Trolling: “Facetious not Malicious”

Down under, a war is being waged on the trolls of cyberspace. For the last few months, the Australian media has put the Internet trolling subculture under the media spotlight, in an attempt to bring down what most view as a despicable pastime.

However, there are those who are self-proclaimed trolls who care to challenge the current popular opinion of their regular hobby. Jaime Cochran is a 20-something, female professional, who’s (fairly) articulate. She doesn’t exactly fit the stereotype of what we’ve thought trolls to be huh? That is – she’s not a misogynistic teenage boy, pumped on red bull, bored with life, not getting laid enough and a general miser of a human being. But she still calls herself a troll – and still enjoys making people angry.

She claims that trolling is an artful form of entertainment. She calls it a “way of evoking a reaction.” And she finds it hilarious when people get upset over issues that she considers banal (such as their taste in music). Check out the video of her interview on The Age.

But the war against trolling was instigated from some quite serious consequences from this sort of behaviour – such as Charlotte Dawson who ended up in hospital over a trolling incident. And her father having to watch his daughter’s tribute page get mauled by a bunch of trolls – who just found it funny.

Cochran and the other trolls involved in the interview on SBS’s Insight quickly claimed there was a difference between what they do and what those trolls do. Those are evil trolls who are, in their opinion, simply bullies.

Trolling, in Cochran’s opinion is something she does to make “people laugh, and maybe think about things differently.” She believes that what she does is “harmless fun” and that the evil trolls are “downright mean and cruel” while she is the type of troll that would “put some thought into what [she’s] doing.”

But where do you draw the line? When does something become trivial? I feel that walking the trolling path is walking a dangerous one. I’m all for intelligent debate, but when you start purposely looking for fights over meaningless things, I would think that that sets you at a very precarious edge. And when you fall off that edge, you start hurting people in ways that are cruel and malevolent, though you may not see it that way at the time.

What do you think? Have the ‘evil’ trolls besmirched the good name of trolling for those who are just in it for a bit of fun? Or is the whole culture a bane on cyber-society that should not be tolerated?

[Via The Age]

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