"When are you going to realize? You're not part of the equation."
As a current moderator of an online discussion list, Iâ??ve become accustomed to the inevitable stream of bots and trolls trying to pervade communities. Tools have been developed to help ease the anguish of moderating, but weâ??ve opted for moderating new members and a few older ones instead of more stringent restricted memberships and closing archives to the public. We hold a tight rein on the focus of our list, which seems to diffuse troublemakers with their own agenda.
Some trolls are very clever and even work in groups. But, is there indeed a more insidious underlying schema? Are these Simple Vandals or a Unique Social Movement? This theme was pursued by Amy Dhala at the University of Texas. After reading her descriptions of troll subtypes, it becomes clear that the Internet does attract its share of juvenile delinquents, adult hard drug users, and personalities of varying dysfunction.
Dhala goes even further,
â??The collective behavior aspects of these trolls show strong Marxist tendencies towards the development of a sociological subset.â?
Marxist tendencies? With the permeation of The Right Wing in our government since this paper was written, the term â??Marxistâ? has been diluted to name-calling for some, often in black and white fashion directed to those who must be â??againstâ? us if they are not â??withâ? us. Considering this environment, could even entire Internet lists be viewed as showing â??strong Marxist tendenciesâ?? Caution in labeling might be advised.
Itâ??s one thing to identify trolling profiles, but the tag of â??Marxist tendenciesâ? might be a more precarious, divisive leap.