Stumbled on this fascinating article about trolling, and what to do about it.
As it’s frequently used, “trolling” thus implies that participants are somehow playing, and that the antagonistic interaction is a game–one with rules dictated by the aggressor, and which only the aggressor can win. Both figuratively and literally, the aggressor is always the subject of the sentence. Everyone else is their object. […]
We need to stop framing online harassment with the aggressors’ chosen terms, deferring to how aggressors prefer to be described and understood. We need to describe behaviors based on the impact they have. Highlight harm, not intent. Whistleblow, don’t whitewash. So: if a person is engaging in violently misogynist behaviors, then call it violent misogyny. I don’t care if the person responsible claims they were “just trolling.” If a person is so damn worried about being labeled a violent misogynist, then how about not engaging in violently misogynist behaviors, hmm?
Er, I stumbled on this article about toxic misogyny…
On the surface, the distinction between “us” and “them” is apparent. Certain behaviors are just gross; certain people are just mean. If only we could figure out how to deal with those specific individuals, and their awful behavior.
The issue is that they aren’t the only problem. Moreover, they are able to thrive in so many contexts, from politics to sports to entertainment, to say nothing of the online bullying and harassment of everyday people. As much as we might condemn these behaviors, online instigators have certainly gone forth and multiplied. If it really is the case that online harassers are fundamentally different than the mainstream “us,” then why are antagonistic behaviors so common, online and off? Why do we sometimes find ourselves slipping into more subtle versions of precisely the behaviors we condemn in them?
It’s excellent work, from someone who’s studied this culture academically. Take some time out to read it.