To understand an internet troll and why they behave as they do we have to look at the many profiles of those who have been prosecuted for trolling and or stalking.
Prior to my family and myself being Trolled by the authors/contributors behind the troll blog ‘Thoughts of Oscar’, we were stalked by at the very least Nigel Roberts of Nigel Roberts Newsagents in Llandudno.
We know this because he would tweet our movements, very worrying and very weird. Him and his co-authors stole photographs of our children, my wife and myself from my wife’s blog and Facebook account, then these horrible people would publish these pictures with some disgusting comment or other as in the picture below of my wife when she was a little girl.
You don’t need to be a genius to see what these twisted minds are implying about me.
So I could either act aggressively against these trolls or I could try to gain an understanding of why they would behave in such a terrible manner. I should add here that all their vile actions were reported to the police.
I found myself asking “what are these people lacking in their lives in order that they behave in this manner”. From the outside looking in these people are financially secure, have nice homes, are married, drive nice cars, enjoy good food and holiday regularly.
I find it quite bizarre that from appearances people like Nigel Roberts lead a seemingly happy, normal life, so what is it that they lack?
This study helps us understand just how closely related stalking, cyber stalking and trolling really are.
HOW CLOSELY RELATED ARE ‘TROLLING’ AND ‘CYBER-STALKING’?
Let’s look at the definition of ‘Cyberstalking’, and see just how closely it relates to the mentality of a Troll, or ‘Cyberbully’.
Cyberstalking is the use of the Internet or other electronic means to stalk or harass an individual, a group of individuals, or an organization. It may include false accusations, monitoring, making threats, identity theft, damage to data or equipment, the solicitation of minors for sex, or gathering information in order to harass. The definition of “harassment” must meet the criterion that a reasonable person, in possession of the same information, would regard it as sufficient to cause another reasonable person distress.
A number of key factors have been identified for cyber-stalking:
Many cyber-stalkers try to damage the reputation of their victim and turn other people against them. They post false information about them on websites. They may set up their own websites, blogs or user pages for this purpose. They post allegations about the victim to newsgroups, chat rooms or other sites that allow public contributions, such as Wikipedia or Amazon.com. – The exact same methods that Trolls employ to abuse their victims.
Attempts to gather information about the victim.
Cyberstalkers / trolls may approach their victim’s friends, family and work colleagues to obtain personal information. They may advertise for information on the Internet, or hire a private detective. They often will monitor the victim’s online activities and attempt to trace their IP address in an effort to gather more information about their victims. – ANOTHER common tactic that your average Troll employs to abuse their victims.
Encouraging others to harass the victim.
Many cyberstalkers try to involve third parties in the harassment. They may claim the victim has harmed the stalker or his/her family in some way, or may post the victim’s name and telephone number in order to encourage others to join the pursuit. And yet ANOTHER common tactic that your average Troll employs to abuse their victims.
The cyberstalker will claim that the victim is harassing him/her. Bocij writes that this phenomenon has been noted in a number of well-known cases. – And yet ANOTHER hallmark of your average Troll.
Attacks on data and equipment.
They may try to damage the victim’s computer by sending viruses. – Exactly what Trolls do.
Ordering goods and services.
They order items or subscribe to magazines in the victim’s name. These often involve subscriptions to pornography or ordering sex toys then having them delivered to the victim’s workplace. – ANOTHER typical Troll tactic.
Arranging to meet.
Young people face a particularly high risk of having cyber-stalkers try to set up meetings between them. – And yet ANOTHER Troll tactic. (Please see our article ‘Why do people Troll’ below for the links between Trolling and Pedophiles)
As you can see from the above, ALL of these methods of abuse / harassment are ALSO the key factors of Trolling / Cyber-bullying.
Cyber-stalkers meet or target their victims by using search engines, online forums, bulletin and discussion boards, chat rooms, and more recently, through online communities such as MySpace, Facebook, Bebo, Friendster, and Indymedia, a media outlet known for self-publishing, in exacty the same way as Trolls. They may engage in live chat harassment or flaming or they may send electronic viruses and unsolicited e-mails, in the exact same way as Trolls do. Victims of cyber-stalking may not even know that they are being stalked. Cyber-stalkers / Trolls may research individuals to feed their obsessions and curiosity. Conversely, the acts of cyber-stalkers / Trolls may become more intense, such as repeatedly instant messaging their targets.
More commonly they will post defamatory or derogatory statements about their stalking target on web pages, message boards and in guest books designed to get a reaction or response from their victim, thereby initiating contact. In some cases, they have been known to create fake blogs in the name of the victim containing defamatory or pornographic content, just as Trolls do.
When prosecuted, many stalkers have unsuccessfully attempted to justify their behavior based on their use of public forums, as opposed to direct contact. Once they get a reaction from the victim, they will typically attempt to track or follow the victim’s internet activity. Classic cyberstalking behavior includes the tracing of the victim’s IP address in an attempt to verify their home or place of employment.
So why do people like Roberts behave like this?