Friday, February 18, 2011

DCMA - Don't Control My 1st Amendment


Copyright, in its basic form, is just as useful as it ever has been. The definition of copyright, as defined by Lessig, is to prevent piracy by “The taking of something of value from someone else without permission.” This is the common expression of theft, but should it be used for Piracy too?

Over the last few years, I have really come to appreciate the value of money and corporate profits. Working for an Intellectual Property and Services company, and counting on the money that comes in for that job, it is not as easy as it one was to blow off the money that is owed to entities that put expense in creating content. As Mark Halperin puts it: “No good case can exist for treating with special disfavor the work of the spirit and the mind.”

To that end, I agree with many of the ideas of privacy and copyright today. Taking value from a copyright holder that has vested interest in the work is wrong and should be prosecuted. The DCMA takedown system, though burdensome and imperfect, has a good intention of preventing copyright infringement.

The case YouTube brought against Viacom is a perfect example of a way to abuse DCMA and Copyright Law. According to Lessig, “The burden of this law now vastly outweighs any original benefit.” Like many things in America, the American corporations and organizations found out how to game the system. The original intentions have been lost, and in the end, I agree that the copyright law needs to be updated to reduce the burdens that these corporations can place on innocent people.

Trolling Unit Preparing for duty!


So you all probably have heard of the Great Eminem Chrysler 200 Commercial . Now for us a residents of the "Motor City" we all probably LOVE the commercial. I know it brought me goosebumps when I watched it for the first time! So naturally I went to youtube to watch it over again. To my surprise it was the number one video for this week! So after reading the prompt for this week I went down and looked at the comment left by others. WOW there were a lot of trolling happening there! For example, I have a comment here from the 3rd comment page. I'm warning you their is some vulgar language used in the comment but it shows about Trolling, "

@aeonjoey Look JOEY, I didn't ask for your opinion and just because you're all hung up on eminems cock doesn't make you cool. I use to think eminem was cool, till he got off drugs now he's a studddddering rich prick.

Also Detroit sucks. Crime is high not because jobs are hard to find. Crime is high because people there suck. As far as the "syfu bitch" that's what I say to your mom before I insert my dick."

Although you can click on this guys name and go to his profile how do you know if this is actually him?

I myself have been a victim of trolling. I don't know if you have ever heard of Formspring.me, but it's a site that you can ask questions either anonymously or with your username. So you can probably get the picture of where this is going to go. Now you don't have to answer a question someone sends you but it will still be asked. This site has caused problems with not only me but some of my friends. For me it was just juvenile shit but for my friends it was serious.

What we can do to combat these negative effects? In my opinion censorship. I mean if that happened it would probably be taken out of control by government but this stuff is serious! Besides the threat of a cyber attack this would have to be the second worst thing that could effect people on the internet. This not only effects one person but people!

Copyright : Fair or Unfair?

Is copyright laws really fair? Do they make sense? Do they aggravate you when you are trying to post a picture on a forum, facebook, or website? Is it annoying when you are trying to locate a song but all it gives you is a short portion of it? These are all questions that have to do with certain opinions towards copyright laws. After reading this weeks readings, I understand why there are copyright laws. They have laws to protect the actual creator or publisher of these images, songs, videos, etc... Probably one of the most recent copyright instances I remember and experienced was from music providers like Limewire and Napster. These consisted of different softwares where you could "share" files with other users to retain music. This is where most people to if they wanted to retain a song and put it on their ipod, mp3 players, zune, etc... However, both Limewire and Napster were shut down for a period of time and reopened with a software where you had to pay to download a song or video. Itunes is probably the most popular legal music downloading software throughout the United States because it has a great reputation and is trusted by many.

The word that comes up a lot with copyrighting is "pirated." What exactly is "pirated?" Lawrence Lessig talks about it in his article, Free Culture. Lessig explains copyright and sums it up by saying, "A person may use a copy by playing it, but he has no right to rob the author of the profit, by multiplying copies and disposing of them for his own use." This makes a lot of sense and pretty much sums up the entire concept of copyright and whether its "legal" or "illegal" to do something. Personally, I have been offered "pirated" DVDs plenty of times for a discounted price. I actually recently bought a box set of DVDs from a website for the whole Boy Meets World seasons. I was unaware they were pirated until I received them in the mail. When I received them, all the disks were the same and I could tell they came from burned empty CDs. When I put the first DVD in, the little "DISNEY" icon was on the bottom left of the screen that shows that they just copied the episode from that station. As soon as I typed their business in on GOOGLE, so many negative reviews came up saying the same thing and that they are located in China. I sat there and wondered to myself, "How do they get away with this? They have thousands of TV seasons on their website."

Lessig goes on to talk about how all these copyrighting laws came to be and how "pirating" had been invented. Lessig blames most of the problems on the Internet by saying, "Peer-to-peer (p2p) file sharing is among the most efficient of the efficient technologies the Internet enables." This relates back to what I said earlier on Napster and Limewire. That is how it made these types of programs so popular because of the peer-to-peer file sharing. If it was up to me about someone wanting to use my copyrighted material, I would want someone to ask for my permission and only be able to use it in certain situations such as to advertise for my company or product. If they are giving out my information or material, then I want something back for it. However, I am somewhat of a hypocrite when I say this because if I was to use someone else's copyrighted material, I wouldn't want to give them something back for it. I guess this is just how the world goes, right?

Mark Helprin, in his article, "A Great Idea Lives Forever: Shouldn't Its Copyright?," he talks about how someone has a copyright on a product but after 70 years when he dies, it is stripped away from his children and grandchildren. After this time, it is given to the government for debate. Helprin says that the Congress shall have the power "to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries." I never realized that copyrights on things only had a limited time before it was up and not under copyright anymore. This makes our Congress and government very powerful and makes us question our rights, especially the First Amendment.

This website helps describe all the copyright laws and different examples of copyrighted material. http://www.copyright.gov/laws/ I never knew much about copyright laws, but after I did this weeks reading assignments, I received a better understand of copyright laws and when they are present.

Sixth blog post: Copyright and Fair Use



The web has made posting, downloading, and remixing copyrighted content infinitely easier, which can be a great boon for critics and artists, and a painful thorn in the side of copyright owners and corporations. This week, you've read quite a number of disparate articles about how copyright law came to exist in its current form (Lessig), different takes on the value of copyright, alternatives to standard copyright licensing (Creative Commons), and legal ways to use copyrighted material (Fair Use).

This week, consider both sides of the coin: how you might feel as someone wanting to use copyrighted material in a video or other work, and as someone who owns copyrighted material that someone else wants to use in THEIR work. Where do you stand?

This is a bit of an open post week, so address points of interest that came up for you in the readings and videos, but in particular, consider whether you think law as it stands is fair. Does it go too far? Not far enough? Is the internet harming copyright owners and their livelihoods, or killing creative industries like music and movies? Is the widespread dissemination of copyrighted material online actually making our culture better? Do the benefits of remixing and reposting copyrighted material outweigh the harms?

 Be sure to consider Lessig's points about the historical goals of copyright and how those goals have changed over time.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Anonymous


As I completed this week's reading I was appalled by some of the stories especially cases like Mitchell Henderson's tragic one. Like many like me, the technologically-challenged, I was oblivious to a problem of this nature. Trolling, as new as the term is to me, is obviously a very large problem.

I wouldn't say I "blame" the web for producing trolling, as ultimately it is a problem created from people. I think the web just produced an avenue of outlet for some very messed up individuals. Whether it be extreme cases of trolling (people with obvious mental issues) or some young kids with nothing but time and immaturity on their hands, the one thing seems to be the driving force equally is the anonymity.

If anonymity were removed trolling would not exist. The cases of trolling range on such a wide level that its hard to state one exact reason as the cause for why people choose to troll. Some cases seemed like kids who, when provided the option of not being held accountable for their actions, were able to either bully from afar or antagonize a person who had bullied them. However, some of the cases of trolling were so extreme and disrespectful that the cause had to be some degree of mental instablility.

Whatever the cause, trolling needs to be stopped. Websites either need to remove the option to remain anonymous or closely monitor those sites that allow anonymity. To those users who abuse the websites anonymity with trolling websites should be responsible for reporting them to the proper authorities for punishment. And laws protecting people from trolling and punishing those who choose to go that route need to not only be in place but enforced. When we want a person to be held accountable for their inappropriate harmful actions, isn't that what the law is in place for? Shouldn't people be held accountable for their actions even when they do them from afar?

You've just been Rick-Trolled!



     I'll be honest, I didn't know much about trolling. I don't usually scroll through any comments anywhere, so I had to do a little bit of research. If I understand correctly, it's when someone posts a comment that's seemingly bashing whatever the subject of the webpage is. And then, if they're successful, people will reply and a "comment war" commences, leaving at least one person really ticked off.
     I loved the picture one of my classmates used, about the "internet tough guy" because that's exactly what it seems like to me. Being anonymous enables these people to say and do whatever they want, and not care at all for the feelings or well-being of others. (It's a stretch, but it's like Brad Paisley's song "Online"!) You can become anyone online!
     It's very easy to say things when you don't know who's reading them. And it's not just online... when you can be anonymous in any situation, you're more likely to be "honest" or say things you'd be afraid to say in person. And if you see (or hear) someone else being mean, you're more likely to join in.
     The best way to tell if you're being tricked is to do your research. If someone tries to tell you a date has changed, for example, check out other resources and see if it's true, before you panic (*cough*BordersBankruptcy*cough*). And in general, if an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
     How do you stop this from happening? My best guess would be to ignore those 'trolls'. Don't comment or acknowledge them in any way. It's tough to do, especially if you want to respond to a legitimate comment, but unless you have the power to block someone, you just have to ignore any unwanted posts!


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.

The Web's Greatest Attribute

     
     Anonymity is the greatest attribute and advantage of the Web.  By providing a way to hide user IP’s from websites, no one can obtain personal data.  Users can privately view and share information with the entire world.  This anonymity promotes people’s self interests, opinions, and freedom of speech.  A user can view information and not have to worry about being monitored.  Also, users can share their thoughts or opinions without having to put their personal reputation at stake and most of all, the Web reinforces the freedom of speech!

     However, these advantages are not without a cost.  If people use the Web for harmful purposes, it is harder to identify the criminal due to anonymity.  In addition, users can practice “trolling” which is defined as someone who posts inflammatory messages.  Unfortunately, by giving people anonymity, some people tend to abuse the privileges.  Another disadvantage of the Web is deception.  If a user is inexperienced, they can easily be deceived possibly due to the amount of information or lack of organization.  It is currently very hard for a novice user to identify deceptive information.  Links may appear to lead a user to the correct information when cyber spying is actually occurring.  It is a fairly difficult problem to control cyber crime because it is caused by the Web’s greatest attribute.  Some partial solutions include protocols, encryption, and software protection.  In my opinion, it is the user that must make intelligent decisions when using the Web.  If a user can prevent cyber crime by using safety, then cyber crime is less likely to be a problem.   A novice user should refer to an Internet best and safe practices guideline before accessing any information online.

Links:

Don’t Feed the Trolls

This week’s topic brings back memories. Although I haven’t visited any of them in a while, I saw a lot of trolling on message boards, and on AOL back when they had an extensive message board system, which a lot of people blame the trolls for causing them to be discontinued.


In the early 1990’s when I first started going online AOL was the portal I used. They had an incredible network of message boards that were moderated by experts who answered questions, stimulated conversations, and generally made the boards a positive place where people of the interests could gather from all over the country and converse. This was an important selling point for AOL due to the fact that you paid by the hour to be online using them, does anybody else here remember their AOL bill being a couple hundred dollars a month. The message boards were a great thing, and then the trolls came.


There were, and are, two basic types of trolls, the first type is the juvenile, foul mouthed, type that just disrupts things due to their own ignorance and bad manners. The second type was the one to watch out for, these were the people who were so good at trolling they elevated it to an art form. They would bait their prey by posting seemingly innocuous questions or comments, and then when the bait was taken, they would pounce. If you were on the wrong side of one of their attacks, it wasn’t pretty.


The only way to successfully battle a troll infestation was to take away their food source and starve them out. The mantra was, “Don’t feed the trolls!” Don’t respond to them, don’t acknowledge them; just let them die of boredom. This was easier said than done, there was always somebody who had to have the last word.


Trolls come in all shapes and sizes, some are young and childish, some have sophistication and a keen wit, and some are just down right mean. Trolls have been responsible for shutting down blogs sites, message boards, and if I remember our reading from last week, caused one of the Wikipedia founders to eventually quit his job. At their worst they prey on the weak, cause pain and suffering, and hide behind their mask of anonymity. At their best they challenge authority, the status quo, and take the wind out of few stuffed shirts who deserved it.


Why do trolls exist?

"Morality, Plato argues, comes from full disclosure; without accountability for our actions we would all behave unjustly."
- Julie Zhuo, "Where Anonymity Breeds Contempt"-

Why do "trolls" exist online?


We have all seen it. Read the comments of your favorite blog, take a look at the comments on a news story online, or even check out You Tube. Anonymous users post whatever they feel for the world to see, whether it's good or bad.


There are some advantages to trolling. You can give your opinion on any topic that you may choose, because the Internet has a wide range of topics and along with that, a broad audience of varying opinions to go along with it. In addition, you can ask questions to others and remain anonymous, such as asking about something personal like relationships or health matters.


There are also disadvantages.


There's at least one troll out there who is posting something negative. I find that some trolling comments are easily dismissible, because they are silly. Sometimes, you can read a troll's comment and forget about it quickly, because you know it is a bitter person who has nothing better to do than insult someone else.


In some instances, trolling crosses the line and becomes online bullying or harassment. These comments leave a much harsher impact on those it is affecting.


Why would anyone want to thrive off of negativity or poking fun at someone else? In more extreme cases of trolling, as described in "The Trolls Among Us" by Mattathias Schwartz, trolls posted comments that made fun of tragic deaths. Schwartz details one case in particular, where a teen committed suicide and online trolls claimed it was due to him losing his Ipod. The trolls posted edited pictures showing the teen holding an Ipod, dancing with an Ipod, etc. Some even called his parents' home and pretended to be the young man calling from the cemetery.


It is hard to understand why anyone would take the time and effort to any kind of material that would attempt to make light of this kind of situation, or even to mock it. When reading about that case in particular, I began thinking of what that must have been like for that young man's parents to go through. No one should have to experience a tragedy like that, and then, in addition to dealing with the loss of loved one, have to feel the pain of online bullying by trolls.


"Where Annoymity Breeds Contempt" (Julie Zhuo) describes what is called the "online disinhibition effect". In simpler terms, the idea of being anonymous increases unethical behavior on the Internet. Trolls feel that they can say what they want online and will not have to face the consequences of their actions because it is difficult to trace and track down the person behind the keyboard. Many people do not like confrontation in person, however, by posting comments anonymously online these users feel empowered by posting whatever they'd like, without having to say it in person - or even with their real name attached to the statement. Many people engage themselves "socially" online more than they do in real life (face-to-face interactions). I think that this ability to be free and open with opinions, good or bad, has contributed to the phenomenon of "trolling".


Zhuo's soltuion? "Let's start to rein in bad behavior by promoting accountability". She suggests that content providers put an end to anonymous comments, and forums should be moderated and checked routinely for inappropriate comments. She offers up the idea of using a comment service. She also suggests encouraging other users to report trolls.


While I agree with Zhuo that something needs to be done to put an end to the trolls that engage in online harassing, I do not know if it is as easy as it looks. For example, it would be almost near to impossible for some content providers to moderate the quantity of comments they receive. Also, some sites do not allow you to post comments unless you are logged into an account - however, this does not necessarily mean you will provide accurate information when you set up this said account. You could use a fake name, email, etc. and this also makes it hard to hold someone accountable. Even if other users report your comments as inappropriate and your account is shut down, what is going to stop your from creating a new fake account? It could very well be a continuous cycle.


In one of my other classes, we briefed the Supreme Court case Zeran v. AOL - in which Zeran is defamed by false comments posted by an anonymous user and although he reports these comments, the damage was already done. Zeran's home telephone number was posted online, and he received a call about every minute and a half - which in turn, affected his business because he could not conduct business properly when he was constantly receiving phone calls based on a false online post. Once the number was out, even removing the post does not reverse the damage. The Court found that the provider (AOL) cannot be responsible for the third party postings.


I think that the most effective way to put a halt to this behavior would be through stalking, bullying, and harassment laws. Some trolling comments, like I said before, are easy to dismiss. You can choose to ignore some of the comments. For example, my team has had routines on YouTube and some people will comment and say "this is stupid" or "you guys shouldn't have placed". It is easy for me to take the high road and ignore those kind of comments. I have learned to accept criticism, and that's one thing. But when people are being bullied or harassed online, such as in the case Schwartz described when a young man committed suicide and trolls posted comments and material online to mock him - this should not be ignored.


If stalking, bullying, and harassment laws were present everywhere and held people accountable, I believe this would reduce these kinds of posts because people would fear that it could be tracked back to them. The law would be able to hold them accountable.

Trolling


I believe that being anonymous online can be both a good and a bad thing. From what we have read we have seen the negative effects which are referred to as trolling. Trolling has came up and any comment section or forum on the internet over time and is very unnecessary. It seems as though people have nothing better to do than to go and ruin someone else days with uncalled for comments.

A positive effect of being anonymous online is being able to be someone you always wanted to be but never were able to. Or being able to express your opinion on something that you wouldn't normally. Being anonymous allows people to be more comfortable with what they say and their actions online because no one can find out who they are easily which leads to the fact that your friends or anyone around you can't judge based on those opinions.

This same thing is what also allows for trolling to happen. These people can go and post anything they want without the risk of being easily found or tracked down. I believe that those doing this are also doing it for the attention. Think about all the articles and situations caused by these post and how the public looks at them and discusses them. The trolls then can sit back and see what they have caused and get enjoyment out of it. I feel that if there was less attention to come from it then there would be less of it. So in my mind to be able to help fight it off we should apply monitors on commented sites to delete the posts but also not give them any recognition to show that they bother us.

TROLLS!

Before even reading the articles this week I instantly thought of Gyges. In Plato’s Republic, a magical ring is given to the character Gyges. The ring has the power to turn the wearer invisible. The ring itself is just a symbol, a test really, to see if one would act morally if they know their actions had no consequences. The Internet has placed Gyges’ ring on each of its users’ fingers, and the result:

TROLLS!

Essentially, trolls raison d'être is to disagree with others for the sake of disagreeing. They are the cause of cyclical flame-wars that only end when one person gets bored. They are some of the most stubborn, and confidently wrong people imaginable. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if they knew they were wrong most of the time. Dealing with trolls on the Internet is not unlike dealing with children.

Being an avid gamer, I remember recent troll wars on every gaming related forum about what's better: PS3 or XBOX360. People would argue and argue, compare screens shots and technological specs. They'd spend so much effort and hard work to prove their point to people whose minds couldn't be changed, while it really just boils down to personal preference. Trolls would battle with crude remarks and cruder language just to make an illogical argument.

What is it about the Internet that makes it a breeding ground for this type of personality? This picture sums it up perfectly:

I went troll hunting, and pulled some comments from the Youtube video of Christina Aguilera's Super Bowl blunder. Even when the trolls have are given an easy target, they still attack each other, as shown in the first comment:

"Okay, to all of the complete asshats going, "well liek id luv 2 see you git up der and sing!!!1111one!" SHE IS SUPPOSED TO BE A PROFESSIONAL SINGER. PROFESSIONAL. She's not some godamn random bitch they plucked from the stands. She had ONE song to sing, and she fucked up BIG TIME. There is NO excuse for that, regardless of divorce or other circumstances. Being a professional involves being able to put shit like that aside to do your job. Grow up and stop acting like politically correct assholes." - lvl 4 troll




"Yeah, like ONE word......more like seven LINES. She SUCKS and what a great place to mess up the NATIONAL ANTHEM-the most watched event of the year! She's dumber than a box of rocks, and she disrespected our country by messing it up. She looks like a drag queen, too. Why can't she just sing it NORMALY? The way it's SUPPOSED to be. Not all this whoa-oa-ooooo-oh junk. She's just a loser. And that's a PROVEN fact (see video above)" - lvl 3 troll



Trolls simply don't care. They know, at least they think, anything they type cannot actually be connected with them and cannot affect them. This perceived anonymity and freedom brings up a curious issue: Is a person’s ‘internet personality’ more indicative of who they are than how they act in real life? Maybe the anonymity helps people to be themselves; because they aren’t censored and the normal expectations of real life aren’t there to filter them. Could our Gyges rings make us invisible, but simultaneous serve to reveal our true nature?

Trollin', Trollin', Trollin!


Trolling is a phenomenon all too common on the internet. Trolling, essentially the act of posting something on the internet to irritate other users, is nearly everywhere. You can find incidents of trolling on forums, blogs, and even Youtube.

A popular method of trolling on Youtube currently involves posting anything (and everything) about Justin Beiber in the comments of a video. Even Justin Beiber videos get trolled... about Justin Beiber... It's mind boggling, right!? At the time of writing this blog, the current highest rated comment for the video with the most views on Youtube, Justin Beiber's "Baby" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kffacxfA7G4&feature=player_embedded#at=76), is "I had to pause the video at 0:00 I couldn't watch anymore of this bullsh*t". Upon closer examination of this piece of information, the following conclusion can be drawn: the most popular comment on the most popular video of Youtube is a troll comment; trolling must be fairly popular.

One reason trolling is so popular is because often times, for the majority of people, it is funny/enjoyable. Many troll posts are targeted at groups of people that share the minority opinion. That's not to say that this activity is "okay", but when comment sections are often ruled by mob mentality, the minority opinion often does not stand a chance. What makes this act all the more enjoyable for the troll is that he or she rarely would has to answer for their actions; from a psychological point of view, the antagonist gets a reward (by irritating others) and has either no risk or limited risk of punishment due to their anonymity online.

According to the article "Where Anonymity Breeds Contempt" by Julie Zhuo (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/30/opinion/30zhuo.html?_r=2&hp), which focuses on a variety of problems caused by being anonymous, "Morality, Plato argues, comes from full disclosure; without accountability for our actions, we would all behave unjustly." This is exactly why trolls flourish online; there is no repercussion for the trolls actions. Not only is there rarely any form of online punishment, but offline punishment is basically non-existent. To the extreme, people can go online and post negative comments about homosexuals, other races, women, and more, yet these comments will never be attached to them in the real world. If they did something like that in the workplace, they would be fired and packing up the items in their desk by lunch time.

Trolling, while typically shown in a bad light, doesn't have to be taken to extremes however. Take the Justin Beiber comment for example. While it may annoy some people, others probably find it funny. When trolling is meant to annoy and not to cause harm, similar to teasing between siblings, maybe it is not so bad after all. However, all can agree that it is easy for trolling to get taken too far, and this is often times the case.

With great power comes great responsibility. The power to comment or post on nearly any topic anywhere on the internet, often anonymously, is pretty amazing. The lack of responsibility that is often exercised, however, is also amazing...

Troll: Hiding In the Screen


Trolling has been an issue in society for hundreds of years, but the Internet has made it an even more complicated issue. The Internet in many was has easily allowed us to manipulate the way we present ourselves to one another. Sites like Facebook, MySpace, MOCOSpace, YouTube, Twitter, etc. have made internet trolling more common and sometimes difficult to pick out who is real and who is not. These sites ask for age, gender, location, and birthday, basically personal information that can easily be changed in the cyber world.


Many people lie about these things which can cause problems or no problems at all. A lot of the time people find it easier to lie and be a different person on the internet. Many people portray someone they wish to be or be someone or say they do something they always wanted to do. The internet makes this a simple task to become someone else. You never know who could be watching you if you don’t know really know that person, and sometimes even if you do, they may not be who you think they are.


According to Julie Zhou, “Trolling, defined as the act of posting inflammatory, derogatory or provocative messages in public forums, is a problem as old as the Internet itself, although its roots go much farther back. Even in the fourth century B.C., Plato touched upon the subject of anonymity and morality in his parable of the ring of Gyges.” Nowadays the internet has helped diminish the morality and increase the anonymity of these online trolls, nonetheless it is still an issue in today’s society as it was in the time of Plato.


To me, trolling is someone who is portraying to be someone else and basically being an internet bully. Trolls like to lash out at innocent victims in a result of their own frustration.


So what are the advantages and disadvantages of being anonymous online? Some advantages are the fact that remaining anonymous gives people the courage to say things that they never would be able to say in person. The screen is a safety net. Maybe they don’t feel confident to say things in person because they are scared of the reaction of others. This is why it can be an advantage to being anonymous. Sometimes being anonymous is good, and other times it can have a negative effect. After reviewing one of the YouTube videos, the comments really showed that this is true concept.


To my knowledge the commenters did not care what they said to the videos, or articles that I reviewed. Some comments were mean and negative in content while others provide positive feedback to the authors.
http://www.artslondonnews.co.uk/20100513-pros-cons-anonymous


The web has produced the phenomenon of ‘trolling’ because it is easier to be someone different and do and say things through a screen where their real identities can be protected. Being behind a screen brings out the people that like to be instigators and purposely say things that they know will cause a dispute between other people on the website.


It’s hard to tell when we are being deceived online because it’s so simple to make fake accounts using Google pictures and other forms of fabrication. We have to be safe on who we choose to be our friends on the sites and so forth because it’s not the troll who is affected, it is the people that he manipulates. These trolls chose their victims and harass them in their own amusement. This is why we have to be cautious on our actions and recognize signs of danger.


So how do we take control of internet trolling and its negative effects? You have to be smarter than them. Recognize how they work and catch them and prevent them from doing wrong before they do it, whether it is to you or someone else. Don’t let these trolls trick you in their ways. Stay alert and always be sure you know what or who you’re dealing with.

Don't Feed the Trolls

The anonymity that the internet provides has led to the unfortunate increase in the number of users who abuse it. The NY Times talked about the online disinhibition effect, which is a phenomenon where people often change their behavior online in radical ways. The combination of anonymity and disinhibition results in people becoming trolls: "someone who intentionally disrupts online communities" according to Mattathias Schwartz of the NY Times.

Trolls feel so comfortable writing their annoying posts because they know there are almost no consequences for their actions. Schwartz wrote that, "In order to prosecute, investigators must subpoena sites and Internet service providers to learn the original author’s IP address, and from there, his legal identity. Local police departments generally don’t have the means to follow this digital trail, and federal investigators have their hands full with spam, terrorism, fraud and child pornography." Knowing that officers are tied up with greater fish to fry, people are comfortable posting inflammatory comments without fear.

This is the downside of being anonymous online. There are, however, some advantages to being anonymous when surfing the web. People with potentially embarrassing or personal questions regarding a variety of topics, ranging from legal advice to STDs and pregnancy, would often times like their identities on a message board to remain a secret. These instances are harmless and allow users to ask important questions freely without fear of public exposure and judgment.

So, how do we combat trolls and their devious ways? Go back to an old motherly solution that we've heard since childhood: "Ignore them." Trolls feed off of people responding to their posts. I'm a frequent reader of Engadget and on every single post related to cell phones, a troll rears his or her ugly head. If it's a post about the iPhone, an Android fanboy has to make a comment about "antennagate." If it's a post about an Android phone, a Windows Phone 7 lover cries about fragmentation. A post about Windows Phone 7? Well, it's just too easy to pick on them. Only when people respond to their ignorant remarks do they get their "lulz" because they know they got in someone's head. As annoying as it is, the best solution is to close your eyes, scroll down, and pretend you never saw it.

Online bullies and Trolls: A Case of Disturbed People


Defamatory remarks, racial slurs, and attacking comments and threats are YouTube's daily dose. Unlike Facebook, YouTube pays much less attention to comments, and rarely are demeaning remarks deleted. Though, with the like/dislike or spam options comments can be hidden but it doesn't do much when you have other people liking the comments or repeating or agreeing with them.

I just watched a video on YouTube about a black jail activist with as much comment fervor as any other politically charged clip. The comments were a mix of supportive and critiques until I got to one from a Romanian neo-Nazi calling for the U.S. to stop "africans and mexicans from coming to the U.S....because it will look like Somalia or Angola." She unapologetically said it was the truth even if people got offended. I went a step further to her page. She had limited information on it. No real name, just a pseudonym. Location was chosen as Romania and no other information. Not even videos done by her. She is obviously enjoying the anonymity of the online world.

The greatest of the advantages the Romanian woman is enjoying is security. Her identity is undisclosed, and details about her are not that easy to obtain by most, especially since she is in another country. Secondly, her freedom of expression is secured by the anonymity of the internet experience. She can voice anything she wants with the relief that her identity will remain whatever way she chooses to portray herself as.

In a more positive note, many political activist in countries where freedom of speech is limited can enjoy that security to an extent. If they are internet savvy, they can manage to escape authorities while informing others and building support for their causes.

On the other hand, online anonymity can lead people to impersonate others which can be detrimental to the subject's reputation or take on an anonymous or different personality to bully or hurt others. By impersonating Lori Drew on a blog, Jason Fortuny was able to defame her even more about the Megan Meier case. If he hadn't come out clean about who he was, her case judge would've not been able to overturn her sentence. It could've hurt her more in the end. By the same token, online bullies like Fortuny and Weev can take on different personalities for the sake of their amusement or to deliberately hurt people. Fortuny's Craigslist scam was a malicious act to deliberately expose these men that were just looking to meet a woman interested in them. They lost relationships and jobs just because Mr. Fortuny thought it was funny to do so.

In my view, people like Fortuny use trolling as a way to release their own emotions, and they feel empowered by hurting others and then blame them for taking it seriously. It's never their fault according to them because, in their minds, people should learn to be bothered, offended, and hurt and not take it personal. Further, trolling allows people to let their repressed feelings or ideas run wild for a bit. It somehow liberates them from their socially constructed persona built around certain expectations and political correctness. In the end, online trolls are looking for a way to release themselves in an environment where they they think their actions will have no consequences.

The phenomena of trolling has emerged in an environment that allows freedom of expression while keeping anonymity. By the virtue of the internet being an open place for debate with little laws, that are not easily to enforceable, it has enabled people such as Fortuny to engage in anonymous online activity while allowed them to take their insecurities on targeted users.

Unfortunately, it is very difficult, if not impossible, to really know if an online user is legitimate. For instance, email accounts can be opened with false information. Thus, allowing people to take on different identities. Also, many websites keep privacy guidelines to secure the activity of their users, making it hard for other to obtain validation of a person. The online community is a vast place for information exchange which greatness rests on its anonymity and relatively secure usage. Nonetheless, it is a place were almost anything goes which can ruin lives and reputations.

In conclusion, cyber bullying and trolling is not something that we can completely avoid. These negative consequences of the benefits of anonymity and open expression can be fought with guidelines for online use. Yet, even with such guidelines it can now be seen that people cross the line without impunity. Instituting laws against trolling can lead to serious loss of freedom on the internet. However, for severe cases laws should be made to protect victims and punish the trolls/bullies. To find a middle ground, online communities must devise plans to fight trolling and bullying that target their own niches. For instance, sites can require that users enter the website from their own computers or validate the user if they are switching computers. Another example is to severely punish users who impersonate someone by banning their IP addresses, email address, etc. Educating the public about dealing with trolls so their activities are not interrupted. Also, publicly exposing bullies and trolls to make others aware of who they are and the tactics and information they use. Finally, making it easier for people to report abusive users such as in the case of Megan Meier, and punish wrong doers to the extent of their crime.
Go anywhere on the web, and chances are most of the folks you run into are well-intentioned individuals, though occasionally a bit unusual at times. However, for every nice guy you meet on the internet, there's just as many who delight in nothing but spreading negativity and irritation to everyone they meet. Through their motives and their methods may be different, every troll's goal is the same: do whatever it takes to get a rise out of another user.

While their reasons for doing so differ, it's easy to see why trolling has become so commonplace. Thanks to the anonymity associated with the internet, people can say or post whatever they want without fear of repercussion. The rest of the world knows them only by their online pseudonym, if even that, and because they know that no one knows who they really are, they're not afraid to be as rude and objectionable as possible, because they know it won't come back to them. In some cases, however, trolls honestly believe the things they preach, but because they've been trained to believe that no one will pay attention to long-winded explanations on the internet, often by other trolls at that, it becomes much easier to compress it all down to a simple statement of "UR WRONG AND ANYONE WHO DISAGREES IZ DUBM AND SHUD DIE IN A FIER ROFL!!!11!1!1"

Furthermore, internet communication helps put distance between the troll and his victim, both physically and mentally. If someone in real life were to go up to a person and exhibit troll-like behavior, they'd probably experience physical or verbal abuse as a result, with the added possibility of other people outside of the conversation joining in. Over the internet, however, there's a disconnect between the two parties. In the troll's mind, there's no face associated with the other person; only a screen name is there in its place. They know nothing of the victim, be it who they are, where they are, or what kind of position they hold. Everyone online is on an equal playing field, which empowers the trolls and causes them to not be afraid to go all out.

Combatting the troll phenomenon is difficult, as there's no limit to the number of potential trouble makers or the ways that they'll try to wreak havoc. The easiest way to avoid conflict is to simply ignore their existence. Trolls' ultimate goal is to try and irritate those around them, and if they don't see the expected result, they're likely to see their attempts as fruitless and temporarily give up their misguided ambitions. Alternatively, most web sites these days have built in safeguards, such as an "Ignore" function that blocks specific users' posts from ever appearing or "Report" buttons that alerts the higher-ups to the presence of a would-be troll. Ultimately, though, as long as people have differing opinions, there can never truly be an end to the potential menace that resides beneath the proverbial bridge.

Three Goats Walk Over A Bridge...


Anonymity on the Internet is nice because you really don't have to worry about what other people think of you. You can speak your mind without fearing any lasting repercussions. This same anonymity does give rise to trolls, however. When we humans are no longer held accountable for our actions we can become pretty horrific creatures. On the Internet the most we can usually do is attack/harass/annoy other people with words. People know there won't be any repercussions for their actions so they say whatever they want because they like the hate and deception.

What makes trolling and the like so effective, though, is the people that respond to it. Bad trolls are pretty easy to spot and should just be ignored, but good trolls are difficult to detect; especially if the topic they're trolling lends itself to oppositional discussion. The only way to stop a good troll, aside from ignoring everything you read, is to not give knee-jerk responses. We have to actually think about what is being said. Is everything the other person/people are saying always opposite to what we say? Do they give extreme examples/views on unimportant topics? The longer a conversation goes on the easier it is to out a troll but by then they usually have gotten the feeling they were looking for.

As for the negative effects of trolls, most people that spend a moderate amount of time on the Internet have come into contact with them and know that what they say can be ignored.

Trolling Online: Harmless or Hateful?

The Three Billy Goats Gruff


Plato - "Morality comes from full disclosure; without accountability for our actions, we would all behave unjustly."

There is a reason why in every children's nursery rhyme the Trolls are always the bad guys.  Maybe it's because they are always living under bridges or in other dark and scary places.  Maybe it's because they are green and warty.  Or maybe it's because all they seem to want to do is eat you; are at least give you a really bad day.  I don't know about you, but I tend to steer clear from people and things that try to eat me or otherwise make me upset.  Just like the Trolls in the nursery rhymes, cyber Trolls are usually up to no good.  Why? Well, according to them just because.

Mattathias Schwartz in his article The Trolls Among Us, describes a "Troll" as "someone who intentionally disrupts online communities" and that Trolling is a "subculture that is built on deception" and the "provoking of strangers."  Trolls, or online bullies, find the anonymity of cyberspace a very appealing place for inciting anarchy.  It's easy to see that the biggest advantage to bullying online is the fact that no one can really know who you are, unless you are found out-which is probably the biggest disadvantage (just ask Lori Drew).  A Troll can be as sophisticated as a hacker who inundates epilepsy sites with flashing images or as amateur as a suburban housewife tormenting a high school girl over MySpace.  In her article, Where Anonymity Breeds Contempt, Julie Zhuo (as well as every Psychology class I've ever taken) touches on one of the main reasons why trolling is so popular.  She notes that "research has shown that anonymity increases unethical behavior."  Cyberspace is the ideal place create, or fabricate your image.  Even social networking profiles can be falsified, so how can we truly know who anyone really is online?  Zhuo says that by "promoting accountability most trolls wouldn't...say to another person's face half the things they anonymously post on the Internet."  The freedom that comes with anonymity can be a very intoxicating drug and one that some won't be willing to give up without a fight.  But how do we make people accountable when they can create any persona they wish?  I doubt very much that online users would approve of signing in using their social security numbers to verify their identity.  Also, privacy concerns would prevent the releasing of IP addresses to the masses as a way of identity verification.  If there is little that can be done to fully prevent bullying in the "real" world, I don't see how anyone can stop it altogether from occurring online.

Despite all of the benefits the Internet has given us, Schwartz notes that it has also created a new place to generate hate.  He states that, "technology, apparently, does more than harness the wisdom of the crowd, it can also intensify hatred as well."  I do agree with one Troll on how to get rid of the Trolling problem.  If we stop taking them seriously, they may not fully go away, but we will take some of the wind out of their sails.  The coverage that they get from their antics, at least in part, fuels their desire to continue.  My advice: If you come across someone online who you consider "trollish," try to avoid them and don't feed their need for notoriety.

What is Trolling?

I would like to start off with , What is Trolling per Wikimedia it states in general : someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking other users into a desired emotional response[1] or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.

It is a way of hiding because there to afraid of being confronted and a chicken's way out of a real discussion. From Old French: A hunting term, a mythological monster,: In Icelandic, purs to be trolling, to troll about: In Japanese, tsuri means fishing and refers to intentionally misleading posts whose only purpose is to get the readers to react: In Korean nak-si also means fishing, is used to refer to Internet trolling attempts, as well as purposefully misleading post titles, In Thai, the term "krean" (เกรียน) has been adopted to address Internet troll. No matter the country or language it all means the same "Trolling is a game about identity deception, and being brand a Troll is quite damaging to one's online reputation regardless were you live or our on the internet from.

Some people need to say things anonymous as a way of venting, or to relieve the extra stress they are going through, other people are just down right mean. Some on the advantages of being anonymous are: for security, and just to be able to get on the internet and not have your daily constantly monitored.

Here are some ways for each person to combat: proxies who provide a layer of protection between you and the server for which you need information, a website I like is All-Net Tools were you can run a proxy test. There is also Anonymity programs to be a little more reliable and speed, with the proxy it will slow your system down some.

Advantages of not being anonymous: are if you want as many people to now you as possible, not concerned with protecting your identity, personal information or emotions. Each person has to decide how much they want out there or not out there. No matter where you go on the internet, you can be watched. The question is do you wish to be know or not?


 

 

Trolling and Strolling


I been in a Talking Heads mood lately. So I went on Youtube and viewed their song " Cities" live in Rome from 1980. Great track live. As I am looking at the video, I realize that I never really look at the comments because ideally I am just excited I found the video and song. So, because of the awareness of this class has bought to me, I looked at the comments and I actually figured out what Trolling meant and seeing the comments made me realize how much people love to pile on.

Its true. When we see someone fall from a distance on a sheet of ice we laugh and say " Wow that sucks hahaha". But they never hear it. Or when your driving and you see someone pulled over by a cop. Your first thought? " Sucks to them oh well.

On the Youtube video for " Cities" as Tina Weyworth the bassist for the Talking Heads starts to move to the groove of the song, someone posts " I have a huge boner". Nice, so now when I see the song that is a thought that could pop in someone's head.

The NY times article I read had a interesting fact about this issue or problem in terms of a disorder.Psychological research has proven again and again that anonymity increases unethical behavior. Road rage bubbles up in the relative anonymity of one’s car. And in the online world, which can offer total anonymity, the effect is even more pronounced. People — even ordinary, good people — often change their behavior in radical ways. There’s even a term for it: the online disinhibition effect.

The Aspects of Self points out the piece about a virtual world and how we put ourselves out there.Its true I believe people put a version of themselves out there for the virtual world to see. For example, the quiet person at your work or school could be a angry blogger posting in secret on how much they hate the latest pop sensation. You would never know who they are because the virtual world provides a way to be a different from the true self.

Trolling is to me, acting out what sometimes is not the social norm. You can be a bully in the cyberworld because you might not be in the real world. I often believe people want to try out things but are afraid to but with the internet expanding by the seconds, you can be a different self.

My view of the trolling situation is sad. But people who are in pop culture should know with their fame will come comments. It is in our nature to pick on people who are doing better than us. We just do it now for the whole world to see in the privacy of your wifi hotspot.

Online Anonymity


I remember when I was in junior high. I would go over to my friend's house and we would chat with guys online. Sometimes we would lie about our ages and say that we were 18. Even when we didn't lie and we said that we were 13 we had guys talking to us that were in their 20's, 30's, and 40's. Some of these guys wanted to discuss really inappropriate topics with us. They also offered us things like dinners and trips. We never accepted anything and we never gave out our addresses, but if we did we could have found ourselves in a lot of trouble. In this case the anonymity of the men in chat rooms is a big disadvantage. They probably would not go out on the street and approach a young girl, but since they feel relatively safe online they do things they normally wouldn't. I was really happy to see the show "To Catch a Predator". It's nice to know that someone is doing something to try to stop these men.

Trolling... I don't think that it is much different than a person talking badly about someone behind their back. I'm not sure why people do it. Maybe it's like Prof. Proctor said "people feel so comfortable saying things online that they wouldn't say in person". They want to express certain opinions, but maybe they are afraid of the reaction they would receive so they test them out anonymously on the internet. So if there was a way to identify people when they logged into a website it would probably cut down on the negative comments or trolling. Or maybe some people just need a good psychiatrist.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Trolling is a art

Trollface - the universal mascot of trolls.

The internet gives us a tremendous ability to experiment, particularly with our identities. Thanks to anonymity, we can play different roles without being discovered. Online relationships can become just as emotional and complex as in real life, and games like World of Warcraft have huge social factions. Sometimes our online selves are quite different; I have a friend whose mother got "married" to another player in EverQuest. Humans have long been obsessed with pretending and playing, but we're juggling more identities than ever. As Sherry Turkle discussed in Aspects of the Self, the freedom to have separate online personae can be a positive outlet and a means of self discovery, or it can exacerbate our worst tendencies.

We all encounter some degree of trolling in our daily browsing habits. Youtube comments are notorious for it (some people have even have taken combat mechanisms into their own hands). Pretty much every popular movie has a troll thread on IMDB. It's already difficult to determine the tone of communication on the internet, with subtler devices like sarcasm often getting misinterpreted. Sometimes it's difficult to tell when we're being trolled. Some forms of trolling can have very real effects on our lives, though, particularly when perpetrated by groups. Consider the recent case of Jessica Leonhardt (aka Jessi Slaughter). A foul-mouthed 11-year-old girl made a Youtube video that quickly made her the target of the infamous /b/ board (a sub-forum on 4chan.org where every poster is anonymous and where trolls often congregate). This lead to /b/ finding her family's personal information and barraging them with calls and even death threats. Did /b/ go too far? In this case, I'd say yes. Her family may have handled the situation poorly, but someone that age should be allowed to make a mistake. This is just one of many cases where /b/ has taken things to an extreme with serious real-life consequences. Though as we've seen in the case of Jason Fortuny, individuals can take things to an extreme as well. An anonymous group is much harder to regulate, though, and /b/ often feeds its own mischievous inertia.

So, what causes trolling in the first place? As Turkle discussed, the way our lives bleed into our play-acting (on the internet or elsewhere) can be very complex. A bad parental relationship could lead to a MUD player exposing other players' identities. These connections are completely invisible to those of us spectating on the internet. Most of the time, though, I think the cause can be formulated much more simply. To paraphrase Penny Arcade (warning - vulgar language), normal person + anonymity + audience = troll. The internet isn't the cause of trolling; it just provides the anonymity and audience in the equation. The impulse to troll has been around long before the existence of the internet.

Some have suggested "lifting the veil of anonymity" to combat trolling. As harmful as trolling can be, I disagree. As Mattathias Schwartz said in The Trolls Among Us, "All vigorous debates shade into trolling at the perimeter; it is next to impossible to excise the trolling without snuffing out the debate." We can't eliminate trolling without destroying free speech, and anonymity online has positive uses as well (whistle blowing and positive identity experimentation, for instance). To stop all insulting behavior is an unreasonable censure. I don't think there's any way to make trolls accountable without diminishing anonymity. Some have suggested the solution of majority moderation to flag harmful comments. For instance, letting users join together to flag or ban a commenter, much like the wizard's final solution in A Rape in Cyberspace. Sites like Reddit have a democratic system where every comment is voted up or down, and comments that are voted below a certain threshold are hidden from users. The problem with this is the resulting prevalence of the "hive mind." Non-troll commenters with unpopular opinions get crushed swiftly, leading to a rather single-minded mob mentality. Some checks and balances are good, but even that can go too far. I think the solution is ultimately a combination of education and common sense. Educated internet users won't be abused so easily. Teaching people how to make and store secure passwords will make them less vulnerable to hacking. Parents tracking their childrens' internet activity goes a long way. Since much of trolling is based on attention-seeking, simply ignoring trolls can solve the issue in most cases. As the classic adage goes, "don't feed the trolls."

Bridging over the Trolls


Is trolling really a phenomenon produced by the web? I think not. Take A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift. While satirical in nature, he obviously meant for his work to be taken seriously in a way other than the face value of his rhetoric. It's not a perfect example, but it hits on something much larger- what some trolling tries to accomplish.

As seen in the NY Time article by Mattathias Schwartz, some of the more infamous trolls aren't acting solely on the premise of maximum lulz, but to stir up controversy, push the boundaries of users' capabilities online, and force us into thinking about these digital boundaries in terms that may or may not be equatable to those we create in our physical world. Antagonistic yes, but they're admittedly acting in a moral and legal gray area, and are a great case study on how the public reacts to what they read on the internet.

“It should be even more so with anonymous comments. They shouldn’t start off with a credibility rating of, say, 0. It should be more like negative-30.”--Dan Gillmor

So how can we determine when we're being deceived online? Well, everybody needs to fully take the position of the skeptic if we want to be safe. The problem with falling into trolling rests not with the one trolling, but his victims. They are the ones who believe whatever ludicrous statements the troll makes, who become defensive at unwarranted attacks from anonymous people, and usually lash out in anger (much to the audience's amusement) back at the troll themselves. As seen in A Rape in Cyberspace, we all have some sort of emotional investment in our online selves and activities.

The problem is that we can never be certain if we are being deceived online unless we are talking with somebody we already trust or can verify. This is exactly why I endorse the skeptical approach, if I have no way of knowing who you are besides a potential username which you provide to me, then it would be most wise to take what's said with a couple grains of salt. Like Dan Gillmor says in the above quote, we need credibility that starts at a "-30" when reading the unfiltered comments and suggestions of anonymous users. We wouldn't take dosage advice for our post-operation medication from anonymous sources online, so why would we take these people seriously in other areas?

So what measures do we take to deal with trolling? Wisen up to them. Recognize their games, attitudes, and how they work while remaining diligent on everything you read online. They can't fool you if you think real hard before you act.

Monday, February 14, 2011

The video I checked out online was LADY GAGA – BAD ROMANCE , because it is one of the most watched videos on youtube. People are hilariously ignorant….

for every one good comment there is a one troll comment...

Depending on the person, the advantages and disadvantages of remaining anonymous varies. For myself, I think remaining anonymous is not a big deal. I do not go around negatively commenting on people’s pictures, articles, and videos, and if I decide to comment, it will always be something nice.

Blockquote“if you have nothing nice to say don’t say it at all.”

Of course, if everyone followed that saying, the world would be a much sweeter and kinder place.

I do believe that remaining anonymous is that person’s own right. If they do not want to be known as who they really are online, there is not much you and I can do about it. An advantage of being anonymous is the obvious reason, saying or writing something that you can’t be traced back to. Also, if you have an alias online, you can live out somebody that you might’ve always wanted to be like or just let loose without thinking too much about it. The disadvantages definitely outweigh the advantages. I mean in the midst of you feeling better about bi**hing out at someone online anonymously, the other person may be hurt or in fury. Also, you may be trying to live out your dream of being someone you always wished to be or not be, but that is also identity theft to some extent with other legal issues. I guess what I’m saying is, the damage caused by staying anonymous has a lot more consequences then the anonymous person getting their two minutes of fame or vent out. For example, the teens that died mentioned in our article “Where Anonymity Breeds Contempt”, where tribute pages went viral and even reached and disrupted the homes of the parents of the girls. Those situations took being anonymous to something totally on another level, it became bullying and harassment.

People are just a lot more comfortable saying things online because its not direct, face-to-face communication, therefore, it is easier. Many people cannot look you in your eyes and say mean things, whereas online you can become who you want and no one would even know (maybe).

I think the web created this phenomenon because the web is already an open source. Anything can happen online, especially nowadays with all the social networking and sharing information business. Not only do people want to be able to comment on others postings but also the people posting want comments themselves. And once the person posting allows others to comment, can you really get mad at someone criticizing your public work?

Honestly, any text communication or any communication online, can be easily miscommunicated and misinterpreted. So to determine whether you are being deceived online, or not, is a bit sketchy. I say this because I could go on your page and comment on your video “wow this sucks” but does that mean I deceived you online, or is it merely my opinion? To look further than that, if someone is pretending to be you by creating a fake profile, then that’s deceiving. But you would never know unless you did an extensive search like we did for this class. OR if they intentionally sent you a message or something. It is a creep fest online.

To combat some of these insane creepy issues many websites now give the FLAG or REPORT option. This allows a person to basically click a simple link and report it as SPAM or offensive. That’s a improvement. As far as any other developments, I’m not sure. Like I said before, you can’t control what people do online. On most websites, when accounts are created, a verification email is sent to make sure the email is real and the person is real. But the internet becomes crazier and more intelligent day-by-day and new bots are invented to pass those security measures sometimes. It’s true that it’s a dangerous place out in the real world, but in today’s age, it is a much more dangerous place in cyberspace.

Trolls are looking for attention, they feed off of it. People should know now to talk to strangers and everyone is entitled to their opinions. You cant please everyone, ignore the trolls and report them if things get out of control.

If you are really interested in creeping online, here’s how. (lol)