*The term trolling has been around for a long time but recently I saw an article about trolls recently who prowl the internet attempting to anger people. These are also the people who deface tribute sites in order to anger people. here are some excerpts from the article (the link is at the bottom of the post):-

"It just makes me happy when I can make someone angry. It sounds weird but I kind of feed off their anger. The angrier I can get them, the better I feel,"

"I'd feel responsible but I wouldn't care. I've pretty much lost all hope for humanity anyway, I don't believe that anything can save people," he said.

He said the quality of online conversations in general seemed to be worsening by the day, and had now turned into a competition to see who can yell "urrgggh lame" the loudest. "There's no turn-taking, or reacting like there is in face-to-face communication," he said. "The conversational structure is completely broken and there’s no thoughtful consideration of issues."

He said that people don't feel the need to moderate their behaviour when they were online.

This type of behaviour is not uncommon and it is a major problem. Someone I was talking to the other day actually asked me whether I had noticed how negative the internet has got over the past couple of years. A couple of years ago even on FB people were mainly sharing their happy stories etc but more and more we are seeing it used as a platform for negative and mean statements.

Anyway, back to the article for a minute. After reading the article I thought about it for a while and realised this is only really talking about the extreme. I mean if you just take notice for a while you will see how trolling has spilled over into people in general. You hear stories of people just stirring up and trying to damage people’s relationships on FB and you hear about people being bullied by the people they know. This is just as bad.

It’s true that moderation of behaviour on the net seems to non existent in many cases and the belief that there are no consequences for this behaviour appears to be encouraging it. You can bully or hurt someone in another city or in the same city but because it’s not face to face you can get away with it. This is something that really needs to be looked at in terms of the internet. As far as I can see its still violent and/or potentially fatal. There needs to be consequences. I’m do not believe in censoring the internet however I do believe that accountability is important. This can hurt people, their reputations and can as we know lead to depression and potentially someone taking their own life.

I’m not sure what the answer is but what I do know is that we need to take things more seriously and look at boundaries. Hate speak is not acceptable under any circumstances and everyone needs to individually maintain a zero tolerance on it. It may not be affecting you personally but if you observe it or are concerned, not ignore it, report it. Many sites will give you this option so take it. Stand up to bullies even if it’s online. *