Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Abuse ≠ Trolling (also that #twittersilence thing)

So there was a Twitter silence on Sunday. It was organised by Caitlin Moran in response to some of the threats people, especially women, were getting through tweets.

She created it as a "you can join in or do something else to make a stand" type thing, but some people were a little bit militant in wanting other people to join in & Caitlin got the blame. People also dragged up tweets of hers from four years ago to try and say "see! she's abusive too!!"

Grasping at straws, much? Also, she explained them all beautifully & made you look even more silly.

Anyway, although I didn't take part in it fully (I decided to join in the interesting discussions that were happening & share my video on the subject), it brought attention to the issue at hand. High-profile men & women making a stand online made the news. Also, whilst some said it was the goal of "trolls" (they're not trolls...but more on that in a sec) to silence the women that took part, they weren't being silent for the "trolls". It was to send a message to Twitter to say "I can live without you, I can easily use another site". Just look at all the sites that used to be huge & are forgotten now.

Also, it wasn't forever. They were not silenced, they just went quiet for a bit. They walked off for a day, and you know what? Sometimes you do just need to walk away for a bit and come back. Often it clears your head & gives you a fresh perspective when you return.

But some people decided to call it a "Trolliday".

Sorry, but no. I am fed up of this mistake. I used to make the same mistake, but then I realised I was wrong. The arseholes sending abuse to people are NOT "trolls". Trolls do not send death threats, rape threats or bomb threats - those people are ARSEHOLES. 

I have created this handy little poster to explain the differences between trolls and the less-fun people of the Internet (the last 2 fit under the wider category of "arsehole"):


You see, I believe we should call these people what they are. They are not "trolls". People are not called "trolls" because of the ugly fairytale character. People are called "trolls" after the verb to "troll", one of the meanings of which is to fish by drawing bait along in the water. They use bait to lure people into falling for their tricks/jokes. They do not send bomb threats "for a laugh".


If you want to see me rant more about this, here's is my video on the subject:


Anyway, please do spread the word. We mustn't let arseholes try and brush off everything they say as "trolling" & try to make out that they didn't actually mean it (when they usually do - even if their threats are often hollow, there is often real malice in them) & that they were just joking. And to those that try to "troll" by saying abusive/threatening things, we must teach them that they are actually just being really, really, stupid.


The people that abuse & threaten others online, without any hint of sarcasm, are arseholes, exactly the same name as we would call them in real life. To quote myself: 

A rose by any other name would still smell as sweet, and an arsehole is an arsehole whether they're saying something rude to someone's face or via Twitter.




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