[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

Anita Blanchard, Ph.D.
Dept of Psychology
UNC Charlotte
Charlotte, NC 28221
704.687.4847



-----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
reflections.

Although I conceptually understand why Lachlan was booted, I don't feel
comfortable with the decision. Maybe it appeared to swift, which, I
know,
is probably just my vantage point as a list member. (I've heard tell
that
Lachlan was warned off-list to settle down. And, he was openly
admonished
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
I'm
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
of
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
to
becomes AOIR's subaltern Other?

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

-Robert Tynes


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