TROLL PATROL Internet Culture Copes With Cyber Stalkers
ver the course of many years, this writer has developed numerous opponents, both theological (as I'm a prophecy writer), and political (as I am also deeply engaged in Patriot media). In a couple of extraordinary cases, somewhat high profile conflicts with a couple of other public figures erupted, and I learned a great deal about how the social spectrum responds to conflict. The short version is, in a classic Dialectical fashion, most people simply assume both parties to a conflict are at least partially in error, and choose to simply ignore ongoing egregious conduct. Others dismiss any data unflattering to their favorite, and tend to follow them regardless of any facts that may emerge.
In a couple of rare cases, an opponent has become obsessed with my activities, and gone on to become obsessive/cyber compulsive over my ongoing work, to the degree that they were transformed into total lunacy. At the time, I thought it was a unique, aberrational phenomena that is exceedingly rare. While there is certainly a place for measured criticism, analysis of behaviour, and a balanced appraisal, stalking is never justified. I've since learned the occasional cyber-crazy has erupted all over the Internet, to the degree that interactive websites, chat-rooms, and streaming audio networks have been compelled to respond to such pathetic worms.
These fruitcakes, puffed up with their anonymity and the seeming safety of the dark corner of the CRT lit slum they inhabit, usually fixate on one or more individual who has captured their fancy, and they frequently hound the party they've imagined to be their nemesis. In most cases, the cyber-wannabe is a complete nobody, who is either exceedingly envious of his enemy, or even imagines his opponent is responsible for his/her complete lack of achievement, and has long since determined to devote their pitiful existence to being a moth to someone else's flame.
I'm not certain who originally dubbed such psychos a Troll, but the appellation is perfect.
A Troll is, of course, a mythical dwarf found in European folklore, who is exceedingly unattractive, lives in a cave, and frequently hides under bridges to try to hijack unwary travelers. In the case of his 21st century Internet equivalent, Trolls try to hijack/criticize/attack Internet radio shows, and/or their associated chatrooms, in an effort to spoil otherwise orderly events.
Necessity being the mother of invention, we encounter the bizarre function known as the Troll Patrol.
With Internet radio interview programs drawing increasingly larger audiences, and the interactive Instant Messaging (IM) feature increasingly used to provide the online audience with a viable vehicle to query net guests, it turns out that Trolls continue to show up at the electronic Aeropagus, and savvy site controllers have developed the function of Troll Patrol, in order to protect their event or interview -- to say nothing of the composure of the guest.
The Troll Patrol is usually one or more individuals who screen the callers, or watch the IM feature as the interactive event progresses, and when they spot a Troll, they either banish them, or issue a warning telling the miscreant if they wish continued access to that particular media, they must behave. Sort of like a bouncer in a rowdy bar, the Troll Patrol has the authority to banish identified Trolls for life.
As a frequent radio guest, in addition to my ongoing host duties (I've guested on hundreds of shows), I've found there are many hosts/networks/forums who are either in denial of the existence of Trolls, or naiively believe their audience is always well behaved. Representing several individuals here in the stable of media figures we're involved with, more than once I've been in the position of refusing interviews for this very reason. The smart net media operators, of course, have figured out if they don't provide a basic civility on their program, they will soon be without guests to help validate their forum, for who wants to be ambushed on the air?
Some radio guests aren't particularly adept at interaction, and tend to do better interviews with a skilled host who has learned how to pry information out of their more introverted guests, and the audience benefits when such an individual is able to communicate effectively through the radio interaction. Others are able to effectively fend off attacks but, if the media managers themselves don't see the threat, the benefit to the guest (who frequently has a book/DVD/newsletter to pitch) is a diminishing return. To borrow fromJesus, we might paraphrase His famous quote, and say, Why cast your pearls before swine?
Thus, for those with an eye on professional conduct in their public as well as personal lives, we quote once more from the New Testament:
"Mark them which cause divisions and offences....and avoid them." (Romans 16:17)
And that includes Trolls.
An unofficial history of the development of Patriot and Alternative media, including Shortwave, Satellite, and Internet, is found in the 3 volume set known as Shortwave Wars. For more on the history of this media, see the short online video at SHORTWAVE WARS.