One day I decide to surf in one my favorite forum (I can’t say what is this, private). There I saw one my forum friends posting “how’s your opinion on this” thread. Its actually quite good topic because its already have 2 more pages and there is lot of discussion inside. Because I’m not that interested with the topic so I decide only to read the first post and the last page then move on to other websites.
After wasting several hours in other websites I decide to return to the thread and guess what happen…That thread is no longer a peaceful discussion place instead, it turns into war zone where 2 factions are fighting against each other. As a forum enthusiastic, I’m aware about the cause of this flame war. I decide to read whole pages to find the real culprit and there it is. In the page 3, I found one shady account (low post numbers, no avatar) who posting a provocative statement which instigate the whole flame war.
In the example that I explain before we could see the evidence of Internet Trolls. For you who didn’t understand about the meaning of that slang word, you could see by yourself in this website. If you’re lazy enough to click that website then I could explain it for you. According to wikipedia, Internet Troll is a person who sows discord on the internet by starting a provocative or unrelated argument that upsetting other people. The statement could be everything, from flame, bullying, trollish sentence, out of topic, etc. If you encounter one, I suggest you follow the advice below…
Trolls and comment system today
Trolls are also an evidence on how comment system working for bulletin board or social media working today. Its so easy to post unrelated or provocative answers in fact, there is no certain rules to regulate this issue.
Most of people will argue that it is moderator job to handle trolls. They are like police officers who have a responsibilities to caught crime offender. However, there are certain times where police officers need another hands to help them. It is same like moderator. From my point of view, depending only on moderators to handle trolls will not solve the problem. It needs more than that.
Greg Jericho, the author of “The Rise of the Fifth Estate” which is one of reading material offered by the course argues that free comment system is like double edge sword. It allow the reader to post their opinion thus creating a free flow discussion sphere however on the other hand, it also allow irresponsible people to post “toxic” comments. Further, he recommend that its important either for company or normal person who manage their own website to implement special rules for commenting section. For example, before commenting first they must register their full name or Facebook account to verify their identity.
From my point of view, there is a truth on Greg Jericho suggestion. By implementing the commenting system, the discussion will remain controlled without any interruption from trolls or other irresponsible users. The reason is because people will think twice before they surrendered their real names or Facebook account. New York Times is one the example of news company that adopted the system which called “trusted commenter”. The purpose is not only to reduce trolls, its also to create a healthy discussion and debate.
However, there is also a weakness on this commenting system. Several people criticize NYT trusted commenter system which heavily relied on Facebook. They believe that the system could create a caste class, where people with Facebook account are the only class that allowed to post while others are not. In addition, by giving their real name or Facebook account it means that those people identity will be exposed. Their data could be used for marketing or advertising purpose.
Nevertheless, what Greg Jericho and NYT times did is worth to try. If the system indeed proven to be useful by reducing the number of trolls, then I say the others Mainstream Media should adopt the strategy. I think people won’t mind giving their real names or Facebook account if they can have a great discussion, don’t you agree?