Trolling for your soul: the price of civil online comments may be more power for Facebook

Trolls are hard to find in the real world, but all too common in the virtual one. “Trolling” — posting wilfully inflammatory, off-topic or simply stupid remarks — plagues blogs and other online forums. A way now exists to curb such mischief, but the remedy may be worse than the disease.Trolling is a side-effect of online anonymity. “On the internet, nobody knows you’re a dog”, read the caption of a 1993 cartoon in the New Yorker. The problem is that so many people behave like one. In one of the first academic papers on the subject Judith Donath, an internet expert at Harvard University, called the behaviour a “game about identity deception”.

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