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Author Topic: Does asking "Am I being unreasonable..." automatically bring out the trolls?  (Read 541 times)

Offline Duffield1

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I am fascinated by how people interact on the internet, and nowhere is this more true than in the comments section of newspapers (locals and nationals) and, of course, Mumsnet - particularly their very popular AIBU (Am I being Unreasonable) board which brings out more vitriol and poison than anything I've ever see. 

Is this type of forum skewing that British quality of reserve, in favour of Jerry Springer-style "I say it how it is!"?  I can't believe how many trolls get their kicks out of badly-worded comments on places like that.

Offline P-Kasso2

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I agree 100%.
But I don't think that this increase in the levels of 'vitriol and poison' is a national trait - instead it is something that started to occur and has grown steadily since the year 20 PMP* and it is getting worse as the years and technology roll by.

I've always been amazed by how many times a text message (which was originally meant to be light-hearted or joking) so often can get totally misinterpreted. The reason for this, I think, is purely because texts have no 'tone of voice' - in other words, a text is always cold and impersonal. And putting even putting a  ;D or umpteen  :-)   :-)   :-)   :-)  :-) after a message doesn't add up to real smile or a belly laugh in a conversation.

Instead, a text or message on Social Media will certainly come out colder than saying the very same thing to someone face to face - and that is mainly because, when talking face to face, the recipient can easily listen your tone of voice, see your facial expression, respond to you body language etc. but with a text you can't do any of that.

Even saying 'I love you' in a text message comes out as far less loving than it was meant by the sender. So, it follows that saying something nasty in a text message comes out sounding far nastier too.

Sadly, there is even worse to come. Social Media messages have inherited all of that 'coolness' and 'impersonal-ness' of phone texts but added two seriously toxic elements - Anonymity and Invisibility.

These two additions make it even more likely (ie makes it dead certain) that some dim troll-ish people out there will go to town on the offensiveness with absolutely no fear of any repercussions and no restraint.

And it is this which is wearing away at our good old British politeness and reserve. In short, our famous stiff upper lip is being replaced by the trolls' and their famous stiff upper heads. Then when you get several trolls responding one after the other then escalation soon gets to napalm levels.

Worst of all, the trolls' grammar is bleedin' terrible! And it's getting worse. I dread to think where things will all end up in another ten or twenty or fifty years from now given the sheer speed of techno advances over the last ten years or so - maybe with mass burnings of the OED on every street corner? Followed by a virtual lynching or two?

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Offline Hiheels

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I don't need to tell a forum mod this, but trolls are everywhere.
The self-righteous, blinkered, puffed up blow hards get a real sense of justification from belittling others and holding themselves up as a perfect example, it's a real reward for them and makes them feel good about themselves, which they can't seem from anything else in life.
The thing that P-K's hit on is the crucial one of anonymity, that gentle "tut" in the Post Office queue actually hides the whole rampage that comes out when there's no danger of showing themselves up in public and they don't have to listen to any other point of view.

So, to finally answer your question, I believe that behaviour in real life won't change as much as now there's a whole range of places that people can spout about how "offended" they are, or how awful something is to "us level headed, ordinary people" and others can pile on for mutual gratification....a luxury that previously had to be held back until they could finally bore the poor bar tender with it later in the day.