A lot of online discussion is ruined by trolling. Recently, I had someone draw my attention to a disturbing right-wing website. They sent me there for the post, which they thought was actually funny. I for some reason cast aside everything I had learned about the internet and…looked at the comments. What I saw there shocked me, but in a usefully educational way. I was able to read comments by far-right-wingers about how they would go to liberal and atheist blogs and Facebook pages and use troll accounts to cause disruption.
The language in the screenshot below is vulgar as well as being offensive for other reasons. And so normally I would not have something of this sort on my blog. But I believe it may be worth sharing, because I think a lot of us may think that the seemingly insane comments on our blogs are one thing, when in fact they are something else – a deliberate attempt by people with an agenda of hate to cause disruption to those they consider their enemies.
Take a look, then let me know what your thoughts are on this. Is this surprising to you? Or were you already aware of this? And if trolling is neither childishness nor insanity but deliberate disruption driven by a hateful ideology, should those of us committed to respectful discourse and other liberal values approach it differently?