Trolling: An Art Form in Its Own Right

Internet trolling has become a part of everyday internet browsing thanks to websites like 4chan encouraging people to take part in this culture.

Urban Dictionary describes internet trolling as an “art of deliberately, cleverly and secretly pissing off people1.” Some may see internet trolling as an art form whereas others see it as a harm to the internet and to their favourite website, seeing as not even Facebook is safe from these trolls. At the bottom of Urban Dictionary's page for trolling, there’s a list of things to look out for to help you see if your trolling is successful or maybe unsuccessful.

Internet trolling is something that’s seeped into our everyday culture to the point where you’re no longer safe on social networking websites because the trolls will find you. Websites like Unfriendable just show other people’s trolling on the social media along with practically giving classes on how to corrupt your friends’ statuses, posts and photos on Facebook.

These websites aren’t to blame though, trolling just seems to be something that people are tempted to do when they’re bored or when the opportunity arises. I know I’ve seen people I’m friends with on Facebook statuses and posted a comment on in just to get people going so I can sit back and have a giggle over the offence often taken and the people commenting back just to help stir the chaos caused.

But can trolling cause serious harm?

Teenager Azhar Ahmed may have had the original charges of ‘racial aggravation’ against him dropped for posting what the police deemed to be “grossly offensive” on the English Defence League Facebook page but for his trolling, he still faces a charge under the Communications Act 2003 with ‘sending a message that was grossly offensive' earlier on this year.

Yes, at the time it must have been deemed “funny” by his peers but the comment he made (especially saying that 'all soldiers should die and go to hell') stirred up even more hatred of 'foreigners' by the members of the EDL party. Even though this issue is a few months old, you still get the odd post on the EDL Facebook page concerning this case.

In America, an eleven year old girl by the name of Jessi Slaughter became a YouTube sensation with her highly inappropriate videos containing lots of swearing and threats. It got the point where trolls were sending so many threats and the videos starring herself and the last starring her dad were being reposted on different YouTube channels just to be laughed at.

Some argue that the eleven year old shouldn’t have been able to post YouTube videos in the first place, others can argue that the trolls are the reason these videos went viral and the hate started flooding out.

But if these trolls hadn’t of made the video go viral, Jessi’s family wouldn’t have been investigated and it wouldn’t have been found out maybe until it was too late that her dad was abusing her physically and she wouldn’t have been taken into care. So sometimes, trolling can actually lead to something positive.

The next time you think about posting a comment online to try and “troll” someone though, just remember the butterfly effect; your small comment can trigger an uproar and you never know, you could just end up getting charged by the police for it...

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