The Uniqueness of Trolls

The Uniqueness of Trolls

A friend recently pointed me in the direction of the physically exhausting (because it is so funny) blog of David Thorne, http://www.27bslash6.com/.

This was a timely gift, as I have recently been musing about comment trolls, and ‘hate communications’ generally, particularly since it has become a public issue that some high-profile women bloggers get overloaded with hate emails or comments, even to the point of being physically threatened. It is common wisdom that responding to trolls just makes them worse, so these women bloggers were making a brave protest by publicising what was happening to them – see, for example, Google and ilk can’t shirk responsibility for ranters.

I had been also been musing about it because it was related to my work – setting up some communications systems and content for a gender research organisation. Feminists work there, and write stuff. In other words, whatever I am setting up is bound to be trollbait. How do I set things up so my clients do not become overwhelmed by it and give up on communicating all the wonderful things they do? How do I help them to choose to be active, ‘organic’ communicators, instead of relying on the occasional media release and static uploads to their website?

What is it about the internet that brings out the worst in people?

In the case of trolling, do people develop whole world views based on interacting with others online? ie, their identity as writers and thinkers is born in the crucible of rampant criticism and verbal warfare? Nothing but the once-democratic ideal of debate has shaped their views; their person and their persona is wholly shaped by the ideal of the successful attack and the destruction of a vibrant conversation somewhere?

Is there a book in that? And, if there is, is there a book in how the non-trolls respond?

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