There’s an article in ‘Time’ magazine which carries on about how many nasty Trollish types there are out there on the jolly old Interweb, and how some form of regulation is needed to shut them up, but only a self-selected few of the ‘great and good’ should get to decide who is an Interweb Troll or not. They, the self-appointed, should set the narrative, not the hoi polloi. You know, the people who actually built, and continue to build, the jolly old Interweb with their blogs, posting of videos, personal servers, purchase of goods and services and contributions to forums. Whoever produces the content has the best claim of ownership.
However, the article makes the classic error of equating means with intent. Such as with the notoriously intrusive Ms Sarkezian (See GamerGate), who with other ‘journalists’ tried to impose her view of how things should be on a computer gaming public which did not, and still does not share her radical feminist mindset. For this, she and her narrative-creating associates faced an angry backlash from gamers who justifiably resented the interference with what they see as their world by people acting as self appointed ‘morality Police’. So the nastiness began. Which is one of the things the article bitches about. Yet were not Sarkezian and her associates actively trolling the gaming community with their false articles and spurious claims? In which case, the ‘journalists’ got what they deserved. They picked the fight. If a loosely collected bunch of keen gamers can be considered a ‘community’.
The thought occurs that if the radical feminists had spent a fraction of the energy producing games that met their moral standards than they spent on ragging at and machinating against the non-PC gamers, they might have created something useful. However, they chose to poke their noses into other peoples private affairs and try to use the force of law to obtain compliance. Now they’re whinging because people resisted their will? Oh, the irony.
Now bearing the aforementioned in mind, There are times when the tactics utilised by trolls may be legitimately used against those who wish to impose their will on others. ‘Doxxing’ for example, the publishing of someone’s personal data (Name, address, Social Security Number etc.) online. A variant of which, often used by mainstream publications, is known as ‘outing’, and has been used to try and harm the personal lives and careers of a number of bloggers which, unless the blogger was committing a criminal offence, is never justified. I cite ‘Nightjack‘, and ‘Girl with a one track mind‘ to name but two. So for journalists to complain that the very tactics they use against others makes non-journalists ‘trolls’ is a bit rich. ‘Doxxing’ and ‘Outing’ are exactly the same thing. Only the platform differs.
Yes, trolls are a sporadic pest, but there are ways and means of dealing with their pathetic ickle egos. Ways far more effective than having to drag the nonces through the court system at public expense. Because if you define a troll as a person who uses certain tactics, then one man’s ‘troll’ is another’s free speech activist. Unless of course the troll makes a real disruptive nuisance of themselves, in which case, the offended party should have every right to send a bill for all the time the troll has wasted to the offending party, plus costs. It should be a civil, not a criminal matter.
So for example, someone attempting to harm the online reputation of others, regardless of pseudonym, by impersonating them in comments of other blogs, apart from richly deserving a real-time real-life kicking, should be liable to pay for all the time expended on dealing with the impersonators dribbling infantile nonsense at high level Consultancy rates of say a hundred and fifty GBP an hour on all extra activities (blocking, deleting and banning offensive comments) incurred by the impersonator. With a minimum fee of one thousand GBP. Plus legal costs. Now that would be a kind of ‘fairness’ I could get right behind.
Yes, there are a lot of room temperature IQ’s out there. Yes there are stupid extreme right wingers, and equally stupid extreme left wingers. Frankly I think we should let all the interested parties fight it out in a disused stadium especially sealed off for the purpose. Drop a varied pile of edged weapons in the middle of the pitch and let these heroes sort it out for themselves. Livestream the grudge match globally on pay per view to cover costs of clean up and basic cremation. They die, the sum of human intelligence goes up, and some fertiliser gets created. Think of it as evolution in action.