Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A Whole Lot of Bark and No Bite

Honestly, trolls are like dogs who bark a lot, but won't bite.  They put fear in our lives because they harass the weak for their own fun.

"Psychological research has proven again and again that anonymity increases unethical behavior."
-Zhuo, Where Anonymity Breeds Contempt

Since no one can detect who these trolls are, they can harass all they want to because they're under an invisible cloak.  Sometimes I think it's beneficial to have trolls in forums to play devil's advocate.  In this instance, this gets people talking about certain topics, and really thinking hard to produce quality statements.  However, the instances in the readings were outrageous.  I don't understand why anyone would want to taunt the parents of a child who just died.  Clearly morals jump out of the window, and people forget to put themselves in the shoes of the bait.  One troll thought differently in regards to this.  Since it is seen as fun, they don't take it as seriously.

"The willingness of trolling “victims” to be hurt by words, he argued, makes them complicit, and trolling will end as soon as we all get over it."
-Schwartz, The Trolls Among Us

So should we be a more fun bunch of people who aren't hurt by words?  Or should these trolls learn to mature, and stop hiding behind the computer screen?  While you can avoid being stalked if you remain anonymous, you also lose credibility.  I'd much rather believe and trust someone who I know is a real person. In the case of finding out if we're the ones being deceived, it's best to do research.  Jason Fortuny, the troll, is right.  We can't believe everything that we see.  If you have doubts or if you notice someone is blatantly pushing your buttons, I suggest ignoring it.  The weaker you seem, the more the trolls take advantage.  It's better to acknowledge it, and leave it alone than to fall as bait.


  1. People who "troll" are the same ones that got stuffed in lockers in high school...Back then they didn't have defense...Now they have a voice whether they remain anonymous or not...But just like the world of journalism, anonymity decreases credibility! Agreed!

  2. Weakness may increase your liklihood to fall victim but how does one who is mourning the loss of their child not seem weak? I don't think these cases are a simple as school bullying, like the old saying goes "if you don't let them see that it bothers you, they will stop." Many of these cases are exreme in nature and something more than looking the other way as to be done.

  3. First of all, I love the Pic! Hilarious! I agree that most people that are Trolls are only doing so because they are online and they can't be held liable for their actions. Morality is subjective anyway, but you take away a person's accountability and there is really no predicting what people are capable of. I like to think that people can also be very generous in situations when they are anonymous as well. Unfortunately, we usually only hear about the negative events. Playing Devil's Advocate and posting comments that encourage new ways of thinking can be very beneficial, but just posting things to be mean or rude is a pointless waste of time.

  4. Sometimes the trolling and bullying are way out of line, like receiving pictures of your daughter's dismembered body on your email. The person can ignore them, yes. However, the psychological torture that these people can cause on others is overwhelming. The person being bullying can't grasp why someone would do such a disturbing thing. I believe in these extreme cases something should be done.