An Academic Exploration of Trolling

2 posts


Whitney Phillips of the University of Oregon has written a paper, LOLing At Tragedy , which attempts to dissect the troll with specific reference to Facebook RIP trolling.

Outside of the soft explanations typical of academia, Phillips does a good job showing how trolling is often a response to the insipid moralizing of the media (probably one of the most immoral bodies in our society) and the ghoulish grief tourism of those who frequent memorial pages of people they didn't even know.

There is also mention of the fact that in the UK and Australia, particularly nasty trolling (which still just amounts to saying mean things to other people) is being pursued by legal authorities.

I originally found this through Gawker, home to microagressions and unquenchable faggotry, where Adrien Chen hilariously writes ,

While Phillips paper gives an honest assessment of her subject, what is suspiciously absent is any mention of the fact that the moral panic surrounding RIP trolling and 'cyberbullying' is a result of the increasing infantilization of Western society. After all, at it's base, the internet is just an intertwining network of words and images and trolling is really little more than saying something mean for kicks. That the state is becoming involved to protect those who seek to make the internet as soft and sterile as a condo association barbecue is more worrying than a couple of sick jokes.
Niccolo and Donkey