Monday, February 16, 2009

Malwebolence!

Does free speech tend to move toward the truth or away from it? When does it evolve into a better collective understanding? When does it collapse into the Babel of trolling, the pointless and eristic game of talking the other guy into crying “uncle”? Is the effort to control what’s said always a form of censorship, or might certain rules be compatible with our notions of free speech?
I can't decide if this post is "off topic", but those who frequent the comments on this blog will find it interesting. (One of them sent me this link so something rang a bell here.) Mattathias Schwartz in The New York Times analyses "malwebolence" (great term, huh?) - the hurt and discord that "trolls" sew in comments and/or, of course, on their own blogs. (The article is several months old, but the content still fascinating.)

This rang true (and I know there are some of you who will nod with recognition of the truth) :
The willingness of trolling “victims” to be hurt by words, he argued, makes them complicit, and trolling will end as soon as we all get over it. Ultimately ... trolling will stop only when its audience stops taking trolls seriously.
Discuss, with reference to a blog near you and your own participation.

4 comments:

Glenda Larke said...

To some up the golden rule - "Don't feed the troll."

I've also had problems.

bibliobibuli said...

trouble is others love to feed the trolls ...

it ain't easy, is it?

Jordan said...

It sometimes makes for great entertainment to make complete fools out of the trolls, but since they're trolls they already make complete fools out of themselves. So usually I just delete and ignore.

bibliobibuli said...

trouble is they often just don't realise what dick-heads they are so ridicule completely passes them by ...