More “you want trolling? I’ll give you trolling!” from Brendan “I’m making a career of trolling” O’Neill in Troll Central, aka spiked. What is it this time? It’s that trolls aren’t the problem, “troll hunters” are the problem.
(How was I alerted to this one? Because somone I don’t follow tweeted it to two people I do follow, so I had a look. The one I don’t follow is Quiet Riot Girl – omigod I’d forgotten all about her. Ugh. She should go into partnership with O’Neill. Apparently she was outed by Julie Bindel last March. O’Neill knows how to find her for that partnership then.)
So, O’Neill on the evils of “troll hunters.”
Yet it turns out that, amazingly, there is something even more irritating on the internet than these so-called trolls. And it’s the troll-hunters, the celebs, commentators and coppers who have made it their business to chase down trolls, expose them to public ridicule, and sometimes even haul them before a judge. Okay, a troll can sometimes ruin a half-decent online debate or dent a journalist’s sense of self-worth by sending him a snotty, borderline obscene message *sniffle* – but that’s nothing compared with the potential impact that troll-hunting is having on the free flow of ideas and argument on the web.
Wot? Is it possible to have a potential impact? Does that last sentence even make sense? X is having a potential impact on Y? Surely if the impact is potential it’s not being had yet, or if it is being had, then it’s no longer potential.
That would be classic O’Neill then. Make an accusation but realize it’s not actually happening so hedge it by saying potential but then forget that that amounts to admitting it’s not happening.
From the 17-year-old twat on Twitter who sent stupid messages to British diving champ Tom Daley to the fashion among celebrities for ‘confronting one’s troll’, trolling is a hot topic.
Rest of world to O’Neill: this is the internet: in a big chunk of the Anglophone world “twat” is a very rude sexist epithet. Wake up.
If I went into a bookshop and tore up all the tomes I find annoying or offensive, half the shop would be in ruins – but I don’t do that because a) people would think I was mad, and b) I recognise that freedom of speech means being surrounded by, and sometimes subjected to, ideas or outlooks that make you feel uncomfortable, even nauseous.
Erm…no. You don’t do that first and foremost because you would get arrested and convicted. Wake up.
What we’re witnessing is a pretty Orwellian conflation of potentially physical menace with unpopular political views, the mashing together of irrational harassment with the expression of a political outlook, so that it all becomes ‘trolling’.
No, we’re not. The issue is not disagreement but sustained harassment. The latter happens. Wake up.