Taking a chance to look back on the trolling module, I’m kind of upset that I didn’t take the time to create something humorous like one of those videos I’ve linked to here on my website or in the trolling channel for our class’s Slack. Putting myself into the position of trolling for views could have been a lot of fun, and I would have loved to flex my video editing muscles to make a knockout end to the presentation I had.
With that in mind, I’m particularly pleased about the last slide I got to handle, “Tips on Avoiding Trolling,” because it was something I knew a lot about. To be up front, if you go on the web, there is no chance of avoiding trolling in some form. Commenting on a video or post, or even having any sort of political view sets one up to be offended or targeted in some way. The way of the web is delegated by clicks, views, and keystrokes, and controversy drives all of those things en masse. Describing someone as, “fake and gay,” in a comment on a video made by someone with a dedicated fanbase assures that someone will respond to it to rebut these egregious claims, but that’s just what the offending troll wants. The resulting flame war will drive traffic to the video and the offender’s profile, bringing more fans who will want to white knight their chosen web personality, but also conjuring up more trolls from the bowels of the Internet. This happens all the time, and with the bigger personas involved in trolling, no matter the type, major news outlets are even choosing to cover these instances as breaking news stories. There’s a lot of debate out there concerning real versus fake news, and there is no doubt in my mind that Internet trolls are going to have a hayday influencing bigger websites to rake through their muck concerning words you can’t use, symbols you can’t use, and views that make you a trash person, whilst somehow incorporating cats and inside jokes/memes from the depths of the web while doing it all, “For teh lulz!”
You can’t fight trolling as long as anonymity exists, and even if that were to be taken away, the extreme distances that we are all connected over can prevent real world consequences from happening. There are people out there who wouldn’t hesitate to go to some guy’s house after he’s bragged about the size of his anatomy and remarked about how much someone’s mother has enjoyed it in a Call of Duty game, but even they lose traction after finding out that the foul-mouthed trog has an entire ocean between them. Trolls like these like to swing for the fences, targeting whoever they land a blow on first. People like these should just be ignored, for attention only feeds them and makes them stronger. At the same time, you can do your part to be considerate and put a decent amount of thought into what you post. With anonymity, you never know who you may be conversing with, and such that you might not know who you’re pissing off. You do something slightly pejorative on one message board, you call one League of Legends player’s build completely idiotic and nonsensical, and the next thing you know you’ve got someone tracking your IP and DDoSing your router so hard that it makes a 56k modem look like a deep space transmitter.
When it comes down to it, going online and being trolled is complete RNG (random number generator), and you just have to hope that your number doesn’t come up for someone with unparalleled technological skill.