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 2)
on Feb 26, 2013

Trolls ruined the Wincustomize.com Personal Pages.

Everyone suffers the loss.

on Feb 26, 2013

The worst trolls I've seen are the ones who get into politics. It's easy to say "just ignore them" when you've never experienced it.  Some of the stuff I've seen political bloggers go through is downright scary.  

Comment trollers are pretty minor. But people increasingly work themselves up to do nastier things, all of which is legal.  In the politics blogs there's a term called Swating. It's where a troll cals 911 and tells them their target is holding hostages. The police bust in at the victim's home.  The point being the sickos who do this start out as "just trolls".  

on Feb 26, 2013

tazgecko

"Angie Gallant",never heard of her.

That's a good point.  By mentioning her, you are feeding her ego.  I doubt she has 10% of the name recognition you do.  But if you mention her, she will close the gap.

on Feb 26, 2013

Dr Guy


Quoting tazgecko, reply 10
"Angie Gallant",never heard of her.

That's a good point.  By mentioning her, you are feeding her ego.  I doubt she has 10% of the name recognition you do.  But if you mention her, she will close the gap.

If she was trying to get that kind of attention as Angie gallant she wouldn't do her dirty work under pseudonyms. Shine some light on a troll and they shrivel up. I'm firmly in the camp the anonymakes gives temptation to trolling...I say with my pseudonym.  

on Feb 26, 2013

Dr Guy


Quoting tazgecko, reply 10
"Angie Gallant",never heard of her.

That's a good point.  By mentioning her, you are feeding her ego.  I doubt she has 10% of the name recognition you do.  But if you mention her, she will close the gap.

Disagree. I think you would see trolling dry up in a hurry if the person's unsavory activities came up when ever you google searched their real name. Being an Internet asshole is all fun and games until it comes up on a job interview.

on Feb 26, 2013

Frogboy

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.  

 

If someone else had banned those same posters instead of yourself, there would have been the same reaction.  Getting banned from a place (if you view it as unfair) will turn you against a place hard. 

 

An old MUD I used to play had this policy: if you have a problem with an IMM, find an IMP.  If you have a problem with an IMP, find another place.

It worked until enough folks had problems with the IMPs.

 

on Feb 26, 2013



Disagree. I think you would see trolling dry up in a hurry if the person's unsavory activities came up when ever you google searched their real name. Being an Internet asshole is all fun and games until it comes up on a job interview.

The downside is that a lot of people share the same name.  But yeah, I do think that employers should be able to find out if you've been engaging in such behaviour.  Who wants to employ someone like that when they can have a relatively normal person who has manners and apologises if they cause offence?

Hell, you could even let their local benefits office know about this, so they can get challenged about it when they go to sign on.  The look on their face would be priceless.

on Feb 26, 2013

Disagree.

Mmrnmhrm
If she was trying to get that kind of attention as Angie gallant she wouldn't do her dirty work under pseudonyms.

Xan and Mmrnmhrm - my response was poorly worded.  She (Jane doe) does not want to be known.  She wants her blog to get more exposure.  So by mentioning her troll name, people go (the rubber neck syndrome) see what it is all about.

on Feb 26, 2013

Alstein
If someone else had banned those same posters instead of yourself, there would have been the same reaction. Getting banned from a place (if you view it as unfair) will turn you against a place hard.

Not necessarily.

When a person is banned by a person   they tend to believe since they [think they] did nothing wrong their banning MUST have been due to a personality clash/prejudice of the PERSON doing the ban.

I know this is true as I have been having these 'personality clashes' with people here for over a decade.  When Wiki was altered by one disgruntled [and recently removed] troll his wrath tended to be aimed squarely at 'that fascist bastard admin', not Stardock per se.

There are probably dozens/maybe hundreds of people on Stardock's sites who think I am [or some other admin is] prejudiced against them and just dying for them to make another faux pas.  The reality is - couldn't care less - as long as the site/s remain friendly places to be enjoyed by all.

Troll removal is simply cause-and-effect.  Do the crime = do the time...

on Feb 26, 2013

Being an Internet asshole

IMO, there's no such thing as an internet asshole. There are only assholes, and non-assholes. Anonymity doesn't create them--it merely reveals them.

on Feb 26, 2013


 

 

On another game producer's forum, (Matrix) they have a little green button you can hit which blocks all forum messages from that user from showing.  So if somebody seems annoying, rather then feeding them by telling them they are annoying, you can just hit the little green button, and block from ever having to see them.

 

By personally blocking, its like the troll doesn't exist.  If enough people are blocking, the troll will not even know if his message is getting out, he will be receiving no feedback.

 

Its a self-moderating system...and seems to work okay.  There are people on their forum I have more or less permanently blocked, and others that I will block/unblock periodically.  Even some who may seem like they are trolling, but in fact, actually have a message to get across.

on Feb 26, 2013

Here there's a nondescript coloured button that blocks a troll from from being here at all, whether fed or starved.

It too is a moderated system....that works just fine...

on Feb 26, 2013


 

 

I had an amusing thought.  Instead of kicking trolls off of a forum, you block them so that only they can see their own messages.  That way they will just drift away once they realize they are not getting any responses (since we wont see what they are writing).

 

 

on Feb 27, 2013

Yeah, that's what i did in my moddie days. Works great. You do tend to get angry pm's from them when they doublecheck using another account. 

on Feb 27, 2013

There are probably dozens/maybe hundreds of people on Stardock's sites who think I am [or some other admin is] prejudiced against them and just dying for them to make another faux pas.

I know that it is the desired effect that the staff operate entirely on principles when conducting business. However, having been around long enough, I have noticed that personalities do come into play when giving or taking away. Love for you all to admit to being human once in awhile.

Was there a specific reason for the OP?