Friday, October 24, 2014

The Troll Problem

I've had a lot of people express surprise to me about the reality of the online troll problem. I guess I've gotten used to the idea, so I forget that most people have no idea what's going on.

I don't know why, considering how often the troll problem is brushed off as "a few isolated hateful nerds in basements." But they're not isolated. They're organized. They work together in forums and sections of 4chan to systematically harass specific targets. They go out and find people to put on lists that their fellow trolls can cruise and send these innocent targets awful messages and images for years. This includes to their homes, because many times the trolls with find a target's home address. Phone calls can also happen. Sometimes, they make fake social media accounts under someone else's name and start harassing others so that the target, who has done nothing, will be accused of harassment themselves.

People need to know about the extent of this problem. Because people are really being hurt. Trolls target people with perceived weaknesses. They seriously have no shame. They go after people with serious illnesses, disabilities, who have lost children... there is no low too low for them. They should be separated from the population. Which is why it's so encouraging that more and more local and state governments are working to make online harassment illegal. The trolls do themselves no favors by harassing adorable, amazing and widely beloved celebrities like Felecia Day. Seriously, what were they thinking? Attacking someone that rich?

Their arrogance will be their undoing.

But spreading awareness will get us their faster. Help punch the trolls in the face. Tell your friends. It makes for interesting/horrifying conversation.

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