Developing and Validating the “This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things Scale”: Optimising Political Online Communities for Internet Trolling
Internet trolling describes the posting of any content on the Internet which is provocative or offensive, which is different from the original meaning online in the 1990s, referring to the posting of messages for humourous effect. Those systems operators (sysops) who run online communities are being targeted because of abuse posted on their platforms. Political discussion groups are some of the most prone to trolling, whether consensual or unwanted. Many such websites ara open for anyone to join, meaning when some members post messages they know are offensive but legal, others might find grossly offensive, meaning these messages could be illegal. This paper develops a questionnaire called the This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things Scale (TIWWCHNT-20), which aims to help sysops better plan the development of online communities to take account of different users’ capacity to be offended, and for users to self-assess whether they will be suited to an online community. The scale is discussed in relation to different Internet posting techniques where different users will act differently.
Trolling the trolls: Online forum users constructions of the nature and properties of trolling
Bryn Alexander Coles & Melanie West
Trolling’ refers to a specific type of malicious online behaviour, intended to disrupt interactions, aggravate interactional partners and lure them into fruitless argumentation. However, as with other categories, both ‘troll’ and ‘trolling’ may have multiple, inconsistent and incompatible meanings, depending upon the context in which the term is used and the aims of the person using the term. Drawing data from 14 online fora and newspaper comment threads, this paper explores how online users mobilise and make use of the term ‘troll’. Data was analysed from a discursive psychological perspective. Four repertoires describing trolls were identified in posters online messages: 1) that trolls are easily identifiable, 2) nostalgia, 3) vigilantism and 4) that trolls are nasty. Analysis also revealed that despite repertoire 01, identifying trolls is not a simple and straight-forward task. Similarly to any other rhetorical category, there are tensions inherent in posters accounts of nature and acceptability of trolling. Neither the category ‘troll’ nor the action of ‘trolling’ has a single, fixed meaning. Either action may be presented as desirable or undesirable, depending upon the aims of the poster at the time of posting.
Ranulf de Blondeville was the 6th Earl of Chester and 1st Earl of Lincoln. He is famously referred to alongside Robin Hood in Piers Plowman. Ranulf has been portrayed as a trouble-maker with a strong independent streak. This paper compares Ranulf with contemporary Internet trolls. This involves looking at not only how Ranulf III of Chester’s activities compare with Internet trolls, but also how many of the Robin Hood legends might emanate from the activities and stories associated with this particular Ranulf Earl of Chester.
Jonathan Bishop (In Press). Ranulf de Blondeville – First Lord of the Trolls. International Journal of Internet Trolling and Online Participation.
Trolling for the Lulz?: Using Media Theory to Understand Transgressive Humour and Other Internet Trolling in Online Communities
Internet trolling as a term has changed in meaning since it first entered mainstream use on the Internet in the 1990s. In the 2010s, it has come to refer to the posting of provocative or offensive messages on the Internet to harm others. This change in usage of the term opens up new challenges for understanding the phenomenon, especially as some are still resistant to taking it beyond its original meaning. This chapter tries to distinguish the 1990s kind from the 2010s kind by referring to the former as classical trolling and the latter as anonymous trolling. Taking part in the former is considered to be “trolling for the Lolz” (i.e. positive) and the second to mean “trolling for the Lulz” (i.e. negative). Through using document and genre analysis, this chapter finds that there are common ways in which anonymous trolling manifests differently on different platforms. The chapter concludes by presenting a model for understanding which genres of online community are at risk for particular types of trolling.
Complaints of group-stalking (‘gang-stalking’): an exploratory study of their nature and impact on complainants
Lorraine P. Sheridan and David V. James
Stalking primarily concerns the actions of individuals. However, some victims report stalking by organised groups, this being known as ‘group-’ or ‘gang-stalking’. This phenomenon has not been subject to systematic study. An anonymous questionnaire was completed online by self-defined victims of stalking. One thousand and forty respondents met research definitions for stalking, of which 128 (12.3%) reported group-stalking. One hundred and twenty-eight individually stalked cases were randomly selected as a comparison group. All cases of reported group-stalking were found likely to be delusional, compared with 3.9% of individually stalked cases. There were highly significant differences between the two groups on most parameters examined. The group-stalked scored more highly on depressive symptoms, post-traumatic symptomatology and adverse impact on social and occupational functioning. Group-stalking appears to he delusional in basis, but complainants suffer marked psychological and practical sequelae. This is important in assessment of risk in stalking cases, early referral to psychiatric services and allocation of police resources.
The Guy Fawkes Mask as Visual Communication of the Internet Group Anonymous
The Guy Fawkes mask has become a symbol of the internet group Anonymous. This paper seeks to understand why this happened. The Guy Fawkes Mask takes us back to a 17th Century Catholic renegade, a 1980s graphic novel, a millennial movie based on the graphic novel, social media visual communication practicing internet memes on 4chan and YouTube, and physical demonstrations in public space. It will show how the Guy Fawkes Mask changed meaning during this process, and how this symbol works as a meaningful signifier in a digital age.
Lars Konzack, (2014). The Guy Fawkes Mask as Visual Communication of the Internet Group Anonymous. The International Journal of Trolling and Online Participation 1(2), pp.53-68
This special issue on Anonymous brings together and important collection of papers on the topic. To date, much information on the Anonymous movement has been retrievable only through secondary sources, like Wikipedia and newsprint. Whilst in some cases the authors have needed to refer to these, this special issue is one of the first authoritative accounts of works on Anonymous, focussing mainly on original empirical investigation into original sources such as Encyclopedia Dramatica and the synthesising of established literature.
The Need for a Dualist Application of Public and Private Law in Great Britain Following the Use of “Flame Trolling” During the 2011 UK Riots: A Review and Model
Mugabi Ivan and Jonathan Bishop
Since time immemorial, the legal systems of Great Britain have often been spoken of highly as pinnacles of democracy. However, the split between criminal law and tort law have often caused problems where the police has often focused on the prosecution of people in poverty and where only the wealthy can afford to use the system. This chapter discusses the extent and limitations of existing measures to tackle computer-related crime, particularly with regards to the abusive kind of Internet Trolling, namely “flame trolling.” The chapter recommends further research to establish whether it should be the case that in a society based on dualism that criminal and civil cases should be held at the same time, and that in both instances those being accused of an offence or tort should be allowed to bring a counter-claim. It is discussed that in such a system the cases that would be brought are where there is a clear victim who had no part in the offence against them, such as murder, rape, theft and burglary, which are usually carefully planned and orchestrated acts.
Trolls Just Want To Have Fun: Electronic Aggression within the Context of e-Participation and Other Online Political Behaviour in the United Kingdom
Over the last two decades, public confidence and trust in Government has declined visibly in several Western liberal democracies owing to a distinct lack of opportunities for citizen participation in political processes; and has instead given way instead to disillusionment with current political institutions, actors, and practices. The rise of the Internet as a global communications medium and the advent of digital platforms has opened up huge opportunities and raised new challenges for public institutions and agencies, with digital technology creating new forms of community; empowering citizens and reforming existing power structures in a way that has rendered obsolete or inappropriate many of the tools and processes of traditional democratic politics. Through an analysis of the No. 10 Downing Street ePetitions Initiative based in the United Kingdom, this article seeks to engage with issues related to the innovative use of network technology by Government to involve citizens in policy processes within existing democratic frameworks in order to improve administration, to reform democratic processes, and to renew citizen trust in institutions of governance. In particular, the work seeks to examine whether the application of the new Information and Communication Technologies to participatory democracy in the Government 2.0 era would eventually lead to radical transformations in government functioning, policymaking, and the body politic, or merely to modest, unspectacular political reform and to the emergence of technology-based, obsessive-compulsive pathologies and Internet-based trolling behaviours amongst individuals in society.
Shefali Virkar (2014). Trolls Just Want to Have Fun: Electronic Aggression Within the Context of e-Participation and Other Online Political Behaviour in the United Kingdom’, International Journal of E-Politics (Special Issue), Volume 5, Issue 4, pp. 20-50.