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Why People Become Internet Trolls

Managing our inner trolls

  • Use anonymity only where it is necessary.
  • Foster empathy consciously, because it doesn’t come naturally to internet-based interactions.
  • Awareness of how we respond to distasteful comments can create space between us and our behavior.

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Why People Become Internet Trolls

Why People Become Internet Trolls

https://dradambell.com/why-people-become-internet-trolls/

dradambell.com

6

Key Ideas

The dark tetrad

Psychologists have found a link between a troll's behavior and a few personality traits:

  • Sadism: obtaining pleasure from another’s distress.
  • Psychopathy: being unable of empathy and regret.
  • Machiavellianism: manipulative behavior
  • Narcissism: the need for admiration.

Understanding trolls

After spending years building relationships with trolls and trying to understand them, journalist Ginger Gorman shares her findings in the the book Troll Hunting:

  • They are not uneducated persons, that lack social skills and live in their parents' basement.They have partners, children, and full-time jobs.
  • They show leadership skills as commanders of large trolling gatherings.
  • They are socially intelligent and capable of to identifying users’ weaknesses with precision.

Empathy deficit

The absence of nonverbal feedback leads to an “empathy deficit,” and this is what sociopaths suffer from.

If someone says something negative in person and makes you cry, he/she will possibly feel uncomfortable. Unless they're psychopaths, your misery will generate an empathic response and lead them to have mercy. If someone tweets something negative and makes you cry, no amount of emojis can transmit the image of a crying person. If there is no social cue to evoke an empathic response, they might continue their negative assault.

Anonymity can trigger deindividuation

This means a temporary loss of a person's identity leading to behavior that is conflicting with their character. Anonymity offers protection from real-world social repercussions, and this has profound effects on human behavior.

If a lack of nonverbal cues is what makes us detached from the other person’s suffering, deindividuation is what makes us detached from the awareness of our misconduct.

Trolling isn’t black and white

When we denounce trolls as intrinsically malicious people, we limit our understanding of what may trigger these behaviors.

Trolling is somewhere in the grey between prosocial human and antisocial primate. Ultimately, our disposition for antisocial behavior in the real world is likely to predict similar online behavior.

Managing our inner trolls

  • Use anonymity only where it is necessary.
  • Foster empathy consciously, because it doesn’t come naturally to internet-based interactions.
  • Awareness of how we respond to distasteful comments can create space between us and our behavior.

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While these are disorders and these people are suffering, mental health professionals would advise you to keep your distance from them, if at all possible.

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Everybody has bad days or weeks. To tell if someone is a High Conflict Person, we can look for four traits of behavior.

  1. Lots of all-or-nothing thinking: When problems arise, it is their solution or no solution. They don't compromise or listen to different points of view.
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The lack of verbal and nonverbal social cues

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A Goldmine of Miscommunications

Due to the limitations and the multifacetedness of language, emails often lead to miscommunication, guessed intentions, or total awareness of what the person is trying to convey.

The problem is further complicated if you are writing to someone whom you haven’t met in person.

Subject Line Emails

These types of emails (with the entire email is a sentence in the subject line, with no email body, just the signature)are usually sent by a very direct person, that either feels very busy or that the problem can't be solved simply in an email, so it's too much for them to go into it all.
If you respond with more than 2 sentences, they are probably not going to read it, so you should just get on the phone or get over there in person.

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Data On Online Dating

  • 40% of Americans use online dating as a way to meet new people.
  • 23% of Americans still think using online dating sites is desperate.

Data On Online Daters

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  • Even on apps known as being for "hook up", most females are looking for a genuine match and not a fling.
  • Two-thirds of online daters have gone out with someone they were matched with.
  • One-third of people who have used online dating have never actually gone on a date. 

Data On Relationships Started Online

  • Relationships that begin online are nearly 30% more likely to break down than ones where couples met face-to-face first.
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