Trolling is a 'blood sport' especially in Vermont

Published on Tuesday, 4 September 2018 18:51

Haters really gotta hate. Trolling has become the blood sport of the modern age. Somehow, it is “entertaining” to some to turn any topic - no matter how benign - into mean-spirited cyber bullying. Even old-fashioned harassment and public shaming is en vogue.

The popular rabbit holes down which trollers scurry include the online comments section of a newspaper and on Facebook.

Innocent commenters are such easy prey.

According to a series of Wired articles - the Great Tech Panic - Vermont is the worst of the worst in America when it comes to online trolls. Wired partnered with Disqus, an online commenting platform, to determine who among us is the most hateful.

Per capita, more than 12 percent of all online comments generated here were considered “trolling.”

Disqus analyzed 92 million comments over a 16-month period, written by almost 2 million authors on more than 7,000 forums that use Disqus software. In all, nearly 25 percent of all comments made were generated by trolls.

According to an online article in Big Think, trolls really do hate because they feel they have to.

Unsurprisingly, trolls usually have poor social skills.

Rather than act as an outlet for pent-up frustration, researchers found that trolling actually ended in negative psychological outcomes for the troll, even though they were the perpetrator.

It’s sad that Vermont has earned this particular distinction. The topic is not benign; it’s shameful.

Some friendly advice in the meantime: Don’t read the comments. It’s a good way to get hurt.

Posted in New Britain Herald, Columns on Tuesday, 4 September 2018 18:51. Updated: Tuesday, 4 September 2018 18:54.