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The problem with blogs and new journalism are the trolls.

by TonyBerkman (editor), Costa Rica, February 24, 2013

According to a new study released by professors at UW-Madison internet trolls influence our perceptions of a subject.

Internet trolls come in many shapes and sizes from straight out being rude to, contrarians, wisecracking mischief makers to hate mongers. For better or wose in sickenss and in health, they are deeply emeshed into the the new-media landscape.

The Urban Dictionary defines a troll as a person “who posts a deliberately provocative message to a newsgroup or message board with the intention of causing maximum disruption and argument.” A recent study by UW-Madison science researcher Dominique Brossard reported that "the tone of blog comments alone" can influence our perceptions of a subject.

Trolls do not necessarily change our mind, they can however polarize us fmore than we are already polarized. The research focused on the potential effects blog comments have on public perceptions of science. The results according to Dominique Brossard showed that "even simple disagreements can sway perceptions and influence conversations."

"It seems we don't really have a clear social norm about what is expected online," says Brossard, a UW-Madison professor of Life Science Communication, contrasting online forums with public meetings where prescribed decorum helps keep discussion civil. "In the case of blog postings, it's the Wild West."

Dietram Scheufele, another of the study's co-authors, notes that the "Web is a primary destination for people looking for detailed information and discussion on aspects of science and technology. Because of that trend, 'studies of online media are becoming increasingly important, but understanding the online information environment is particularly important for issues of science and technology.'"



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9 comments on The problem with blogs and new journalism are the trolls.

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By riginal on February 24, 2013 at 10:58 pm

Tony i believe that social media,media in general, and the 'tack on' hate trollies etc propelled by their ever wackier underpinned motivational wheels of 360 degree dissent/descent is a travelling circus of its own-however perverse-creation. It will never implode upon itself because its very foundation embraces 'NEED.' of verbal diversity.The report itself exists as a 'balanced view' because of the main tent central support.Freedom of speech.If i see 'nameless' hate trollies and 'rational reasonable' thinkers bashing each other over the head with their laptops i'll know all is lost.Bit like picking verbal 'weeds' out of the communication garden. You can drive yourself silly pulling them out individually...mow them down temporarily...or poison them with their own rhetoric. Gotta go,the mower beckons! cheers.

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By TonyBerkman on February 24, 2013 at 11:43 pm

it's an excuse for funding a research project .... so called trolls may perhaps be the "truth tellers"

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By riginal on February 25, 2013 at 12:02 am

sorry bout the 'extra.' In Australia we sometimes repeat ourselves. I've got it! Repetitive re-inforcement. I'll mow twice!

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By riginal on February 25, 2013 at 12:23 am

excellent point Tony. I'm breaking wind in Plane agreement if you get my drift. But remember, practical people like us will always mow down the 'nodding dogs' lawns. And fix their cars,computors, and deliver their 'end of the verbal world' predictions mail. AND pick their verbal garbage up!

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By Barbara MacDonald on February 25, 2013 at 02:37 pm

Why should the net be any different than real life...we have wonderful people in this world, and yes, there are also trolls...I have meet too many trolls, but I still have faith in the goodness of mankind.

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By Uttam Gill on February 26, 2013 at 03:47 am

Tony certain there is a problem...Don’t you agree that day by day the articulating lunatics from the actual life are ingressing into the cyber space too... and it is getting more murkier due to anonymity also.. Troll is like whispering campaign...No doubt it has all the corrosive value to vitiate the environment, it can cause considerable damage...It has it's nuisance value...such unsolicited comments though lack any credibility but surely it carries the potency to distort interpretation of well meaning blog...We have to live with the fact...We are living in virtual world of Cyber and we would surely encounter the invasive...whispering campaigner...rumour Monger here too...How to address this nuisance is certainly a daunting task for Netizens

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By riginal on February 26, 2013 at 08:40 am

Uttam hi, sorry to barge in.You make some very valid points.However,if you go back to Barb's comment i think she's just about summed it up in a nutshell.I would suggest that things aren't really that much worse than when we didn't have such instant communication.The LACK of information in earlier years probably hid a heap of atrocities and ratbag behaviour too.At least while the trolls are in their no-name nests banging on it's preferable to havng them roam.Feel outraged about the younger generation bullying each other on the net.Unacceptable behaviour in any genre is hard to control.But it can be ignored or if dire there's enough rational people around to stand up.Defunct satellites can be brought down so in fact could our working ones by 'advanced' idiot engineer 'trolls'? in some nations where the average person is brainwashed by propaganda and verbal/physical protest is met with death. As you have already alluded to.You can switch off don't buy newspapers.Who triumphs? Feel sorry for the trolls parents? I'm sure the majority don't sit there and say "good on you kids/adults...that hate message will stick a mental knife in some persons heart." And if they do, then is this 'mutual' hate a reflection of their own experience of a society with too much technology? Just hope future generations don't have to open the hatch on their technological bubbles and shout out "mum! dad! what is a bat and ball? Mum can you spread an extra dollop of hate on my sandwich, there's a kid at school that's a bit different and everyone is bringing the same spread.Then,when i come home i can send out some hateful comments." (kid puzzled)..."mum! dad! i just got an email from my teacher. What's "peace" mean? Mum,hold the hate.Teacher said to spread peace on my lunch. Do we have some?" cheers Uttam,don't think it will get that bad....Truth be known the intellectuals behind some of these dire communication group predictions have exactly the same problems as us only they get paid a high salary to tell us what we already know and they haven't the knowhow to know how to fix it anyway.Do they not swear when they lose their internet connections? There you go...sign up with an el cheapo provider no problems with trolls. Or, maybe you could borrow their laptop and send them a hate message?

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By TonyBerkman on February 27, 2013 at 04:09 pm

yup Barb is bright / right or is she brite? been reading rginal for too long ;)

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By Credo on March 29, 2013 at 05:07 pm

The sanctity of the Internet has slowly become a fading dream. Where there was once a virgin womb it is now replaced with an arousing cesspool. Freedom of speech is responsible for a lot of the commotion which we as freedom surfers must tolerate. Just keep in mind, that without the certainty of conflict, we should all be mad.

We can not grow as human beings without the difference.

Prize article!

Credo

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