[Air-l] Lachlan Brown

Blanchard, Anita L alblanch at email.uncc.edu
Wed Mar 20 17:30:24 PST 2002

A note about the word troll:

A "troll" is a term used by virtual community users to describe someone who
comes into a group and tries to stir things up by posting outrageous
comments  about the topic of the group, attacking group members and thus
becoming the object of ire by the group.  I learned of this term from
interviewing participants of an athletic newsgroup/virtual community.  They
had several trolls (really and truly called trolls) who would post comments
such as "women should not compete in sports"--clearly a comment made to draw
attention, albeit negative. from the group.

I am not sorry that our first troll is gone.  I don't mind moderation:  on
ISWorld we recieve messages a few times a day as the moderators read and
approve them.  I like knowing that i'm now in "ISWorld mode" and will
receive their emails.  Of course, I am not a very active poster, and others
may have different views about the moderation thing.

I do think the whole idea of "trolling" is fascinating.  Why do they do what
they do?  Why go into a group to rile folks up?!  Although I could not
interview my research group's troll (I asked, he would not firmly committ),
I have talked with someone I know FtF about why he trolled a christian
newsgroup: he said he thought he was doing the group a favor by making them
think.  I think there's quite  a bit more to it than that.

Anybody interested in a troll study?!?!


Anita Blanchard, Ph.D.
Dept of Psychology
UNC Charlotte
Charlotte, NC 28221

-----Original Message-----
From: robert m. tynes
To: air-l at aoir.org
Sent: 3/20/02 7:49 PM
Subject: Re: [Air-l] Lachlan Brown 

I find it a bit troubling. I'm not sure exactly why, but I do have a few

Although I conceptually understand why Lachlan was booted, I don't feel
comfortable with the decision. Maybe it appeared to swift, which, I
is probably just my vantage point as a list member. (I've heard tell
Lachlan was warned off-list to settle down. And, he was openly
for making sexist statements and personal attacks, and for posting
off-list e-mails. Nasty deeds, to be sure.)

Maybe I would have felt better if he was warned publicly - on-list - so
that it was obvious what might happen. There was no public debate about
whether he should be yanked or not. The rule was "handed down". Now, I
know this may sound like an attack on the powers above: it is not. All
saying is that now I know that there is power above.

But that's not really the problematic part for me. Rather, I find it odd
that Lachlan gets removed from the list for inflammatory postings and
personal attacks, and yet there are no apparent repercussions for
trashing him
publicly, i.e. he's a *troll* and a *witch*. Is that fair? As scholars
social phenomenon, shouldn't we be a tad more aware of the social
construction of online reality and our contribution to, and
institutionalization of, deviance. Is Lachlan so awful that he deserves
becomes AOIR's subaltern Other?

My e-mail is not meant to defend Lachlan (what would be the point of
right?). I'm merely curious about what our meta-discourse is, and how we
are governing it.

-Robert Tynes

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