High-Tech 'Trolls' Stalk the Internet, Harrass for Fun

Web subculture has disdain for just about everything
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 2, 2008 11:09 AM CDT
High-Tech 'Trolls' Stalk the Internet, Harrass for Fun
Trolls invaded an epilepsy website and made it flash.   (Shutterstock)

They gleefully wreak havoc online, tormenting the parents of a teen suicide victim, for example, or causing the website of an epilepsy foundation to flash brilliantly to trigger convulsions. These so-called trolls seek "lulz," or laughs, for their deeds and test the limits of free speech online. One leader sees it all as a grand human experiment. The New York Times looks into the subculture and its disdain for just about everything.

“This is life. Welcome to life,” says that same prominent troll, who describes himself as a "normal person who does insane things on the Internet." He argues that people’s insecurities are the root of the problem—they should have thicker skins. A host of technical remedies is in the works to limit trolls' damage, but they may be of little help given the techies' views on morality, the Times notes: "I can’t push you into the fire, but I can look at you while you’re burning in the fire and not be required to help.” (More internet stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.