Someone posted an interesting article on Facebook this morning, about trolls. If you are [blissfully] unaware, a “troll” is an internet colloquialism describing someone who is, in essence, an online bully and general cyber ne’er-do-well. Often, but not always, these folks create fake accounts on social media sites so that they can wage war with the world with impunity. Since I administrate a couple of Facebook groups, I am constantly having to vet requests to join the group. In some instances, I have removed people from these groups, based on their trollish behaviour.
My favourite quote from this article is: “… trolls are, by far, more likely to have narcissistic, Machiavellian, psychopathic, and sadistic personality traits. Okay, so that’s not so surprising. But Buckels and colleagues [the folks who conducted the study discussed in this article] wanted to take it a step further: how much enjoyment are these trolls getting from their online shenanigans? The researchers constructed their own Global Assessment of Internet Trolling (GAIT), which asked such questions as “I have sent people to shock websites for the lulz” and “The more beautiful and pure a thing is, the more satisfying it is to corrupt.” (Sadly, some people indeed answered these questions with a “yes”).”
I’ve had it happen where folks will cry “troll” just because someone has a differing opinion in an online debate. I think this article very well spells out what constitutes troll-dom. The conundrum remains what to do about these folks and how to expunge them from cyber space.
I’m interested to hear your experiences with and perspectives on internet trolls.