Trolling for the Lulz?: Using Media Theory to Understand Transgressive Humour and Other Internet Trolling in Online Communities

Trolling for the Lulz?: Using Media Theory to Understand Transgressive Humour and Other Internet Trolling in Online Communities

Jonathan Bishop

Abstract

Internet trolling as a term has changed in meaning since it first entered mainstream use on the Internet in the 1990s. In the 2010s, it has come to refer to the posting of provocative or offensive messages on the Internet to harm others. This change in usage of the term opens up new challenges for understanding the phenomenon, especially as some are still resistant to taking it beyond its original meaning. This chapter tries to distinguish the 1990s kind from the 2010s kind by referring to the former as classical trolling and the latter as anonymous trolling. Taking part in the former is considered to be “trolling for the Lolz” (i.e. positive) and the second to mean “trolling for the Lulz” (i.e. negative). Through using document and genre analysis, this chapter finds that there are common ways in which anonymous trolling manifests differently on different platforms. The chapter concludes by presenting a model for understanding which genres of online community are at risk for particular types of trolling.

Citation

Jonathan Bishop (2014). Trolling for the Lulz?: Using Media Theory to Understand Transgressive Humour and Other Internet Trolling in Online Communities. In: Jonathan Bishop (Ed.) Transforming Politics and Policy in the Digital Age. IGI Global, Hershey, PA. (pages 155-172).

Determining the Risk of Digital Addiction to Adolescent Targets of Internet Trolling: Implications for the UK Legal System

Determining the Risk of Digital Addiction to Adolescent Targets of Internet Trolling: Implications for the UK Legal System

Jonathan Bishop

Abstract

Research on digital addiction has been increasing significantly since the start of the 2010s. What is not currently available is a measurement scale to assess the extent to which adolescents are at risk of abuse on the Internet that might lead them to develop digital addiction. This chapter sets out to develop a check-list that can be used to risk assess those youths who might be at risk of digital addiction. Through using data from a study into 1,828 young people aged 9-16, the study devised a 6-point check-list based on using a t-test to determine those at high risk and those at low risk. The check-list can be seen as a reliable way for screening those adolescents for whom concerns are raised over their online activities. The chapter concludes that further research will be needed to test the scale with people in older age ranges.

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Citation

Jonathan Bishop (2015). Determining the Risk of Digital Addiction to Adolescent Targets of Internet Trolling: Implications for the UK Legal System. In J. Bishop (Ed.), Psychological and Social Implications Surrounding Internet and Gaming Addiction (pp. 31-42). IGI Global, Hershey, PA. Available online at: http://resources.crocels.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/4/determining-the-risk-of-digital-addiction-to-adolescent-targets-of-internet-trolling.pdf

Trolls Just Want To Have Fun: Electronic Aggression within the Context of e-Participation and Other Online Political Behaviour in the United Kingdom

Trolls Just Want To Have Fun: Electronic Aggression within the Context of e-Participation and Other Online Political Behaviour in the United Kingdom

Shefali Virkar

Abstract

Over the last two decades, public confidence and trust in Government has declined visibly in several Western liberal democracies owing to a distinct lack of opportunities for citizen participation in political processes; and has instead given way instead to disillusionment with current political institutions, actors, and practices. The rise of the Internet as a global communications medium and the advent of digital platforms has opened up huge opportunities and raised new challenges for public institutions and agencies, with digital technology creating new forms of community; empowering citizens and reforming existing power structures in a way that has rendered obsolete or inappropriate many of the tools and processes of traditional democratic politics. Through an analysis of the No. 10 Downing Street ePetitions Initiative based in the United Kingdom, this article seeks to engage with issues related to the innovative use of network technology by Government to involve citizens in policy processes within existing democratic frameworks in order to improve administration, to reform democratic processes, and to renew citizen trust in institutions of governance. In particular, the work seeks to examine whether the application of the new Information and Communication Technologies to participatory democracy in the Government 2.0 era would eventually lead to radical transformations in government functioning, policymaking, and the body politic, or merely to modest, unspectacular political reform and to the emergence of technology-based, obsessive-compulsive pathologies and Internet-based trolling behaviours amongst individuals in society.

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Reference

Shefali Virkar (2014). Trolls Just Want to Have Fun: Electronic Aggression Within the Context of e-Participation and Other Online Political Behaviour in the United Kingdom’, International Journal of E-Politics (Special Issue), Volume 5, Issue 4, pp. 20-50.

Cyber-stalking or just plain talking?: Linguistic properties of rape-threat messages reflect underlying compulsive behaviours

Cyber-stalking or just plain talking?: Investigating the linguistic properties of rape-threat messages as compulsive behaviours

Mark Beech and Jonathan Bishop

Abstract

Rape call-out trolling, more commonly known as ‘rape-threat trolling,’ occurs when a person using a communication network sends a message relating to them ‘raping’ that person. Whilst this may disgust many people, this chapter finds that not all instances of rape call-out trolling is done to cause a person apprehension. The chapter finds that many Twitter users make rape threats to their friends in an affectionate way, and so appreciating the context of rape-threat messages is essential. The most notable targets of rape call-out trolling, Caroline Criado-Perez and Stella Creasy, were targeted following calling for less men to appear on British banknotes. These two findings have implications for public policy makers who are quite happy to see people go to jail for posting rape-threats when they were drunk, namely Isabella Sorley. The chapter concludes the context around rape-threat postings needs more consideration to determine what the core meanings are.

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Reference

Mark Beech and Jonathan Bishop (2015). Cyber-stalking or just plain talking?: Linguistic properties of rape-threat messages reflect underlying compulsive behaviours. In: Jonathan Bishop (Ed.) Psychological and Social Issues Surrounding Internet and Gaming Addiction. IGI Global: Hershey, PA. Available online at: http://resources.crocels.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/4/cyber-stalking-or-just-plain-talking-investigating-the-linguistic-priperities-of-rape-threat-messages-as-compulsive-behavours.pdf

Dealing with Internet Trolling in Political Online Communities: Towards the This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things Scale

Dealing with Internet Trolling in Political Online Communities: Towards the This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things Scale

Jonathan Bishop

Abstract

Internet trolling has become a popularly used term to describe the posting of any content on the Internet which is provocative or offensive. This is different from the original meaning online in the 1990s, which referred to the posting of provocative messages for humourous effect. Those systems operators (sysops) who run online communities are finding they are being targeted because of abuse posted on their platforms. Political discussion groups are some of the most prone to trolling, whether consensual or unwanted. Many such websites ara open for anyone to join, meaning when some members post messages they know are offensive but legal, others might find grossly offensive, meaning these messages could be illegal. This paper develops a questionnaire called the This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things Scale (TIWWCHNT-20), which aims to help sysops better plan the development of online communities to take account of different users’ capacity to be offended, and for users to self-assess whether they will be suited to an online community. The scale is discussed in relation to different Internet posting techniques where different users will act differently.

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Reference

Jonathan Bishop (2014). Dealing with Internet Trolling in Political Online Communities: Towards the This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things Scale. International Journal of E-Politics 5(4), 1-20. Available online at: http://resources.crocels.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/4/dealing-with-internet-trolling-in-political-online-communities-towards-the-this-is-why-we-cant-have-nice-things-scale.pdf

Transforming the UK Home Office into a Department for Homeland Security: Reflecting on an Interview with a Litigant Defending Against Online Retaliatory Feedback in the US

Transforming the UK Home Office into a Department for Homeland Security: Reflecting on an Interview with a Litigant Defending Against Online Retaliatory Feedback in the US

Jonathan Bishop

Abstract

Retaliatory feedback is a significant problem on the Internet, which is not just confined to online auction websites, but other online environments dependent on reputation systems. Explored in this paper are the acts of an Internet troller who spread malicious and false allegations that the series of conferences called WORLDCOMP are “fake.” This paper interviews one of the organisers of this conference to ask how they went about dealing with the retaliatory feedback, and in particular their engagement with law enforcement agencies, such as the FBI, the police and the civil courts. To reform the UK Home Office requires learning lessons from this and the US Department of Homeland Security. This paper proposes making greater use of National Crime Agency and Police and Crime Commissioners to provide a better strategic set-up for law enforcement under the UK Home Office. It also suggest using publicly funded solicitors and community wardens, as opposed to the current set-up of police constables, to deal with community policing. The paper concludes that in order for the promise made by the New Labour Government to be “tough on crime and tough on the causes of crime” to become a reality, encouraging peaceful discourses between community members and former offenders is essential.

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Reference

Jonathan Bishop (2014). Transforming the UK Home Office into a Department for Homeland Security: Reflecting on an Interview with a Litigant Defending Against Online Retaliatory Feedback in the US. Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management 11(4), 511-531. Available online at: http://resources.crocels.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/4/transforming-the-uk-home-office-into-a-department-for-homeland-security.pdf

Digital Teens and the ‘Antisocial Network’: Prevalence of Troublesome Online Youth Groups and Internet trolling in Great Britain

Digital Teens and the ‘Antisocial Network’: Prevalence of Troublesome Online Youth Groups and Internet trolling in Great Britain

Jonathan Bishop

Abstract

A concern shared among nearly all generations of adults is that they must do something to tackle the problems in society caused by young people. They often forget that they were once young, and all too often blame young people for all of problems in their community. This paper challenges this view and shows how the blaming of Internet trolling on today’s young people – called digital teens – is probably inaccurate. What might otherwise be called Troublesome Online Youth Groups (TOYGs), this paper looks at data collected from subjects in three UK regions (n=150 to 161), which includes young people who are not in education, employment or training (NEETs). Unlike might be typically thought, the data shows that far from these NEETs being the causes of Internet trolling it is in fact the areas with high levels of productivity, higher education and higher intelligence that report lower perceptions of quality of life that these electronic message faults (EMFts) most occur in.

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Reference

Jonathan Bishop (2014). Digital Teens and the ‘Antisocial Network’: Prevalence of Troublesome Online Youth Groups and Internet trolling in Great Britain. International Journal of E-Politics 5(3), pp.1-15. Available online at: http://resources.crocels.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/4/digital-teens-and-the-antisocial-network.pdf

The Impact of the Internet on Transnational Civil Society Networks: The Anonymous Movement Unmasked

The Impact of the Internet on Transnational Civil Society Networks: The Anonymous Movement Unmasked

Shefali Virkar

Abstract

The rise in the number of non-state actors, particularly the emergence of civil society bodies such as NGOs, and the increase of their political influence has thrown up significant questions about how best the Internet and its associated technologies may be harnessed to aid the activities of such organisations. Can the Internet truly augment the effects of those activists, hacktivists, and cyberprotestors seeking to alter the landscape of international relations and political advocacy? This article attempts to answer this question through an examination of the possibly the most iconic, cutting-edge transnational civil society network of the 21st Century: The Anonymous Movement, and the manner in which the collective’s participants and constituent elements have successfully harnessed and have in turn been impacted by the Internet and its associated digital platforms and technologies. The research dealt with herein aims to showcase the various intersecting circumstances that help advance Anonymous’ contemporary geopolitical power, and in doing so, to contribute to that body of empirical political science which recognises the impact and significance of Information and Communication Technologies and their associated digital platforms on transnational protest and advocacy ever since their development and rapid global proliferation in the mid-1990s.

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Citation

Shefali Virkar (2014). The Impact of the Internet on Transnational Civil Society Networks: The Anonymous Movement Unmasked. The International Journal of Trolling and Online Participation 1(2), pp.69-108.

An Hero and the Trolls

An Hero and the Trolls

Lars Konzack

Abstract

This is an investigation into the case of Mitchell Henderson seen in the light of heroes and villains. The MySpace page commemorating Hendersons suicide was subject to a form of activity known as “trolling”, of such intensity that Henderson became an iconic figure, a “meme” in the troll community known as “Anonymous.” Examination of this singular event leads eventually to a wider discussion of what it means to be a hero and whether or not Anonymous should be considered villains, heroes, tricksters or vigilantes. Furthermore, it attempts an understanding of what Anonymous are, how they operate, and insight into their distinctive Internet culture.

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Citation

  • Lars Konzack (2014). An Hero and the Trolls. The International Journal of Trolling and Online Participation 1 (2), pp.5-28.

Viewing Robin Hood and Anonymous as embodiments of non-conformity: A comparative analysis of media-texts used for provoking thoughts of protest, disobedience and idealism

Viewing Robin Hood and Anonymous as embodiments of non-conformity: A comparative analysis of media-texts used for provoking thoughts of protest, disobedience and idealism

Jonathan Bishop

Abstract

The truth surrounding the existence and origin of Robin Hood has evaded scholars from multiple disciplines for centuries. Robin Hood has been linked to persons or characters in court rolls, plays and other documented references. Some of the oldest records of this infamous and elusive personality include the ballads. These are not however the only media texts referring to Robin Hood, as he has featured in films, TV series, music and video games also. Akin to Robin Hood are the protest movement Anonymous. A group of hacktivists, representing modern day bandits, the comparisons between Robin Hood and Anonymous are endless. This paper examines media-texts relating to Robin Hood in a critical manner and proposes that he exists not as a person but as a metaphor for free speech and anti-establishment sentiment, much in the same way that Anonymous is used today. The paper explores how Robin Hood has been used by the peasants and aristocracy alike to reflect their ideas and ideals relating to the establishment, as a fairy tale, an antidote to economic depressions and for the romanticism associated with the legend. This is compared and contrasted with the same uses of Anonymous, including the ‘Guy Fawkes mask’ that is like Robin’s hood. The paper concludes that even if it is the case that Robin Hood exists only as a metaphor, as Anonymous does to media consumers, it still needs to be established why the rhymes were of ‘Robin Hood’ and not another name or concept.

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Citation

  • Jonathan Bishop (2014). Viewing Robin Hood and Anonymous as embodiments of non-conformity: A comparative analysis of media-texts used for provoking thoughts of protest, disobedience and idealism. International Journal of Internet Trolling and Online Participation 1(2), pp.29-51