August 27, 2013
Huffington Post Versus The Trolls
HuffPo’s founder Adriana Huffington spilled the beans early during a Boston appearance that the site will no longer allow anonymous comments.
The reason? Internet Trolls.
These brutal, dimwitted wastes of human flesh are most often found lurking in the deep underneath an article’s main content. They’ll show up in the comments, waiting to either completely refute any and every point the writer made or toss insults at anyone and everyone who may agree with the writer. They especially like to feed on political and religious-themed posts.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with speaking your mind on the Internet, of course. Heck, even speaking your mind behind a veil of anonymity is generally seen as acceptable, especially if one is particular about their privacy. Journalists in any medium use pseudonyms for the same reason, after all.
Yet Huffington says too many people are hiding behind anonymity when leaving incendiary comments that offer no real point of view to the overall conversation.
“Freedom of expression is given to people who stand up for what they’re saying and not hiding behind anonymity,” she said as she addressed reporters following her appearance in Boston last week.
“We’ve just made a decision — we’re going to announce it soon, but here you are — I’m announcing it now. We’re going to end anonymity in comments.”
It’s not yet clear exactly how this will look, though. When asked, a spokesperson said the website’s engineers are cooking up a solution as we speak and will share it as soon as it’s ready.
Ms. Huffington even went so far as to say trolls are getting “more aggressive and uglier” as the site continues to wise up to their tactics. The site has a moderation system set in place consisting of human and robotic moderators to block any offensive, threatening or spammy comments. These trolls are learning their ways around these blocks, however, and have begun to misspell the words they know will either get them banned or get censored by the moderators.
You see, the Trolls…they have an insatiable desire to let the Internet know just how ridiculously stupid the rest of the world is. So incensed are they that it literally pains them (I assume) to let anyone know exactly who is speaking, thus the anonymity.
Best not to try and make sense of it.
Our editors and social media manager deal with trolls on an almost daily basis and this writer has had a run in with trolls on occasion, though not always in the comment sections at redOrbit.com or blogs.redOrbit.com. In an email (I keep it in my inbox when I need a laugh) a reader once called me a “DM.” This, in case you’re unaware, is an acronym for “Dumb Mass of Particles.”
Trolls, as it turns out, do not understand basic literary principles such as acronyms. It’s probably just hard to type well with pig’s knuckles for hands, I assume.
The decision to go anonymous may likely curb some inflammatory comments from Trolls, but it certainly won’t eradicate the problem. After all, it appears pseudonyms will still be allowed on the site, meaning a Troll could simply sign up with a false email address for each comment they want to make. This makes it a little more difficult for would be poo-throwers to smear their hate across the comment wall…but those who are going to do it are going to do it regardless.
And this makes me sad.
Image Credit: Thinkstock.com