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The Dark Side of Guardian Comments

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by Melody Bot, Apr 30, 2016.

  1. Melody Bot

    Your friendly little forum bot. Staff Member

    This article has been imported from for discussion. All of the forum rules still apply.

    The Guardian studied their online comments section, the results were harrowing:

    The Guardian was not the only news site to turn comments on, nor has it been the only one to find that some of what is written “below the line” is crude, bigoted or just vile. On all news sites where comments appear, too often things are said to journalists and other readers that would be unimaginable face to face – the Guardian is no exception.

    New research into our own comment threads provides the first quantitative evidence for what female journalists have long suspected: that articles written by women attract more abuse and dismissive trolling than those written by men, regardless of what the article is about.

  2. SayHello


    This is both shocking and eye-opening. Wow.
  3. Luroda

    Consistently Lurking

    The power of near-anonymity and safety from immediate physical retaliation. Sigh.
    Raku likes this.
  4. carlosonthedrums

    Cooler than a polar bear's toenails Prestigious

    Fucking mortifying.

    The best thing about the internet is also the worst thing about the internet: it gave everyone a voice.
    Raku and Luroda like this.
  5. Glad to see this posted here. They've been posting a tons of articles over the past months on this subject. It needs to be shared over and over again so people can realize how problematic "trolls" are.

    This website have been created to fight against them, and to protect female writers : TrollBusters
    lightning13 and Luroda like this.
  6. Strikegently

    close cover, strike gently

    I don't believe that this is shocking or eye-opening. It's just stating things everybody already knew with some data behind it.
    #6 for example: controversial topics are more likely to include controversial comments. Well no shit, Sherlock.

    I think Guardian resources could be allocated for much more important things than analyzing the comment section.
    Raku likes this.
  7. AelNire

    @RiotGrlErin Supporter

    It's nice to have articles with research because people glaze over the issue with trolls suck and then move on.
    Quin Stack likes this.
  8. 4X's


    The paper's whole series on the "Web We Want" has been great, and they've been actively engaging readers/users on how to achieve goals. I think the notion that articles along the lines of "black lives matter" and "rape culture exists" are inherently controversial is dangerous and part of the problem. These pieces warrant no controversy at all, and certainly no trolling or hateful comments.
    AelNire likes this.
  9. Strikegently

    close cover, strike gently

    That's all that it warrants. The unofficial slogan of the internet has always been "don't feed the trolls." If you take a giant journalistic entity like the Guardian, and you have them write an almost exhaustive piece of comment trolls, it's essentially laying out an all-you-can-eat buffet.
    Raku likes this.
  10. But that "Don't feed the trolls" has become an useless moto as more and more people get harassed every single day. Words have consequences, and not enough internet users realize that. They have to be held accountable.
    Quin Stack, Robk, 4X's and 1 other person like this.
  11. Strikegently

    close cover, strike gently

    I'm not that old, so I feel strange saying "back in my day", but whatever happened to "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me"? It's almost baffling that people get so upset over these comments, even more so since it's just an avatar and a username on a webpage that has zero significance in your real life.
    • Mod Warning: Please stop and consider what you're writing before posting.
  12. AelNire

    @RiotGrlErin Supporter

    @Strikegently Being a woman, I get enough shit on a day to day basis IRL that I'd like to not deal with it on the Internet. People are sensitive because terrible things happen to people and they have triggers. Ignoring it because "don't feed the trolls" isn't how a lot of people feel about the issue including myself. You think these articles are pointless and I don't. I like to know I'm not the only person in the world who is hurt by random trolls on Twitter, Instagram, etc..
    lightning13, Nick, Quin Stack and 4 others like this.
  13. skogsraet

    Trusted Supporter

    This sentiment doesn't take into account the fact all too often, hurtful comments can and do have a significance in real life. A number of comments The Guardian blocked contained threats of violence, including death threats. Reading that someone wants to take your life or commit other violent crimes against you absolutely has significance in your real life, especially considering the fact that it can sometimes be difficult for paid writers to work under a pseudonym (I've encountered this myself) and if you have an uncommon name (as I do) it's all too easy for "an avatar and a username" to become mail sent to your home, unsolicited phone calls, SWATing or worse. Researching the comments and trying to find a solution is a great step in the right direction to protecting all internet users.
  14. Raku


    Yeah, some of the trolling can get a little nasty especially on youtube and/or twitch.

    Anonymity on the internet is both a blessing and a curse. Thankfully I don't use it to be a jerk. Instead I act/talk the way I would if I were to be out in a public setting which is disappointing when you compare how others (some, not all) use it to act like bigger assholes (or to get their jollies from acting like real life villains).

    It's one of the reasons why even though I wanted to make a youtube channel back when youtube was first a thing I never did because I just didn't want to deal with both the drama and people making comments against me (mainly the unnecessary stuff like looks, how I act/talk or how the background of videos might look).
  15. Crisp X May 1, 2016
    (Last edited: May 2, 2016)
    Take a look at this then tell us the same things again :
  16. Nick, Quin Stack, AelNire and 2 others like this.
  17. PandaBear!

    Trusted Prestigious

    Comment sections should be mandatory 'log in with facebook' in order to post (thus denying anonymity), or just outright banned.
    Carmensaopaulo likes this.
  18. It might help, though from my experience, people don't care about having their profile publicly exposed. I realized it again on the The Story So Far article that was posted few weeks ago. They're proud of their problematic views which is gross.
    Raku and Carmensaopaulo like this.
  19. Strikegently

    close cover, strike gently

    This would be a disaster. It would put Facebook in a position of being the arbiter of speech on the internet. A company that routinely deletes content if it differs from their own personal ideology should not be in a position to control who gets to share or what they get to share.

    The Internet was created in the idea that everyone could share anything with the world with no more than a click of a mouse. As with the real world there are creeps, perverts, and assholes, and as the internet expanded, the number of these people grew as well. I think it is naive to suggest that you can have any medium of communication that humans use be entirely free of comments that might offend another person because humans have always been dicks to each other; the Internet is just a new medium for them to be a dick.

    In the real world, we told children "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me" because we knew people would say things to them that might be upsetting. Somehow we've lost this in recent years, and I do believe that it needs to make a comeback, especially now that the internet is as ubiquitous as it is.

    You can't waste your life worrying about what other people say to you or about you. You can't spend all of your time in a perpetual state of victimhood and offense.
  20. I apologize if this post made me look like I'm ranting. I take this issue very seriously so it saddens me that you still don't seem to get it. I will never agree with that line of thinking considering most of the trolls' comments are targeted at minorities. How hard is it to understand that YOU CAN'T SIMPLY IGNORE nasty/violent/sometimes life-threatening things said at you ?

    For example, as a person who finally broke the society's pressure put on me and came out as a pansexual, offensive words affect me more than ever. I've never felt more unsafe, especially on the internet, than before for the obvious reason that shitty people uses their supposed free speech as mean to do more harm than they usually would. Yes, words do hurt and I think it's dangerous to pretend the opposite.

    What do you suggest ? Do you expect everyone to stop everything they're doing only to confront a troll ? Who really want to take his or her time, which could be better spent in other useful ways, to adress online threats ?
    Some people tried, I did. But the sad reality is that, in the short term at least, it is a lost cause as long as the internet sticks to this "don't feed the trolls" mentality. Due to this "rule", we are not trained to defend ourselves from cyberbullies. Even worse, as we are expected to act accordingly anytime a troll targets us, most online places fail to help the victims. So they're being left behind, most of the time too traumatized to be able to fight back.

    I'm sick of this silly ~just man up !~ mantra that doesn't adress the troll's behavior at all and instead blames the victim for not supposedly taking more concrete action. The onus should firstly be on the perpetror, not on the victim to deal with it. No one wants his or her mental health to take a toll.

    Also, when will you stop separating the ~real world~ and the internet ? Both have been interconnected for a long time, especially since the rise of social media. In fact, you don't have to look far to see that online actions can have real life consequences.
    Luroda, Carmensaopaulo and AelNire like this.
  21. Strikegently

    close cover, strike gently

    This is quite literally the opposite of what I am suggesting, and what has been the prevailing idea for decades.
    You don't confront them; you don't pay them any attention at all - you ignore them. The very definition of a "troll" is someone who purposefully makes inflammatory comments to get a response. The entire idea behind "don't feed the troll" is that you ignore them - you don't respond at all.

    This isn't about "manning up" this is about an appropriate allocation of emotional resources. You are born with only so many fucks to give, so why waste them on a nameless, faceless person on the internet who has nothing better to do with their time than mess with people?
  22. Zoshchenko

    Trusted Supporter

    Do you base everything off of cliched sayings? What's next? Can't expect trolls not to post nonsense on female journalist's articles because "boys will be boys?"
  23. Ignoring them won't make them go away. I guess I could see your point in a way, I'm often left wondering if I should engage the person or let it go. This is the dilemma we are consantly faced with on the internet. It's difficult because trolls don't share the same motives. They're not all attention seekers.
  24. Nick

    @fangclubb Prestigious

    We're told that because the people that told us do not know how to handle emotional abuse. It's an absolutely disgusting thought process.