With the internet, was born the troll.
The news has been brimming with reports on Internet Trolls lately. From articles describing their feeble beginnings and their long plight to finally being recognized as scum of the internet, to reports on possible legislation in the UK criminalizing internet trolling, a prison sentence being the ultimate punishment. I come here, however, with the question: "What would the internet be without trolls?".
TechRaz describes internet trolls "in our everyday lives, causing havoc to users". This is a bit extreme. The most havoc an internet troll caused me was a little annoyance, which afterwards resulted in self-reflection and rationalization. How much damage could a twelve-year-old seeking attention on the internet really do, anyway? These people aren't murdering you, or planting explosives in schools. When was the last time a comment like
fake and gay
really caused "havoc". I don't know about the other guy, but when i envision havoc I imagine the earth splitting apart and skyscrapers toppling down.
Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan go to an even greater extreme. To them, trolls are online terrorists who should be illegal. Seriously? Apparently, you can terrorize all of the United Kingdom by calling their special biscuits fake and gay.
Trolling began with flame wars. The last time i took a look at a flame war, it was genuinely funny and humorous. For those unfamiliar, a flame war is an "argument" between two or more people about a topic, but with supporting facts which make the argument ridiculous and usually lead out of context. These people are ridiculously over-passionate about the topic causing participants to freak out and the war usually ends up cursing the other user out. Nevertheless Flame Wars incite discussion. If a large amount of people take part in a flame war, media outlets take notice (I am looking at you Playstation and Xbox fanboys). Blogs, social media, and other places take notice. So although it may have started out unreasonably, it can end up creating genuine discussion.
So how would the internet have looked without trolls? Well, for one, it would may have been a ridiculously boring place. The internet may just have become a collection of a bunch of articles. Like another newspaper. the internet's potential for randomness may never have been realized. Fake and gay is a staple in today's internet culture, but it's also ridiculously random. Watching someone push the limits of their sanity is also random and out-of-context in normal situations, but it's also hilariously funny.
The problems come when people attach themselves too much to trolls. One rule should be understood, and this is that trolls are their purely for a reaction and "The Lulz". Literally no other reason. They will go to whatever lengths necessary to achieve this. Why should anyone attach emotion to fictitious arguments on the internet, anyway?
A clear example of his can be taken from this video, from the early days of trolling:
This video only withstood the test of time because most of the internet found it absolutely hilarious. That's what happens when attaching yourself too deeply to the conversations of anonymous peoples on a network with no consequences.
Wired writes that "Trolls are shitting all over the internet". But that's their job, is it not? Just as it is a mosquito's job to suck your blood, it's a trolls job to cause you annoyance and rethink the path humanity is taking. it's an essential part of internet culture. Without it, the internet would be a vastly different place.
By the way, I am certain that trolls are rolling in the attention they have received in the past few weeks. I just added to it, so I think i should give a preliminary "Your Welcome" before ending this post.
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