Trolling or Trawling?

Everywhere I go online I seem to come across the same phenomenon. It pervades almost without exception each and every stream of reader comments or forum. I opened this blog asking a question about it, and I’ve only recently become aware of the name for it (it’s so pervasive it has its own name) – Trolling. Until I was educated recently, I always considered trolling to be a term which describes a fishing technique, whereby a person in a boat tows a line and lure behind them, in the hopes of attracting a hungry fish. On the internet it refers (as you no doubt are aware) to deeply anticsocial, often borderline illiterate, insulting and generally deeply negative comments.

I am given to understand that in the internet version we are dealing with ‘Trolls’ as in the fabled goblin-esque creatures of Grimm’s Fairy Tales and more lately Harry Potter. Trolls are horrible things, universally despised (except, one assumes, by their Troll mothers)  and this is why the internet term developed, or so I believe.

Or maybe not? maybe ‘trolling’ is being used in the fishing sense? Maybe, after all, the trolls are trying to hook a fish of some kind? Perhaps people who surf the internet making negative, disparaging, insulting, bullying and ultimately harmful comments are in fact lonely people looking for other people like themselves, and doing so using the same inadequate methods that have failed to avail them of meaningful connections in the real world (where being an obnoxious ***** usually has real consequences). It’s just speculation but I hope I’m right and the world isn’t populated by quite so many people who are just deeply unpleasant in nature and therefore enjoy ruining someone else’s day.

Perhaps being brave and harsh and unpleasant in a consequence – free medium is the best communication such people can hope for, in which case I have to say that they are mistaken. There is an infinite number of positive possibilities out there (here),  a mind – boggling number of chances to be posotive, opportunities that have never existed before this age of hyper communication.

Overall though, I find the amount of antisocial and insulting  comments depressing and rather sad and those who practice it are missing the point of life as I see it. I hope (for their sake as much as ours) that the ‘trolls’ eventually tire of being obnoxious, become bored and just stop. If so they have a chance to find a different way to be, and we have a better chance of not reading their bullying crap. Despite their habits being at odds with my values, I wish them (whomever they may be) happy lives. And a broken internet connection – for a while.

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