This is the last week of the A to Z blogging challenge. It has flown past this year. I have run out of days however, and am going to have to publish my last blog post on a Sunday. First world problems. Throughout the month of April, I have been using the challenge to modernise the seven deadly sins with my suggested twenty six versions. Humans, it would seem, have an insatiable ability to sin.
T is for Trolling. A troll is a creature from Norse mythology and Scandinavian folklore that lives in caves and other remote places. They can be either a giant or a dwarf. In the ‘Three Billy Goats Gruff’, there was a troll that lived under a bridge. In the Lord of the Rings trilogy, ‘The fellowship of the Ring’ our heroes did battle with a cave troll. It was a lumbering giant.
A Troll is also a plastic doll with wild sticky-up hair depicting a troll. They are used to bring good luck to the owner, like a gonk, and have graced the exam desks of many a student. Basically then a troll can be big or small, bad or benevolent. Nothing really wrong there.
In modern parlance though, a troll is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory or nasty comments, with the intent of provoking readers into an emotional response. Most trolls do this for their or others’ amusement.
In recent years the media has come to see the troll as someone who harasses people online. The belief is that the relative anonymity afforded by social media emboldens people to write things that they otherwise would have kept to themselves. There is an argument that this is a case of misplaced humour or mischief and that people are only expressing their right to freedom of speech, yet to others it is cyberbullying and its personal nature leads to abuse that falls over into hate crime.
Many high profile celebrities have been the victims of trolling. There have been cases of people committing suicide over what was written about them and others going to jail for their exploits. In such cases it cannot be justified.
Thou shalt not be abusive online.