[ View the story "Are trolls killing the internet?" on Storify] Are trolls killing the internet? 'Trolling' subjects web users to often offensive content, threatening speech.
The Stream· Mon, Dec 31 2012 10:28:56
Initially used to describe disruptive behaviour on online discussion boards, the term "troll" has evolved since its origins on the online forum community
. A troll can now be anything from an anonymous prankster to a cyber-bully harassing netizens at random. The motivation for their acts is the same. Trolls operate solely for "lulz" --
strong emotional reactions from a chosen target
Catching Our EyePinterest
Catching Our EyePinterest
In the video below,
explores the relationship between cyber bullies, trolls, and free speech laws in the US.
Bad Behavior Online: Bullying, Trolling & Free Speech | Off Book | PBSpbsoffbook
Although many see trolling as problematic, some claim the term confuses online debate with offensive content. As Slate's technology columnist,
Anytime you don’t like something someone else is saying, or even if you do like what he’s saying but think he might be saying it the wrong way, there’s a very good chance you’re dealing with a troll.I’m not a troll—why does everyone on the Internet keep calling me one? - Slate Magazine
In response to growing online
, some governments have attempted to criminalise trolling.
Officials in Australia are working with Twitter
to sift through user data for investigations related to trolling. Below is a report from
detailing the number of times governments have requested user information this year:
But will greater legal protections for trolling victims threaten internet anonymity?
We all need to make a stand and get these scums off twitter. The laws are piss weak and people should be accountable for their commentsrobbie farah
Do News Ltd & other campaigners against #twitter want laws to stop trolls to apply where twitterers could face death if revealed?Wendy Bacon
But could anti-trolling legislation hurt free speech rights?
Lawmakers in the UK
are working on an update to existing law that allows victims of online harassment to sue the trolls directly. Currently, website operators in the UK are accountable for hosting offensive content. But the bill has faced
because critics say it would risk removing lawful material from the internet.
The infographic below describes how some popular websites regulate troll-like behaviour:
for how people can protect themselves against online trolls:
Trolling isn't going away. Yet there are some good techniques to reduce trolling and its impact. Your ultimate recourse is to leave a trolled forum and participate in a community more to your liking.Why People Troll and How to Stop Them
The Stream asked its online community: What do you think motivates trolls and bad behaviour online?
@AJStream challenging moral and believe systems, lulz, and watching the world burnAnonymous HH
"I was just trolling" is nowadays just an excuse for people who espouse horrible viewpoints, get called out on them, but then don't want to admit that they were wrong.Michiel Sikma
@AJStream Just be careful you don't accidentally redefine "troll" as "someone who questions my position or values", as often happens.cpm5280
Are trolls are killing the internet?
Nah they're just having fun.People just keep feeding them.Jenny Ngo
Nah,trolls are the only ones keeping it alive....Lala Sofia Castellanos
In a certain way trolls are killing the internet. There is so many religious bigots passing negative and offensive comments on others. Seeds of hatred are sowed, breed racism, sexism and a lots of harassment and bullying.Taneem Manseer
Real trolling has been around since the Internet became popular almost two decades ago and it has just gotten bigger. No, it's not killing anything. At best it can be comic relief and at worst it can be annoying. It's fairly easy to ignore. What is harder to ignore is real-life stupidity---that is, people who aren't trolling but it's sometimes hard to tell at first. Those people are the ones who make you lose hope in humanity. The Internet will be fine, though.Faith Hurst
Should aggressive trolling be criminalised?
@AJStream trolling people on the internet is like pranking people. Should we ban prank shows?Sweta
@AJStream #Internet culture allows its users certain amount of freedom! With #trolling we need to ask "is there a sense of responsibility"?Neslihan Kurosawa
@AJStream In case of Sexual harassment, murder attemping or sectarian violence it MUST BE criminalised.Ibraheema إبراهيم
The solution to trolls = Active and effective moderation. Hence they are a sign of a degenerating public forum.James Stewart
@AJStream Nope #trolling is not a crime! People must learn to deal with harsh words and move on! There will always be #hatersAmani Lindsey
@AJStream Facebook already has some strict ID requirements. I don't want to see Twitter go that way too. The cure to trolling is BLOCKING!Akemi Mokoto
@AJStream Ignore the trolls! That's super effective...Ibraheema إبراهيم
Would less anonymity online help curb trolling? Or would it hurt internet culture?
@AJStream best way to stop trolling is the best way to take off the masks from online users and make them accountable to what they sayPRINCEofTRUTH
@AJStream it'll kill internet. anonymity is a necessity in most places. here in Maldives ppl have been arrestd/tortured for online activity.moyameehaa
@AJStream It would make online discussion less interesting. I think many people who are not trolling rely on anonymity to express themselvesHamid Sirhan
@AJStream e.g. dissidents, people whose careers could be in jeopardy if they criticised a brand or a person etcHamid Sirhan
@AJStream At this age of free speech & information technology shaming trolls can be against basic rights of people living in a free society!Neslihan Kurosawa
@AJStream trollers are people as well,when removing them were acting as dictators,who is next group te be removed?merlijn