back to article Twitter trolls are destroying democracy, warn eggheads

Twitter trolls are undermining what political analysts had predicted would be a new form of responsive democracy. Far from being an opportunity to engage directly with voters, researchers found that the more politicians tried to actively interact with their constituents, the more abuse they faced. The eggheads, based in …

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And be replaced with candidates who don't care about the abuse because it's obviously just people who are the enemy who attack them, which proves how right they are, ie psychopaths

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I can't tell what is more despised on here...

... Twitter or all politicians.

Which then leads me to wonder what is more scary? The pathological hatred of Twitter (which is no where near as bad as any of you make out, the phrase "you are using it wrong" springs to mind) or the vile loathing you seem to exhibit for the people who you vote for to lead your country.

I would downvote you all, but, quite frankly you would all take it as badge of honour anyway.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I can't tell what is more despised on here...

How about the Politician who use Twitter?

Just nuke twitter and the world would be a better place.

I have no idea what is or has been said about me on Twitter/Facebook etc and frankly, I don't give a damm.

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Re: I can't tell what is more despised on here...

> The phrase, "you are using it wrong" springs to mind...

Very much true. I have no trouble, but I use Twitter right. Meaning, not at all.

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Predicted long ago

"The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with an average voter." - Winston Churchill.

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Re: Predicted long ago

"Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others" - Winston Churchill

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Re: Predicted long ago

But when even the least worst option is unacceptable, you've got a big problem.

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"the UK topping the polls as the most rude"

I knew we were world leaders at something. It makes you *sniff* proud.

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When did the French give up their crown? Was that just a pretense?

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Penny dreadfuls taken to higher levels plumbing new depths vs. Global Operating Devices

Politicians globally/universally have an abiding problem which has always led to their downfall and loss of respect and support ....... the scripts they follow in the shows that their hosting sponsors in media choose to present as the realities to be produced, are serially seriously sub-prime.

New originating scripts empowering new worlds are needed to succeed fabulously in the spaces and places of today and statement of raw facts that fictions just love to embellish and degrade.

And that aint no question posed to confuse with doubt and opposing competing thought. Without and within AI, it is a relatively simple and virtually complex GOD aweful truth.

* Ugly state actors/dodgy wheeler dealers/wannabe kings and queens in fairy castles/fools on hills .... politicians come in many different guises.

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Happy

Re: Penny dreadfuls taken to higher levels plumbing new depths vs. Global Operating Devices

Me! I'm serially sub-prime! Seriously!

Ahem. On a more respectful note, do you do lectures?

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Re: Penny dreadfuls taken to higher levels plumbing new depths vs. Global Operating Devices

Questions and answers rule, Big John. Lectures follow prepared scripts and are yesterdays' leading medium/leading yesterdays' medium. Serious serial things internetworking have moved on and up into alien fields with quantum communications providing security and secrets for sharing with second and third parties. Yes, seriously.

Times have a'changed and nothing ain't what it used to be. And that be certain progress in future minded systems administrations

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Joke

Re: Penny dreadfuls taken to higher levels plumbing new depths vs. Global Operating Devices

>>>New originating scripts empowering new worlds are needed to succeed fabulously in the spaces

I don't think the world is ready yet for the first GLBT astronaut president.

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Of the following can you be certain..... for it is being slowly and surely proven to you.

I don't think the world is ready yet for the first GLBT astronaut president...... A. Coatsworth

Oh yes it is. :-) . The scripts and plays that mainstream media host and propagate/secure and server are absolutely dire and cause all manner of madness and mayhem in the chaos and worlds presented as realities for you to cope with/support or oppose.

Haven't y'all yet worked out how easily everything is micro/macromanaged with audiovisual control commands/virtually remote power generation and supply/radio pictures and television programming?

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old and sad

I'm old and sad enough to remember trolls destroying comp.lang.c, in the late 90s. Back then, it was a venerable, respected font of knowledge, before StackExchange, where old school, real computer science people hung out. The arrival of the trolls was quite shocking. The arguments against the experts, and against long established principles and 'truth' were disturbing. It was the sheer effort the trolls put into their attacks, which made it different and new.

Monty Python:

"Argument is an intellectual process. Contradiction is just the automatic gainsaying of anything the other person says."

"No it's not."

"Yes it is.”

etc.

But the trolls were not contradicting. They were arguing, but they were wrong. It was a good lesson in what was to come.

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Re: old and sad

I remember when trolling was trolling. These days it's just people shouting hate at others. They actually believe what they shout; it's not just to antagonise.

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Re: old and sad

And if told to justify their stands?

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Trollface

Re: old and sad

Trolls now are still doing the same as they did in the early days. They're firing up people by bringing out stupid arguments so that other users explode in trying to prove them wrong. They do it for the lulz.

The problem isn't the trolls, it's that many suckers have actually taken the troll arguments as truth. I'm pretty sure that most of what is now called the alt-right was born as a troll operation, but Poe's Law set in and now they've sucked in people who really believe all that crap.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: trolls destroying comp.lang.c, in the late 90s.

I remember a troll trying to destroy a more social uk. usenet group - he was quite clever, playing the "annoying american" card to generate long and rather tedious debates in a broadly uk-vs-us vein. After a while the regulars got wise and ignored him - without the response I guess he got bored and went elsewhere. He came back an tried to ambush uk.s a few times after a suitably long interval, but enough people remembered soon enough to defuse him.

Mind you, being both usenet and a specifically social forum, it died all by itself somewhere in the 00's, like all the others I used to frequent.

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1984

Why not require newspeak? Old negative words like 'bad' have no place in a modern world. Doubleplusgood feedback only please.

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WTF?

Re: 1984

Blimey, tetchy registrati. Even humour gets thumbed-down?

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Re: 1984

Blimey, tetchy registrati. Even humour gets thumbed-down?

Look on the bright side; a single downvote is still well clear of "doubleplusungood".

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Headmaster

Re: 1984

Who says "bad" is a negative word? Ever hear of Super Bad?

It's actually normal in any language for people to invert the meaning of words. Bad, mad, sick, all are sometimes positive. The word "awe" became "awful", and then "awfully nice".

English is shot thru with such inversions, among many other bizarre irregularities. If Big Brother ever does try to control the language, good luck with that. Better people have tried and failed. The problems is, we're all just a bunch of monkeys who got above ourselves.

Ooook!

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Facepalm

Re: 1984

I'd be very careful about using the word "monkey" and then following it up with a comment from the Librarian!

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Re: following it up with a comment from the Librarian!

We are always interested to hear more about the works of Dmitry Alexandrovich Gromov.

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How hype works

The media, the politicians and associated pundits loved "social media" as it seemed to make it easy to get the mood of the public and to seem "engaged" (very important for advertisers / donors / investors). In such a situation there is no upside to being critical (look at what happens to anyone who suggests equities are over-valued) and potentially huge rewards for getting on the bandwagon. Me, I set up my first Twitter bot in 2010 and it's still got hundreds of followers. But this only makes me another grumpy old git.

However, they all completely ignored the fact that most of us are at least somewhat partisan and that emotion trumps reason every time. So let them all crash and burn and be replaced by equally vacuous and watch out pension pots be destroyed in the process.

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Why does anyone care?

About the only thing I ever heard David Cameron say that I could wholeheartedly agree with was:

"Britain is not Twitter"

How many people actually use it? As a % of the population? Then take out self-promoting reality "stars" and lesser-known celebrities and sports players and what are you left with? An entirely un-representative self-selected sample small enough easily manipulated by single-issue fanatics.

The worst aspect of Twitter is how lazy it has made journalists (or allowed lazy journalists to fill their word quota). Instead of actually doing some leg-work and maybe talking to people who might know something, a journalist can simply re-post a selection of tweets from random people supporting whatever point the journalist favours. Thus when a politician asks (perhaps unwisely) for comments, it doesn't matter whether they get anything useful as a few random insults will get all the coverage anyway.

Twitter isn't going to go away and there are some useful applications (mostly one-way information dissemination), but we need to stop caring about the rest of the crap.

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It took the Researchers How Long to Figure this Out?

It has been obvious to me for a long time that Twitter is pretty much about twits and nitwits. I mean it is right there in the name, isn't it?

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Re: It took the Researchers How Long to Figure this Out?

Right there in the name. The joke definitely on the users.

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I know how to fix Twitter and Facebook.

Add a spelling and grammar filter. Any posts that have bad Grammer or incorrect spelling are automatically rejected - *without telling the poster exactly what the error was* !

That way only people who know how to write coherently can comment. Maybe 'El Reg can do the same to this comment section.

There, problem solved ! Plus it would eliminate 99% of my posts, so that's a bonus..

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This post has been deleted by its author

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Re: I know how to fix Twitter and Facebook.

No, yo u see something like that running on Lively really boards. Posts get hung up "Pending" with no reason given and trolls just start rule dodging. Plus there are still bad but grammatically-correct things you can troll. No machine can outwit troll ingenuity.

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Re: I know how to fix Twitter and Facebook.

I'll 'fess up that I've gone to the Dark Side on occasion, but only with impeckable grammar!

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It isn't only Twitter

In 1998, my late father, new to the Internet, opined that it would help bring world peace through global interaction. Hooking him up to soc.culture.iraq put an end to his idealism.

Wherever people can anonymously confront one another with little effort, the double-digit-IQ locusts will claim the ground. They killed Usenet and now the swarm has discovered Twitter. And Donald Trump.

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Re: It isn't only Twitter

DNA: “Meanwhile, the poor Babel fish, by effectively removing all barriers to communication between different races and cultures, has caused more and bloodier wars than anything else in the history of creation.”

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Re: It isn't only Twitter

Great quote Neil.

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While I agree that twitter is a cesspool ...

... it doesn't automatically follow that politicians AREN'T universally hated. In fact, quite the opposite in my experience ... c.f. "How do you know a politician is lying?" "His/er lips are moving!" This twitter phenomena is a perfect example of a broken clock being correct twice per day. Politicians are vilified on twitter because they are vilified everywhere else!

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Ivory tower finds gutter. Details at 10.

So the ivory tower has found out the gutter is not a nice place.

Did they have to google it and use some data matrix with business intelligence middleware? Because it's obvious they don't get out very often.

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Why do politicians like twitter but ignore online petitions?

Because twitter is a self-promotion vehicle.

Other people's opinions can be safely ignored until they embarrass the politician.

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There's a bit of a difference between

"F*** you, you moron"

and

"You should be raped to death"

Saw that last one tweeted to Gina Miller, the US Sports anchor.

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Re: There's a bit of a difference between

You know, of course, that the "raped to death" bit is lifted right from the "South Park" animated series in the U.S. Mr. Garrison starts his campaign for president promising to rape all the illegal immigrants to death.

"Fuck you" is so commonplace in daily discourse nowadays that the trolls, and apparently TV comedy writers, have to resort to far more despicable language.

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Anonymous Coward

>researchers found that the more politicians tried to actively interact with their constituents, the more abuse they faced.

Awww, bless.

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Penny Arcade GIFT

They said it over TWELVE YEARS ago with the "Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory"

Normal Person + Anonymity + Audience = Total Fuckwad

https://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2004/03/19

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Re: Penny Arcade GIFT

Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory, yes. However, I think there are more factors at work in this case. In particular the simple fact that politicians mostly ARE despised, usually for very good reasons, and in fact DESERVE the vast majority of the abuse they receive.

Also, "abuse" is not the same thing as "trolling" and any halfway talented troll would not have to resort to abuse to provoke a reaction.

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Social Media

"Social Media" sounds like another oxymoron definition to me

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just get rid of anonymity - make every account required to be verified, problem solved, none of the foaming at the brain trolls want to be publicly identified

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Colour me surprised

"the more politicians tried to actively interact with their constituents, the more abuse they faced."

Sounds reasonable to me

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"Twitter", "Tweets". I never heard such a load of infantile rubbish in my life. How old are people? 8?

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