The discussion has gotten a bit away from the main topic but I would like to say that one of the fundamentals of this is the idea of “I don’t know them, they don’t know me” so this is just a one time thing with no consequences. That is obviously not true, of course, but I feel it is a calculation made by the troller. The idea that there is a fundamental and permanent disconnection between them and that it will persist. The dichotomy of “getting personal” along with a firm belief that it will never actually get personal between the abuser and the victim, because “Its not real life” even though these days it kind of is. Dehumanization plays its part too, as the medium abstracts and downplays the humanity, into a series of short, dark vignettes in the mind of the one being ugly.
The amusement factor is an addiction for online trolls. They are not trying (mostly) to actually hurt people they are just addicted to getting a reaction, even a “haha thats gross” juvenile one. Actually getting a fear response is like a shot of adrenaline to them and they think they are “winning the game” or something when really all they are doing is spreading misery.
Richt now the whole world is trying to thread the needle between what is just that stuff and what turns people in to rapists and terrorists and the answer is not at all clear, nor is any potential remedy. Perhaps an educational approach can help immunize the next generation coming up about how seriously to take such rantings on personal feeds, or you know maybe it will happen organically as control of incoming content becomes easier to do for consumers.
Real hate does exist; don’t let anyone tell you its just in their own minds and in their own responses to such vitriol. But also it is imperative to give people some intellectual at least and particular for this blog some technological tools to combat these trolls and to spot them before they do damage to the vulnerable people in our lives.
It’s always a conflict between self-policing of environments vs authoritarian control, but now that people are dying and living in fear as a matter of ordinary online life, it has come to a crux and must be dealt with.