I’ve seen people make threats against me, my wife and occasionally even against my kids. So I am very conscious of how vulnerable we are to the worst humanity has to offer.  On the other hand, I can’t help but notice that the worst behavior is usually done by people who think that they’re safe from retaliation because they think they’re anonymous.

So I’m not sure what should be done.  Almost everyone reading this has dealt (or at least observed) a persistent Internet troll. You can ban them but they’ll be back. As trolling becomes more common and increasingly nastier, it’s an issue that’s going to have to be addressed somehow.  Having seen the slow evolution of the Internet troll over the past 20 years, I can tell you, the ability to inflict harm on people is growing.  Sooner or later, it’s going to have to be dealt with.


Comments (Page 1)
on Feb 25, 2013

Trolling is essentially online 'bullying'.

It's being 'criminalized' as it has led to victim suicides.  The 'success' of a person remaining anonymous is inversely proportional to the severity of their actions.

The worse they do the more effort is exerted to locate them and prosecute.

 

Being the power-crazed despot that I am, I enjoy being able to 'snuff them out' [here] - even if only temporarily.....perhaps...

on Feb 25, 2013

Big thanks to Kevin VanOrd for this link on the guide to dealing with commenters:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7IJyRAUxtAQ

 

on Feb 25, 2013

I’ve seen people make threats against me, my wife and occasionally even against my kids.

When this type of threat occurs, law enforcement should handle it. You simply aren't equipped to.

Jafo is 100% correct.

on Feb 25, 2013

Brad...in the linked vid it sounds all so good "you have no power over me that I do not give you" but unfortunately that simply charges the victim with being guilty of allowing themselves to be victimized.

Unfortunately [or fortunately] it is not a crime to be both on the net AND 'thin-skinned'.

The world's not populated with people of equal 'insensitivity' to attack or insult'.  IF everyone COULD just 'move on' as she says in the vid....yes, things would be fine....but the world ain't a perfect place...and it's populated by both victims AND victimizers...

on Feb 25, 2013

DrJBHL


I’ve seen people make threats against me, my wife and occasionally even against my kids.

When this type of threat occurs, law enforcement should handle it. You simply aren't equipped to.

Jafo is 100% correct.

I've talked to the police in the past. There's not much they can/will do unless the threat seems credible.

And what I get is nothing compared to what political bloggers get.

on Feb 26, 2013


Brad...in the linked vid it sounds all so good "you have no power over me that I do not give you" but unfortunately that simply charges the victim with being guilty of allowing themselves to be victimized.

Unfortunately [or fortunately] it is not a crime to be both on the net AND 'thin-skinned'.

The world's not populated with people of equal 'insensitivity' to attack or insult'.  IF everyone COULD just 'move on' as she says in the vid....yes, things would be fine....but the world ain't a perfect place...and it's populated by both victims AND victimizers...

True.  

I think one of the ugliest things I've ever personally had done to me was Angie Gallant writing a faux "review" of my fantasy book on her Unamommer site (of course, not using her real name ) in retaliation for her husband Matt Gallant, getting banned off a forum for stalking me.  I had nothing to do with his banning a nor had I ever done anything to the guy. They dislike my politics (I'm a conservative) and rationalized that I deserved their hate on that basis.  But they've expended a lot of energy hating on me over the years. She has some fans due to her artistry in ridiculing bad art but her admirers have no idea which parts are satire and which parts are her and her husband just hating on people they have a personal grudge against and using satire as a cover for their petty, vindictive nature.  

Anyway, it's easy to say that one should just ignore it or "feel sorry for how miserable" they are. But unless you've actually experienced unbridled, senseless hatred directed at you it's hard to relate to what it's like. I can't say I hate anyone but I wish there was a system to discourage people like that. 

And I get off easy compared to say political bloggers. They get serious and sometimes dangerous crap thrown at them. 

on Feb 26, 2013

Then of course there's that old 'if you can't stand the heat....' adage.  Social, and in particular - political prominance means you're a target for what-ever is to be hurled at you in the name of critical opinion/abuse/trolling.

A lot of it can be simply a hatred of 'authority', no matter what the source/type.... which is why simple site Admins/Moderators can become a target.

As with any assault, it can either drive people away or perhaps enable them to manage to handle worse.

Often it is all about that definition of 'stress'....

"The confusion created when one's mind overrides the body's desire to beat the living shit out of some asshole who desperately needs it."

The ability to just shrug-and-move-on should be a prerequisite for Intercourse with the Internet...

on Feb 26, 2013

Good point.

Personally moderating our forums was a big mistake for me in hindsight. Those banned people never forget and are the first to light fires at the slightest opportunity when they find a encourages that encourages or at least supports those kinds of people.  

on Feb 26, 2013

Nothing. There is nothing to do about trolls except stay in well moderated communities.

You mentioned the Gallants...They are an example of the system working. Haven't they been banned from the mainstream gaming sites? Last time I lurked theyre only on broken forum which is just a site where banned people go to die...

on Feb 26, 2013

"Angie Gallant",never heard of her. But I do have time to hear what you have to say ...

on Feb 26, 2013

Brad....yes, possibly moderating your own just placed you firmly in more people's headlights.

When you're seen to have a 'physical' advantage over other 'users' [or trolls] such as the ability to alter reality by modifying what is said...it's hard to take 'the high ground' in a discussion [or response to a troll].

Maybe I'm [in particular] just far-enough-away [10,000 miles] to have distance between what is said against [Stardock] and whom-ever comes to its defense...

 

Of course, in reality Stardock's forum/s are relatively troll-free.  In the rest of the Internet, however they roam free....

on Feb 26, 2013

One ignores a troll obviously. Why bother? Who cares what some idiot says? Never understood people who take it seriously. During my stints as moderator i usually locked the thread as soon as it became troll infested. Admonished troll responders not to feed trolls. But never ever engaged them in conversation.

on Feb 26, 2013

Brad....yes, possibly moderating your own just placed you firmly in more people's headlights.

I wonder if this isn't really part of it. I wonder if it's part of the romanticized "rebel" stance some delight in taking, and when that (and its requisite lack of civility) is frustrated by an authority figure venom is unleashed without consequence since they are largely anonymous and consequences are nil.

Frogboy
I've talked to the police in the past. There's not much they can/will do unless the threat seems credible.

Truly unfortunate and saddening. I wonder what it takes to make it 'credible', short of an actual/physical attack.

on Feb 26, 2013

It may be just me, but isn't this whole thread feeding the trolls? I think they would relish threads like this giving there activities verification that their childish antics actually do have the desired affect.

on Feb 26, 2013

All you can do is ignore them, they are not worth getting upset over. You health and well being are far more important than them. I shut down comments, the forums, and user signup on my site... no more trolls!

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