Let's talk about hackers/trolls, Cyber-bullying and what to do about it...

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by NickZac, Dec 24, 2010.

  1. NickZac macrumors 68000


    Dec 11, 2010
    So a colleague of mine told me he was doing a qualitative study on a variety of moral and legal issues that occur online which relate back to people called 'trolls' and a deviant behavior called 'trolling'. I knew little about it and so he told me to look up Encyclopedia Dramatica; by the way, don't go their unless you know what it is prior to visiting. Even as someone who tries to have an open mind as my background is dealing with different cultures and subgroups, I have to admit I found it really upsetting and unbelievably ignorant.

    A lot of the people on the 'deviant side' argue for freedom of speech, feel no one can take a joke, feel they defy society on numerous levels and contribute to dis/re-organization, and numerous other reasons ranging from logical to completely irrational. One theme which is a constant sentiment is that if people would just 'not care' then they would stop. The not caring part isn't easy, as the things they do range from an amusing laugh to more frequently detrimental results, and sometimes even prison time or death.

    Here is one of the mainstream articles on the issue:
    (it is a long read)

    This article showed one interesting thing above all others. The person who started talking on behalf of a girl who committed suicide (described her as she 'had it coming') nearly had a full mental breakdown when he discussed his relationship his parent's. That in itself shows that the guy is not superhuman. Despite claiming that it is silly to get upset about the things says and does, if a minor discussion with a friend about his parents got him that upset, I think that he would be very upset about someone posting pictures of them peeing on their grave, listing their addresses, social security number, bank accounts, contacts, etc, complete life history, anything and everything that is personal and more.

    To be honest I don't think that anyone in immune from being hurt with words. Trolls exploit this and hurting and embarrassing people is their ultimate goal; but if then what they were doing was pulled on them, I think it would be a different scenario. We ALL hold certain things as sacred and there are certain things you just don't say; well unless you are a troll as then you are saying it.

    So why is it that people would be willing to do the terrible things they do on the internet, but not in person? It is obviously the anonymity. The concept is: "no one knows it was me so I am not at fault" and "whatever comes out of what I said isn't my fault, I just said some words". Furthermore, there is a strong mob-mentality, which is where after one person begins a fight (or in this case doing something online), then everyone else joins in because they see no social responsibility for their actions due to them not starting it and a gazillion other people doing it too.

    This is a bad situation guys and it is a problem that is getting worse as time goes on as more and more people get on the Internet. Regulating what people say online is virtually impossible and may not even be legal for that matter. A lot of kids, adolescents and teenagers have very real mental distress, anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts and even suicidal actions because of things that occur online; the mental health industry is not prepared for this. There isn't a lot of information on the short and long-term mental health effects of it. Obviously, there is also the problems of cyberstalking, pedophilia, child pornography, black market sales, online theft, broadcasted violence and more. In many ways, these problems have really been overlooked, but as they become more and more prominent, it is hard to deny their impact. Something has to be done; but what, I do not know.

    Thoughts? Policy recommendations?
  2. Gelfin macrumors 68020


    Sep 18, 2001
    Denver, CO
    Hackers, trolls and "cyber-bullying" are all different things. The last term, in particular, is a sensationalized media invention. There's just bullying, and it's been with us all along. What's largely different now is that there's a record on Facebook of what Mr. And Mrs. Public's little angel did to contribute to the misery and suffering of another human being.

    What on the Internet is called "trolling" has been with us all along as well, but it's usually restricted to elementary and middle schools. Lots of adults don't really remember their childhoods as well as they think, but most kids experience the pressure not to be seen to genuinely care about anything, because if you do, someone is waiting to use it against you to get a funny reaction and to see how long they can keep it going. Most people grow out of this sort of manipulation at one time or another, but the Internet throws all ages back into the mix together, unknowingly. Adults are generally no longer used to being treated in ways that are commonplace on the playground, and they respond in extra-funny ways, like thinking they have the power to stop it, particularly by bellowing loudly in public.

    A lot of the stuff on, say, ED goes way over the line, but a lot of it also genuinely does fall under the banner of people being stupid about things that were already stupid to begin with, and the best response is for us all to pull the sticks out of our butts and get on with our lives. A lot of the people who are "victimized" are because they were being insufferable asses in the first place, and a lot of the "victimization" consists of documenting their insufferable assery for all to see, and comment on.

    It is not obvious to me that anonymity is the problem, and even of it were, anonymity is valuable beyond the ways someone can abuse it. The way I see it, kids on the playground (and to an extent the young adults they grow into) have acquired the nuclear option. The best defense against it is generally just not to be an ******.

    Now, there is an issue that it's a nuclear option with everybody's finger on tbe button, and once it is pressed, the mob is hard to direct accurately, just like a real world mob. Who even knows what attracted the mob's attention to harassing a grieving parent, but most people would certainly rather it never go that far, because its hard to see what is being accomplished. Show roughly the same mob tracking down a guy who posts videos of himself torturing a cat, and getting him arrested for animal cruelty, and in that case they're big damn heroes. You hear about the worst, because that's what the media specialize in. That, and blowing out of proportion things they don't really understand, which, surprise, attracts trolls like flies to dog turds.

    I have no idea what hacking has to do with any of this.
  3. citizenzen macrumors 65816

    Mar 22, 2010
    People (deviant and otherwise) have been doing terrible things (in person and anonymously) as long as people have existed. Computers and the internet just allow this tendency towards terribleness another opportunity of expression.

    The best thing to do is to look at one's own terrible behavior, endeavor to bring an end to it and to embrace loving kindness.

    I plan to start doing that any day now.
  4. iJohnHenry macrumors P6


    Mar 22, 2008
    On tenterhooks
    If the hacking is a cough, see your doctor.

    If the hacking is detonating nuclear weapons in their bunkers, kiss your ass good-bye, for that is the pinnacle of cyber-bullying.

    citizenzen, is that a 5-year plan, in the making?? Just Do It!™ ;)
  5. citizenzen macrumors 65816

    Mar 22, 2010
    100,000 more lifetimes... if I'm lucky. :D
  6. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    I'm just as mean and grumpy in person. Consistency is key. :D
  7. iJohnHenry macrumors P6


    Mar 22, 2008
    On tenterhooks
    Bad debt? :p

    It's amazing what you can do, when you no longer have to worry about earning money for basic necessities. Freedom reigns.
  8. Sydde macrumors 68020


    Aug 17, 2009
    Back in the late nineties, we had this problem with people traveling across the country to see someone they met online, the instead of sex they got brutally murdered and stuffed under a pile of leaves in the back yard. It was approaching plague proportions, with tens of thousands of victims and rising until...

    Oh, wait, now that I think about it, it was more like a dozen, or less. Thing about the internet is that anecdotes become amplified into statistics rather quickly.
  9. localoid, Dec 24, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2010

    localoid macrumors 68020


    Feb 20, 2007
    America's Third World
    Of course all good religious people hold certain things sacred, for as Durkheim pointed out, the concept of "sacred things" is the one thing that unites all religions!

    Back in the good old days we called the "trolls" what they really were -- blasphemers!

    The solution is simple: Once outed, trolls (e.g. blasphemers) should be put to death ASAP. I would suggest bringing back the old-fashioned art of "stoning". History has proven it to be a cheap, effective, and environmentally friendly way of stopping the spread of (improper) ideas.

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