By: Arlen Williams
Spending lots of time in various forums and social media over the last twenty years, one becomes familiar with the tactics and mentalities of… trolls. They lure, they bait; sometimes they they pose as what they are not; sometimes they stalk and keep on stalking; they harass and bully, and bully and harass; they insult and goad and bait some more. It is pathological. It can become alarming, disturbing, even personally threatening, even violent. When it becomes organized, it becomes tyrannical.
Worse yet is when certain trolls and their troll posses become protected rather than disciplined or banned by site administrators. That could even become corporate bullying. So, fantasies of Faerie aside, this is a clear and present danger, online.
Without taking time to cite and link this at this moment, I have seen such disturbing behavior in spades at Digg (which wound up costing that venture users and status) and at Reddit, stuff very similar. I have also seen suspicious behavior at Facebook and even among my old compatriots at FreeRepublic.com. (I’m confident its rough counterpart, DemocraticUnderground.com has had similar problems, perhaps even more.)
As for Twitter, we hearken to one of the first nasty “Twittergate” brouhahas, one involving a character named Neil Rauhauser and an operation called Progressive PST, a scandal associated later with that surrounding convicted domestic terrorist, “the Speedway bomber,” Brett Kimberlin.
Twitter being a vast, messy, literally free-for-all media, one would think they have to address significant personnel to administrate it. They do indeed, and temporary and permanent Twitter bans into the semi-oblivion known as Twitmo (Twitter Gulag, if you prefer) are notorious. Some have even alleged that Twitter displays a bias in practicing such behavior (where #TGDN comes from). California coastals displaying bias? Say it isn’t so….
Arlen, don’t go off on a tangent, let’s get to the video.
OK. It’s put out by a determined set of activists at StampOutTrolls.com…
But as you get a bowl of popcorn, here is a…
Much of this vid points to someone that Twitter says they have hired to supervise such work as troll policing… I think… I’m not quite clear and neither do the journalists who interview her, it seems. And if that is squirrelly, this may cause one to smell a rat: It’s kind of odd that trolls are known for the behavior of posing as what they are not and luring people into engaging with them in twisted ways, often in the attempt to shame them — and lo behold that is exactly the kind of work that Twitter’s Dell Harvey was doing for money — before Twitter hired her! — in an ongoing sting operation played out with NBC Dateline called “Perverted Justice.”It got into hot water for… it’s own kind of trolling. OK, OK, the video.
San Francisco, we have a problem. More likely, it’s a complex of problems.
Let’s handle this in drips and deal with this steadily over a bit of time, eh?
That way, we can all ruminate on this together. And as with Progressive PST and Kimberlin we invite other bloggers — this time across the transdimensional blogoshpereic cosmos, right, left, up, down, and diagonal, over time but presently, to look into it with us.
And may no one be Twitmo Bound as a result! 8-o
Just what does StampOutTrolls.com want to accomplish? We’re finding out.