back to article Plods probe death threat tweets to MP - but WHO will rid us of terrible trolls?

Twitter UK was in damage-limitation mode overnight after high-profile British women were bombarded by sick threats and abuse - and the trolling made front-page headlines. Labour MP Stella Creasy complained to police on Monday evening after receiving a death threat from an anonymous tweeter. Scotland Yard said this morning: …

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Unfortunately phrased

Officers in Waltham Forest [northeast London] received an allegation of malicious communications from an MP.

These MPs who send malicious communications, eh! You'd think they'd know better...

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Joke

Re: Unfortunately phrased

Someone sent them the Hansard report of Prime Minister's Questions again...?

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Joke

Re: Unfortunately phrased

Officers in Waltham Forest [northeast London] received an allegation of malicious communications from an MP.

I've been harassed by politicians all my life. The feckers never know when to leave well enough alone.

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but WHO will rid us of terrible trolls?

"Plod probe death threat tweets to MP - but WHO will rid us of terrible trolls?"

I'm more interested in who will rid us of these terrible MPs!

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Re: but WHO will rid us of terrible trolls?

Besides which, I'd have thought that dealing with trolls is outside the scope of the World Health Organization.

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Pirate

Re: but WHO will rid us of terrible trolls?

I think we'll have to do it ourselves at the next election.

(Needs V for Vendetta icon)

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Re: who will rid us of these terrible MPs!

You could stop voting for politicians that you don't like.

Or you can get out and vote for ones that represent your interests.

Those are pretty much your options.

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Meh

Re: who will rid us of these terrible MPs!

You could stop voting for politicians that you don't like.

Or you can get out and vote for ones that represent your interests.

Kinda pointless if you live in a safe constituency, though.

Anyone care to predict my next MP?

It was this for a while. Big difference, huh?"

Even if everyone who voted picked the same 'non-Tory' person it wouldn't have changed anything.

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Re: Kinda pointless if you live in a safe constituency, though.

It's thinking like that that makes it pointless.

Get out and vote. Use your voice, or someone else will say things in your name.

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@Crisp - Re: Kinda pointless if you live in a safe constituency, though.

"someone else will say things in your name"

They do that anyway. Voting in our current broken system just condones the system without letting you actually have a say in the outcome.

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Meh

Re: Kinda pointless if you live in a safe constituency, though.

Get out and vote.

I do. So did nearly three-quarters of my fellow constituents last time around. But with 55% of the vote being Tory and more than double the second-place candidate it was a slam dunk. The only way they could have been defeated is if everyone who didn't vote had chosen to vote for the second place candidate and even then it would have been close - 42% against 48% if my maths is correct.

So yes, I have a voice. It's blue. And female. And we all know what that kind of situation that can lead to :D

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Go

Re: Kinda pointless if you live in a safe constituency, though.

If your not happy with the situation, and you think your vote wont count, then go one step further - get out there and ACTIVELY campaign for a candidate that you DO want representing you.

A lot of people vote for the same party that they've always voted for because they dont have any better information. Get out there, educate your fellow constituents and then you might have a chance of dislodging your safe seat status.

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@Iglethal - Re: Kinda pointless if you live in a safe constituency, though.

The problem is that there's a lot of people who don't *want* to know about their candidate. They vote for Party X and the reason they do that is because their parents voted for Party X or because Party X is seen as the "The Party of... whatever" which is a group they consider themselves to be in.

When you only get to put one X on a piece of paper, there is insufficient granularity to determine what the people *really* want (and, of course, that's the way the two big political parties like it...)

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Re: @Iglethal - Kinda pointless if you live in a safe constituency, though.

"When you only get to put one X on a piece of paper, there is insufficient granularity to determine what the people *really* want (and, of course, that's the way the two big political parties like it...)"

Indeed. New Zealand only went to German-style MMP from Westminster-style FPP because the public demand for a referendum was so high they couldn't ignore it - and the government + opposition + media + industrialists did everything they could to obstruct it, including offering 5 oher PR systems and pushing the hell out of them whilst ignoring MMP or calling it the work of the devil.

The results after 20 years is that it works better than FPP, but coalition partners can be a real bitch to deal with.

20 years on, after a second referendum on whether to keep or change mmp (which overwhemingly endorsed MMP plus a couple of tweaks to prevent list MPs crossing the floor or breaking away as independents whilst keeping their seats and thereby becoming kingmakers), the government + opposition + media + industrialists decreed that the results while interesting were not binding.

It's worth bearing in mind Heinlein's theory that it's best to have the govt and opposition all warring amogst themselves, so that the rest of the world can get on with things - and that the most dangerous time is when a govt has enough majority at all levels to ram everything through that it wants to do.

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It makes you wonder

" Emails that regularly hit your correspondent's mailbox often start out abusive, before softening into an apology at the end. "

You have to wonder if they are aware that an e-mail can be fully edited at any time before it is sent.

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Yawn

Brainless keyboard warriors use social networks.

In other news, the sun shone in Africa today, ice is cold, and David Cameron still looks like Iggle Piggle.

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special privileges

Why should threats against MPs be treated any differently from threats against anyone else? Politicians can reasonably be expected to have thick skins.

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Re: special privileges

"Why should threats against MPs be treated any differently from threats against anyone else?"

I'd say they are not - but public figures (such as MPs and campaigners) tend to attract most abuse, it seems simply because they're well known.

C.

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Re: special privileges

"I'd say they are not - but public figures (such as MPs...) tend to attract most abuse, it seems simply because they're well known arseholes."

There, fixed it for you.

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Re: special privileges

"I'd say they are not - but public figures (such as MPs and campaigners) tend to attract most abuse, it seems simply because they're well known."

Being well known, they probably do get more abuse - but it's also likely that, being well known, we're more likely to hear about the abuse if it goes too far, whereas if it was directed at Mr Joe Average, we'd be less likely.

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Unhappy

Re: special privileges

Indeed why? my wife helps moderate on a website with a large community and routinely recieves vile communications of the nature seen in the news this week from persons who are clearly disturbed and in need of professional help, yet her complaints fall on deaf ears.

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Joke

Re: special privileges

yet her complaints fall on deaf ears.

That's not fair, you should really be listening to your wife under these circumstances.

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Re: special privileges

"simply because they're well known arseholes."

There, re-fixed it for you.

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Re: special privileges

She could try raising complaints under section 127 of the telecommunications act - and if they're ignored a letter to the local chief constable asking for the exact reasons they're being ignored often works wonders.

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Headmaster

Not you as well.

I cannot understand this high-jacking of the term Trolls / Trolling. I'd say 99% of the readers on elreg understand the proper use of the term as we are all versed in its application. The context in which you use it, Kelly, is firmly that of the mainstream media (BBC et al) who fail to grasp what it stands for and who happily trot out the internet buzz word of the week without any comprehension of how it has entered common(ish) parlance.

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Re: Not you as well.

True, but its a losing battle. When a word gets taken over by the mainstream there isn't much you can do about it. You can try an tell them it should be 'griefer' or whatever and they'll happily ignore you in total obliviousness. Like in hacker/cracker.

Probably better to save your breath and accept that words' meanings change over time.

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Meh

Re: Not you as well.

Trolls = annoying, offensive but legal

Criminals = criminals.

The beauty of a *good* criminal justice system is it recognises that a criminal act is criminal, regardless of how it's perpetrated. Thus we have a law which says it's criminal to kill someone. Simples. No need for a list of methods of killing that are illegal.

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Trollface

Alert Trolls Mum

Best idea since the youtube utility that reads your post back to you before it's sent :D

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Flame

Re: Alert Trolls Mum

Provide a button that provides the recipient of such a tweet with the sender's name, address and photo.

Lets see how big and hard these little twats are when they're not hiding behind a keyboard in their bedroom.

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Re: Alert Trolls Mum

Brilliant, absolutely brilliant.

Isn't it illegal to publish an MP's address? If so, won't that stop the "mediawhore" MP's themselves from tweeting.

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Re: Alert Trolls Mum

I thought it was legally required that an MP's address be public knowledge, so that you know where they are standing from. That's why people get up in arms when MPs and councillors represent one constituency, but live miles outside of the area...

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There goes another word...

We all used to know what 'trolling' meant and it did not mean making threats of aggression, sexual or otherwise.

Conflating the two is a serious mistake, not entirely dissimilar to the current conflation of the issues surrounding "sexual material that children might see" with "sexual material in which children are seen": the former arises from the law of unintended consequences (of having a free and open Internet); the latter is a hideous crime already covered by existing legislation. Nevertheless, in both cases, some people attempt to use the existence of the absolutely indefensible latter as a reason to take draconian against Internet freedom, by banging on about the former as if it is somehow related.

One of the lessons in Orwell's 1984 is that by altering language it is possible to create tramlines of thought which are very difficult to leave, and therefore those who control the language control - to a large extent - the minds: threatening someone with rape is trolling; threatening someone with rape is a terrible thing; trolling is a terrible thing; trolling should be banned. Of course no-one should be convinced by such invalid enthymematic logic, but the sad fact is that many voters cannot even dissect such arguments - and if the popular media continue to refuse to help them in this regard or, as in this case, actively assist the political class in maintaining the confusion, we are all going to suffer.

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Re: There goes another word...

I beg to differ John. Trolling has always been synonymous with online abuse and bullying, it's just that before Facebook, Twitter and Web 2.0, we didn't see it because the few people using the internet at that time tended to be those "computer kids" from school who spent all their lunch hour in the computer labs even on hot summer days. Due to such oddness those people rightly or wrongly faced bullying at school as matter of routine and therefore took bullying and abuse to be a normal part of life and mirrored this into their little online worlds.

The difference now in 2013 is the internet is rapidly becoming more mature and seasoned as respectable society embraces the digital age. It's no longer the domain of a few kids tapping away about dungeons and dragons in their bedrooms. We see far more normal people using the internet now, including celebrities and politicians. Frankly normal decent society just won't tolerate the kind abuse that used to be the norm online. Of course trolling can't be banned (technically speaking, I am well aware of how distribution works on the internet), but I am amazed you are trying to somehow justify trolling. I am sure you'd change you tune quick if YOU were the one being trolled.

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Meh

Not sure whether trolling...

Trolling has always been synonymous with online abuse and bullying

[Citation needed]

Meanwhile the Urban Dictionary doesn't agree with you.

Neither does the Hacker's dictionary.

In other words, you are making stuff up and are trying to redefine words. Being the cancer of the Internet.

normal decent society just won't tolerate the kind abuse that used to be the norm online

Yeah. "We train young men to drop fire on people, but their commanders won't allow them to write 'fuck' on their airplanes ... because it is ... obscene."

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Not sure whether trolling...

@DAM

Trolling has always been synonymous with online abuse and bullying

[Citation needed]

Here you go.

http://healthland.time.com/2012/10/19/how-to-starve-the-trolls/

http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/society-and-culture/inhuman-abusive-internet-trolls-deserve-exposure-20120831-255kq.html

These are two examples from mainstream media that took less than a minute to find. There are others.

For better or worse, the average punter understands trolling to be abusive and bullying. Deal with it.

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Trollface

Re: Not sure whether trolling...

Wait a minute, does this then mean that either:

a) God exists

or

b) Hitler was right ?

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Re: There goes another word...

"I am sure you'd change you tune quick if YOU were the one being trolled."

I have been, many times, I've even had my address published with Streetview shots of where I live.

meh... Its mostly noise and bluster.

A.strange.game.The.only.winning.move.is.not.to.play.How.about.a.nice.game.of.chess?

As soon as you lose the desire to get the last word in, or defend against obvious trolling, its not that big a deal. So what if some troll gets the last word in slagging you off. It makes no difference.

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Re: Not sure whether trolling...

Holy crap, those articles are from up to 9 months ago.....

Please try again and try to find some articles from the previous century.

This is like telling people about Usenet in the 80's. They have everything from comp.sys.compliers to alt.sex.with.dogs, and everything inbetween.

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Re: Not sure whether trolling...

@ Theodore.

Perfect!

Everyone else who is still failing to comprehend the common understanding of Trolling (in our peer group of course) despite links being posted to help you, look at what young Theodore has produced. A classic example. He is not Bullying or rude, but someone is going to take that bait for sure!

I am actually starting to feel like we're approaching a paradox here, A Troll, trolling within trolling....

Trollception!

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Re: Not sure whether trolling...

It IS telling people about the net before the web. It was a different world, and not many active today ever experienced it.

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Re: There goes another word...

" it's just that before Facebook, Twitter and Web 2.0"

Just how young are you?

Forums have been around for at least 20 years in one form or another.

Get out of school and learn a bit about the webs before spouting bollocks

(this is not yet trolling btw, though it could turn into it in a future post)

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Tell Trolls Mum button - great idea....

.... my Mum died years ago - I'd be immune!

One Jeremy Clarkson will be my first target....

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Anonymous Coward

Maybe we should take a leaf out of the book from the Scientology cult and form a squirrel busters team on Twitter.......

He who trolls last trolls longest....

* whilst typing this I was strangely thinking about watchmen by Alan Moore, to paraphrase - who trolls the troll

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Charging

I think that this service should have a yearly subscription paid for with a traceable credit or debit card. The charge should be something small but it would stop people posting things like death threats. It might also stop very young children having Facebook or Twitter accounts when they are inappropriate.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Charging

"It might also stop very young children having Facebook or Twitter accounts when they are inappropriate" - yes, because clearly the parents who allow that sort of thing to happen would never dream of letting the children buy stuff online using easily copied card details

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Charging

In the pre- internet days, you had to go and buy green ink and then a stamp to get your vitriol to the target ( or the editor of the local newspaper).

the minor cost and the delay between composing and reception contrasts starkly with the effortless, and instant gratification of twitter ( or email)

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Re: Charging

The point is they would be more accountable and that in itself should reduce the amount of abuse dealt out for little or no reason.

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Re: Charging

Pleasebesarcasm. Pleasebesarcasm. Pleasebesarcasm.

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Megaphone

Re: Charging

Actually, a very good idea. Why should people think they can tweet their spleens for free? I should know - I have a considerable spleen and would gladly pay all I have and a little more to vent it all over the interwebs.

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