How does one deal with trollers? Kathy Sierra once explained why people troll but she also wrote that the methods she used – ignoring and arguing with reason – did not work.
Recently three other methods to deal with trollers were discussed. The first is to contact the mothers of the trollers. A female game reviewer “got sick and tired of young boys trolling her and threatening to rape her, so she did what any self-respecting adult would do — she told their parents” according to Mashable. Mashable explains: ““A while ago, I realised that a lot of the people who send disgusting or overly sexual comments to me over the internet aren’t adult males,” Pearce told The Guardian. “It turns out that mostly they’re young boys and the problem is they don’t know any better, so responding to them rationally didn’t resolve the situation. And it got to the point where their comments were starting to make me feel really uncomfortable.”
The result: One mother reacted and promised to punish, the rest remained silent.
The second method is doxxing – dragging trollers out of their anonimity and exposing their personal data. In addition, contact can be made with the bosses of the trollers. TechCruch writes: “In some instances, racists are “doxxed”, meaning they have their personal identity and contact information shared without consent to assist in the shaming and reports to employers.”
The result according to TechCrunch: “On RacistsGettingFired.tumblr.com, sequences of screenshots show racist comments posted by people in response to the Michael Brown case, then other citizens reporting the commenters to their employers, and finally evidence that the commenters had been fired.”
TechCrunch questions the ethics of this doxxing and telling others. A which hunt is started that can hit the wrong person. This already happened a few times as for instance with the Boston marathon bombing. A student was wrongly identified as one of the perpetrators after which a man hunt started on Reddit and other social networks. The student later was found dead.
The third method is blocking. Randi Harper created a tool that target individuals from the so-called GamerGate movement, a movement that combines hatred for game critics with double agendas with a hatred for women and minorities. “That tool, called “Gamergate autoblocker,” works not by identifying threatening tweets individually—“That’s a job for a scalpel,” she says—but by automatically blocking any Twitter user who follows two or more so-called “ringleaders” in the Gamergate movement.”
Result: GamerGame trollers are blocked but also those who follow the discussion or those who are involved in that discussion and disgree with Gamergaters. Nevertheless Newsweek concludes: “For now, despite their flaws, tools like Harper’s may be the best thing women in tech have to fight harassment. “Gamergate’s going to be gone eventually,” Harper told Newsweek, “but it’s not just about Gamergate. It’s a larger cultural problem.””