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How Trolls Are Ruining the Internet | TIME

Fantastic article at Time: “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. Not only does Trump share their attitudes, but he’s got mad trolling skills: he doxxed Republican primary opponent Senator Lindsey Graham by giving out his cell-phone number on TV and indirectly got his Twitter followers to attack GOP political strategist Cheri Jacobus so severely that her lawyers sent him a cease-and-desist order.”

For full text click here: How Trolls Are Ruining the Internet | TIME

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42 comments on “How Trolls Are Ruining the Internet | TIME

  1. carlalouise89
    September 11, 2016

    Love it!!!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. foolsmusings
    September 11, 2016

    Are we screwed as a global society? People are becoming desensitized to this sort of hatred and allowing those with real agendas of hatred to become normalized once again. We are seeing fascist right wing groups gaining more of a political voice every day and even seeing them elected. Is it so much of stretch to see this leading to wars and genocide?

    Liked by 6 people

    • acflory
      September 11, 2016

      I keep thinking that major cultural change rarely announces itself with a fanfare of trumpets. It sneaks up on us. Let’s hope we get some warning this time around.

      Liked by 4 people

    • Linn
      September 13, 2016

      Hatred and extreme views have always been around, but nowadays people can more easily get away with it as long as they complain about their free speech being stifled or accuse others of political correctness.

      I think the main reason that trolls spew out such hatred is because they simply find it entertaining.
      I call them the South park generation. They’re the people that seem to enjoy being as offensive as possible and clearly get some sexual satisfaction from their trolling, they especially gain satisfaction from talking about body parts and bodily functions a lot when trolling people (just like in south park).
      These people always talk about cunts and pussies or use homophobic slurs. Many of them have a tendency to call people they disagree with “fags”, only to follow up by making a detailed sexual description of how they want the “fag” to be raped (they clearly don’t see the irony).
      This type of behaviour have always be seen among young kids in the playground, what bothers me is that the behaviour is now also seen among adult men.
      There are men in their 30s out there that find it hilarious to send messages to a woman threatening to rape her and talking about her “pussy” and her urinary function. They get off at jokes about rape, vaginas and body functions.

      Some of these people are stuck in the mental state that most of us abandon before primary school. You could say the word “poop” to them and they would roar with laughter (and some comedy shows actually get their followers by talking about poop and vaginas all the time).

      The trolls aren’t just a sign of increased hatred, they’re a sign of adult men regressing back into childhood.
      (I say men because a vast majority of the internet trolls are men, we women have out own problems outside the internet though).

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Hariod Brawn
    September 11, 2016

    Excellent piece, thanks Pink, with some nice lines from Stein: “I found it comforting that the rate for a neo-Nazi to compromise his ideology is just two bitcoins.” The Beeb ran a piece by David Aaronovitch on Alt-Right, and featuring Milo Yiannopoulos, but I don’t know if this’ll work outside of Britain: http://bbc.in/2b9ZwUL

    No wonder nobody wants to buy Twitter. They’ve got $6bn in cash but are losing it fast – $137m last year – and growth is slowing to a crawl. Maybe Facebook will rescue them eventually, but it’s a poisoned chalice as it is, and as reflected in their share price (about 75% off since the start of 2014). I think we can live without it; I always have.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. tildeb
    September 11, 2016

    I was wondering where you’d gotten to. Glad you’ve surfaced.

    I’ve never taken trolling very seriously because it advertises the troller (is that a word?) to be a social loser full of spite and unable to hold a civil and adult conversation. Why anyone pays what they say any mind – any more than the content of a toddler having a tantrum – is a mystery to me.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Trying to survive the heat and reading. Record temperatures for September in this part of the world. And not much rain.
      I didn’t take trolling very seriously either- people like Yiannopoulos are a joke. He was fortunately laughed out of the United Kingdom. But then he goes to America and gets treated as if his opinions have some sort of value?

      Like

      • tildeb
        September 11, 2016

        Don’t ask me me. All I know is how often he gets disinvited.

        What ever happened to the idea that political foes must be on the same councils and find some way to mutually govern, one the same panels and find some way to have an adult discussion of differences? When did everything become so partisan?

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Scottie
    September 11, 2016

    I am worried about the “backlash” from the Trolls is causing people to censor what subjects they will write about. That is very unnerving. The idea that so many can be basically bullied into not covering some things is scary. It seems undemocratic to me. Be well. Hugs

    Liked by 3 people

    • tildeb
      September 12, 2016

      Taht is indeed a most worrying trend: self-censorship.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Scottie
        September 12, 2016

        Yes, if people are afraid to speak their minds only the bullies will do the talking. Then where would we be. Hugs

        Liked by 2 people

  6. inspiredbythedivine1
    September 11, 2016

    Terrific article on a very un-terrific thing. Alt-Right trolls are quite despicable. Beside trolls, the alt-right has many goblins, demons, devils, and twisted, misguided dwarves spreading their hate on the internet and elsewhere. The oompa loompas, and their orange leader, Donny Trump, are, however, simply the best at hate-mongering. They’re doing it so well, and in a country filled with people who have no more intellectual capacity than that of a three year old, that their spoiled brat of a leader, Donny “Lil Hands” Trump, is most likely going to soon be in charge of the biggest nuclear arsenal in the world. What a comforting thought, eh?

    Liked by 4 people

  7. agrudzinsky
    September 11, 2016

    The opening statement in the article explains the essence of trolling

    …what trolls feed on is attention.

    It’s mostly about grabbing attention. Attention is also the primary motivation behind Trump’s campaign and the reason for its success.

    For Trump, the whole point of political office is adulation, and adulation is the entire proof of a person’s worth. Rectitude pales next to ratings. Ethics are a sorry substitute for applause. And the methods by which a crowd is fired up don’t matter, so long as he can bask in the clapping.

    http://goo.gl/fIJc7I
    Getting people angry is, perhaps, the most effective way to grab attention.

    “Likes” are like money in social media. They feel very satisfying and people become addicted to them. It’s not surprising that social media is full of trolls.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. agrudzinsky
    September 11, 2016

    The problem can be solved by proper technology. E.g. these days spam filters are very good at detecting unsolicited crap. I’m sure, social media can easily implement filtering of hateful comments.

    The best way to stop an angry internet argument is to quit replying to the comments. And it’s hard to reply to something you don’t even see. (In real life this technique might not work well.)

    And isn’t this funny?

    A day after Microsoft introduced an innocent Artificial Intelligence chat robot to Twitter it has had to delete it after it transformed into an evil Hitler-loving, incestual sex-promoting, ‘Bush did 9/11’-proclaiming robot.

    http://goo.gl/XcUhx3

    Liked by 3 people

    • But isn’t that against the interest of the media? From what I understand many sites pay for controversial comments.

      Like

      • acflory
        September 12, 2016

        lol – that’s called ‘click bait’ Pinky and it’s taken the place of the blond with big boobs on TV commercials.

        There have always been trolls on the internet and most of the old style forums used live moderators to get rid of them and delete their comments. Facebook is like a huge forum with no moderators. Of course trolls will flourish. 😦

        Like

      • agrudzinsky
        September 12, 2016

        It depends on the media. Trolls are a tiny minority but create most of the comments. NPR got rid of comment section recently http://goo.gl/mMoXdX

        I did find the numbers quite startling. In July, NPR.org recorded nearly 33 million unique users, and 491,000 comments. But those comments came from just 19,400 commenters, Montgomery said. That’s 0.06 percent of users who are commenting, a number that has stayed steady through 2016.

        When NPR analyzed the number of people who left at least one comment in both June and July, the numbers showed an even more interesting pattern: Just 4,300 users posted about 145 comments apiece, or 67 percent of all NPR.org comments for the two months. More than half of all comments in May, June and July combined came from a mere 2,600 users. The conclusion: NPR’s commenting system — which gets more expensive the more comments that are posted, and in some months has cost NPR twice what was budgeted — is serving a very, very small slice of its overall audience.

        All these comments that flood the news websites come from very few people. But since these few people leave so many comments they create an impression of an overwhelming majority. Russians already use this on a state level to influence public opinion at home and abroad. https://goo.gl/zv8RrB

        News websites without the comment section or social media with heavily moderated comments may actually get a better membership. Social media with hate comments muted may also eventually get a better membership. E.g. there is a Russian social website odnoklassniki.ru (classmates) initially conceived to link up school classmates. A few years ago, I joined it to connect with my classmates in Ukraine whom I have not seen for years. It was very popular. Now I abhor this website due to all the Russian-Ukrainian xenophobic crap flying around. I don’t even log in there because the timeline is flooded with crap that makes me sick.

        Muting trolls may eventually encourage more people to comment as well. Many people refrain from leaving opinions on a website with shit flying around.

        Liked by 3 people

      • Those numbers are amazing- and very much what I expected. Do you know if there are numbers available for any other site?

        Like

      • agrudzinsky
        September 12, 2016

        Don’t know about other websites. I heard about NPR accidently on the radio. It’s possible that other sites will start researching this now.

        Like

      • agrudzinsky
        September 12, 2016

        The analogy with email system is quite appropriate. The interest of an email provider is to increase the number of subscribers, not the number of emails. Spam increase the email traffic but deter users. Hence good spam filters have become now a necessary feature of any decent email provider.

        Liked by 1 person

    • tildeb
      September 12, 2016

      The best way to stop an angry internet argument is to quit replying to the comments.

      Exactly right.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Scottie
        September 13, 2016

        But if someone is being very angry or rude with you and you don’t respond in kind, are you feeding them what they want or making them think? I try to never respond to anger with anger, in life or online. I try to think as clearly as I can. But to refuse to answer until the other person gives the signal they are not listening nor will they ever listen seems to me to be self defeating. Am I missing something? I won’t argue with someone who only wants to see their own words in print, but sometimes I think , or guess I feel someone is just repeating what they were told and could see new meaning in what you write. Hugs

        Like

  9. mediasavvyfeminist
    September 12, 2016

    Love this. Even the way we treat one another and marginalize groups and people has changed with the Internet. Hate speech seems fine under the guise of attention seeking troll.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Godless Cranium
    September 12, 2016

    I think trolling comes from both sides. The left is certainly as capable of it as the right or alt-right.

    Like

    • inspiredbythedivine1
      September 12, 2016

      Very true. Indeed, some of the whacked out far left nonsense is as “Hitleresque” as the alt-right.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Scottie
        September 12, 2016

        Wow either you guys have far more comments than I do, or you know far more than I. I know I am limited in my internet experience but I have never been lashed out at by the left, while I have been accused of the most horrible crap by right wing people. I have never had threats, but I have had some people think they were they only source of information on the planet to listen to and as I did not agree with them I was …. well you get the idea.

        I must be boring because nowadays no one wants to pick a fight with me for anything. I guess I am either lucky or just not worth it. Hugs and loves.

        Like

      • inspiredbythedivine1
        September 12, 2016

        I’ve never experienced it personally, and, make no mistake about it, the alt-right idjits are FAR more dangerous and plentiful than than crazy folks on the left, but they’re there. There was a group that took over a Bernie Sanders rally earlier this year. They took the podium from Bernie and wouldn’t let him talk because they said everyone who wasn’t a minority in the audience was a racist and had no idea what it’s like to be a minority. What this had to do with Sanders, I’ve no idea, but he was quite flustered by it. I’m not sure of the group’s name. They’re not BLM. It may have been just a local group where Sanders was speaking. Also, some of Sanders more radical followers, “Bernie or Bust” type folks, are quite, in my opinion, counter-productive to the progressive movement. This “I ain’t votin’ cause it ain’t Bernie” nonsense is helpful only to the alt-right, Republicans, and Trump. Additionally, I know of a few transgendered women who face great discrimination from certain biological women who claim they, the TG women, aren’t “real” women because they weren’t born as women. And I don’t mean women from the Christian right. I mean feminist, “progressive” folks. Pink, I believe, did a post or two on this. IMO, we need to move things into a more helpful sphere for all people, ease suffering, and increase tolerance for those different than us. The left is were I feel this can best happen, but some actions, me against you at all cost and my pain is worse than your pain so bugger off, actions are not helpful. They’re counter productive and give fuel to the right. That isn’t good.

        Liked by 3 people

      • Scottie
        September 12, 2016

        Wow you know every time I think I have a handle on things in this world, I get shown forcefully I don’t have a clue. I am sorry you have been a victim of attacks. The only time I was ever attacked was quite early in my blog, I had a guy calling himself Fofo who hated anything liberal and claimed the gop was the only savior for the planet. I tried hard to work with him, to answer him and let him post. Finally after he repeatedly insulted several other commenters on my blog I stopped letting him comment. He still wrote comments for months but I wouldn’t let them be posted , until he apologise, which he wouldn’t do.

        I think you, Pink, the others are all more experienced and … well as hard to say it the truth is you’re stronger than me. I wouldn’t really know how to handle a troll. I try to work with people, to find common ground, but a troll doesn’t want that. To me they are like the tea party in congress to the rest of congress…only what we say or nothing, and if we can upset things the much better. Do I have it right? IF so how do we deal with them. Blocking them doesn’t seem right. But giving them blog space to spout lies also is wrong to me. I guess I will just follow your lead. See how you do it. Be well and thanks. Hugs

        Liked by 2 people

      • inspiredbythedivine1
        September 12, 2016

        No, I’ve not been a victim of attacks from the wild, wild left, only a few right wingers and religious nuts. I expect that. It’s just that I’m aware of some of the radical left stuff which I find counter-productive and silly.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Scottie
        September 12, 2016

        You should give lessons. I bet we could fill a stadium of new bloggers. Can I have a cut of the money. Hugs

        Liked by 1 person

      • inspiredbythedivine1
        September 12, 2016

        Oh, and as for trolls, don’t reply to them or block them. They want attention. I don’t give it to them. Freedom of speech exists. If they wish to send out their message, let them get a blog and send it. Age and experience have made me stubborn and simply uninterested in nonsense. I’ve neither the time nor the inclination to deal with trolls, goblins maybe, but not trolls. If people don’t like me or what I say, I don’t care. In all likelihood, I’ll not like them either. The only reason I’ll talk with a troll is if I can convert them to Islam-the One True Religion, then I’ll speak with them. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

      • Scottie
        September 12, 2016

        Dang you are a wise one , Sir! I wish I had your sense of standing and worth. Well said and more important well done. I would love to salute you but can’t find an emoji that is a salute. Hugs

        Liked by 1 person

      • inspiredbythedivine1
        September 12, 2016

        Well, you over flatter me, but thank you. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Scottie
        September 12, 2016

        I am not so sure. I have trouble dealing with the 14 / 24 year old living in my home. This week is only two days old and we have had three fights all ready. If I speak I am wrong, If I ignore him I am wrong. I am not sure what the heck drives the young of our species. 🙂 Hugs

        Liked by 1 person

      • agrudzinsky
        September 13, 2016

        Blocking trolls is satisfying. Someone hopes to provoke an angry argument with me. I click a button, and “puff!” The troll disappears. He just ceases to exist. I don’t see his comments, he doesn’t see mine, and often can’t even understand why. Moreover, the admin deletes his hateful comments so that others can’t see them either and, possibly, blocks his Facebook account. The blow to the troll’s ego is immense. It’s fun.

        Like

      • inspiredbythedivine1
        September 13, 2016

        I could not agree more. I’ve no clue as to why some folks like to engage these fools and go on and on with them repeating nonsense. It’s the blogging equivalent, IMO, of kids standing in a play lot yelling, “I know you are, but what am I?!” at each other for hours with each thinking they’re winning the argument. To each their own, I do suppose.

        Like

      • tildeb
        September 12, 2016

        I only use a moniker and anonymity because of having been stalked, having been subject to physical attacks, property damage, professional harassment, and ongoing scare tactics used against me and my family over a nine month period for something I wrote to the newspaper’s comment section criticizing racial hiring quotas imposed by government on local businesses.

        The responsible party was a far left wing radical who espoused all kinds of extreme socialist leanings and wanted the state to enforce them. He was not alone. This introduced me to the parallels between far left and right platforms demanding state intervention and force and research showed me that fascism comes not from the right but from the Left… by social policies carried past the boundary of respecting individual rights and freedoms.

        That’s why I am worried about this shift towards this today, this acceptance of obvious intolerance in the name of tolerance, the crime of daring to criticize to be far worse than the results of whatever atrocity is being criticized, the urge to ban and censor and disinvite and deplatform and demand trigger warnings and enforce mandatory safe spaces and so on. All of this crosses the boundary of holding firm to principled shared freedoms and shared rights and shared legal equality and creates a caste system based on discriminatory particulars like gender, sexual orientation, race, culture, ethnicity, language, age, and so on… as if identifying with any of these particulars deserved exemption and privilege from the principles of enlightened liberalism.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Scottie
        September 12, 2016

        Wow, first I am glad you and your family are OK. This saddens me greatly. I am use to the idea that the thugs who I normally equate with denying rights to others, also being ones that force unwanted rights on people. I don’t care what side of the debate you are on, there is never a reason to take it violent. If need be involve the police, but never as a private person threaten another.

        Yes I think trigger warnings are as important as spoiler alerts. Not because they change the post but because it gives people warning of what they are about to walk into. Hey if I was to walk into a field wouldn’t it be nice to know if I might step in huge stinking piles of cow poop. Do I think they are mandatory, heck no. It is just a nice thing to do. Now I feel both sides of this issue are responsible. I can say this because it affects me personally. I was a severely physically and sexually abused boy in childhood. So some times reading things I get triggered and flash back to my past. That is NOT the fault of the author. It is no one’s fault. I just have to be careful what I read. IF I am feeling safe and in a good place to read stuff that may upset me, OK, I need to read the article to understand what is happening in our world. IF I am feeling “fragile” or unable to withstand what the article may say it is MY responsibility to not read it. A warning at the top saying ” hey if you have been raped think if you want to read this” is all I think is needed. No one needs to hold my hand, no one needs to scrub all news of subjects like that. Do I get surprised and sometimes find myself in a bad place, crying my eyes out. Yes. But it is NOT the fault of the article, but those who gave me the memories in the first place. So I think warnings are nice, not mandatory. I think safe places should be a place kids can go to if they are afraid or stalked or chased. My own feelings are adults can create their own safe places. I do here in my home.

        Again never should anyone be threatened by what they write or what needs they have. I hope I have not misunderstood anything but if I did I am willing to be corrected. That is the way it works. Loves and hugs. P.s. One of my Jurassic Kitties is here looking over my shoulder. I “pitty the fool that takes him on”. 🙂 Hugs

        Liked by 2 people

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