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[Xmca-l] Re: Why Computers Make So Little Difference

Hello Esteemed XMCArs,

One area that the computer has made an impact, that I'm unsure is the analog in the pre-computer era of human experience, is something called trolling. 

Trolling has something of a double definition. It can be picking a fight on a list, starting a flame war, etc. This can be done in a few ways. 

There's the overt arguing about points but never letting go and never getting to a point to agree to disagree, just seeing how far one can kick the can down the road. 

Then there's something more covert. This is done by posting something so ridiculously in error that the gullible or those unfamiliar with the character of posters on a list (who will perform this for the spectacle as the drama unfolds of "eating popcorn" with others or by oneself), will post in earnest a reply and thusly become a target for further trolling at a later time.

I have yet to experience that here on XMCA, but I suppose that it's still possible that this kind of behavior which seems to be promoted by anonymity of the Internet, can happen here, though I'd hope that this list is of a higher standard. On other lists I've seen that this behavior is dealt with by the pat wisdom, "Don't Feed the Trolls." Though I'm not sure how well that serves people.

Another, more abusive form of trolling is the caustic heinous (and therefore criminal) kind we see on platforms like Twitter, which is made by a coward who uses a sock puppet (an pseudonymous account to disguise one's identity), to post all kinds of verbal and symbolic filth and abuse upon a targeted victim, usually women, people of color and/or LGBT folks. Famous people are also victim to this, such as Lena Dunham or Ashley Judd. Happily, I noticed that Ashley Judd is announcing that she is pressing charges upon those who recently trolled her on Twitter. Lena Dunham has just deleted her account period. Somehow both these solutions are unsatisfactory to me.

In any case, it seems that the effect, whether for benign LOLs, or to terrifically verbally abuse another person, can only be out of a deep-seated need to humiliate another person. 

What I wonder is this: Where does this need come from? Perhaps other XMCArs can comment any hypotheses?

The tool of the computer amplifies this psychological pathology. I can say this is one area where computers make a big difference in the quality of life for many people, if not HUGE.

Kind regards,