back to article Trolls prevail because good men do nothing: boffins

A recent study into online bullying has found that nine out of 10 internet users won't do a thing to stop it. Researchers from Ohio State University found that when confronted with examples of bullying, many users shy away from direct confrontation. The study pitted 221 student volunteers in a simulated support chat …

  1. msknight Silver badge

    Welll that's a stupid report...

    ...with a dumb ass conclusion.

    As a victim of on-line abuse, there's nothing I CAN do to stop it. Even the Police, when given proof of what would be a section 2 offence when committed in the street, verbally, WON'T do anything. And the abuser is also in the same country as me.

    In order to get sufficient information from Facebook, Google, et al, they need a court order, and to get that, the abuser has to literally turn up on my doorstep before a judge will issue one.

    The victim is POWERLESS. Even the authorities are powerless. I was crying on the phone to a Sussex police officer last month, as he explained to me just how poorly resourced they are and that the big corporations just won't help unless their arms are literally pulled up their backs.

    I read on-line of one, single tweet landing someone in jail, and yet this bastard comes after me, slanders me on social media, etc. and he is free to continue.

    I do wonder if the police have been hoist by their own petard; that if they hadn't screwed up the public trust in them, that getting lower level data might be easier; and the levels of abuse might drop if they started being able to actually prosecute people ... something has got to change. We can't carry on like this. I did forward my idea on how to control this to some of the political parties, but no one has got back to me, so I'll just continue to suffer ... as usual ... whenever this bastard decides to fire another barrage of vile crap in my direction.

    1. msknight Silver badge

      Twisted people, twisted lies

      As far as the report is concerned, how do you fight a fire that twists words and half-truths in to something which is complete bullshit, but yet still reads like it's valid? I've spent the last half hour to try and find an article over how the gamergate trolling has been going; the court documents saying one thing in support of Quinn, and the trolls making it look like Quinn's leading the court!

      Ignoring trolls is the only thing you can do, or else you get drawn in to so much he-said-she-said crap that your life can end up being lived trying to defend yourself against a pack of lies. What's the point? It is a fight that you can not win and will drive you to destruction.

      I mean ... really ... what was the point of this so-called research? What do they hope to achieve? If it was stating the patently obvious, then ten out of ten.

      Sorry, I'm angry now, but .. gah.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Twisted people, twisted lies

        So what happens when it's beyond the point of being able to ignore it, when the trolling is starting to have serious social consequences? After all, tell a lie long enough and people start believing it. There are known stories of schoolfolk who are driven to suidice because the trolling is so incessant and brutal (imagine a straight-laced 15-year-old being endlessly hounded for being promiscuous—ignorance is not an option because everyone else avoids you: even the adults) they can find no way out. Sounds to me like they found the perfect weapon. Ruin someone forever and never get punished for it.

        1. msknight Silver badge

          Re: Twisted people, twisted lies

          In the UK at the moment, you have to take a private prosecution for slander//libel. So yes, they have found the perfect weapon. However, it does rely on the reader to exercise their own judgement. If a future employer was to decide to not employ me based on some unsubstantiated slander, then I'd rather not work for that company anyway.

          There are people on this anti-platform argument oxford/cambridge thing at the moment, who are of the belief that freedom of speech doesn't cover the right to talk to other people about what you believe. If I find the article again, I'll let you know, but I'm almost sure I posted about it on either FB or Twitter, but I can't find it. I'll keep searching.

          1. msknight Silver badge

            The Police say - leave the internet

            There was one thing that struck me in my conversation with the Police.

            He really interrogated me as to why I use the internet. His opinion was that I should just stop using the internet and put me under the spotlight of why it is that I actually use the internet at all.

            I was in distress at the troll, but I was completely flummoxed at the attitude of our police.

            Government are on-line. Far flung friends and family are on-line. Shopping is on-line. Entertainment is on-line.

            Should I really be cutting off my nose for fear that someone could punch me in it?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: The Police say - leave the internet

              The situation isn't made easier by the fact facebook, Twitter etc are so central to Internet use for many people for interacting with friends, and they can't simply switch to "another one". It's easy enough for trolls to change accounts, but less easy for most users who may have a lot of time invested in a persona. If the venue in question was your local pub, you could move down the street to another, but most reasonable people would think it absurd that you should be expected to do so rather than the person making a bell end of themselves.

              I'd fully agree that the police have made a rod for their own backs with abuse of trust, and suggesting someone doesn't go online in this day and age is in cloud cuckoo land. For some people it is the only way they can get support for a problem that would wreck their lives were it to be exposed in the real world.

              Parliament has done no better by failing entirely to understand almost any problem connected with 'online' (actually IT as a whole) placed in front of it - Andy Burnhams ignorant "register every email address" was not the high water mark of his own stupidity, let alone the rest of parliaments. Trouble is, anything they do in this regard is almost certain to cause myriad other problems without ever scratching the paintwork on the one it's intended to address.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: The Police say - leave the internet

                I agree, unreservedly and absolutely, that bullying, reputation sullying and mobbing are unacceptable whatever the media. I agree that the nature of Twitter, FB and the like, combined with the inadequate compromise between freedom and responsibility exercised by the proprietors and legal system, lend themselves to the worst kind of behaviour by the wost kind of people. Just read the many, vitriolic comments on such sites as The Register comments. If these people can express themselves so unpleasantly online, what sort of people are they in real life? Where is the line between this and bullying?

                Perhaps my definition of "friend" differs from the current one; while online shopping, applications or information for government or other interactions are invaluable, I do not agree that "social" sites can not be avoided if one has got friends, rather the reverse. If you have got friends, the last thing you need is a "social media" site.

                I have got many friends, some across the world, some around the corner, from decades long friendships to less than a year. My avoidance of Twitter or FB is far from a problem. Being friends we see each other, write letters or email, send SMS messages, ring each other - all the usual things. Most importantly, we know each others' faces, how we dress, our likes and dislikes: we do things together, see, smell, hear each other in the context of everyday, real, physical life. Online "friends" suggests to me the ghastly vision of some science-fiction distopia in which physical contact or proximity are seen as impolite, dangerous, unhealthy and disgusting.

                More or less faceless contacts with "friends" who befriended one by ticking a box or having some online conversation are not friends. I've seen the results when such "friends" materialise as real people to stay overnight or simply meet - I know of one pair who got married; the rest, including one where I got directly involved as the joint host, were, shall we say, disappointing, even embarrassing.

                The policeman was wrong in how he tried to suggest a strategy. But he was right in that we do not need social media to have friends. It is unfortunate; but even physical bullies can not always be overcome by reason, force or law (especially at work or school): so we do what we can to avoid the situation as a realistic, if limiting solutiôn. Using "internet" as a portmanteau term is just laziness of course.

                I note that, while the internet makes bad behaviour easier, many authors, artists, performers and lecturers have been subject to anonymous bullying via letters, notes, telephone calls for decades and longer.

    2. James Micallef Silver badge

      Re: Welll that's a stupid report...

      @msknight - sorry for your situation, that must suck. I understand that there's nothing YOU can do if the police refuse to intervene. the point of this research is that unfortunately, it's unlikely that anyone else will intervene on your behalf.

      However all it would take is for someone from the same public forum* to call out your stalker on their behaviour. Bullies are the same whether in real life or online - if someone strong stands up to them they back down pretty quick.

      *I'm guessing public, as you can just blacklist private messages from specific and/or unknown senders

    3. Meerkatjie

      Re: Welll that's a stupid report...

      It appears to be a bad article rather than a bad report. The article says victims of cyber bullying are asking for it because they don't stop the bullying.

      The study however appears to be another in a long list of studies that show that bystanders almost never help someone when they need help - which applies just as much online as it does in real life.

      Bad journalist - fix your byline so it matches the report or cite the report where it matches what you said.

    4. John Hughes

      No, it's a crap el ref headline

      The report described in the article doesn't seem to say that victims do nothing, it says bystanders do nothing.

      Kitty Genovese could tell you that.

      1. cray74

        Re: No, it's a crap el ref headline

        "Kitty Genovese could tell you that."

        The real Kitty Genovese or the mythical one invented by newspapers and Harlan Ellison?

    5. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Welll that's a stupid report...

      Did you actually read the paper, or just the article? I haven't, because I'm not inclined to pay $20 to read it right now and I'm not teaching this year so I don't have online access to the university library to get it for free. But I did read the abstract, and as far as I can tell, your argument has nothing to do with what Dillon and Bushman are claiming.

      Certainly, you have my sympathy, as does anyone in your position. I've been observing online hostility since circa 1990; I even discussed it a bit in an article I wrote for Works and Days back in '94. I hold language degrees, and much of my theoretical work touches on violence committed through language use.

      But work like Dillon & Bushman contributes toward understanding and addressing precisely those kinds of situations. They're specifically investigating whether the Bystander Intervention Model, a sociological model developed to investigate how bystanders get involved in "real-world"1 violence and injustice, works for online discussion as well. That's a useful thing to know, for people who want to study online verbal violence and for people who want to address it.

      1An unfortunate term, since obviously discourse that occurs online is obviously also part of the real world.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Welll that's a stupid report...

      The 9 peoples hoo have vote down u, R they trolls, i fink they R trolls.

      Msknight as declar him victim of Troll, so uzz hoo downvote are trolls>

  2. John Tserkezis

    "Researchers from Ohio State University found that when confronted with examples of bullying, many users shy away from direct confrontation."

    Tells it all really. These idiots haven't seen how it works out in real life.

    Their answers is to talk to the bully and explain how they're hurting your feelings. All this does is reaffirm my thought that university students, sorry, "researchers", have no clue whatsoever.

    The problem is bullies understand one language only - beaten into submission. But we can't have that now can we, we might hurt their feellings and that would be a terrible thing.

    Your last resort is your first resort - ignore and move (from the forum). Fortunately, few have enough enthusiasm to stalk you, though, some do. Perhaps a nice beating will do?

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      I'm upvoting you for being on target. The researchers really have no clue....

      "A nice beating"....? Yeah that works if and only IF you are able to take them on either in the online forum or face to face. Face to face is very risky as many trolls/stalkers really feel the will win and intimidation is part of their game. Online usually requires a strong moderating team or the ability to block the abuser.

      The biggest advantage any troll/stalker has is "fear" in his victim and the observers. People are afraid to intervene and many times even stand up the troll. Ever see how many people walk away from a situation in a bar? At work? On the street? Fear playing into the hands of the troll/stalker. Works that way online also.

      They also seem to believe that laws and rules don't apply to them which is probably a big part of the problem.

      I was a moderator on several forums for many years and talking to them does no good. They always feel they have a right to be asses. The only solution is banning them from the forum. Generally, my observation is that social media does zilch in policing their users as they need every body they can get for ad income.

      1. fandom Silver badge

        Nice beating

        I am afraid this is the only way to make them stop.

        Unfortunately, it could land you in jail.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Nice beating

          That is a very simplistic response to a complex situation. Sometimes bullies will respond in the way you want if you give them a slapping but there are many other ways the bully could respond depending on why they are bullying. Some want to fight and enjoy the giving and receiving pain, others feel that this is a vindication of their bullying as they feel they are the ones being bullied, others will change how they bully so it is less overt, others will stop their own bullying but set others up to do the bullying for them.

          I know a few trolls and most of them are addicted to trolling - they will either move to a new victim or feel justified in continuing their assaults. They really need counselling to try fix the addiction rather than a slapping.

        2. MrZoolook
          Meh

          Re: Nice beating

          "I am afraid this is the only way to make them stop."

          So to clarify, you think an appropriate response to somone heckling you or calling you names online, is to beat them up, maybe scar them for life, and maybe accidentally cause brain damage if you land a punch wrong?

          I think that would show everyone who the bully is.

      2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Mark 85,

        I agree with most of what you say here. The trolls don't seem to believe anyone should curtail their "right" to say whatever crap they want. Even when they're on a forum provided by someone else. They have some weird self-centred notion of what's acceptable, and what their rights should be.

        Although there's a weird subset of whiners who when you use the ban-hammer on them seem to sort of blame you as a moderator for failling to stop them from going too far. Why didn't you intervene sooner? Why didn't you stop him from winding me up? We had one user who wanted us to re-code our forums to have a special time based banning system, to stop him posting after about 10pm on Fridays and Saturdays. That's when he came back from the pub, in a bit of a confrontational mood...

        Others just think you're out to get them. To which my honest answer would be, yup - you're ruining my online community - I'd perma-ban you if I was allowed to. But the site-owners are too fluffy for that. I won't treat you any more harshly than anyone else, but I will enjoy it when I ban you - whereas normally I don't.

        Then again, forum culture does matter. El Reg can be a bit rowdy, but it's a pretty nice community. You don't see much nastiness. Although it can get that way, but most of the trolling is anti-company.

        I used to mod on an international game's forum. We had our share of arseholes on the English forum, but it rarely became nasty - even when the Mods weren't around. And there didn't seem to be much in the way of grudges being bourne. Except a couple of troublesome users.

        Whereas the Scottish forums were an absolute vipers nest. There were a few camps that seemed to have formed, and they'd all participate in bullying certain users. Sometimes it would be all nice, then an argument/discussion would go too far, and then it would just become poisonous. You'd often find yourself having to ban 4 or 5 people at once. And want to ban more, who were egging it on, rather than calming it down or staying out of it.

        The Irish forum was different again. Quite rough-and-tumble, but almost always taken in good part. The only problem was we were supposed to crack down on swearing, as the game owners wanted the forums 'family friendly'. We could not stop the users swearing, and it got really silly when we were told we couldn't allow "feck". No power, no God, no force of arms can apparently stop an Irishman from exercising his right to say "feck"...

        So I definitely think that user-tolerance is a big issue. Each forum develops its own culture. I've intervened and stopped unpleasantness on forums before, when not being a mod. And it often only takes one person to get the digital lynch-mob organised. The thing about fear of online bullies is that although they're anonymous (for a given level of effort), so is everyone else. There was a brief period on El Reg when someone started down-voting every post I made. Or at least going through my post-history and down-voting every post on a page. Don't know what I did to cause that. But it wasn't terribly effective as an intimidation tool, it's not even that easy to notice. And I guess they couldn't be more direct, as this site is well modded.

      3. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        The researchers really have no clue....

        Read the paper, have you? Or are you perhaps just full of crap?

    2. Jimmy2Cows

      >Their answers is to talk to the bully and explain how they're hurting your feelings...

      Reminds of a conversation with my 5 year old son's school teacher about bullying. One of his classmate's had been pushing him around, literally, and telling the teacher was doing nothing.

      Should have seen the look of horror on her face when we said we teach our son that if someone tries to hurt him he has the right to defend himself, to fight back. We do not teach him that he can start a fight, only that self defense is allowed.

      "Oh no. No no no. You can't do that. No, when we are told of one child bullying another, we talk to the aggressor an give them a sad cloud over their sunshine."

      Say what? A sad cloud covering their photo on the classroom wall for a day. Yeah that'll show them once and for all not to be a bully.

      In the end my son had enough of being pushed around and very loudly threatened his attacker that he'd throw him into the rubbish bin. He's 5 remember. Did the trick though. He's not been bullied since.

      Talking to bullies does not work. Never has. It only reinforces how much pain they've inflicted and boosts their ego. Plus they get in trouble, which they don't like and will only ever make the bullying worse.

      I don't like confrontation, certainly would prefer not visit violence on anyone, but with bullies it's all they understand.

  3. Raumkraut

    Stop feeding the politicians

    Don't call them "trolls" like it's some new phenomenon that appeared with the interwebs (and therefore we need new laws to deal with it, goes the reasoning). Such people have been engaging in this kind of behaviour since time began, so call it what it is:

    Bullying

    Stalking

    Harassment

    1. msknight Silver badge

      Trolls aren't new...

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troll

      Covers it quite well, I think...

      "A troll is a supernatural being in Norse mythology and Scandinavian folklore. ... In Old Norse sources, beings described as trolls dwell in isolated rocks, mountains, or caves, live together in small family units, and are rarely helpful to human beings. ... Later, in Scandinavian folklore, trolls became beings in their own right, where they live far from human habitation, are not Christianized, and are considered dangerous to human beings."

      So they've been around our lore for ages, probably pre-dating the cries of harassment, etc., live in their bedroom caves, are rarely helpful and are considered dangerous to human beings.

    2. Graham Marsden

      Re: Stop feeding the politicians

      The problem is that the Media (gawdblessem) have jumped on this new word (like they did with "hacking") and have decided it's anything to do with saying nasty things to people online, which it isn't.

      Trolling is what, for instance, Clarkson does. He says something inflammatory, then as people say "he shouldn't be allowed to say that" and others go "he's only joking/ got a right to express his opinions" etc, stands back and laughs smugly because he's got people to take his bait.

      This is childish and petty, but it's not the sort of bullying/ stalking behaviour that's being referred to.

  4. RyokuMas Silver badge
    Coat

    "Good men"...

    "Trolls triumph because good men do nothing"

    In that case, good men of El Reg, please can you remove the ability of people to post anonymously? It would go a long way to reducing the number of sub-bridge-dwellers on here...

    1. msknight Silver badge

      Re: "Good men"...

      +1 - it gets very confusing when one troll decides to troll another troll.

      I can't keep track of who's trolling who!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "Good men"...

        I can't keep track of who's trolling who!

        Ask not for whom the troll trolls, it trolls for thee!

    2. Chris Leeson

      Re: "Good men"...

      It would also stop people with something legitimate to say, but who don't want their names against it as their fellows and management also read El Reg.

    3. Graham Marsden

      @RyokuMas - Re: "Good men"...

      Stopping Anonymous Coward posts on El Reg won't prevent this sort of thing because some of the worst (well, most tedious) trolls post under what is, presumably, a real name or a pseudonym (remember Eadon?!)

      What would be useful is for El Reg to provide a "block user" facility, then you could ignore them completely.

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: @RyokuMas - "Good men"...

        Graham Marsden,

        El Reg do provide a block user facility. By every username on the forums is a stripy sad face. It's between their name, and their badge (if they have one). You simply click on that, and their posts disappear.

        Of course the problem is that you can't block anon posters. Otherwise you could block a particular post and then work out which other posts that user has made - and de-anonymise them (at least a bit).

        Then again, I don't see the point. If I saw the name Eadon, then I could simply ignore the post - i.e. let my brain filter what I read in the same way I do everywhere else. Which is why I notice so few online adverts.

        It also helps that many of the more annoying posters give clues in their first paragraph. So if I see: LIBLABCON, ConDem, FRACTIONAL RESERVE BANKING, HARP, sheeple - lots of capitalisation in general - then I know that I can safely skip the rest of that post.

        1. Graham Marsden
          Unhappy

          Re: @RyokuMas - "Good men"...

          > El Reg do provide a block user facility. By every username on the forums is a stripy sad face. It's between their name, and their badge (if they have one). You simply click on that, and their posts disappear.

          Erm, I've never seen that, in fact, just to check it wasn't getting blocked by something I'd added to Firefox, I've just tried logging in using Chrome and I still don't see it...

          1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

            Re: @RyokuMas - "Good men"...

            Graham Marsden,

            That's strange. I've got one next to your name. It even shows up in the posting window, after I hit reply to your post.

            I seem to recall that they initially released that to gold badge people, but then rolled it out to all badgers. And you obviously are a silver badger. Maybe they implemented it when they did the badges a few years ago, and forgot about it?

            Anyway, I can see it, and I'm in Firefox. It doesn't show up in IE for some reason though.

            1. Graham Marsden

              @I aint' Spartacus - Re: @RyokuMas - "Good men"...

              > I seem to recall that they initially released that to gold badge people, but then rolled it out to all badgers. And you obviously are a silver badger. Maybe they implemented it when they did the badges a few years ago, and forgot about it?

              I have no idea. TBH I don't even notice the badges these days and they'll probably vanish sometime in the future when El Reg decides that the "flat" theme is passe'

      2. RyokuMas Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: @RyokuMas - "Good men"...

        "remember Eadon?!"

        Oh jesus, how could I possibly forget!!!

        Of curse, in his absence there are others slowly moving in to fill the gap, but I don#t think any of them are close to the signature "capitalised whatever fail" that was his sign-off. But at least we got some amusing poetry as a result...

        You're right of course - stopping AC posts will not stop a determined troll - just like basic antivirus won't stop a skilled and dedicated hacker. But it would help deter the idiots who are just looking to provoke a reaction.

      3. MrZoolook

        Re: @RyokuMas - "Good men"...

        "What would be useful is for El Reg to provide a "block user" facility, then you could ignore them completely."

        You mean, a facility similar to that provided by all major social online sites, that if a victim of "bullying" used, would negate them from being bullied online in the first place? A facility that shows why people may be unwilling to step in to stop online bullying?

        Because its actually very easy to prevent in the first place... just click the button to block them... oh my head hurts now I'm the innovator of online bullying prevention.

        USE THE TOOLS AVAILABLE, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD!

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Trollface

    and so on

    Bullying / harassment and similar are not acceptable at work nor in the street why should it be acceptable on forums or the inter-web? To say dont use the internet is like saying dont go into the street to avoid bullies. Also, not everyone is capable of defending themseleves - a reason for the Law and Police, and if they are unable to do anything then we are back in the stone age ( silicon...)

    Why not treat inadequadely moderated forums like rowdy pubs? Close them down until the owners decide to clean up their customers act, who decides they are inadequate - the courts (like small claims) heck we could even licence them as well...

    On anotheer point said above; I agree Clarkson is a Troll, if not an internet one, his actions and face are evidence enough.

  6. Promotor Fidei

    Since when is bullying not acceptable?

    From my own experiences since Kindergarden, bullying is perfectly acceptable and even praiseworthy as long as enough people do it.

    Face it, bullying is normal in primate societies. Someone has to be the butt.

  7. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    I must be lucky

    The forums I go to don't seem to have problems with trolls.

    A jerk would show up, occasionally, then be quickly and expertly put down by the regulars and leave. If he returns he is quickly eliminated by the mods...

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Do NOT Take Them Seriously

    Trolls, by definition, post to wind people up. So if you DO appear to get angry online then the troll has won. End of.

    For myself I never get mad online because that means that some troll somewhere will have a wank. Because that's what trolls do. If I absolutely must reply then I do so as patronisingly as possible. Hypothetically, if I were accused online of being a paedophile I'd say something like :

    “That's OK, dear. I know well it's ENTIRELY an urban myth that people like you have absolutely microscopic penises. ESPECIALLY if you're a woman.”

    It's not being taken seriously at all that REALLY gets to the trolls.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Do NOT Take Them Seriously

      But the worst trolls have no scruples. As the saying goes, "We have ways of making you talk." If they don't rile you with their first salvo, they'll try something more personal, until they reach the point where you either react or lose your reputation.

      And some people just can be beaten into submission. They're just too "kinky": they like BOTH the taunting AND the fighting (and some are strong enough to handle most anyone or have a gang to back them up). Some are even supported by their families or at least have enough connections to beat any rap you try to put on them.

    2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Do NOT Take Them Seriously

      Trolls, by definition, post to wind people up.

      That's how the term was commonly employed (to describe contributors) on Usenet in the early '90s, which I believe is the arena that popularized it. I've read speculation that "trolling" was actually introduced as an erroneous homophone (an eggcorn) of "trawling" - i.e., figuratively dragging a net trying to snare angry responses or hasty corrections, but I've never seen evidence to support or refute that.

      These days, however, it's often employed loosely - as this article does - to mean any sort of contributor who hopes to elicit some sort of angry reaction. The Dillon & Bushman paper is explicitly about online bullies, who share very little with the Usenet trolls of yore, people like David "Snopes" Mikkelson or James "Kibo" Parry. They did wind their audiences up, but as a joke, not to cause distress; and they didn't make a practice of personal attacks.

      It's an unfortunate degredation of a once-useful term of art, but that's how these things go. September never ends and kids these days aren't careful with their terminology like we were. Why, when I were a lad, we were lucky if we got five words a day.

      1. Graham Marsden

        @ Michael Wojcik - Re: Do NOT Take Them Seriously

        Trolling (in the fishing sense)

  9. disgruntled yank Silver badge

    Boffins?

    I thought El Reg considered the managers of such studies to be Trick Cyclists.

  10. PJI

    Nastiness in a group site is one thing. But the poison is when someone is abusive on a personal channel, e.g., as in the first comment, against someone over Twitter. You block the idiot, it comes back as another name. If one really sees Twitter as a personal route to friendship and communication, then this becomes personally intrusive, obstructive and hurtful.

    But, as said earlier, at least real friends exist outside the computer.

  11. MrZoolook
    Facepalm

    Here's a thought

    "As a victim of on-line abuse, there's nothing I CAN do to stop it."

    Awww, you poor little lamb. You could just unfriend them, leave the chat room, make real friends that you actually know outside of Facecunt or Twatter, or even *shock horror oh the humanity* turn off the computer. Any of those would help.

  12. Alan Denman

    Twats do not realise that are twats and twatted do not think to call them twats.

    Yes,

    I do realise some do know what they are but that is often how it is.

  13. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  14. Lallabalalla

    There's a principle at stake here

    It's the same one that says rape victims should not be accused of provocation because of what they were wearing "Don't use the Internet" .... REALLY? "Don't wear a short skirt, or you're just asking for it"

    Such BS.

    However, I'm not surprised people don't want to get involved. A friend of mine once intervened in a bloke getting pushed around on a tube platform one night. The original victim ran away and *he* ended up getting a good kicking.

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