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What is trolling and why does it happen?

Trolling is a situation that we have all, to a greater or lesser extent, suffered on the internet. But why does it happen? Here you have answers.

Online interactions have long been a real entity on the Internet and a fundamental part of people’s lives. As in any other area, some people try to create a good environment and others opt for trolling.

What motivations does someone have who trolls on the internet? What do you get out of it? People who have suffered from it – who are growing year by year – cannot explain what leads a person to exhibit this behavior online.

In this space you can learn about the study carried out to answer these questions, as well as other factors related to the behavior of trolling. If you have ever had to deal with someone like this, here you can delve deeper into why.

What is trolling?

The word trolling refers to the online behaviors that seek to annoy or harm through messages posted on social networks, forums, blogs or other public spaces. They are usually done anonymously.

The figure of troll on the internet comes from the mythological creature with the same name, known for playing malicious pranks on humans. Another meaning given to it comes from fishing, where the trolling It is a technique that involves slowly dragging a baited hook from a moving boat.

From this definition it may seem that people who have this type of behavior make innocent jokes or pranks, but This is uncivil behavior that can lead to a nightmare. in the lives of his victims.

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What is the personality of an internet troll like?

New research recently published in the journal Social Media and Society sheds light on the motives and personality characteristics of internet trolls. Given the increasing prevalence of this behavior, an analysis is necessary to prevent and correct it.

Through an online survey completed by more than 400 Reddit users, the study found that people with dark triad personality traits -narcissism, Machiavellianism and psychopathy-, combined with sadism, were more likely to perform trolling In Internet.

The women who participated in the survey saw the trolling as dysfunctional, while men were more likely to view it as functional.

Trolls who display these provocative behaviors and lead users into useless conversations, surprisingly, They did not consider that they were doing anything unacceptable. They found pleasure in pointing out the shortcomings and mistakes of others in a public arena.

Is being honest the same as trolling?

It may seem that the solution to this type of behavior is to restrict users’ opinions about the rest of the community members. However, The study found that there was no correlation between being frank online and the behavior of trolling.

The detail that makes the difference between a healthy debate and trolling It is that those who exercise the second do not worry about how their words and actions may affect others. They are more concerned with improving their experience than creating a positive climate.

What to do in a trolling situation?

By now, all or almost all users who participate in online communities have encountered a person who tries to spoil the atmosphere or, directly, harasses or insults other people. It is a situation that produces anger, frustration and often results in what the troll wants: to be answered.

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For this reason, experts give a series of very useful tips to prevent situations from escalating when the troll provokes. They are the following:

“Don’t feed the troll” or, in Spanish, “don’t feed the troll.” These people seek to get others into their game to continue offending and harassing, so the main protocol is usually not to answer them and report them immediately.Remember who you are when you connect to the internet: Many times, anonymity leads to disinhibition of offensive behaviors, since the interlocutor is not present and there are fewer consequences. Therefore, when you come across ideas or personalities that you do not approve, remember that you would not offend them in person.Learn to recognize a constructive conversation: There is nothing wrong with expressing opposing points of view, as long as it is done respectfully. When this is not the case, it is best to end the conversation. Complaint: today, the most effective solution to the trolling is to make them suffer consequences for their actions. Social platforms usually have mechanisms to ban them and, in case of harassment, it can be reported legally.

The good atmosphere on the Internet

Although the troll may seem like an evil and alien figure, anyone can be toxic online, even if unconsciously. Social networks are like public squares where everyone can speak at the same time without others stopping them.

That is why, far from trying not to subtract, it is important to contribute something to the communities: create safe, positive spaces where the trolling and harassment have no place is everyone’s task, both in the physical and virtual worlds.

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All cited sources were reviewed in depth by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, validity and validity. The bibliography in this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

Bargh, J.A., McKenna, K.Y.A., Fitzsimons, G.M. (2002). Can you see the real me? Activation and expression of the “true self” on the Internet. Journal of Social Issues, 58(1), 3348. https://doi.org/10.1111/1540-4560.00247 Bergstrom, K. (2011). “Don’t feed the troll”: Shutting down debate about community expectations on Reddit. com. First Monday, 16(8).Brubaker, PJ, Montez, D., & Church, SH (2021). The Power of Schadenfreude: Predicting Behaviors and Perceptions of Trolling Among Reddit Users. Social Media+ Society, 7(2), 20563051211021382.

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