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According to American Scientist...

 
 
Reply Tue 30 May, 2017 08:50 pm
Anyone Can Become a Troll

Analysis and simulation of online discussion sections show circumstances that can cause civil commentators to engage in aggressive behavior.


Quote:
“Fail at life. Go bomb yourself.” Comments such as this one, found attached to a CNN article about how women perceive themselves, are prevalent today across the internet, whether the location is Facebook, Reddit, or a news website. Such commenting behavior can range from profanity and name-calling to personal attacks, sexual harassment, or hate speech.

A recent Pew Internet Survey found that 4 out of 10 people online have been harassed on the internet, with far more having witnessed such behavior. Trolling has become so rampant that several websites have even resorted to completely removing comments.

Many believe that trolling is solely done by a small, vocal minority of sociopathic individuals. This belief has been reinforced not only in the media, but also in past research on trolling, which focused on interviewing these individuals. Some studies even showed that trolls have predisposing personal and biological traits, such as sadism and a propensity to seek excessive stimulation.


A whole bunch of interesting stuff found in link above...

Quote:
Nonetheless, much more work is still needed to address trolling. Understanding the role of organized trolling can limit some types of undesirable behavior.

Trolling also can vary in severity, ranging from swearing to targeted bullying, and each level of severity necessitates a different response.

It’s also important to differentiate between the impact of a troll comment and the author’s intent: Did the troll mean to hurt others, or was he or she just trying to express a different viewpoint? This distinction can help separate undesirable individuals from those who just need help communicating their ideas more effectively.

When online discussions break down, it’s not just sociopaths who are to blame. We are also at fault. Many “trolls” are just people like ourselves who are having a bad day. Understanding that we are all responsible for both the inspiring and the depressing conversations we have on the internet is key to having more productive online discussions.
 
hightor
 
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Reply Wed 31 May, 2017 02:35 am
@McGentrix,
Is there a difference between "trolling" and just engaging in a heated discussion with someone? I thought trolling was more generalized; a person posts a comment which he knows people will find objectionable and finds entertainment value in the responses. I can think of one A2K member in particular who seems to fit this description. In my understanding, trolling is more like putting out a piece of flypaper to catch random flies as opposed to chasing one particularly annoying fly with a flyswatter.
Quote:
Understanding that we are all responsible for both the inspiring and the depressing conversations we have on the internet is key to having more productive online discussions.

No argument there.
layman
 
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Reply Wed 31 May, 2017 03:18 am
@hightor,
Trolling, or what used to be called "trolling," anyway, has become meaningless. Accusing somebody of trolling can be trolling.

On the internet, stirrin up some **** to make things more lively can be called "trolling." In everyday life it's called "having fun."
hightor
 
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Reply Wed 31 May, 2017 03:35 am
@layman,
Quote:
In everyday life it's called "having fun."

Or "bein' an asshole"!

I try not to assume a tone of voice on the internet that I wouldn't use if I were having a face-to-face discussion with someone. But then again, if I were having a face-t0-face discussion with someone I probably wouldn't even talk about a lot of the things we deal with here on a regular basis.
0 Replies
 
maxdancona
 
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Reply Wed 31 May, 2017 04:58 am
@hightor,
Very interesting discussion. The two different definitions so far are both interesting. They represent different types of trolls with opposite goals. Let's call McGentrix's definition of trolls "abusive trolls" and Hightor's definition "provocative trolls".

Abusive trolls work to enforce social norms. Generally abusive trolls represent a point of view that fits with the social majority. The purpose of the abusive trolls is to punish dissenting opinion. The end goal is a social group with similar points of view.

Provocative trolls serve to rock the boat and to challenge social norms. A provocative troll will look for weaknesses in the prevailing view and poke at them. The purpose of the provocative troll is to upset group think and to challenge the closely held opinion of the social group.

It is a shame that the same word "troll" is used in each of these cases. They are really opposites.
layman
 
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Reply Wed 31 May, 2017 05:40 am
Quote:
Ordinary people can be influenced to troll; such behavior can end up spreading from person to person. A single troll comment in a discussion...can result in even more troll comments being made elsewhere. As this negative behavior continues to propagate, trolling can end up becoming the norm in communities.


Well, then, there ya have it, then, eh? One troll comment, and there goes the neighborhood.
0 Replies
 
McGentrix
 
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Reply Wed 31 May, 2017 06:39 am
I think trolling is both good and bad. Sometimes a trolling post will continue a conversation or divert it to a similar subject. Other times a troll post is just something best left ignored. I can't think of a single user on A2K (ok, maybe one or two exceptions) that hasn't posted one trolling post or another.
0 Replies
 
Foofie
 
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Reply Wed 31 May, 2017 02:12 pm
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:


...Provocative trolls serve to rock the boat and to challenge social norms. A provocative troll will look for weaknesses in the prevailing view and poke at them. The purpose of the provocative troll is to upset group think and to challenge the closely held opinion of the social group...


By using the same moniker (troll) for your two definitions of troll, the target of the provocative troll can more easily DISMISS the supposed troll's posting. However, since most people are firmly entrenched in their respective group think, not one moment is given to thinking that perhaps their non-troll position can be questioned. Few times in my life has another person been willing to analyze whether someone with another viewpoint can be one iota correct (aka, close minded). It's just that we are mostly so brainwashed into self-rightous smugness. It does make life easier though to be wrong, but self-rightously smug. Lastly, this also may prevail much of the time, since many do not (in the U.S.) have a vocabulary to think nuanced on many a subject. Born here, but only speak a conversational English. Now that's self-rightously smug to say. To troll, or not to troll, that is the question.,
0 Replies
 
 

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