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When A Trump Troll Is Outed

Talking of trolling, the New Yorker published an interesting piece by Adrian Chen, looking at what happened when a pro-Trump Reddit-dwelling troll was suddenly brought into the glare of publicity when his Gif went viral — and his true identity was established.

Suddenly, his behavior became more than pixels on a screen. It had consequences:

For HanAssholeSolo, though, his gif episode showed him what most of us instinctively know—that our online lives are intricately woven into our real ones, and that freedom of speech is not an excuse for a lack of empathy, even “behind a keyboard.” This was “an extreme wake up call,” he wrote in his apology. “To people who troll on the Internet for fun, consider your words and actions conveyed in your message and who it might upset or anger. Put yourself in their shoes before you post it.”

If there’s one thing that these trolls and the traditional media have had in common for a long time, it’s been the idea that virtual interactions were in some way inferior to physical one, that they counted less – if at all.

Both groups are slowly learning how very untrue that idea is.

The Times vrs NightJack: Destroying Journalists’ Reputation

And so, e-mails and tweets arrive asking what I think of the exposure of anonymous police blogger NightJack by The Times. I think you should probably read the couple of compilations of links that Judith has done on journalism.co.uk and her own blog. And I think you should probably read what another anonymous police blogger, PC Bloggs says about it. And you should remember that The Times has form here.

But if you want to know what I, personally, think, here it is:

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Le Web 3 ’07: Jason Calacanis on Spam Pollution

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Usenet? Killed by spam. Google? Search has been diluted by comment spam. Squidoo? Overwhelmed by affiliate spam.

Those issues were at the heart of a presentation by Jason Calacanis, late of Weblogs Inc and now behind Mahalo. And he had a warning for internet businesses:

"You can't pretend you don't see the abuse so you can make money," he said. 

Another example he gave of spam polluting Technorati - do a search for "Paris Hotels" - all you get is spam hosted on Blogger. Dave Sifry and Evan Williams, "nice, clever guys" who are (formerly?) friends of Calacanis created a system that can be abused for spam. 

Some people (like the spammers and those who tolerate them) think that because you can do something technically on the internet you have every right.

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