Author Topic: Excellent article on people like Krazy and Infinite  (Read 475 times)


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Excellent article on people like Krazy and Infinite
« on: August 14, 2014, 07:23:51 PM »

Web Trolls Winning as Incivility Increases

AUG. 14, 2014


The Internet may be losing the war against trolls. At the very least, it isn’t winning. And unless social networks, media sites and governments come up with some innovative way of defeating online troublemakers, the digital world will never be free of the trolls’ collective sway.

That’s the dismal judgment of the handful of scholars who study the broad category of online incivility known as trolling, a problem whose scope is not clear, but whose victims keep mounting.

“As long as the Internet keeps operating according to a click-based economy, trolls will maybe not win, but they will always be present,” said Whitney Phillips, a lecturer at Humboldt State University and the author of “This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things,” a forthcoming book about her years of studying bad behavior online. “The faster that the whole media system goes, the more trolls have a foothold to stand on. They are perfectly calibrated to exploit the way media is disseminated these days.”

“Troll” is the fuzzy term for agitators who pop up, often anonymously, sometimes in mobs, in comment threads and on social networks like Facebook and Twitter, apparently intent on wreaking havoc. The term is vague precisely because trolls lurk in darkness; their aims are unclear, their intentions unknown, their affiliations mysterious.

The actor Robin Williams, left, and his daughter, Zelda, who recently decided to quit Twitter after being hounded by trolls. Credit Katy Winn/Associated Press 

In recent years the term has become a catchall label for routine, graphically provocative online speech of the sort directed this week at Zelda Williams, the daughter of the actor Robin Williams, as well as abusive quotes posted on the website Jezebel. It has even been applied to the work of the underground hacking group Anonymous, which inserted itself into the protests over the police shooting of an unarmed teenager in Ferguson, Mo.

The broader definition of troll reflects, in part, the rise of social media, which has collapsed all distance between celebrity entertainers and media types and their critics. Scholars note that one of the primary motivations of trolling is to titillate other trolls. This sets up one of the central difficulties in confronting trolling: Shedding light on trolling may only encourage it.

“As more high-profile cases come to light, particularly of celebrities and high-profile figures being chased off of social media, more people will view trolling as a way of having an effect on these otherwise apparently untouchable figures from the safety of their own smartphones and homes,” Claire Hardaker, a lecturer in linguistics at Lancaster University in England who has studied trolling, said in an email.

Ms. Williams decided to quit  Twitter on Tuesday after being hounded by trolls who posted doctored images purporting to show her father’s body with bruises around his neck. “Look at what he...did to himself because of you,” one of the trolls tweeted shortly after Mr. Williams’s suicide on Monday. After trying to confront the trolls, Ms. Williams admitted defeat: “Deleting [Twitter] from my devices for a good long time, maybe forever. Time will tell. Goodbye,” she wrote.

Jezebel, the popular feminist news site run by Gawker Media, disclosed that it had been overrun for months by anonymous people posting violent, pornographic pictures in its comments section. Some of the content included “gory images of bloody injuries emblazoned with the Jezebel logo,” it said.

To weed out such messages, Jezebel’s staff waded through the worst posts and manually deleted them — only to find new images from new anonymous posters at every turn. “It’s like playing Whac-a-Mole with a sociopathic Hydra,” the staff wrote.

A celebrity’s quitting Twitter and a blog’s staff having to delete a few terrible images may not sound like one of the most alarming problems the world faces. But trolling does not happen in isolation, and the routine, collective path of emotional damage left in trolls’ wake can be devastating. This is particularly true for women — especially those who write about feminism or other hot-button topics — who have become a frequent target of trolls.

In an essay published in Pacific Standard magazine this year, the writer Amanda Hess pointed out that the Internet was becoming “central to the human experience,” a place you cannot escape if you want to work, date, socialize, run for office, mount an advocacy campaign or open a checking account. “Threats of rape, death, and stalking can overpower our emotional bandwidth, take up our time and cost us money through legal fees, online protection services and missed wages,” she wrote, arguing that the unchecked rise of trolling posed nothing less than a civil rights issue for women.

But combating trolling is a fiendish problem, like the cat-and-mouse fight against hackers. Both Twitter and Facebook have ways for people to report abuse, but the features are frequently described as inadequate.

Del Harvey, Twitter’s vice president of trust and safety, said in a statement that the site had suspended the accounts of the people who attacked Ms. Williams. “We are in the process of evaluating how we can further improve our policies to better handle tragic situations like this one,” he said.

Gawker Media said it was setting up a system in which only approved commenters will be allowed to post to the main comment section. Comments from the unapproved will be relegated to a “pending” section that readers will be advised to avoid.

Others have called for more far-reaching efforts, including reducing the possibility of posting anonymously on many online forums, or of posting at all. Responding to the Jezebel situation this week, Nicholas Jackson, the digital director of Pacific Standard, and Margaret Eby, a writer at Brooklyn Magazine, argued that new sites should eliminate comments.

But Dr. Phillips, of Humboldt State, pointed out that many efforts to curb trolling ran into a larger problem: “To what extent do you want to make it harder for people to express themselves on the Internet?” she asked.

“This is not the good-faith exchange of ideas,” she said. “It’s just people being nasty, and if anything, it might encourage marginalized groups to not speak up.” She added, “On the other hand, by silencing that valve, there’s a lot of other stuff that is important culturally that might also be minimized.”

If there’s one thing the history of the Internet has taught us, it’s that trolls will be difficult to contain because they really reflect base human society in all its ugliness. Trolls find a way.

“It’s not a question of whether or not we’re winning the war on trolling, but whether we’re winning the war on misogyny, or racism, and ableism and all this other stuff,” Dr. Phillips said. “Trolling is just a symptom of those bigger problems.”


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Re: Excellent article on people like Krazy and Infinite
« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2014, 05:17:13 AM »

 For real though, i wasn't always a troll. I posted here for a very long time in the music sections only. I love my music and i like talking about shit in this section too. The g spot used to be fun but then every one went all bitch and typical PC American/western world and turned against me but i leave for a week and there's like one or two new posts in there so...
 I still think the thread about that doco i posted could have had some very interesting serious discussion.

Hack Wilson - real

Re: Excellent article on people like Krazy and Infinite
« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2014, 08:54:26 PM »