Friday, February 14, 2014

Study Confirms What We Already Know: Internet Trolls Are Totally Annoying Sadists

Here's a news flash for you. Internet trolls, those idiots who clutter up social media and web sites with hostile, inane, persistent drivel and just make pests of themselves, are sadists and psychopaths.
New study confirms what we know:
Internet trolls are as hard to eradicate
as cockroaches. And just as unpleasant.  

Yes, yes, you can tell that by just reading the trolls' so-called comments, but now a scientific study backs that up.

According to the Washington Post, Canadian researchers said that "trolling correlated with higher rates of sadism, psychopathy and Machiavellianism, a certain lack of scruples when it comes to deceiving or manipulating other people."

The Washington Post goes on:

"....the intriguing thing about this new study by researchers from the University of Manitoba, University of Winnipeg and University of British Columbia is the idea that trolling behavior springs not from the opportunity provided by the Internet, but from innate characteristics people possess both online and off."

CNN elaborates:

"...  trolls are offensive for the sheer enjoyment of it. Or, in Internet parlance, "for the lulz"

'Trolls operate as agents of chaos on the Internet, exploiting hot button issues to make users appear overly emotional or foolish in some manner,' the article reads. 'If an unfortunate person falls into their trap, trolling intensifies for further, merciless amusement. this is why novice Internet users are routinely admonished, 'Do not feed the trolls'

More from the study: "That bodes poorly for efforts to tame the trolls. It also suggests, somewhat ominously, that there are lots of "everyday sadists among us."

Yeah, it is scary the sadists have been among us all along. But the Internet is letting them shine. Since psychologists say it's hard to cure sadist of their mindset, I guess we have to find the most effective way to fight them off.

Which brings us back to feeding the trolls. It seems the sadist trolls get the most pleasure from our reaction to them. So if we don't react, we deny them that pleasure.

Maybe this next point indicates some sadistic qualities I have, but it gives me some satisfaction to not taking the trolls' bait, to imagine they are upset with me for doing so.

Then again, I've thrown them a bit of a bone. After all, I'm complaining about trolls in this post, I am reacting in a limited way. So it's a nice compromise. I'm happy. The trolls, if not happy, are as happy as they are going to get.

Sadly, there's no real way to get rid of trolls leaving their bile on blogs, websites, forums and social media. You can block them, which is a lot of work. You can bar comments, which takes away the give and take of the Internet. You can ban anonymous comments, which I suppose helps a little.

Any other ideas out there among readers to rid of us of the trolls? Or at least shut them up?

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