An article on the BBC made me smile, Why are people so mean to each other online?
The internet acts like a kind of digital-fuelled alcohol, freeing us to say things to strangers that we would never dare to say if we met them.
Dave Harte, a lecturer in media communication at Birmingham City University, believes that social media gives us a connection with each other that we are all craving.
"We have a vague sense of having lost something - the idea of chatting to a neighbour or meeting at the village post office. In many ways it is a media-created perception. Maybe we have all watched too many episodes of 'Call the Midwife'," he said.
That has to be term of the week, "digital-fuelled alcohol
It is true though, especially on larger online communities, some of the abuse between members is unbelievable. Normally it originates from something trivial, usually because one or two established members take the hump over a question, maybe it's been asked before, or the new member will talk about something that is deemed by regulars as off-topic. I've seen it from business forums, specialist forums, and more recently a lot more on Google communities.
Some of the sniping and community infighting leaves you feeling a little bemused if you hover as a lurker. It certainly puts you off becoming a participating member.
Interesting the above article picked up that the majority of trolling seemed to be done by women. That may be community specific, but from techie and business type communities, I'd say most of the aggression comes from blokes, mainly from inflated egos, or sheep mentality following perceived community heros.
But not all communities are like that, hopefully this one is troll free! But there are some great online communities out there that are very well moderated and policed, normally inhabited by people you would look up to and respect.
I've yet to meet a troll at an offline networking group, but then again it would liven up some of the more tedious meetings
So why do so many people feel the need to troll? Insecurity, lack of confidence in the real world? Little man syndrome? Or is it just natural pack behaviour that social media encourages?