Internet Trolling

To those who don’t know, the above trollface is frequently used to indicate trolling in contemporary internet culture. Trolling is common through the internet, from the most obscure of forums to the most popular social media sites. Put simply, Internet trolling is someone who postsmessages in any online community with the intention of provoking others into some kind of emotional response (usually anger). The message could be off topic, or personal, pointing out flaws or insecurities int he intended target, or calling them out on their beliefs. There are Internet memes that make ‘trolling’ into a hilarious past time to be scoffed at, but the truth of the matter is that trolling in it’s purest form is unethical. It is not just a willing desire to not just emotionally harm others, but an obvious power tactic and gives the person trolling a feeling of control. But why? To what ends, and for what purpose? Trolling is maddening in that regard, when it is done seriously and intensely with the intent to wound others deeply.

It could very well be that the anonymity factor of the Internet gives people the courage to both post things they wouldn’t necessarily say in real life. But that hardly seems like a vital enough excuse, especially when (especially prevalent on tumblr) there are people who are so wounded by the hatred and taunting that anonymous posters give them that they decide to take their own lives. That is not something that can be contributed to a lack of strength in their character, but the fact that there are people out there who will constantly harass others online to that breaking point with such callous disregard is frightening.

Internet bullying/trolling is something that needs to be stopped, and it calls for more than a ‘trollface’ to lighten that burden.

Opinion: Tumblr hate


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A Blogger response to Tumblr Hate

The Many ‘Faces’ Of The Internet User

Earlier today I re-blogged a diagram that outlined the many faces of Internet Users, and I wanted to follow that up with a accompanying blog post. Many of us are familiar with many, if not all of the users listed, and I may briefly outline them in another post later. I feel that this quote from Robert Cavalier sums most of that up accurately:

Robert J. Cavalier

“The Cyberpolis we now inhabit poses new challenges to living life successfully. It also creates new areas of philosophical reflection on these challenges. Many negative aspects of the Internet are simply extensions of the moral life we lead in ‘real life.’ But cyberspace also encroaches on us in ways that would never occur to us in regulate navigation through our cities, our relations, both personal and professional, and even our states of mind.”

This quote makes me think. Cavalier’s book ‘The Impact Of The Internet On Our Moral Lives’ really calls for anyone who call themselves an Internet User to reconsider and re-evaluate their online behavior. It is true that the Internet does allow us to re-imagine and recreate ourselves in a way that perhaps our real world selves could only dream of. There are massively multiplayer online games (MMORPGS) that let us live out our ultimate fantasies in a variety of contexts (everything from killing dragons to saving the world), online forums allow us to vent and rage (however logically or illogically) in any way we please, and sites like tumblr, pininterest etc allow us to creatively express our desires and wants in images, and there are also sites that allow us to have fully customizable avatars through which we can act however we please. In this sense, all of  these online experiences allow us mediums and ways in which we can express, define, redefine, or re-create ourselves and our views in ways that we could never do in real life.

That said, our these online persona our ‘true’ selves, or are we simply imagining ourselves as we truly desire to be, but not necessarily are? I do believe that this type of disillusionment can be harmful once you become obsessed with this glorified self image of yourself you have created online, especially when said image is created with the intent of being ‘the perfect you.’ Also, much of our behavior has to do with our environment and situational context. On the internet, this does not exist so that filter does not innately exist. You can respond how you want in any circumstance because you  yourself are taken out of context.

So is this need to express ourselves in alternate ways, as Cavalier notes, merely an ‘extension’ of who we are? Without the presence of cyberspace and the Internet, it is true that many of would not have been able to be ‘typed’ with any of those ‘faces.’ Then is the very fact that we alter our personas and personalities while online innately unethical since we are essentially not just lying to ourselves about who we are, but to others as well?


Report: One In Five U.S. Adults Does Not Use The Internet
Internet adoption among U.S. adults increased rapidly from the mid-’90s to about 2005. Since then, though, the number of adult Internet users has remained almost stable at around 75 to 80%. 


Report: One In Five U.S. Adults Does Not Use The Internet

Internet adoption among U.S. adults increased rapidly from the mid-’90s to about 2005. Since then, though, the number of adult Internet users has remained almost stable at around 75 to 80%. 

The Need For Internet Ethics

The Internet is a constantly expanding, constantly growing entity.

It is widely understood that the Internet is at the fore front of the increasing digitization of our lives. As ‘Digital Natives’ that term is deeply and effectively rooted in the presence of the online world, and the ways in which it influences our lives.

The Internet also encompasses a wide range of mediums and topics- from the unspoken ‘rules’ of the Internet, to its memetic mutations of everything from ordinary events (the most recent of which is the ‘ridiculously photogenic guy Zeddie Little) to pop culture (the xzibit meme comes to mind)- basically everything from the scholarly to the asinine. The question then becomes not just how to promote a more ethically conscious web that respects the issues, privacy, and rights of others (as well as the law) but also how to do so in a way that all can agree and comply to. Since the Internet is so broad and diverse, its user mimic this dynamic. From the politically and socially conscious, to the pop culture saavy, to the technology dependent, it is hard to get a constantly shifting, hard to please, and quick to complain public on the same page when it comes to ethical concerns.

Roger Darlington, professional Internet Blogger, notes:

“In considering whether there is a place for ethics on the Internet, we need to have understanding of what such a grand word as ‘ethics’ means in this context. I suggest that it means four things:

  1. Acceptance that the Internet is not a value-free zone

This means that the World Wide Web is not the wild wild Web, but instead a place where values in the broadest sense should take a part in shaping content and services. This is a recognition that the Internet is not something apart from civil society, but increasingly a fundamental component of it.

  1. Application of off-line laws to the on-line world

This means that we do not invent a new set of values for the Internet but, for all the practical problems, endeavour to apply the law which we have evolved for the physical space to the world of cyberspace. These laws might cover issues like child pornography, race hate, libel, copyright and consumer protection.

  1. Sensitivity to national and local cultures

This means recognising that, while originally most Internet users were white, male Americans, now the Internet belongs to all. As a pervasively global phenomenon, it cannot be subject to one set of values like a local newspaper or national television station; somehow we have to accommodate a multiplicity of value systems.

  1. Responsiveness to customer or user opinion

This means recognising that users of the Internet – and even non-users – are entitled to have a view on how it works. “

I agree with all of these sentiments, however my issue is this: although there is definitely a need for Internet Ethics and the promotion of more ethical behavior while browsing online, (but as Darlington notes), is there even a ‘place’ for it? How  can we promote ethical behavior in a space that seems to have room for everything else but? And a greater question is, not only whether or not the digital public is capable, but do they even care?

The Internet and how it’s damaging our brains.