Trolling for Hitler

Trolling for Hitler

Social Media is amazing. You can connect with friends and strangers hundreds of miles away. You can become a part of (un)important conversations, and pump your ideas into the interwebs.

As awesome as social media can be it’s not all kumbaya, hearts, and flowers. Ideally it’s a nurturing, supportive environment where people can come together for the common good. Many online forums are places of lively debate, but those debates often take a sinister turn. What is the cause of this dark cloud on the net, raining on everyone’s parade? Internet trolls.

So what is an internet troll?

In Internet slang, a “troll” is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a forum, chat room, or blog) with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.

This sense of the word “troll” and its associated verb “trolling” are associated with Internet discourse, but have been used more widely. Media attention in recent years has equated trolling with online harassment.

The Shoot Trolls Don’t They?

It has often been said that internet trolls are disturbed, there is now a study that backs it up. According to a study conducted by researchers at University of Manitoba, people who troll on the internet are pretty fucked up in real life.

The study shows that trolls’ personalities fall into a Dark Tetrad: Machiavellianism, narcissism, psychopathy, and sadism. Yikes!

There are a lot of tools in a troll’s arsenal and racism seems to be a favorite. There’s nothing like browsing the comments section on almost any website to see just how far we have come in this “post-racial” society. Even if you don’t feed the trolls, the sting of the words can often still resonate.

Some like to dismiss Internet racism, claiming it’s less harmful because it is said in a virtual atmosphere. We Stalecake-ians beg to differ. Internet racism in some ways is worse because anonymity of the internet seems to bring out the worst in some people. You don’t have to be Donald Sterling to know that a little anonymity can go a long way if you have racist views.

Godwin’s law

Take a look at a message board to see how internet anonymity can bring out oblivious anger in people.

Godwin’s law (or Godwin’s Rule of Nazi Analogies) is an Internet adage asserting that “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1” – that is, if an online discussion (regardless of topic or scope) goes on long enough, sooner or later someone will compare someone or something to Hitler or Nazism.

These angry commenters frequently haven’t even bothered to read the article in question, but they impatiently demand to be heard.

Contrary to our comic, please do NOT adhere to Godwin’s law when you are online (especially if you are commenting here!) You are more likely to be heard, but not listened to. Much like the mythological creatures that they are named after, internet trolls are dumbasses.