My latest article about Internet Trolling, published in SloDive.com

Sometimes back, there was news: The Internet trolls have forced Geohot to quit jailbreak research. Like him, you all must have your own experiences of being trolled some time or the other and some of you might also have gone through the dilemma of quitting social media because of it.
This problem is spreading like a forest fire and everyone seems to be talking about Trolling. Today we will check what & why Trolls are, how to identify them, should Trolling be allowed or not, and how to control Trolls. The Internet trolls have forced Geohot to quit jailbreak research.

General Definition

Internet Trolls

In Internet lingo, a troll is someone who posts rude, seditious, offensive, or off-topic messages all over the web, such as blogs, social networking sites, news, chat rooms & discussion forums, with the primary objective of disrupting otherwise normal discussion and of provoking other users into a desired response. If you check a few of their comments you will notice that most of the time they don’t even read the article they are commenting on. They just pick a few words and post their piercing remarks to disrupt normal proceedings.

Dictionary Meaning

Internet Trolls
The usage of the word troll has developed over time. It might have had the original meaning of supernatural or magical with an overlay of malignant and perilous. Another likely suggestion is that it means “someone who behaves violently” Source. A troll is a mythological creature, related to elves, dwarfs, or monsters. Troll is also an internet term for a person who willfully, through obscene, offensive, or hateful actions (a.k.a. “trolling”), attempts to disrupt a community or garner reactions, attention, and controversy. Source

Troller Coaster

Internet Trolls
Trolls post a message which is primarily intended to disrupt people and community with no real reason for doing so. Earlier trolls use to target forums or communities having celebrities, news, politics, or religion as a foundation of discussion. But nowadays this trend is on a steeping rise on every blog, community, and forum. Most of us want to find out a logical intellect of trolling to curb it on time.

Why Does People Troll?

Internet Trolls
In cyberspace, where one can be anonymous and can fake his identity, this sense of discreetness gives an individual the confidence to write anything and everything. This illusion of power leads them to write derogatory remarks and create pain in the neck. They feel they are becoming famous and people react to their comments faster than on others. But they forget that the real courage is to say it in front of a person and not from behind the veils. For them, the irritation of others is the approval of their identity. Some existing trolls are also pushing up this phenomenon with the help of the Internet. You can actually find more blogs and articles on “how to become a troll” then on “how to handle trolls”. For most of us distinguishing Trolls from genuine critics. Let’s have a look at traits that make trolls different from general critical remarks.

Typical Characteristics of Trolls

Internet Trolls

  • Using Fake looking IDs and suspicious IP addresses.
  • Repetitive comments on the same blogs/ posts mainly to seek attention.
  • Their comments are abusive, gross, rude, and often off-topic.
  • They don’t use one ID for a longer time as they are banned or deleted frequently for posting derogatory remarks.
  • IDs can be faked but writing style can’t be.
  • They have the strategy of Divide and Win
  • They mostly use several identities to support their own comments.
  • They may attack below the belt to get the desired response.
  • They leave the message board flooded with irrelevant messages and replies.
  • They are the ones who often cries foul plays and that moderators are snatching their right of expression (speech).
  • They hardly follow the site’s rules or social responsibility.
  • Their preys are mostly celebrities, un-moderated sites, or regular users of the site to catch the attention of more people.

Should Trolling be allowed?

Internet Trolls
There is no definite redress for this burning issue. Different people have different notions to tackle this problem. According to one segment of people, trolls existence is just like having abusive people in the real-world so we should grapple with trolls as we do with real people. Some feel that trolls should have the right to speech.

Allowing Trolling Has Following Advantages:

  • Trolls give a fresh perspective to discussions.
  • Trolling add spice to otherwise suave web pages.
  • Visitors feel that the Author is liberal and takes criticism with the same ease as he would allow compliments.
  • Sometimes it’s ribaldry which adds more visitors because people want to read piquant things.
  • Having only polite and genteel comments would make the cyber world unsubstantial.

But the other segment is against allowing Trolling to their sites.

They feel Allowing Trolling has the following Disadvantages:

  • Trolls are like weeds. If not trimmed on time they can crowd out.
  • They can really force genuine readers of a site to be on the back seat by targeting them.
  • Some people can’t take the pressure created by Trolls and thus discontinues the cyber world forever.
  • Responding to trolls give them undeserved recognition.
  • Reverting to them may impact some authors’ peace of mind and thus creativity as well because continuous trolling can make them hangdog for no reason.

How to Handle Trolls?

Internet Trolls

  • The easiest way is to ignore these Trolls. They want identification and by responding to their baseless remarks we just add fuel to fire.
  • Let them have their say till the time they are not abusive or offensive.
  • If you are a moderator, You can design your subscription page in such a way that you get all the desired information about the member so that it can be checked in case of any botheration.
  • If you are a moderator, you can always block the IP address of the miscreant.
  • You can write a mail to the webmaster with evidence to point out any trolling activity going on which might have skipped from their eyes.
  • If you are a moderator, you can post some information about Trolls on your site so that it’s easy for people to identify them.
  • If you respond to a troll, don’t indulge in an argument as it would ultimately benefit the trolls.
  • If you get any negative response don’t mark it as Troll at once. Check his/her previous posts, re-check his/her current remarks, and then react.

In the end, Ignoring, blocking, and moderating are the superpowers given by the cyber world to webmasters. Government authorities can also come up with coherent laws to tackle the situation. Another option is to let the readers decide whether they want a particular person as their peer or not. At last, they are the ones for whom every blog and article is meant for and it should be their decision what they want to hear and what not. We would also like our readers to share their views on this issue.

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