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 6)
on Mar 10, 2013

the_Monk
Oh great.....so I can get banned by any number of people now eh?

No....I got first dibs ...

In reality there are several with the 'power' to ban, however that responsibility comes with accountability, particularly with the possibility that the person may be a Stardock customer and thus imbued with 'some' expectation of rights....

on Mar 15, 2013

(First -- hello after a long absence). Weighing in on this one:

Part of the problem with trolls is that the expanded reach of the Internet has allowed them to "take it to the next level" with greater ease, both through the ability to connect with larger numbers of likeminded individuals, and through enhanced search functions. While it may be hard to accept, a portion of it is the unfortunate new reality.

In essence, there's not much you can do, short of growing a very, VERY thick skin.

on Mar 15, 2013

We need to learn to be not upset by peoples random comments.If people get upset about being called names on twitter or facebook then cancel your account or grow some stones.

 

on Mar 15, 2013

Ashbery76
If people get upset about being called names on twitter or facebook then cancel your account

Yes. Let the bully win. 

on Mar 15, 2013

Ashbery76

We need to learn to be not upset by peoples random comments.If people get upset about being called names on twitter or facebook then cancel your account or grow some stones.

 

I wasn't going to get into this, but the above comment really irks me. It sure sound like 'Let's blame the victim for being too sensitive.' I have the right to able to call women and people of other races by the names I want to and they should need to just suck it up, I'm not hurting them.

Bullying normally starts with name calling, etc. and can escalate to being worse. Yes it does destroy peoples lives and has even caused them to kill themselves. Telling them to 'grow some stones' is a wonderfully ignorant (and sexist) comment.

Sure, some people have thinner skins than others. So what? Bullying is always wrong. Period. Sadly, we'll see a lot more people hurt from it before society stops tolerating it, if we ever stop.

On a lighter note, here is my 2c on trolling.

Trolling is something done for attention. It normally isn't meant to be hurtful, just a call for attention. It is intended to incite conversation and feedback (generally negative.) If you IM the troll privately, they are mostly decent people. The phrase 'don't feed the trolls' means just that, don't confront them publicly. 99% of the trolls will post or do something annoying a couple of times, see the reaction and either adapt to the group dynamic or go away. There are always going to be that 1% who insist that trolling is one of their basic rights and that they aren't really hurting anyone and they will persist until banned.

Back in high school, I went through a period of time when I made the snarky hurtful one-liner comments and put-downs that seemed funny and sometimes got laughs. Luckily, someone pointed out that some of these were hurting people.

Ralph

 

on Mar 16, 2013

Concur with above...

on Mar 18, 2013

RalphT
Back in high school, I went through a period of time when I made the snarky hurtful one-liner comments and put-downs that seemed funny and sometimes got laughs. Luckily, someone pointed out that some of these were hurting people.

Oh, I went through being bullied at secondary [high] school.... but had the brains to know how to end it [it worked].

Now, I have the capacity to 'end' the bully [aka troll].

What goes around comes around....

Trolls aren't "mostly nice people", just as people who drown kittens aren't "mostly nice people".

They are not to be pitied, or reviled..... only ignored and deleted.

on Mar 18, 2013

I think killing a kitten (and in a rather painful way) is a tad different than trolling a website just for kicks...

on Mar 18, 2013

Seleuceia
I think killing a kitten (and in a rather painful way) is a tad different than trolling a website just for kicks...

Nope, both are mindless morons with no respect for others, that is the point being made.

on Mar 18, 2013

Four pages for something so simple...

First, this is not a public forum, it's a private forum.  The forum owners can proscribe whatever behaviors they choose, except where, as Jafo mentioned, this forum may be required for customers to exercise their rights.

The above aside, there are 2 competing factors.

One is that we are responsible for our behavior.  Many talk about 'freedom' but they leave out the other half -- responsibility.  Together, it's 'with responsibility comes freedom' -- if we behave responsibly (including following any rules the forum owners have), we then have freedom to post as we wish.

The other competing factor is how we react to things.  Dad used to say 'the less you expect of others the happier you'll be'.  Dad was a wise man.  If we expect others to behave in certain ways (such as to not troll) then we're setting ourselves up to be unhappy.

Were dad around for internet trolls he'd not give them a first thought, let alone a second thought.  Not merely 'sticks and stones...' but even that would be giving trolls more thought than they merit.

Were I to give thought to a troll it would be to tell them 'an insult from an idiot is a compliment, so thank you!'.  But I'd only do that because I enjoy giving idiots the opposite of what they want.  I'm not as wise as dad was 

Being human, we have the ability to keep these 2 competing ideas (holding people responsible for their actions, and not expecting others to behave in certain ways) in mind and resolve them.

So, this whole thing is really pretty simple.

on Mar 19, 2013

Ashbery76

We need to learn to be not upset by peoples random comments.If people get upset about being called names on twitter or facebook then cancel your account or grow some stones.

Agreed. Being a wimp isn't gonna get you any success.

Best thing to do is to fight back!

I know this from experience - If people can tread on you, they will since you're an easy target. If you fight back however, then all of a sudden you're too much trouble for them.

on Mar 19, 2013

Campaigner


Quoting Ashbery76, reply 78
We need to learn to be not upset by peoples random comments.If people get upset about being called names on twitter or facebook then cancel your account or grow some stones.



Agreed. Being a wimp isn't gonna get you any success.

Best thing to do is to fight back!

I know this from experience - If people can tread on you, they will since you're an easy target. If you fight back however, then all of a sudden you're too much trouble for them.

I see no reason to tolerate the rabble.  Eject Internet scum into the darkest reaches of the internet when possible. That's why they invented Somethingawful.com and brokenforum.com. Society's rejects can go there and jerk each other off into oblivion.

Twitter and Facebook and other places have the means to block out people who are obnoxious.  I have a zero tolerance policy for jack asses.  I'm an arrogant snob so I have no idea why someone would expect me to deal with someone hurtling abuse at me on Twitter or Facebook. If they do, I block them. I don't get upset about it. I just don't see any reason to engage them.

on Mar 20, 2013

Campaigner
Agreed. Being a wimp isn't gonna get you any success.
Best thing to do is to fight back!
I know this from experience - If people can tread on you, they will since you're an easy target. If you fight back however, then all of a sudden you're too much trouble for them.

Actually....'being a wimp' was how I won against the bully.  I explained that his being twice my size meant I wasn't much of an ego-trip for his 'power'.  I made it plain to everyone in earshot exactly how tough he had to be to better me....and like the spider that shrivels up to deny you the trophy....the whole issue fizzled out.  I didn't stand up to him...I just told him to go for it....beat the shit out of me.  OK, so I embarrassed him in front of the whole school...and he had no-where to hide other than to end up a 'friend'...

But that's one-on-one physical confrontation....not exactly the same as the infantile weaklings which aspire to be trolls...hiding behind [what they think is] anonymity....

Fighting back won't get you very far...as that's the object of their endeavour - attention.

on Mar 20, 2013

Nick-Danger
First, this is not a public forum, it's a private forum.

The word 'forum' by its very nature is public, if it was not public, it should be called a 'private' message board. Just like you never see the 2 words private park together without scratching your head and saying "WTF?". And just because it's public, don't mean there are no rules.

on Mar 20, 2013



Actually....'being a wimp' was how I won against the bully.  I explained that his being twice my size meant I wasn't much of an ego-trip for his 'power'.  I made it plain to everyone in earshot exactly how tough he had to be to better me....and like the spider that shrivels up to deny you the trophy....the whole issue fizzled out.  I didn't stand up to him...I just told him to go for it....beat the shit out of me.  OK, so I embarrassed him in front of the whole school...and he had no-where to hide other than to end up a 'friend'...

But that's one-on-one physical confrontation....not exactly the same as the infantile weaklings which aspire to be trolls...hiding behind [what they think is] anonymity....

Fighting back won't get you very far...as that's the object of their endeavour - attention.

 

I was thinking of a physical confrontation at school just like you are.

No it's not attention. It's to be above in the hierarchy that males have. Most (if not all) men want to be the Alphamale and if you can oppress someone then you're above him and feel better yourself.

The true way of stopping someone from doing that is through physical force. I soo regret I never did that....