Scientific Research & Self-Development Activism
Our prime minister was talking about how one problem with the internet is that it gives a platform for promoting and romanticizing ideas like racism, totalitarianism and violence. He was honest enough to admit that he didn`t know how to deal with this.
Blunt racism is a good example of something that often appears on the internet. Some of the contributors to this are regular trolls looking for some entertainment, and some are full-blown "my race is better than yours". Both are taking advantage of the fact that online anonymity lowers the risk of expressing such opinions.
People with clearly dangerous views can express them globally; meaning that if there is no one equal minded locally, they can still get motivation and ideas globally. On the other side, this actually let`s you know that there are people with these opinions out there. And most of the time you get the opportunity to reply and state your disagreements.
Lurkers are people who read posts, but does not take an active part in discussions. According to Jakob Nielsen around 90 % of internet users are lurkers.
If you read something that you find basically just wrong, and don`t express yourself, you're just letting it stand there unchallenged. When you disagree with something, and don`t reply, you are not giving the writer the chance to defend their views. You are also helping the writer by giving the impression to others reading that someone has read this and seemingly had no problem with it.
In defense of not replying to people with dangerous views, you will be sticking your neck out. Your effort might also be in vain since the writer can delete comments, sometimes even edit your comments so the writer has some tools to make you appear stupid, and him-/herself smart.
Internet World Stats say that 32 % of the world uses the internet, 78 % of North America and 61 % of Europe. The statistics was published 31st of december 2011.
So, most of the world`s population has no presence on the internet. In Europe, North America and Oceania, most people will be able to engage in public debate. Since over 60 % of the population has access to attend, this might give a false feeling that debates on the internet can be used as an representative for people`s opinions.
So there has to be taken into account that only 1/3 of the world has some presence on the internet, and only about 10 % of them are likely to take active part.
Just to sum it up; these aren`t actually new issues. People with unpopular views have been keeping to dark corners long before the internet. Troll is just a new name for asshole. If you don`t express your opinion, no one will know what it is. Hucksters and quacks will do whatever they can to appear intelligent and articulate in public opinion. And no medium has been able to reach everyone from the beginning.
What is new is how fast and easy it is to communicate across the world.
Troll is just a new name for asshole.
What about the common advice to not "feed the trolls!" ?
ignoring trolls has been made easier. Sure, they can go out of their way to make your life miserable, but they`re not physically present.