Capture the Cyber Troll

“You are so stupid.” ” Nobody cares about your problems.” These are comments that can appear at anytime online.Comments from people on public forums, hiding their identity, that have no idea about the person behind the story or picture, these people are called Trolls . They go through the web trolling for a way to toss their insecurities and issues onto someone else, someone they don’t have to deal with the backlash from. But now certain sites are trying to prevent trolls from posting these comments.

The reasons for this is the prevention of tragedy, such as suicide, deformation and degradation. There have been several instances where the comments made by these trolls have caused harm not only to those whose post they comment on, but their families. In the case of Nicole Catsouras, 18, died in a car accident and afterwards trolls emailed pictures of her to her parents. http://youtu.be/QD-PB7V5nlg.

Sites like Reuters, Gizmodo and other sites are trying to make these trolls accountable for their comments. They would require the creation of an account in order to post comments, if their comments are harmfully negative they will be removed. Websites like these have the backing of the Federal Government with laws in all states concerning online bullying. http://legislature.mi.gov/doc.aapx?mxl- 380-1310b.

While this seems fair to those victimized and their families, what about the freedoms of the troll? Regardless of the nature of the comment they have Freedom of Speech. In life people say things we don’t like and your choice is to continue listening or walk away, which are the same options online. 

With that in mind:

Do you think its fair for sites to block negative comments?

Should people develop thicker skin when dealing with online comments?

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21 thoughts on “Capture the Cyber Troll

  1. I definitely believe it is fair for sites to block certain content. If they think it is bad, then its got to be bad. The company is ruling the site so essentially if you want to use it, you follow their rules. I do think that when people are online they should expect some negative feedback. The story with the girl in the accident is terrible. That was an awful thing for the parents to experience all with the death of their daughter. What people did was beyond disrespectful, there aren’t words to describe how horrid that was.

  2. I believe just like the trolls who have the freedom to post cruel or stupid comments/posts it is absolutely fair to give websites the right to block negative comments. I think giving websites the right to do so can give them the power to promote an environment where you wouldn’t be spammed for every comment you put. As for the second question, people are more sensitive that others and I think blocking harsh comments could be helpful for them. But all in all, there is a chance to receive negative feedback, especially if someone is jealous or hating on you.

  3. I think it is fair for sites to block negative comments. It is not doing anybody any good by allowing them. It only stems into bigger problems, even deaths. People shouldn’t have to develop thicker skin when dealing with online comments. People who make these comments should know that if it is something you wouldn’t say in person than don’t say it online. I couldn’t believe those stories about the trolls and what they did to the families who were mourning deaths. It is beyond comprehensible. I have seen bad comments before, but I didn’t know that trolls went to a completely different level. Why should this be allowed?

  4. I think its ok for internet sites to block overly offensive comments. People online get out of hand because they feel like they can do whatever they want. What can a man in Wisconsin do to a man in Nevada? That’s the mentality that people have developed online and it’s ok for sites to show people what’s ok and what’s not ok to say. In person 99% of these people wouldn’t say what they typed to someone on a blog. It’s not block someone’s freedom of speech, its showing people how to be polite and sending a message that being provocative isn’t ok online just like it’s not ok in public. And yes I do think people develop thicker skins online, that’s why they say all these things.

  5. I do think it is fair for sites to block negative comments, but only if they are saying mean or hurtful things. If they are just stating their opinion then why block the comment? I mean not everything in this world is positive, and although it’s good to look at everything with a positive attitude sometimes looking at the whole picture is more realistic. I do think that people should develop thicker skin when dealing with online comments. People shouldn’t take everything to heart, they need to learn to laugh things off. Taking these comments to heart, will cause you to over think the situation, and honestly it will put you in a bad mood. I think if more people were just able to read these comments without being so sensitive, then maybe we wouldn’t see as many negative comments on blogs and such.

  6. My mom always used to say that sticks and stones may break my bones but names can never hurt me. I suppose we need to treat online forums in a similar manner. If we want to have social internet presence, then we should recognize that that opens us up to experience things that we would rather avoid. Just like going to school can expose kids to hurtful comments or name calling, going online can expose us to offensive language and hurtful comments. I do believe that it can be taken too far and some actions shouldn’t be tolerated, but having an expectation that you never will be exposed to this type of dialogue in any channel or format is probably a little naive.

  7. Yes I think it is fair. Those negative comments are the ones that start most of the problems anyways. If you want to express your mind or give your view on something, you can do it in a non negative way. People don’t have to be so cruel and mean when giving their opinion. It’s ridiculous some of the comments these “trolls” leave. Yes and no. Some people are very sensitive and cannot get past those comments. They will take it to heart and not realize that its just ignorant, mean people who post bad things. but then there are people who can develop that “thicker skin” and know they need to ignore those hate comments.

  8. Sites need to block trolls and their comments. Yeah they can be hurtful but they’re just not needed. However i’m a firm believe that society today is easily hurt way too much. All this talk of bullying and stuff i think is crap. Yeah bullying does happen, but just because you don’t want to talk to someone does not mean your a bully. People need to remember its just a comment from some random person online and thats all it is.

  9. Sites need to block trolls and their comments. Yeah they can be hurtful but they’re just not needed. However i’m a firm believe that society today is easily hurt way too much. All this talk of bullying and stuff i think is crap. Yeah bullying does happen, but just because you don’t want to talk to someone does not mean your a bully. People need to remember its just a comment from some random person online and thats all it is.

  10. I totally agree with your posted blog, those so-called trolls only create problems for the rest of society, those people should think about the comments they generate that can cause catastrophes to their victims and even the families of those victims. I did not know what a troll meant until I read your blog; to me this is a form of cyberbullying. http://www.stopcyberbullying.org/what_is_cyberbullying_exactly.html The combination between the idea of “freedom of speech” and the internet has created a perfect atmosphere for the existence and growth of these trolls. Remember, for some trolls, it is hard to bully someone face-to-face since they have to confront their victims, they feel “safer” online because it’s easier to attach and run. For our own sake’s and the sake’s of our children, authorities are working to try to control this problem. Authorities should be contacted immediately if someone knows that a friend is being attacked by these trolls. Since more people use social media to connect to someone or date someone, I believe that cyberbullying will never end; however, with the help of friends, authorities and other members of the cyber community, I believe it will diminish with time.

    To answer your first question: well, it just depends…. if it is a personal attack, yes, the sites should block comments that can be harmful to a person; but it will be hard for those sites to block all those comments because those sites will have to select what are personal attacks…and that will be the breaking point for those sites.
    To answer your second question: it is hard since nobody thinks and feels exactly the same. Tough skin is hard to get, because it requires knowledge of the situation acquired through experience.

  11. I think for sites to block comments, they have to be harmful or threatening. If someone just says “this sucks,” than there really is no reason to block it because they are just expressing their opinion. When people start bullying or threatening each other, than someone should get involved because this can certainly escalate. However, I do think that when people are on the internet, they really shouldn’t take some things said too personally. Anonymity really is a part of the internet, and some people abuse that by saying things they definitely wouldn’t say in real life. In the end, it really is just a comment and if it isn’t threatening or bullying, than people should forget about it and move on.

  12. “You want free speech? Let’s see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who’s standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours…” Quoted in the movie The American President. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0112346/quotes

    I’m certain the majority of American do not want to lose any of our freedoms, especially freedom of speech. The quote hits on something that’s lost with the Trollers and that is the “standing center stage” part. Troll’s are protected by the first amendment and can rant until they can’t rant any more, but should they have to “stand center stage” when they do it? The bigger question about freedom of speech might be their anonymity and not their words of hate.

  13. The issue of trolls is a tough one for me. For one, if you start blocking all the negative comments, you technically are interfering with people’s freedom of speech. I’m not condoning their behavior in anyway, but it’s a fact. However, on the flip side, I don’t think people should have to develop a thick skin to go on the internet and read comments. You shouldn’t have to expect harassment every time you put something out on the internet. At the same time though, if you’re going to put something personal out on the web, you know all kinds of people are going to view it and we’re smart enough to know that not everyone in the world is a nice person.
    However, I’d like to address another point you mentioned in your post. You put that some sites are making people create accounts to take responsibility for their comments. I see a flaw in this though. To create an account, all you need usually is a valid email address, which you can create in a flash. You can create a blank email account and fill in the rest of the information, which you can falsify. I feel like this is only a temporary solution because honestly, some people will just honestly be too lazy to go create an account. There needs to be a better way to control this, but nobody knows what to do.

  14. With the fact that the internet does not belong to a single country do you really have freedom of speech? If you in this country to cause emotional harm to someone is not effected by freedom of speech. To slander someone is against the law. Now on the other side of things people need to grow up a bit and get thick skin. The world is not a kind place and it most definitely does not revolve around your problems or feelings. To block negative comments is a bit of a slippery slope. Who determines a comment as negative or positive. While some comments will be easy to label others will undoubtedly be more difficult. If you remove one comment that a person does not like, do you have to cater to your whole audiences opinions? You also risk the whole idea of though police. To publish the wrong side of an argument is against the rules. I know that is a bit of a slippery slope fallacy but, where would the line get drawn once you start?

  15. I think websites should have the option to remove negative comments. If they are a form of something illegal like cyber-bullying, child pornography, etc I think that’s perfectly fine. Also, if a certain website wants to limit comments, that’s their freedom to do so. They can go by whatever rules they want essentially. I mean, you have the freedom to use a different site if you don’t like it.

    I do think people need to grow thicker skin, however. The world isn’t full of rainbows, kittens, and butterflies and negative comments exist outside of online. I guess I have mixed feelings about this topic lol.

  16. I do think people need to toughen up online a bit. Things like cyber bullying seem to be a big deal, and they really shouldn’t be. It’s not like the internet does any physical harm to you, it cannot punch you square in the jaw. You literally have to sit there and read what someone is saying about/to you. You choose to let the people into your private life. And part of the problem is that every little kid has a smartphone and facebook.

    I do believe certain websites should have a “remove content” option, as some things just do not belong. All sorts of people are on the internet obviously, something like club penguin definitely does not need discrimination of any kind. But the internet is where people can really speak their opinions, which is why certain things must be left said, even if we don’t like them.

  17. Well first off, I think that people really do need to develop thicker skin as you mentioned. These trolls focus on getting attention, and they feed off your comments towards them. This is literally where they get their enjoyment. When people acknowledge them or take them seriously the results are often disastrous. The people who are of sound mind often explode because they can’t handle the extreme stupidity, hatred, or lack of morals presented by the troll. The best thing to do is to ignore them! Secondly, I do think that websites should be allowed to remove certain things. Only those that are illegal, or beyond disgusting or completely disturbing though. When people post to a public sight, I think the sites creator should have the ultimate decision in what stays and what goes.

  18. I do think it is fair for sites to block negative comments, or even the users making those comments I couldn’t access your link, but I am really curios to see the laws on whether or not this is legal. I do not think that freedom of speech really applies here. This is just slander and libel, which there are laws against.

    Should people develop thicker skin when dealing with online comments? Yes. I think that many people just need to realize these trolls are saying whatever they can to affect you, and that there is no weight behind what they are saying. However, when it comes to attacking a family after a tragedy, well that’s just way over the line. People’s skin are already broken at that point. That is when legal action should be taken.

  19. In a perfect world it would be great if websites could simply block negative comments, but it seems a bit hard to moderate. In my opinion I believe more websites should integrate social media login into their commenting feature. I think removing anonymity will lower the likeliness for people to post extremely hateful messages. Although it wouldn’t prevent all hateful comments, I do think it would reduce them drastically. In addition to that I think new laws should be put in place given all the suicides that have occurred as a result of “trolling”.

  20. I think this is just quite simply part of the negative we have to deal with that comes along with such a great privilege that is technology. I do see in the future certain higher lever sites having a better method of policing troll type behavior. it does seem when people get to hide there identities, they seem to lose accountability for conduct and human behavior. If we want to be able to communicate via twitter and on online forums and discussions, it kind of just comes with the territory that people will post immature, and sometimes hateful things because they can get away with it. It’s hard to ignore a “troll” so to speak when your are engaging in a online discussion. It can be distracting and take away from the discussion which really ruins it in a way. I think when you look at the bigger sites like ESPN.com they do a much better job and have a more responsive system in place for removing negative posts. There is much to be desired in this area but like I said it unfortunately comes with the territory sometimes.

  21. I think it’s fair for sites to block certain content that people are posting, but I definitely think they shouldn’t have the right to block a comment just because it’s rude. I do think people should grow thicker skin, and maybe think about where you are posting something. Everyone should know that people are on the internet are going to be rude, just like the real world, people will hurt your feelings for no reason at all. Sites should be able to block certain content, but as for rude comments? No. That’s infringing on our first amendment rights.

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