Shut the trolls up in their caves

Posted: December 29, 2014 in Ranting
Tags: , ,

Once upon a time there were trolls. They were part of Scandinavian folklore. They were hideous, evil creatures, large or small, living in places like caves, doers of evil deeds, something to be feared and avoided.

Then trolls became part of the fairy tale canon, hiding under bridges. Tolkien made them first mock-comic in The Hobbit before reverting to them being huge evil creatures.

Come the cyber age and we have another form of troll – the Internet trolls. And they exhibit cyber-characteristics more like the original Scandinavian mythical creatures. But there is an important difference.  The original was a mythical creature trapped in its own pre-determined nature of the mythos. However the modern trolls, while still nasty, evil filth, hiding in their cyber-caves, elect to take their actions. It has been their choice to go out into cyber-land to cause problems, spread abuse, to lash out at others for no more reason than that they want to. They are gutless cowards who would never have the guts to act like that to people’s faces. Or if they did, sooner or later they would be getting a knuckle sandwich for it.

There have been some well reported consequences of trolling and cyber-bulling. People have been driven to suicide. One such instance in Australia was that of Charlotte Dawson.

charlotte dawsonCharlotte Dawson was a model who ended up working in the media. As you can see from her picture, she was stunningly beautiful. And for some unearthly reason she became the target of vicious trolling. Dawson had a history of mental health issues and during the course of her fighting back against the filth, she was driven back into psychiatric care over it all. She kept fighting back, becoming a face for anti-bullying campaigns, but that seemed to drive the trolls even harder, giving her more garbage. While we will never know for sure, there seems little doubt that this continuing hateful and utterly pointless trolling helped drive her ultimate demise. In February 2014 Charlotte Dawson was found to have committed suicide.

Somehow I doubt that many of the trolls targeting her with hatred and abuse were very remorseful.

For reasons that completely escape me, it seems that it is those who stand up for good causes that become targets for these gutless pieces of shit. For example there was the recent #illridewithyou Twitter hashtag movement that went viral worldwide in next to no time. One individual started the movement, inspired by fears for innocent people of non-Caucasian appearance, being potentially targeted for harassment on public transport. Such harassment was hardly anything new but this was with a illridewithyoubackdrop of the hostage taking in Lindt Café in Sydney. Another person suggested why don’t we use a hashtag of #illridewithyou.

So what actually happened there? One person, Monica Goodidea, came up with a great yet simple idea (many of the best ideas are simple) and another person, Felicity Hashtag agreed with it and came up with an otherwise innocuous hashtag for use on Twitter. And there are a HUGE amount of hashtags already in common use. But this one went viral within hours. The originators were besieged by the media.

And the trolling started.

It should be now be obvious that I am not using the real names. Why? Because they have been reported widely enough in the media as it is and not always in a responsible way. And the trolls have been nasty. For example earlier today a Twitter account by the name of David Armstrong (@truth9876) trolled Felicity Hashtag with “young & stupid foolish bitch – GO DIE”. Fortunately that account appears to have already been killed off by Twitter. But it demonstrates vile nature of it all. And why? Because these trolls are vile, gutless, cowardly pieces of shit who get their rocks off by hiding in their filthy little cyber-caves, attacking others for the fun of it, safe in their relative anonymity.

So how do we combat these scum? The laws of various jurisdictions are yet to fully catch up with the reality of things like social media – and don’t rely too much on the likes of Twitter and Facebook to be terribly responsible on such matters. Despite things like various ‘rules’ and ‘guidelines’ they have a record for being quite slow to react. For example there was a Facebook page spewing out filth against Indigenous Australians. It was HIGHLY offensive and nothing less than hate speech. Facebook received many complaints – and they routinely dismissed them! Until they discovered they were about to become the subject of formal investigative proceedings for potential violation of Australian law for allowing that filth to remain. I then discovered just how hypocritical Facebook’s management actually were – they have a representative on a panel which supposedly advises the Australian government on matters such acceptable Internet behaviour but tried to plead innocence in the matter.

In lieu of sufficient laws, all we can do is keep reporting the trolls. Force the likes of Facebook and Twitter to kill accounts by simple weight of complaints. And campaign for more responsible social media management. And ultimately we need to do what we can to bring trolls to the ends they deserve.

Ross sig

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