Friday, February 26, 2010


(A long one, but worth the read)

I’m not talking about the trolls that live under your neighbourhood bridge. I’m talking about trolls on the internet, you know those horrible people that take great delight in shooting down every comment you make and make fun of you at every turn. That destroy something online that was good for the community.

Some of them are so good you may not even realize this is the case – until it is too late.

Trolls or trolling is not a new word, just something you hear bandied about lot, simply because of the anonymity of the internet has allowed them to breed in numbers not previously seen.

Once upon a time – you signed up to the internet and you were issued with an ISP email address and anyone worth their weight in forum/site admin would ensure that you used the ISP email to sign up with. That stopped a lot of the bullying and trolling and even the trolls from putting in an appearance for fear of being caught out.

Now days, more often than not, ISP’s no longer issue their own email addresses and rely on the user opening, operating and being responsible for their own email accounts, using a free method like gmail, yahoo or hotmail.

This in turn has forced site and forum admin to relax their rules and opened the door for multiple user names operated by the same person.

I’ve seen one person admit to having 20,30,40 different user names, just to stalk and harass people in one forum, and once they get a taste of the power. They become almost psychotic in their approach to forum and site rules and take great pleasure in getting others suspended/reprimanded and then boasting about it in other forums.

Then you find that a group or cliché of people get together creating further harm to sites and eventually the site is forced to close.

A perfect example is the ebay forum that used to exist in 2009, it was mostly a good place, and the admin were as good as could be expected considering the size, but the trolling and bad manners of a group or cliché of people, made ebay realize that it was not possible to sustain the forum in its current format.

So a new forum was created with different rules, to try and stop this sort of trolling behavior, unfortunately I don’t believe it has stopped, only caused the non-trolls to move elsewhere. That is only one example of perhaps thousands that happen on a daily basis.

Once the cliché get together, they then start sharing information and tools and invariably it doesn’t end, only grows as people search for some form of identity or something to make them feel important.

Once upon a time with an ISP registered email address, a report would be made to the ISP, and the ISP would take the offending account down and do whatever was necessary to prevent the action from occurring again. Now the ISP’s are toothless tigers and do nothing more than provide bandwidth.

With IP masking and shielding anything is possible, people just don’t realize how much is possible. For example it is possible to declare you are in England, or the USA or the Philippines (anywhere on Earth really), when in actual fact you don’t even possess a passport. You can post travel photos, and admin when checking the IP note that it is from the portrayed country and have no reason to be suspicious.

Then the multiple account holder, the number of user names is only limited to the amount of time available to the user to create and confirm email addresses and then create and confirm forum user names. See how easy it really is.

I could be anyone, in fact I could be any number of people, who do you believe, him, me or her over there or even the pet dog? – I am all the same person. In fact there is a whole family of me!

Never trust anyone or anything on the net – it’s not worth having your online reputation destroyed ;)


  1. Its a sad part of life, but a percentage of the human population like to cause damage but thankfully there is the other percentage that will combat it.


  2. The turncoats are the most dangerous - yes LizPata you are right - there is good and abad around ever corner - but the anominity that the web seems to provide - also offers these cowards the opportunity to destory lives and income and reputations at the press of a button. As long as THEY are not harmed - that is ALL they care about. When you do get close to their lair - they will do almost anything not to become trapped in their own web of deceit.

  3. Interesting read and yes, I agree with a lot of what you say. Like you I've seen Trolls destroy many a forum over the years, however lately I have noted a number of the sites actually enforcing standards of behaviour. Hopefully this practice continues without the side effect of making them dull and bland.


  4. AmosKeeto - yes there are standards - but more and more people seem to have come the the conclusion that any authority is bad and rules are meant to be broken. Facebook has "Site Usage' Rules - that quite obviously where broken, and if combined with a free email address AND IP masking - tracing these people is ALMOST impossible.
    One SIMPLE way to stop miuch of what is going on, is for places like facebook, like twitter, to ensure that when signing up as a 'new' member an ISP registered email address is used.
    That way people would be more self-aware and thus self-censoring than if they had free email address.
    They can still use IP masking, but because the email address is ISP registered, no matter where in the world the poster claims to be - admin can locate the offending poster that way.
    The Government and sites LIKE facebook(no picking in them) are only a venue. The poster MUST be made accountable and this is the only way I can see how.
    Thanks for the comment - I have read the Drum Blog - I had not seen it prior to your pointing it out. Some on the comments are very interesting!
    ABC-Feelings and Facebook: grief in social media