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The Trolls Among Us
The New York Times ^ | Aug. 3, 2008 | MATTATHIAS SCHWARTZ

Posted on 03/09/2010 9:47:48 AM PST by Reaganesque

One afternoon in the spring of 2006, for reasons unknown to those who knew him, Mitchell Henderson, a seventh grader from Rochester, Minn., took a .22-caliber rifle down from a shelf in his parents’ bedroom closet and shot himself in the head. The next morning, Mitchell’s school assembled in the gym to begin mourning. His classmates created a virtual memorial on MySpace and garlanded it with remembrances. One wrote that Mitchell was “an hero to take that shot, to leave us all behind. God do we wish we could take it back. . . . ” Someone e-mailed a clipping of Mitchell’s newspaper obituary to MyDeathSpace.com, a Web site that links to the MySpace pages of the dead. From MyDeathSpace, Mitchell’s page came to the attention of an Internet message board known as /b/ and the “trolls,” as they have come to be called, who dwell there.

/b/ is the designated “random” board of 4chan.org, a group of message boards that draws more than 200 million page views a month....

...snip...

Someone hacked Henderson’s MySpace page and gave him the face of a zombie. Someone placed an iPod on Henderson’s grave, took a picture and posted it to /b/. Henderson’s face was appended to dancing iPods, spinning iPods, hardcore porn scenes. A dramatic re-enactment of Henderson’s demise appeared on YouTube, complete with shattered iPod. The phone began ringing at Mitchell’s parents’ home. “It sounded like kids,” remembers Mitchell’s father, Mark Henderson, a 44-year-old I.T. executive. “They’d say, ‘Hi, this is Mitchell, I’m at the cemetery.’ ‘Hi, I’ve got Mitchell’s iPod.’ ‘Hi, I’m Mitchell’s ghost, the front door is locked. Can you come down and let me in?’ ” He sighed. “It really got to my wife.” The calls continued for a year and a half.

...snip...

(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...


TOPICS: Computers/Internet; Society
KEYWORDS: bullying; culture; internet; liberalism; permissiveculture; selfesteem; trolls; unpunishedchildren
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I found this yesterday. Its a long read but the author makes some interesting points about how the Internet's anonymity can bring out the worst in some and that, as a result, there is a growing culture of people online with, as the article states, "a fluid morality and a disdain for pretty much everyone else online."

The author interviewed several of these kinds of people and the comments he solicits from them are, frankly, terrifying. They feel that they not only have the right to be cruel and inhuman to others they deem to be "inferior" in some way, shape or form, but the duty to tear others down. In fact, those interviewed actually thought they were doing people a favor by being so heartlessly viscious.

So, the article raises a good point; where do you draw the line between vigorous comment and cyberbullying? Is anonymity a blessing or a curse online? There will always be those who abuse freedom and those who treasure it. How do rational adults draw a balance in this new, online world? Opinions?

1 posted on 03/09/2010 9:47:48 AM PST by Reaganesque
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To: Reaganesque

The nice thing about longtime FReepers. Even in disagreement we still tend to have a certain degree of respect for each other.


2 posted on 03/09/2010 9:49:49 AM PST by cripplecreek (Remember the River Raisin!)
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To: Reaganesque
Trolls here are easy to spot they usually have a signup date within a week of their post.

For online video games we call it "nerd rage".

3 posted on 03/09/2010 9:51:56 AM PST by Dengar01
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To: cripplecreek

That is true. However, I was glad to see longtime troll member, Steve-B, finally get banned. It only took 12 years. :)


4 posted on 03/09/2010 9:52:35 AM PST by ohioman
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To: Reaganesque

” there is a growing culture of people online with, as the article states, “a fluid morality and a disdain for pretty much everyone else online.” “

Has nothing to do with the internet or online anonymity.
It has to do with what they are taught and their base moral values.
Kids these days are taught that nobody matters but them.
And if their parents try to discipline them, they are told that is abuse.


5 posted on 03/09/2010 9:54:39 AM PST by Darksheare (Tar is cheap, and feathers are plentiful.)
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To: Reaganesque
“They’d say, ‘Hi, this is Mitchell, I’m at the cemetery.’ ‘Hi, I’ve got Mitchell’s iPod.’ ‘Hi, I’m Mitchell’s ghost, the front door is locked. Can you come down and let me in?’ ” He sighed. “It really got to my wife.” The calls continued for a year and a half.

I don't know how these parents survived this ordeal.

6 posted on 03/09/2010 9:54:53 AM PST by Dr. Scarpetta
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To: Darksheare

A consequence of liberalism gone wild.


7 posted on 03/09/2010 9:55:16 AM PST by darkangel82 (I don't have a superiority complex, I'm just better than you.)
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To: cripplecreek
The thing about Freepers and FR:

Mutual respect is the catalyst that allows us to have a discourse and, even though we may disagree, remain FRiends. We are united in our love for conservative values, and at the end of the day, even after a fiery WOD flame war, we go to bed knowing that we are, indeed, all on the same side. Except you pricks from Maryland. can't even stand the smell of you guys.

I keed, I keed!

8 posted on 03/09/2010 9:55:48 AM PST by I Buried My Guns
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To: Reaganesque

9 posted on 03/09/2010 9:57:27 AM PST by JoeProBono (A closed mouth gathers no feet)
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To: darkangel82

Yes.


10 posted on 03/09/2010 9:57:34 AM PST by Darksheare (Tar is cheap, and feathers are plentiful.)
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To: ohioman

They usually give themselves away in truncated sentences where they normally have an F word as they use at least once or more per sentence over at the DUmp.

Its very frustrating to be civil tongued here, day after...day after day... got to swear..got to swear...

The itch for profanity that cannot be scratched at FR.

Oh the huge-manatee!


11 posted on 03/09/2010 9:58:51 AM PST by Eye of Unk ("Either you are with us or you are for the terrorists." ~~George W. Bush)
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To: Reaganesque

With no net anonymity, FR and the similar sites will fold. The government sees many of us as dangerous Tom Paine types who must be watched, and with no anonymity, we’ll all be personally watched.

Imagine making a post here, and finding SEIU and CBS outside demanding “justice”.

The news people wanted to find the principals in the Rathergate discoveries, rather than find the source of the memos, to illuminate what their priorities are.

Yup net anonymity can be a pain in a very few cases, but it currently is what drives the existing Power To The People we’ve been enjoying.


12 posted on 03/09/2010 9:59:29 AM PST by DBrow
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To: Reaganesque
Interesting and sad.

A few weeks ago the local AM talk radio in Albuquerque mentioned a couple of different web sites that desecrate the highway memorials families put up. One idiot films/photographs himself with the memorial, and posts disgusting crap about the dead. The other documents going around and pulling down, or destroying the memorials.

In New Mexico, it is illegal to desecrate these roadside memorials.

Personally, I wouldn't put a memorial up. However, I'm never bothered by those who do.

As long as the family maintains or removes them if they can no longer maintain them, I have no problem with them.

13 posted on 03/09/2010 10:00:39 AM PST by IYAS9YAS (The townhalls were going great until the oPods showed up.)
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To: IYAS9YAS

Whoops, that should read “web sites by folks who desecrate”


14 posted on 03/09/2010 10:02:24 AM PST by IYAS9YAS (The townhalls were going great until the oPods showed up.)
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To: ohioman

When did that happen?


15 posted on 03/09/2010 10:03:38 AM PST by WayneS (Respect the 2nd Amendment; Repeal the 16th)
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To: Reaganesque

All I know is ‘there are no girls on the internet’....but for some reason...I’m still here. ;-)

Seriously, tho I feel so sorry for Mitchell’s parents. I can’t even imagine. I’ve seen the sick and twisted way ‘an hero’ deaths have been made fun of in this internet culture...and for the life of me, I don’t understand WHY. Sick, sick, sick.

I feel the NYT is a little slow, here. This behavior has been going on for quite a while.


16 posted on 03/09/2010 10:04:44 AM PST by RushIsMyTeddyBear (I don't have a 'Cousin Pookie'.)
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To: ohioman

Wow. I missed that one. Same with BobJ.


17 posted on 03/09/2010 10:06:19 AM PST by TADSLOS (Tea Party. We are the party of NO! NO to more government! NO to more spending! NO to more taxation!)
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To: Darksheare
Has nothing to do with the internet or online anonymity.

Correct. Consider how the current culture is not to put the blame or fault on the exact place it belongs but to spread it around or slam it on someone/something else entirely.

And respect for life? and compassion? ppffftttt, as we demand hot 'n' cold running ab0rti0ns for all, not likely.

18 posted on 03/09/2010 10:06:23 AM PST by NativeSon
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To: cripplecreek; All
"The nice thing about longtime FReepers. Even in disagreement we still tend to have a certain degree of respect for each other."


19 posted on 03/09/2010 10:07:14 AM PST by musicman (Until I see the REAL Long Form Vault BC, he's just "PRES__ENT" Obama = Without "ID")
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To: musicman

LOL!


20 posted on 03/09/2010 10:08:21 AM PST by TADSLOS (Tea Party. We are the party of NO! NO to more government! NO to more spending! NO to more taxation!)
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To: Reaganesque

Mitchell Henderson

21 posted on 03/09/2010 10:08:38 AM PST by Dr. Scarpetta
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To: Reaganesque

So king troll is 32, lives with his mother and was molested by not one but four of his relatives? And he is thin and pale, with bird like features?

Shocked. Shocked, I am. I made it to the second page. I gave it up after mom started whining about how his intense emotional pain(presumably from the quad chestering) necessitates his online activities. Shoulda stayed anonymous, dude.


22 posted on 03/09/2010 10:09:24 AM PST by Spike Knotts
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To: ohioman
I was glad to see longtime troll member, Steve-B, finally get banned

Really? Yea, he was irritating, and certainly not a libertarian, which he claimed to be.

23 posted on 03/09/2010 10:16:46 AM PST by Nonstatist
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To: I Buried My Guns
... we go to bed knowing that we are, indeed, all on the same side. Except you pricks from Maryland. can't even stand the smell of you guys.

Hey, Rahm - welcome to FR! (And by the way, don't bother visiting - I have shower curtains!) LOL

24 posted on 03/09/2010 10:18:33 AM PST by In Maryland ("Impromptu Obamanomics is getting scarier by the day ..." - Caroline Baum)
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To: Nonstatist

“Liberal”, not “libertarian.”


25 posted on 03/09/2010 10:22:31 AM PST by darkangel82 (I don't have a superiority complex, I'm just better than you.)
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To: DBrow

‘...Imagine making a post here, and finding SEIU and CBS outside demanding “justice”.

Target Practice...


26 posted on 03/09/2010 10:24:04 AM PST by OriginalChristian (Sarah Palin, The Arctic Fox...)
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To: Nonstatist
Bill Maher claims to be a libertarian as well. Doesn't make it fact...

"By their actions shall ye know them..."

27 posted on 03/09/2010 10:29:20 AM PST by Dead Corpse (III, Oathkeeper)
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To: Reaganesque

Re-read rules #1 and #2.


28 posted on 03/09/2010 10:29:44 AM PST by struggle ((The struggle continues))
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To: Spike Knotts

The article goes on - The author makes it look like he cracked the story that could end life as we know it. It’s a story of intrigue, 18 year olds with rolls royces, hackers with piles of money..

Sounds a little over the top.


29 posted on 03/09/2010 10:35:09 AM PST by Celerity
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To: TADSLOS; JerseyHighlander; humblegunner
Speaking of Bob J, did you see yesterday's 545-post, and counting, thread/opus/???? by jerseyhighlander?

humblegunner put it succinctly.

30 posted on 03/09/2010 10:36:13 AM PST by Servant of the Cross (the Truth will set you free)
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To: Reaganesque

Thanks for posting this! How very fascinating.


31 posted on 03/09/2010 10:36:21 AM PST by LongElegantLegs ( I have nothing better to do than sit around all night watching a lunatic not turn into a werewolf.)
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To: Reaganesque
At the risk of massive flaming - when history is written I think this, and much else of what is destroying the culture of this country, will be traced back to the so-called "women's liberation movement".

Women became vilified for being "stay at home" moms (remember when Barbara Bush got booed at, what was it, Bennington?) so they entered the work force. This provided additional income for the government to tax (and, admittedly, additional productivity) and allowed goverment to tax at a higher rate until women had virtually no choice but enter the work force. So, from the age of 6 weeks, children are entrusted to strangers to raise, parents indulge them monetarily to assuage their guilt over spending little time with them, and no one teaches Johhny manners or morals.

Then we have a divorce rate of 50% as women "break free" of the chains of "male domination" (again, granting that some women should divorce, when they are abused mentally or physically). Then the children become pawns in a game of retribution between spouses, making it important to cultivate the child as a "friend" rather than doing the hard and often unpleasant work of parenting.

Then mix in schools more interested in indoctrination than education (from which profession males have been driven because NOW has successfully painted every man that works with children as a potential sexual predator) and you end up with really screwed up young adults. Some work on Wall Street - some becomes sports thugs - some become internet bomb-tossers and, by the grace of god, many still become well-adjusted, moral, ethical adults.

32 posted on 03/09/2010 10:38:26 AM PST by In Maryland ("Impromptu Obamanomics is getting scarier by the day ..." - Caroline Baum)
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To: In Maryland

I think it also has a lot to do with the fact that we, as a society, have tried to eliminate any and all pain from our children’s lives by preventing or trying to ease the pain of failure. In school, teachers can’t fail a child. They can barely even correct the child for fear of lawsuits and charges of unfairness of some sort. These children have grown up believing that they can do no wrong and thus have gargantuan egos. And when those narcissistic egos meet the real world, behavior like this ensues. That’s part of it, anyway.


33 posted on 03/09/2010 10:54:32 AM PST by Reaganesque ("And thou shalt do it with all humility, trusting in me, reviling not against revilers.")
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To: IYAS9YAS

I understand why people want to do this but I really wish they were illegal. As a biker having these at the side of the road when you might need that part of the road to get out of someone who isn’t paying attention’s way could mean I die because of the memorial.


34 posted on 03/09/2010 11:08:07 AM PST by chris_bdba
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To: Servant of the Cross

You haven’t been around long enough to understand why having folks like BobJ fall out with JimRob’s editorial direction is a shock to many of us here.

Though you might have heard about it on the TV,? that thing called the SwiftVets and Bob Corsi, remember that?


35 posted on 03/09/2010 11:08:32 AM PST by JerseyHighlander
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To: Reaganesque

G.I.F.T. (Greater Internet F***wad Theory) in action


36 posted on 03/09/2010 11:11:32 AM PST by TheRealDBear
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To: cripplecreek

Unfortunately, I have to disagree. Some of the comments here have gotten very nasty over the past couple of years.


37 posted on 03/09/2010 11:13:28 AM PST by Rocky Mountain High
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To: Nonstatist

There used to be room here for liberals and many libertarians roamed the site. I think we lost something when we strictly becames a site for “conservatives” to have discussions. Look at the number of times people are confronted because they are “supposedly” going against the owners message or disagree with those on a thread or heaven forbid they are new. It’s a lazy way to try to get rid of a debate opponent.

Conservative values are strong enough to stand up to liberal challenges and to withstand ridiculous or ignorant threads by newbies. The owner is the owner, but that’s my penny’s worth.


38 posted on 03/09/2010 11:22:51 AM PST by votemout
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To: chris_bdba
I understand why people want to do this but I really wish they were illegal. As a biker having these at the side of the road when you might need that part of the road to get out of someone who isn’t paying attention’s way could mean I die because of the memorial.

The rule here is that they cannot be on the road surface itself (paved, dirt, or otherwise), but can be in the right of way.

39 posted on 03/09/2010 11:28:07 AM PST by IYAS9YAS (The townhalls were going great until the oPods showed up.)
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To: votemout

“There used to be room here for liberals and many libertarians roamed the site.”

“...withstand ridiculous or ignorant threads by newbies.”

votemout
Since Oct 28, 2009

lol.


40 posted on 03/09/2010 11:28:18 AM PST by Spike Knotts
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To: Spike Knotts

wrong, try 1998. LOL! Another example of how people get it wrong.


41 posted on 03/09/2010 11:32:17 AM PST by votemout
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To: OriginalChristian

“Target Practice...”

An excellent reason to have net anonymity, eh? That scenario would not be terribly helpful in the long run.


42 posted on 03/09/2010 11:35:14 AM PST by DBrow
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To: JerseyHighlander
the SwiftVets and Bob Corsi, remember that?

Of course I do. Bought and read the book several times. The SwiftBoat Vets ably served their country a second time! God bless the Swifties!

Bob J is Jerome Corsi?

43 posted on 03/09/2010 11:35:38 AM PST by Servant of the Cross (the Truth will set you free)
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To: NativeSon

The security guard at a store my wife worked at had a heart attack in front of the store. A bunch of low-lifes stood around and laughed at him while he died. They refused to call 911.


44 posted on 03/09/2010 12:01:41 PM PST by gitmo
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To: Reaganesque
So, the article raises a good point; where do you draw the line between vigorous comment and cyberbullying? Is anonymity a blessing or a curse online? There will always be those who abuse freedom and those who treasure it. How do rational adults draw a balance in this new, online world? Opinions?

It's so frustrating because, as you point out, there are many elements to the issue. On the one hand, you don't want to set a precedent of restricting free speech. On the other hand, these are people who deliberately acted with the intent of causing extreme emotional pain, and it's hard not to have a "punish those jerks" reaction. But as the article mentions, laws addressing this will be largely unenforceable.

The only way to combat it really is to somehow produce people who aren't emotionally unhinged, but how do you do that? You can lay a part of the blame on the anonymity factor of the Internet (that no one would act this way if they had to see their victim), but there have been horrible people since the dawn of time so it's not all about that.

So ... yeah, no ideas here.
45 posted on 03/09/2010 12:14:52 PM PST by liberty_rules_in_the_USA
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To: Servant of the Cross

LOL!


46 posted on 03/09/2010 12:26:02 PM PST by TADSLOS (Tea Party. We are the party of NO! NO to more government! NO to more spending! NO to more taxation!)
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To: gitmo
I don't know what to say to that. Imagine if it was someone you cared about?

There have always been evil men and there always will be but now it seems as though we are breeding generations of them...

47 posted on 03/09/2010 12:46:51 PM PST by NativeSon
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To: musicman

LOLOLOLOL.


48 posted on 03/09/2010 1:39:09 PM PST by onyx (BE A MONTHLY DONOR - I AM)
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To: darkangel82

.
Yup. The “me” and “if it feels good do it” generation, and yes, the valueless generation “X” gave us these little monsters.


49 posted on 03/09/2010 2:47:59 PM PST by Touch Not the Cat (You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory; it is better to perish than to live a slave)
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To: Reaganesque

I guess Fr has taut many of us to spot trolls and we can agree to disagree.

Parents need to give their children a lesson it the hard realities of the internet.

It can be an ugly place. Especially for the young and inexperienced.


50 posted on 03/09/2010 2:58:50 PM PST by Marty62 (former Marty60)
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