Farhad Manjoo, in the NYTimes:
The Internet may be losing the war against trolls. At the very least, it isn’t winning. And unless social networks, media sites and governments come up with some innovative way of defeating online troublemakers, the digital world will never be free of the trolls’ collective sway.
That’s the dismal judgment of the handful of scholars who study the broad category of online incivility known as trolling, a problem whose scope is not clear, but whose victims keep mounting.
“As long as the Internet keeps operating according to a click-based economy, trolls will maybe not win, but they will always be present,” said Whitney Phillips, a lecturer at Humboldt State University and the author of “This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things,” a forthcoming book about her years of studying bad behavior online. “The faster that the whole media system goes, the more trolls have a foothold to stand on. They are perfectly calibrated to exploit the way media is disseminated these days.”…
“As more high-profile cases come to light, particularly of celebrities and high-profile figures being chased off of social media, more people will view trolling as a way of having an effect on these otherwise apparently untouchable figures from the safety of their own smartphones and homes,” Claire Hardaker, a lecturer in linguistics at Lancaster University in England who has studied trolling, said in an email…
I’m grateful BJ is still
small select enough that hand-approving new addresses and Cole’s extremely restrictive use of the ban-hammer has kept us, so far, mostly free of this particularly vile subspecies of the troll plague, at least.