mad anthony

Rants, politics, and thoughts on politics, technology, life,
and stuff from a generally politically conservative Baltimoron.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Being a total dick is easy, thanks to the web...

Via a thread on fatwallet comes this rather disturbing article about professional trolls. Most of their exploits involve posting people's personal info online, resulting in such hilarious things as phone calls to people whose son recently committed suicide. Classy.

They justify it with talk of how they are teaching people not to take things too seriously on the web, because they are just words.

But words, of course, are how we communicate much of how we feel and what we think, and how we gather much of our information about the world.

I realize that the internet is not always what it seems, that people lie, that we need to take things with a grain of salt. At the same time, most of the people online are real, there are real people behind the flashing electrons on the screen, and the internet connects real people who have real-world lives, be it on a message board, a dating site, or eBay. And actions started online have real consequences.

And yes, I realize emoting on stuff like this is exactly what trolls get off on. And there are always people who will be dicks, be it online or in the real world. But the net makes it easier, both in terms of audience and in terms of being anonymous. And while trolls won't destroy the net, they make it a little less pleasant in the same way that people who are dicks in general make the world less pleasant.


Post a Comment

<< Home