Wednesday, May 10, 2006

For whom the blog trolls...

In Internet terminology, a troll is someone who comes into an established community such as an online discussion forum, and posts inflammatory, rude or offensive messages designed to annoy and antagonize the existing members or disrupt the flow of discussion.

I have been bothered ever since I read an anonymous couple of comments someone left on a fellow blogger's blog the other day. And I know I shouldn't give trolls any attention because that is what they crave. But the comments were just so mean spirited and cowardly that I was shocked back into reality that, although we feel comfortable in our little blog communities, any twit can do an anonymous hit and run on the Internet Highway and drive off smugly without consequence.

It doesn't help to know it is illegal to annoy people anonymously on the Internet. George W. signed the law in January 2006 making it illegal to harass people anonymously via the Internet (apparently it is okay to harass them if you make your identity known). I'm not sure how you go about evoking that law. I think it is illegal to spam people, too, but I get hundreds of them a day.

The fellow blogger handled his troll much more graciously than I would. He simply deleted the comments and activated the moderation function of blogger. I'm afraid I would have been tempted to rage at the mindless troll and mock their grammer and spelling (which was pretty infantile). That would have shown them.

I have been lucky so far and haven't seemed to have attract any trolls. Perhaps this is because I tend to blog below the radar and don't allow anonymous comments. I figure if you have something to say, you should be willing to accept what I have to say back to you.

I really can't say I understand the mentality of a troll. It must be the same as an arsonist or vandal who gets off on watching the chaos they've created but isn't wired to accept the consequences. All I can say is that the term "troll" is an apt one. You belong there under the bridge with the rest of the scum.
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