Trolling: An Annoying Consequence of First Amendment

Trolls. 20-30 years ago if you asked someone what a troll was you would probably be described something that looks like this:

tumblr_lldhkyeawZ1qb09blo1_500Today, a troll is something far more sinister. As defined by Urban Dictionary, Trolls are “An internet troll is a person who uses anonymity to cause frustration, anger, impatience or to generally be disruptive for no seemingly good reason EXCEPT to be that nuisance…General troll behavior:disruptive forum posts; the posts are generally off-topic, or unnecessarily combative. Each contemporary popular website has its own sub-genre of troll”.

The reason why trolls are on my mind is due to an article that I had read recently about such a phenomenon. I have never been bothered by trolls. They simply exist to start arguments and debates and I have never had any problem simply ignoring their presence. This was a different story. Trolling may be all fun and games to the person sending out the hateful messages, but to the person receiving them it could easily building up and force them to feel harassed. It is essentially a form of cyberbullying except these are not your peers. This individual does not know you personally (usually) and they are simply doing this to get a reaction.

Trolling is a problem and unfortunately it stems from out own First Amendment rights. We have a freedom of speech and this means that we are allowed to express our opinion, even if that opinion is simply being used to elicit a reaction. The First Amendment is the reason why the Westboro Baptist Church is allowed to picket funerals of dead soldiers. It is the consequence of allowing the freedom of speech. I am not advocating that we remove our right’s as American citizens but there needs to be a line drawn between what can and cannot be said. If a line was drawn then Jessica Laney, a 16 year old who was harassed and abused until she committed suicide, would still be alive. Trolls are a problem and they need to be dealt with.

Here is an infograph about trolls for your enjoyment:


3 thoughts on “Trolling: An Annoying Consequence of First Amendment

  1. You bring up an important point that we have not really discussed that much in class. On the one hand, being anonymous is great on the internet because we get honest opinions and discussions about controversial topics that people might not be willing to discuss otherwise because of embarrassment, family, or job related reasons. Yet, being anonymous and causing intention harm is different. In a school setting, no child could bully another without getting in trouble if an adult found out, but on the internet you can’t tell if the person behind a computer is an adult, child,or mentally ill. In the virtual world, and adult can be bullying a child even… and that is not right. It would be great if parents could monitor their children’s activity on the internet more effectively but this isn’t the case at the moment especially since kids know more about technology than their parents do. This is one problem that we will need to address soon because we are now starting to understand the workings of the internet and the harm that it can cause.

  2. trolls are definitely a very real part of the internet and multiplying exponentially by the day. How many of us hate trying to read comments on Youtube and coming across the rude, perverted and just plain off topic comments that do nothing but waste space and offend the uploader of the video? one student briefly brought up in class how Google was trying to make Youtube users link their YouTube names to their Google+ accounts in order to stop this anonymity. I’m not sure if this is optional or will become required of all of us with Youtube accounts, but making it a requirement could definitely help with the incessant trolling we are seeing as of late. putting a name to a comment could very well help the situation, but I’m not sure if it would stop it completely given there are always those individuals who abuse their freedom of speech and do not care to make a fool of themselves on the Internet.

  3. I agree. Trolls on the internet are such horrible creatures. I recall when I was a child and a troll came up on my beloved Windows 95 Internet Explorer that I still use today. We played a game of chess and he turned all of my pieces into frogs and unfairly used this to his advantage. He simply got his knights and ran them all over with his equestrian L-Shaped plan of doom. Since then, I’ve never brought my pet frog into the Amish community. Even though they don’t have internet and I know that I’ll be safe from trolls, there’s so many horses there and my PTSD prevents me from ever entering an Amish community with my pet frog.

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