‘Trolling’ an Internet sensation growing in popularity. The online term trolling means those that post either unrelated, pointless, inflammatory or sometimes just plain offensive comments to an online community such as in forums, blogs or a websites comment section. This is the technical meaning but it is often used widely or wrongly: for example in online-bullying or spreading hate to a particular group eg. race or gender.With the Internet focusing on interactivity both socially and informatively it seems inevitable that among the millions of users the meaning of a word may change slightly or be used differently.
Journalists are obviously one of the professions most affected by trolling, with the difficulty in juggling their journalistic duties with their online presence it is normal to see a journalist having to go through hundreds of comments on their website, blog or social media to delete comments that may cause legal issues with their work or make it appear unprofessional. Some have defended trolling as light-humor and that journalists were ‘crying’ over nothing however the definition of ‘trolls’ seems to have various different definitions.
For example through websites such as 9gag the term Troll has even been given a symbolic face and is often used in jokes related to randomness. This is different to another use of the word ‘trolling’, for example the Nicola Brookes case in which a woman received months of online abuse such as accusations of being a pedophile and even death threats. The man arrested, Lee Rimell, was referred to as a Troll on the Daily Mail – this is completely different to the light humored idea of trolling.
Troll face used for jokes
Over the years trolling has been used for a variety of different situations the two previous examples are the extreme end of the positive and negative side of it’s definition and there are other opinions and meanings (to much to list out). Whatever your personal definition of the word ‘troll’ is, it is hard to argue for or against it in general because the meaning may differ for others. Whichever definition you believe in: journalists are still given a rough time because of it. Comments that disagree with an article are not considered trolling – any journalist that does claim that is clearly wrong but comments that are unrelated, disruptive or offensive are on the journalist’s owned-website in which case the journalist has the right to be annoyed because for them it is extra work, not an extra laugh.