In 2009, a man named Leo was followed on Twitter
by a seemingly innocuous account.
He followed back.
After all, why not make friends with strangers online?
Soon after, he received the following direct message.
“You are a dirty *** Jewish scumbag.”
He blocked the account.
然而 一周后 同样的事再次发生了
The next week the same thing,
another new follower, another string of abusive threats.
This happened a few more times
until Leo decided to make his account private.
But the abuse did not stop there.
Soon after, his blog got spammed with hateful comments.
Then his email was flooded with disgusting images of corpses.
And then his Facebook got hacked,
and his wife started getting harassed online.
And then it got really serious.
One day Leo received a package.
Inside was a Tupperware filled with ashes.
The accompanying note said,
“Say hello to your relatives from Auschwitz”.
Leo was at wit’s end.
This troll was tearing down his sense of security
and was threatening his safety.
Who was this troll?
And why were they harassing Leo?
Where do trolls come from anyway?
Let’s rewind to the toddler years of the internet.
Back in the early 90s, things were innocent.
# Interactive appetite, searching for a website #
# window to the world that’s again online. #
# Take the spins. Now you’re in with techno #
# set you go and surf on the internet. #
Message boards and forums like Usenet were becoming popular
but self-identified trolls were pretty much non-existent.
I mean, sure you didn’t counter Internet users
who would purposefully annoy or trick others for laughs.
But while they were a minor nuisance,
they never really did any substantial harm or damage to others.
I think that we can all agree that
while these kinds of benign trolls still exist on the Internet today,
they’re different from the harmful trolls
we encounter and think of most often.
As such for clarity’s sake,
从现在起 当我说到网络暴力时 我指的是
from now on when I say trolls, I’ll be referring to
the kind that are malicious and do real harm.
And these other kinds of trolls, well,
we’ll call them, I don’t know, LULZ TROLLZ.
In any case, while trolls didn’t exist on early internet forums,
flame wars definitely did.
More than ever before,
it was easy to start an argument with a total stranger.
And that makes sense. You know,
when you don’t have a living breathing facein front of you,
it’s easy to do personalize the text from the individual.
On the internet, your name isn’t Frank.
And you’re not discussing the best Green Day song with Monica.
You’re debating and sending rage comments to POOTOILET123.
这些辩论可能会持续几天 几周 甚至几个月
Flame wars would go on for days or weeks or months,
but when was the last time that
you had an ongoing in person hurtful argument
with a friend or family member about something
as innocuous as, Mac versus PCor Star Trek versus Star Wars.
Now the anonymity provided by the Internet
is both a blessing and a curse.
一方面 它给人们任意探索 畅所欲言的机会
On one hand, it provides people the freedom to explore and say
whatever they want without concern for social judgment and repercussions.
On the other hand, it gives people the freedom to explore
and say whatever they want without concern for social judgements and repercussions.
It’s hard to understand that POOTOILET123 as a human being
much like ourselves with real emotions.
And unlike real life, if people come at you
or things get too uncomfortable on the Internet,
you just start over with a new username.
Now for most of us,
it’s likely that we’ve experienced the effects of anonymity.
I know that when I’m playing Rocket League,
I’m more likely to be on the other team
and even my own teammate went online
and if I were playing them in person.
If you’ve ever looked at YouTube comments before,
you know that there’s a lot of people out there
who feel comfortable saying just awful things.
But trolls seem to take it to a whole new level.
It seems ingrained in how they function online.
The term “trolling” came into common usage around the mid 90s.
At this time, trolling was more associated with
what you might do when fishing.
一般来说 你会将鱼竿放在船后 然后
You essentially cast your rod behind your boat
and slowly troll through the water
hoping to hook a fish.
It’s a pretty good analogy.
Certainly, Internet users would go trolling by barraging
forums with off-topic and inflammatory comments
in order to catch a fish and disrupt the conversation.
Leo was absolutely being hunted.
This anonymous person trolled him online and in real life.
Leo didn’t feel safe in his own home.
Two days after receiving the ashes in the mail,
he found dead flowers on his doorstep
with his wife’s Twitter handle written on a card.
Later that night, he received a DM.
“You’ll get home some day and your *** throat will be cut
and your son will be gone.”
Why was this troll threatening his family?
Why do trolls post sexist or racist comments
or send death threats to the parents of dead children?
Why do they repeatedly harass and terrorize others?
There must be something dark happening under the surface.
Well, perhaps there’s a correlation with the Dark Tetrad.
The Dark Tetrad is an expanded version of the Dark Triad
that describes several closely associated traits.
These include machiavellianism,
and, last but not least, sadism.
Trolling seems to fit a few of these.
Don’t you think?
Yeah. Well, psychologists thought so, too.
So they developed surveys to test this hypothesis.
A 2014 online survey of people
who said that they enjoyed trolling others
found a positive correlation with several dark tetrad traits
including psychopathy, machiavellianism, and sadism.
People with the most time posting comments online,
more closely correlated to psychopathy.
It’s likely that this kind of behavior
is not exclusive to online interactions.
However, it is easier to connect with similar people
and distance yourself from the negative repercussions online.
Several other studies showed that
sadism in general is most closely associated with trolling behavior.
I guess trolls just enjoy seeing other people suffer.
Or maybe it’s the result of the Online Disinhibition Effect.
This was a psychological theory designed by John Sweller
that proposed that there are six factors
that contribute to our loosening of social inhibitions.
The first is dissociative anonymity.
This is what we were talking about earlier
in terms of hiding your true identity online.
You feel like it can’t be linked back to your real life,
so you feel less responsible for your actions.
Next is invisibility, not invisibility of the troll,
but invisibility of the person being trolled.
Without the eye contact or body language of another person,
it’s easier to say whatever we want.
Hence why we send emails rather than
having difficult face-to-face conversations.
Third is asynchronicity.
In a normal in-person exchange,
you don’t have that much time to respond to what another person is saying,
maybe a few seconds, but, then it gets weird.
But online you can disengage and re-engagewhenever you want.
Likewise, you can spend as long as you like
devising that perfect response to that jerk Brian.
Fourth is solipsistic introjection.
That’s a mouthful but imagine reading this comment.
What does this person look like or sound like?
Most likely, it’s not what they’re actually like.
You created a character of this person in your mind,
and you’re carrying out a conversation with this constructed version of a person.
Fifth is dissociative imagination.
This is a real troll element here.
Essentially, online conversations become
more of a fantasy rather than reality.
The person treats interactions like a game
rather than real exchange.
It’s like in an RPG videogame
where you make ridiculous choices that you wouldn’t make in real life.
Finally, the minimization of authority.
When there’s no clear authority figure, toxicity thrives.
Communities with moderators and clearly defined rules
can easily punish trolls by banning them or removing posts.
But unmonitored spaces can be a breeding ground for this stuff,
and unsurprisingly, trolls seem to attract more trolls.
It turns out that many of these factors
contributed to the making of Leo’s troll.
Oh, that’s right.
He found out who it was.
See, Leo had been tracking this troll for a while
with the help of a tech-savvy contact.
He pinpointed the IP address to this assailant,
and its location surprised him.
Because it was coming from a friend’s house.
Leo confronted his troll, the 17-year-old sonof his friend
who, with tears running down his face,
revealed that he thought it was all a game.
But with a living breathing man in front of him,
he finally understood that this was no game.
At this point there’s no consensus for why trolls do what they do.
It might surprise you that
despite all the conversation about trolls in the news
and their outsized impact on social media,
there really hasn’t been much research intothe psyche of trolls,
and most of the research said we do have is based on self-reported data,
which isn’t necessarily reliable.
I mean after all,
why wouldn’t a troll also troll an online research study?
But in my opinion, I think that a lot of troll behavior
comes from deep-seated insecurity or vulnerability.
I just can’t understand why someone would want to be so malicious
towards women or people of color or parents of deceased children.
I’ve read a lot of stories of former trolls
and all of them seem to say the same thing
that person would admit that they had misplaced anger about their own life,
or they have felt jealous of the person that they were harassing,
or they themselves were hurting because a family member had recently passed.
Regardless of the reasons why they do what they do,
we most likely won’t have the same opportunity
that Leo had of standing up to his troll.
所以 我最好的建议是 只需无视他们
And so my best advice is simply ignoring them.
Feeding them with shame or rants or negative attention
just gives them what they want.
Statistically about 95% of you watching this video
do not identify ourselves as trolls.
And yet, we see them everywhere.
That’s because they comment more often
and receive more replies than the average user.
But likely, we’ve all engaged in some type of trolling behavior at some point.
If you’ve got a story of your own,
I’d love to hear about it and whether or not you regret it.
Leave your thoughts in the comments below.
Thanks for watching and until next time,
我叫Micah 在观看下一期前 想想我所说的话
I’m Micah. Think about it.