Friday, October 24, 2003

Hmm - Blog Trolls! I have never had any trouble with these (as if!) but it seems to be the topic du jour around certain circles at the moment - notably at The North Carolina Experiment and some asshole called Phil.

There are some very clear and easily found documents on this and also a few that are more developed but not as visible.

This is mostly aimed at newsgroups and usenet in particular but there's some really useful stuff here, and at the very least you feel that you know more about this particular habit than you did before.

I suppose the problem comes back to the usual ones of free speech and responsibility again. I guess on the internet the equation is a little bit skewed. We all know that your right to free speech (which btw is not a right but a hard won privilege and constantly under attack) does not include you to shout 'Fire' in a crowded cinema or deliberatly malign or impugn someone with known untruths. On the internet though people often do both of those. This happens because a) You can get away with it in way you can't in print media, tv or even in public speech, and b) On the Internet No-One Can Hear You Scream. Let's face it - a lot of the time when people are jerking off about their bug bears or flaming people that have irritated them, no-one is listening.

Ultimately tho the more people indulge in this kind of behaviour the more it devalues the experience of using the internet - there can be no authority without resonsibility. Many areas such as newsgroups, bulletin boards and blogs rely on the responsible participation of users to keep going. If flaming and trolling becomes a bigger problem these features will simply disappear to be replaced by secure access only systems.

What this means children is that the internet is self governing - not by some 'authority', but by the very people who use it - and if we can't be trusted to, by and large, play with our toys nicely they will be taken away because by abusing them we are really only attacking the people who create and maintain the internet - ourselves.

I don't think this is some sort of prognostical (is that a real word) posturing - I think it's pretty self evident - if there are too many people who's only reason for being there is to fuck about eventually the others will pick up their bat and ball and go home. This may in fact even be the intention of the trolls but sheesh - what a way to spend your free time.

OK - enough already - I don't mean by this that there isn't room for people who just want to post satirical and/or obnoxious comments - I think we can cope with that. I just hate to see vandals enter in and deliberately fuck things up that were operating just fine before - and for why?

Beats the hell out of me.

Now playing : Dido, White Flag

No comments: