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TIME: How Trolls Are Ruining the Internet


sanahtlig
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TIME: How Trolls Are Ruining the Internet

Some choice quotes and my thoughts on them:

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The people who relish this online freedom [to speak anonymously with no consequences] are called trolls

 ...
Trolling is attention-seeking behavior.  It is a specific type of behavior that's facilitated by disinhibition.  It happens ANYWAY in real life, it's just not on public display.  When a girl is raped while drunken friends laugh and jeer, is that supposed to be any better?  The Internet just makes the ugly side of humanity more accessible, allowing us to watch it happening in real time.

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What trolls do for the lulz ranges from clever pranks to harassment to violent threats. There’s also doxxing–publishing personal data, such as Social Security numbers and bank accounts

That's a rather... broad definition of "trolling": jokes, pranks, harassment, cyberbullying, doxxing, identity theft.

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A 2014 study published in the psychology journal Personality and Individual Differences found that the approximately 5% of Internet users who self-identified as trolls scored extremely high in the dark tetrad of personality traits: narcissism, psychopathy, Machiavellianism and, especially, sadism.

Circular definition identified.

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Whitney Phillips, a literature professor at Mercer University

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"You want to say this is the bad guys, but it’s a problem of us.”

...

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But trolling has become the main tool of the alt-right, an Internet-grown reactionary movement that works for men’s rights and against immigration and may have used the computer from Weird Science to fabricate Donald Trump.

I thought we were talking about Internet trolls?  Now we're talking about Trump and his fanatic followers?

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[Alt-righters] derisively call their adversaries “social-justice warriors” and believe that liberal interest groups purposely exploit their weakness to gain pity, which allows them to control the levers of power. Trolling is the alt-right’s version of political activism, and its ranks view any attempt to take it away as a denial of democracy.

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The alt-right was galvanized by Gamergate, a 2014 controversy in which trolls tried to drive critics of misogyny in video games away from their virtual man cave.

But... GamerGate isn't alt-right?  And has nothing to do with Trump?

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There’s such a culture of viciously making fun of each other on their message boards that they have this very thick skin. They’re all trained up.

They say this like Internet message boards are training grounds for Internet terrorists.

 

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Expressing socially unacceptable views like Weev’s is becoming more socially acceptable. Sure, just like there are tiny, weird bookstores where you can buy neo-Nazi pamphlets, there are also tiny, weird white-supremacist sites on the web. But some of the contributors on those sites now go to places like 8chan or 4chan, which have a more diverse crowd of meme creators, gamers, anime lovers and porn enthusiasts. Once accepted there, they move on to Reddit, the ninth most visited site in the U.S., on which users can post links to online articles and comment on them anonymously. Reddit believes in unalloyed free speech; the site only eliminated the comment boards “jailbait,” “creepshots” and “beatingwomen” for legal reasons.

So apparently the progression of the Internet hierarchy is 4chan -> Reddit.  I'm sure 4chan would love to hear this.

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But last summer, Reddit banned five more discussion groups for being distasteful. The one with the largest user base, more than 150,000 subscribers, was “fatpeoplehate.” It was a particularly active community that reveled in finding photos of overweight people looking happy, almost all women, and adding mean captions.

Well that's not nice.

[same paragraph]

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“What you see on Reddit that is visible is at least 10 times worse behind the scenes,” says Dan McComas, a former Reddit employee. “Imagine two users posting about incest and taking that conversation to their private messages, and that’s where the really terrible things happen. That’s where we saw child porn and abuse and had to do all of our work with law enforcement.”

What does this have to do with trolling again?

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I think I agree with most of Sanahtlig's comments about the posts. since you're also a philosopher, i'm sure you know about Polemical rhetoric and appeal to emotion.

Those two about sum up all there is that you've quoted. It's amazing how people can divert from a central theme by unnecessarily adding their own personal emotions.

Pray thee, do those.. Ignorant.. people live on this earth? If so, i'm taking my leave of this planet.

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This whole article has this implicit false premise that the internet was a nice and flowery place at some point. And that place is now being destroyed somehow. Which is absurd to say the least.

Whenever I hear someone say something like "The internet is being ruined" I automatically assume the person talking has lived a rather sheltered life or they are really bored and don't know what to write about.

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17 minutes ago, dfbreezy said:

I think I agree with most of Sanahtlig's comments about the posts. since you're also a philosopher, i'm sure you know about Polemical rhetoric and appeal to emotion.

I'm not really a philosopher.  I just use that as my forum title because of my penchant for arguing for its own sake.

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10 minutes ago, Kurisu-Chan said:

You're a big troll. :holo:

And i mean, a real troll, not what that article tries to imply. 

Correction: I'm a polemic.

Quote

po·lem·ic  (pə-lĕm′ĭk)
n.
1. A controversial argument, especially one refuting or attacking a specific opinion or doctrine.
2. A person engaged in or inclined to controversy, argument, or refutation.
adj. also po·lem·i·cal (-ĭ-kəl)
Of or relating to a controversy, argument, or refutation.

 

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3 hours ago, sanahtlig said:

That's a rather... broad definition of "trolling": jokes, pranks, harassment, cyberbullying, doxxing, identity theft.

I remember back when trolling related to the specific way people would control conversations and goad forum users into fiery arguments. In one sport forum I used to visit, we used to call the WUMs or 'wind-up merchants', which is a gentler term that means basically the same thing. Some trolls used to be quite fun and harmless.

These days 'trolling' is any sort of negative behaviour on the internet, it's another prime example of how misusing a term creates confusion and vague imagery. It's gone from a rather precise and specific description of someone's behaviour to a vague catch-all (which are usually fairly useless.) Basically I can't  take any sort of article about trolling seriously when they don't know what trolling is, it means any conclusions or arguments they make are suspect.

Good find though :) 

 

2 hours ago, Nosebleed said:

Whenever I hear someone say something like "The internet is being ruined" I automatically assume the person talking has lived a rather sheltered life or they are really bored and don't know what to write about.

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Some other reasons the internet was better [in the 90s]:

  1. Not everyone was on it. While there were plenty of trolls and not-so-smart people already, there was a certain headiness to it all. Maybe it was pretentious -- who knows -- but there was a lot more interesting experimentation going on. Sites like Word.com, Charged.com, Suck.com andSlate.com were changing the way we were entertained.
  2. There was no social networking. Your high school friends weren't online, weren't posting pictures of their children and weren't announcing their relationship status.
  3. It was slow. As much as we love instant streaming video, the slowness of the internet forced people to return to the real world and find other forms of interaction.
  4. Cool Site of the Day. The internet was so small that we looked to this one DJ-like site to tell us what was new and noteworthy. It was exciting, surprising and sometimes amazing.
  5. It was innocent. The world was still super optimistic, the economy was irrationally on fire and criminals hadn't yet realized that the internet was a great place to do all sorts of nasty things.

https://www.engadget.com/2013/01/23/the-internet-used-to-be-better/

Can confirm, the internet was better in the 90s. IMO it's mostly due to reason number 1 - not everyone was on it :P ... no, this isn't nostalgia talking ...

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The fact that the writer decided to only make one group (Trumpers) as trolls automatically shows the bias of his/her perceptions. Truth is, anyone on the internet can be a troll, regardless of political ideology. In fact, I'd say trolls probably don't have much ideology, or they hide it, and mostly just try to piss off anyone they can.

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1 hour ago, Rooke said:

https://www.engadget.com/2013/01/23/the-internet-used-to-be-better/

Can confirm, the internet was better in the 90s. IMO it's mostly due to reason number 1 - not everyone was on it :P ... no, this isn't nostalgia talking ...

It ultimately boils down to the internet evolving into something that allows for really quick and easy spreading of information, meaning one stupid person can have a larger impact than they could back in the 90's.

i.e in the 90's shitty people existed too, they just didn't have as big of a reach as they do today.

Imo it's inevitable as the internet becomes a bigger replacement to real world interactions, meaning instead of being dicks outside we'll be dicks online.

I wonder if we'll ever reach such a shift where going outside is actually less toxic than being online. Or maybe we're already at that point (although all the kids playing pokemon mgo on their smartphones makes me nt want to believe that):

Also, I'm sorry Rooke but every point in that list reads like some angry hipster wrote it. :P

 

I think what people never consider is the amount of positives such an advanced internet has brought to our lives though. People now focus so much on all the negative aspects it brings while completely forgetting just how amazing the internet as a technology it is in its current form.

Of course there are negatives, but we need to learn to accept the good and the bad and work with it. It comes with the package, it's a trade off, we can't have everything our way, that's not how life works.

I think the perfect analogy to this scenario is what happened when TOR was created. The FBI needed it to stay anonymous online, but if only the FBI used it, then everybody would know it's them when a TOR connection came through, and so the trade off was that they let everyone use it, even though that is acknowledging the dangers that come with it (and I'm sure you're all a ware of thekind of vile things tht can end up on the deep web). So for the greater good (anonymity online), they allowed the possibility of negatives as well. 

We can't have a perfect internet where everyone is nice to each other. We can mitigate things and moderate sites to a certain extent, and we can educate people and whatnot, but the trade off with having the kind of internet we do today is that there will always be shitty people trying to mess it up, and we have to accept that's simply part of the ackage and move on to work on more productive things instead of writing clickbait articles that serve no purpose.

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23 minutes ago, Nosebleed said:

i.e in the 90's shitty people existed too, they just didn't have as big of a reach as they do today.

Also, I'm sorry Rooke but every point in that list reads like some angry hipster wrote it

Heh, an angry hipster would probably write it more like this:

Of course he later expanded his routine and took that joke to a fabulously hilarious and very true place.

 

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6 minutes ago, Nosebleed said:

I think what people never consider is the amount of positives such an advanced internet has brought to our lives though. People now focus so much on all the negative aspects it brings while completely forgetting just how amazing the internet as a technology it is in its current form.

Wikipedia is amazing.  It's where I send my Amazon charity money.  VNDB, as a small-scale effort to chronicle VNs, is also great.  Text hookers allowed me to learn a new language.  If not for the Internet, I never would've discovered eroge at all.

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39 minutes ago, sanahtlig said:

Wikipedia is amazing.  It's where I send my Amazon charity money.  VNDB, as a small-scale effort to chronicle VNs, is also great.  Text hookers allowed me to learn a new language.  If not for the Internet, I never would've discovered eroge at all.

Wouldn't a live without eroge be better? 

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I never understand why people that know nothing about internet culture try and report on it.  Anyone that's ever used reddit or 4chan knows that the two userbases mainly loathe each other, with 4chan especially loathing reddit.  Trolls aren't only on certain sites, they're everywhere (really easy way to find them is to go to the comments section on news articles).  Trolling isn't only apparent in people with conservative views, and anyone that seriously thinks that is ignorant and trying to confirm their own bias.

This really is a good example of clickbait journalism that was written without that much good researching. It sounds to me like the writer was unable to be even mildly objective and just found sources that confirmed their own opinions, if they didn't just straight up document their own opinions.  I've lost a lot of respect for TIME magazine over the years, and pieces like this are good examples of why (that, and that article about the new Ghostbusters movie that urged people to see it only because "a bunch of misogynists" hated the idea of it and barely tried to sell the movie on the actual movie itself).  The internet can admittedly be really shitty, but anyone that didn't already know that is either naive and sheltered or has literally just started using the internet to interact with random people online. 

Internet usage 101:  The internet can and will be shitty, and if you can't deal with it, don't leave certain websites.

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1 hour ago, Zenophilious said:

This really is a good example of clickbait journalism that was written without that much good researching. It sounds to me like the writer was unable to be even mildly objective and just found sources that confirmed their own opinions, if they didn't just straight up document their own opinions.  I've lost a lot of respect for TIME magazine over the years, and pieces like this are good examples of why (that, and that article about the new Ghostbusters movie that urged people to see it only because "a bunch of misogynists" hated the idea of it and barely tried to sell the movie on the actual movie itself).

I'm a regular TIME reader and I generally respect them as a journalistic outlet (though I rank them below The Atlantic because their online articles are usually superficial news coverage--but on important topics at least!).  I literally saw the headline for this, and that it was a featured article, and linked it to my friend with the line "This should be entertaining."  I was not disappointed.  Well, I WAS disappointed, but was entertained nonetheless.

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Trolling is a gamergate conspiracy to keep women out of video games and politics.

Your first mistake was reading TIME to begin with, they are about as bias as one can get and everything they talk about they will link to politics any way they can. To them trolling is not people purposefully riling people up for their own personal amusement, it's everything that's right-wing, unfeministic and things that make them feel uncomfortable. 

Left-wing media is no different than right-wing media.

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