Trolling — the twisted hobby of some

Published: June 22, 2012
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Although some of these trolls have been put behind bars, a large international network of trolls still exists. ILLUSTRATION: KONOUZ SAEED

Plato mentioned a parable from the fourth century, about a shepherd named Gyges who stumbled upon a ring that could render its wearer completely invisible. An invisible man like himself, of course, could not be held accountable. So, he seduced and plundered, proving that invisibility or anonymity can turn the most just of men into behaving rather unjustly.

And that the ‘moral’ high ground is ridden mostly by those who are closely monitored, thereby proving that if one was to be left to their own devices, it would only result in complete anarchy.

The wise Plato had somehow foreseen the digital age. When users are protected by a shield of internet anonymity and distanced from the damages they are causing, a completely different side to them emerges— one that is more dangerous, catastrophically callous and shockingly crude than anyone can imagine.

Dubbed internet trolls combine their destructive energies and begin a vicious game of one-upping each other. The victims of their bullying, blackmailing and degradation are innocent people whether alive or dead.

If the victims are dead, family members remain at the receiving end of this cruelty. Imagine someone anonymously posting a doctored graphic image of your recently deceased daughter on Facebook. Or even cruel messages appearing out of nowhere doubting the morals of your deceased wife. For living victims, it’s infuriating, embarrassing and may lead to Post-traumatic Stress Disorder and even suicide. But that’s what the trolls want — some sort of aggravated reaction!

Besides posthumous trolling, there’s also another kind of trolling at play — shock value trolling. Victims are ambushed with pornographic images on various websites. In one instance, trolls attacked the Epilepsy Foundation’s website with flashing images and links to animated colour fields which later led to at least one photosensitive user having a seizure.

Although some of these trolls have been put behind bars, a large international network of trolls still exists. This large majority takes immense  pleasure in desecrating the memories of the dead through various social networks. If one is attacked by such trolls during online interactions, the best thing to do is avoid criticism or debate, but stay calm because hopefully, the attack should be reported to the social network or webmaster.

Read more by Saba here.

Saba Khalid

Saba Khalid

A blogger for Rolling Stone magazine, a contributor to Kulturaustauch and Musikexpres, Saba is an Institute for Foreign Affairs (IFA) Cross Culture scholar for the year 2012 who also teaches creative writing to young aspiring writers. She blogs at www.thecityalive.com and can be found on instagram as @thecityalive

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