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posted by LaminatorX on Tuesday March 04 2014, @09:00PM   Printer-friendly
from the Is-feeding-them-masochism? dept.

Members kef and einar have written about some recent research:

"A new study from the University of Manitoba has claimed that internet trolls might not be so nice or mentally stable in real life. While previous studies have shown that people with negative character traits are using the internet more frequently for their own amusement, not to socialize, the results seem to link trolling to sadism. Two surveys among amazon's mechanical turk users were conducted which allowed creating a character profile of the participants. Based on the profile, internet behavior could be correlated with different character traits. Trolling appears to be correlated to sadism.

From the study:

... correlations, sometimes quite significant, between these traits and trolling behavior. What's more, it also found a relationship between all Dark Tetrad traits (except for narcissism) and the overall time that an individual spent, per day, commenting on the Internet. ... To be sure, only 5.6 percent of survey respondents actually specified that they enjoyed "trolling." By contrast, 41.3 percent of Internet users were "non-commenters," meaning they didn't like engaging online at all. So trolls are, as has often been suspected, a minority of online commenters, and an even smaller minority of overall Internet users.

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  • (Score: 5, Funny) by Skarjak on Tuesday March 04 2014, @09:08PM

    by Skarjak (730) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @09:08PM (#10961)

    I knew you guys were all assholes. :p

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by buswolley on Tuesday March 04 2014, @09:48PM

      by buswolley (848) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @09:48PM (#10992)

      A good troll is better than a bad human

      Not all trolls are about sadism. Sometimes they are meant to be didactic.

      --
      subicular junctures
      • (Score: 5, Insightful) by wjwlsn on Tuesday March 04 2014, @10:00PM

        by wjwlsn (171) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @10:00PM (#10997) Homepage Journal

        You know you've been trolled by an artist when, after hitting "Submit" to post your reply (whether scathing reproach or gushing admiration), you get a little feeling at the base of your skull that seems to say "hey, wait a minute... wtf just happened?".

        The best trolls actually raise the level of conversation.

        --
        I am a traveler of both time and space. Duh.
        • (Score: 2) by nitehawk214 on Tuesday March 04 2014, @10:30PM

          by nitehawk214 (1304) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @10:30PM (#11026)

          The best trolls actually raise the level of conversation.

          Or is he just trolling... The world wonders...

          --
          "Don't you ever miss the days when you used to be nostalgic?" -Loiosh
  • (Score: -1, Offtopic) by MichaelDavidCrawford on Tuesday March 04 2014, @09:13PM

    by MichaelDavidCrawford (2339) Subscriber Badge <mdcrawford@gmail.com> on Tuesday March 04 2014, @09:13PM (#10965) Homepage Journal

    While I never completed my doctorate, I really am a Physicist. I have some papers in the journals, as well as an undergradaute - UNDERGRADUATE NOW! - thesis that I wrote at CERN on a DoE grant.

    Had my advisor Clem Heusch of UC Santa Cruz found the non-conservation of Lepton Number that we were looking for - he was also looking for it at DESY in Hamburg, Germany - he would win the Nobel Prize and my name would be on the paper.

    It happens that thermo and probability were my best physics and math subjects.

    Thus it is that I speak with authority, that it is far better to add cream to your tea, rather than to pour the cream into an empty cup, then to pour in the tea.

    That's because, when you add cream to your tea, it cools the tea, but when you pour hot tea onto the cream, the tea heats the cream.

    --
    Yes I Have No Bananas. [gofundme.com]
    • (Score: 4, Funny) by wjwlsn on Tuesday March 04 2014, @09:17PM

      by wjwlsn (171) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @09:17PM (#10968) Homepage Journal

      You insensitive clod!

      --
      I am a traveler of both time and space. Duh.
      • (Score: 3, Funny) by c0lo on Tuesday March 04 2014, @09:24PM

        by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday March 04 2014, @09:24PM (#10972) Journal

        I'm lactose intolerant...

        As it doesn't matter what type of cream you use to replicate the mentioned phenomenon, you may as well try with coconut cream
        (I'd suggest other types of cream, but that would be trolling and I'm not that sadistic).

        --
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0 https://soylentnews.org/~MichaelDavidCrawford
    • (Score: 1) by SleazyRidr on Tuesday March 04 2014, @09:28PM

      by SleazyRidr (882) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @09:28PM (#10978)

      Did you mean to post this to a different story, or putting cream in your tea a sign of sadism too?

    • (Score: 2, Insightful) by MichaelDavidCrawford on Tuesday March 04 2014, @10:40PM

      by MichaelDavidCrawford (2339) Subscriber Badge <mdcrawford@gmail.com> on Tuesday March 04 2014, @10:40PM (#11029) Homepage Journal

      The moderator who marked me off-topic did not understand that I'd just trolled the bejeezus out of him.

      What the typical press reporter, psychologist, schoolteacher, social worker and so on do not understand, is that the vast majority of trolls are in no way violent nor hateful.

      Go look up localroger's article at Kuro5hin [kuro5hin.org], in which he proposes replacing K5's MySQL database with flat files and assembly code.

      Kuro5hin is STILL complaining that that could not possibly work, despite roger - a fifty year old Gulf of Mexico industrial control systems engineer - having lucidly explained YEARS ago that he wrote that purely as a troll.

      He also points out that the Marquis de Sade was not in reality in any way a sexual predator or pervert, but that he invented Sadism because he was just trying to be funny. As a result he spent half his life in prisons and insane asylums.

      Jonathan Swift in his "A Modest Proposal" suggested that the scourge of Irish poverty could be readily alleviated by slaughtering Irish infants that their meat may be served on the supper tables of wealthy Britons.

      As a result, a price was put on his head by the British Crown.

      Yet he lived to a ripe old age, despite that every soldier and sailor in the entire British Empire was looking for him. How do you suppose he pulled that off?

      --
      Yes I Have No Bananas. [gofundme.com]
      • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 05 2014, @12:16AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 05 2014, @12:16AM (#11072)

        You trolled nobody, and the moderation imposed on your post was absolutely correct. Trolling, at least the definition the TFA uses, is purposefully making people on a forum angry or upset for your own pleasure. It probably upset the moderator who gave you an Offtopic mod about as much as spam from a Nigerian prince.

        • (Score: 3, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 05 2014, @12:57AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 05 2014, @12:57AM (#11087)

          I'm the one who moderated you offtopic (posting AC so I won't undo it). I take moderating seriously. It's kinda' like jury duty.

          My first thought was that your post could have been an attempt to troll in a discussion about trolling so I almost modded it funny. But it wasn't directed at anyone, and it just seemed random. It didn't make sense to moderate it troll, and it was definitely offtopic so that's what I gave it.

          Sometimes I wish I could add a note to the moderation for these types of situations. I mod up instead of down about 20 to 1. I'm sorry you were the one.

          • (Score: 1, Offtopic) by MichaelDavidCrawford on Wednesday March 05 2014, @01:21AM

            by MichaelDavidCrawford (2339) Subscriber Badge <mdcrawford@gmail.com> on Wednesday March 05 2014, @01:21AM (#11100) Homepage Journal

            I rather enjoy that I get moderated zero or -1 about as much as I get moderated to five.

            I was puzzled by my Soylent News message regarding a "relationship change". WTF?

            It turned out that two Soylentils changed their relationship to me at about the same time, one to friend one to foe.

            Go look at what people say about Repeatible Hairstyle at Kuro5hin. That's my nick there. Many of them hate me with a furious passion, but I am quite seriously mentally ill, so from time to time I check into a nuthouse or even get arrested.

            If I don't post at k5 for a few days, they all go bananas trying to find me. If they can't find me, they lose all will to live.

            I honestly do try to contribute in a positive way to k5, soylent, slashdot, advogato and facebook. Really I do. I have mod points here and at Slashdot. I too take them very seriously; for example I only moderate posts that no one else has moderated yet, as I long ago noticed that many moderators are rather lazy, in that once a post is moderated to 2 or 3, it very quickly makes it to five, whereas many well-deserving 0 or 1 comments never get moderated at all.

            I generally bump up an otherwise moderated comment by just one, so as to draw attention to it by those lazy moderators.

            I also work hard to find deserving comments.

            Go have a look at my technical articles [warplife.com], and you will see I really do work hard to do right by others.

            --
            Yes I Have No Bananas. [gofundme.com]
      • (Score: 2) by TheloniousToady on Wednesday March 05 2014, @01:06AM

        by TheloniousToady (820) on Wednesday March 05 2014, @01:06AM (#11090)

        Thank you for being a friend.

      • (Score: 2) by VLM on Wednesday March 05 2014, @01:15PM

        by VLM (445) on Wednesday March 05 2014, @01:15PM (#11304)

        You missed a minor contribution in that "he proposes replacing K5's MySQL database with flat files and assembly code." which vaguely resembles the NoSQL movement which is like tossing a bucket of gasoline onto a campfire. Absolutely hilarious in a parody sense. The cultural trends and background make it even funnier than at first glance.

        In comparison, if he proposed replacing the JVM with flat files and assembly code, or something else totally off the wall, he would get a much more WTF reaction than humor, but his parody of a subcultural trend in DBMS is absolute genius. And it doesn't even matter if he knows it or not (as a controls engineer or whatever he is, he's probably not a big DBA guy) but the cultural reaction by people who do know, is what makes it funny.

    • (Score: 3, Funny) by Skarjak on Tuesday March 04 2014, @10:40PM

      by Skarjak (730) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @10:40PM (#11031)

      I have a Master's in astronomy and I claim that the order of the operation is irrelevant: you simply shouldn't put cream in your tea.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by tibman on Wednesday March 05 2014, @12:09AM

      by tibman (134) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday March 05 2014, @12:09AM (#11069)

      As a consumer of coffees and teas i must disagree. If you pour cream into the tea you'll have to stir it to get an even distribution. If you pour tea into the cream it will save you a step (and many spoons).

      --
      SN won't survive on lurkers alone. Write comments.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 05 2014, @05:43AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 05 2014, @05:43AM (#11191)

      How is this off topic? This guy is clearly being a sadistic troll.

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by c0lo on Tuesday March 04 2014, @09:18PM

    by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday March 04 2014, @09:18PM (#10970) Journal

    Somebody please explain:

    1. how is "Natalie Portman and hot grits", "Beowulf cluster", etc... a sign of sadism?
    2. how is a psychological study conducted on Amazon's mecha turk valid/relevant?
    --
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0 https://soylentnews.org/~MichaelDavidCrawford
    • (Score: 2, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 04 2014, @09:34PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 04 2014, @09:34PM (#10982)

      Amazon's mecha turk...

      I'm picturing a giant golden robot with a huge moustache striding through the jungle. The canopy is at waist level. It's quite a sight I can tell you.

    • (Score: 2, Funny) by skullz on Tuesday March 04 2014, @09:44PM

      by skullz (2532) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @09:44PM (#10990)

      2. how is a psychological study conducted on Amazon's mecha turk valid/relevant?

      Because it was a computer generated paper.

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by Buck Feta on Tuesday March 04 2014, @11:39PM

      by Buck Feta (958) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @11:39PM (#11060) Journal

      If you cover yourself in hot grits, that's masochism. If you like covering others in hot grits, that's sadism.

      --
      - fractious political commentary goes here -
    • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 05 2014, @12:00AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 05 2014, @12:00AM (#11066)

      how is "Natalie Portman and hot grits", "Beowulf cluster", etc... a sign of sadism?

      These are memes that evolved on the old site that it look like they are coming here to SN to roost as well given how many refugees from there are here. Use of them isn't necessarily, or even largely, the mark of a troll.

    • (Score: 2, Interesting) by EvilJim on Wednesday March 05 2014, @02:44AM

      by EvilJim (2501) on Wednesday March 05 2014, @02:44AM (#11133) Journal

      my money is on the fact that they don't realise there are different levels of trolling, drawing someone into a meme situation is just plain funny, not sadistic at all, Charlotte Dawson taking her life after being trolled with hate speach, definately sadistic trolls there.

      • (Score: 2, Insightful) by EvilJim on Wednesday March 05 2014, @03:41AM

        by EvilJim (2501) on Wednesday March 05 2014, @03:41AM (#11155) Journal

        Actually this reminds me of the turk study on Americans belief that astrology was a science... it was entirely based on a flawed question, Americans didn't actually know the difference between astrology and astronomy, here it seems their definition of trolling is not the same as ours. they define it as 'causing chaos on the internet' whereas we might define it as baiting someone into responding to something they wouldn't normally respond to... not quite the same thing.

    • (Score: 1) by glyph on Wednesday March 05 2014, @03:43AM

      by glyph (245) on Wednesday March 05 2014, @03:43AM (#11156)

      Since when were community memes considered trolling?

  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by resignator on Tuesday March 04 2014, @09:22PM

    by resignator (3126) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @09:22PM (#10971)

    The most interesting part of the article for me was the notion that "it’s possible that the internet allows them to redirect their energy. If they’re inflicting harm through anonymous words, perhaps it’s preventing them from doing something much more destructive in person."

    Perhaps, it gives them a place to practice their "craft" before unveiling it live. It would be interesting to see a study of how sadists function in society with and without the internet and just how much effect it has on their behavior offline.

    • (Score: 3, Funny) by Sir Garlon on Tuesday March 04 2014, @09:27PM

      by Sir Garlon (1264) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @09:27PM (#10974)

      We could just ask my ex-boss ...

      --
      [Sir Garlon] is the marvellest knight that is now living, for he destroyeth many good knights, for he goeth invisible.
    • (Score: 0, Offtopic) by MichaelDavidCrawford on Tuesday March 04 2014, @09:27PM

      by MichaelDavidCrawford (2339) Subscriber Badge <mdcrawford@gmail.com> on Tuesday March 04 2014, @09:27PM (#10976) Homepage Journal

      My friend Stefan Pietrzak Youngs is half Irish, half Polish.

      He has nary a trace of either accent. He speaks The Queen's English. When I asked why, all he would say was that he attended Public School.

      For more details, read A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce. That is one of the finest novels in all of human history, but the young Daedalus' experience in an Irish Public School is quite grim. It is a thinly veiled cover for Joyce's actual experience.

      I lolled when I visited Stefan in London, only to find that every single one of those cool red phone booths was packed solid with business cards for London's many fine ladies of the evening, every last one of them offering stern discipline for errant boys.

      I collected a huge pile of them then made the mistake of not packing out of them when I moved out of my house. No doubt my landlady found them all when she was preparing my old place for her next tenant. :-/

      --
      Yes I Have No Bananas. [gofundme.com]
      • (Score: 2) by frojack on Tuesday March 04 2014, @09:40PM

        by frojack (1554) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @09:40PM (#10986) Journal

        Ok, we officially need an AUTOMOD bot to instantly MOD Mr Crawford to negative 500.

        Just like Slashdot had to install one for the "GNA Troll" (google it).

        --
        No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
      • (Score: 0, Offtopic) by MichaelDavidCrawford on Tuesday March 04 2014, @10:51PM

        by MichaelDavidCrawford (2339) Subscriber Badge <mdcrawford@gmail.com> on Tuesday March 04 2014, @10:51PM (#11040) Homepage Journal

        I was discussing sadism.

        Perhaps I should have also included a mention of British humour, for example when Stefan threatened a senior editor of a major trade rag, unless she satisfied him by promoting his upcoming product.

        She was only mildly offended, as she understood British humour because her husband was British.

        There is a wonderful film depicting the French Court in Versailles shortly before the French Revolution, I'm not sure but I think the film was called "Wit".

        Much like in today's Internet, one could only get ahead among the french nobility if one was wittier than one's peers.

        So some country gentleman comes by to request the King contribute some money to a public works project. It is carefully explained to him, that to have any hope of, say, preventing dysenteria and giardia in his community, he has to learn to insult all the other nobility.

        At the end of the movie, the Reign of Terror is taking place. Two noblemen are hiking across the countryside, hoping to escape to England by crossing the English Channel.

        One of them says to the other, "I understand that in England, they do not have Wit, they have hew-MAH!"

        In the US, we tell jokes. American jokes are quite a different thing from British Humor and French Wit.

        My preferred troll as is kuro5hin's localroger's favorite, is the French wit.

        For example, all the guys down at the pub claim that your girl is lousy in bed, but I want to reassure you, that's not my own experience in any way.

        --
        Yes I Have No Bananas. [gofundme.com]
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 05 2014, @11:06AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 05 2014, @11:06AM (#11262)
          Most people can discuss the reasons why some people shit without actually shitting in front of everyone.

          Maybe you can't because you're too full of shit.
  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by metamonkey on Tuesday March 04 2014, @09:32PM

    by metamonkey (3174) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @09:32PM (#10981)

    I generally think of trolling as a prank, or a joke. I don't see how telling some nerd that your favorite part of The Hobbit was when Dumbledore told Frodo to use the Force links to sadism. Perhaps they really mean "stalking" or "cyberbullying?"

    --
    Okay 3, 2, 1, let's jam.
    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by MozeeToby on Tuesday March 04 2014, @09:58PM

      by MozeeToby (1118) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @09:58PM (#10996)

      Trolling as they are discussing it is purposefully making other people angry or upset to get your jollies off. Your Hobbit/Harry Potter/Star Wars mash up would be on the very minor end of what they are looking at if it's intended to make the fan boys get up in arms. As a straight joke it would not be, and given that you're giving a deliberately exaggerated example I think you know what I mean. Intentionally annoying, harassing, insulting, or provoking others are all sadistic behaviors to some extent or another.

      • (Score: 1) by Iskender on Tuesday March 04 2014, @11:18PM

        by Iskender (470) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @11:18PM (#11050)

        I guess it comes down to "trolling" as a term not being specific enough, due to it having so many users.

        I see the wisdom in the jargon definition: http://jargon.net/jargonfile/t/troll.html [jargon.net] . It pretty much paints the troll as the opposite of the flamer. People who start hurling insults too easily cause a lot of the trouble in forums: it's too bad trolling them in the old school way doesn't work. Or rather: it doesn't work when the seasoned net users are in the minority: no one will look like a fool for falling for a troll, if everyone is tricked equally.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 05 2014, @01:31AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 05 2014, @01:31AM (#11107)

      Well, troll is an art.

  • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 04 2014, @10:11PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 04 2014, @10:11PM (#11005)

    Wow, we now have dupes! Another Slashdot feature implemented! Same link was used in this Soylent article [goat.cx]. Pay attention, editors! Also the sadism thing totally makes no sense.

  • (Score: 1) by idetuxs on Tuesday March 04 2014, @11:12PM

    by idetuxs (2990) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @11:12PM (#11047)
  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 04 2014, @11:26PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 04 2014, @11:26PM (#11053)

    I've posted enough on these forums to get modded "Troll" quite a few times when IMHO they were grasping for the imaginary "Disagree" mod. I don't consider myself a sadist; but who among us hasn't laughed at the Three Stooges? A lot of what gets moderated "Troll" is just humor at somebody else's expense. There is a whole category of humor based on bad shit happening to others. There is a whole category of humor based on saying words like "shit". True story. When I saw The Killing Fields in the theater there was a guy who laughed every time they said "fuck". If you've seen that movie you know it's not comedy. The guy was probably hypersensitive to the "swear words make us laugh" thing. I'd like to think he wasn't just being a douche; and might actually feel bad that he can't watch a movie with "fuck" in it without laughing. Anyway, I digress. The study means about as much to me as a correlation between "Good taste" and "Success".

    • (Score: 2) by TheloniousToady on Wednesday March 05 2014, @01:03AM

      by TheloniousToady (820) on Wednesday March 05 2014, @01:03AM (#11089)

      I've posted enough on these forums to get modded "Troll" quite a few times when IMHO they were grasping for the imaginary "Disagree" mod.

      Same here. Similarly, I've also been modded as "Flamebait" for saying nice things about Windows and/or uncomplimentary things about Linux, both here and at The Other Place.

      Expressing such points of view, for me, has nothing to do with "sadism". It's partly for the basic psychological satisfaction of expressing myself, partly to stimulate the discussion (after all, it isn't much of a discussion if everyone agrees on everything...), and partly to provide a balance to the prevailing orthodoxy - which seems rather out-of-balance on such points. (Isn't there *anything* good that can be said about Windows? - sorry, I'm trolling again...)

      The key point is that none of these motivations has anything to do with deliberately upsetting others; if that happens, it's merely an accidental side-effect - the same way that Galileo and Martin Luther upset people as a side-effect of expressing their points of view - which just happened to be at odds with the prevailing orthodoxy.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 05 2014, @10:59AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 05 2014, @10:59AM (#11258)

        Similarly, I've also been modded as "Flamebait" for saying nice things about Windows and/or uncomplimentary things about Linux, both here and at The Other Place.

        Well, that proves you're a masochist, doesn't it? ;-)

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by TheloniousToady on Wednesday March 05 2014, @01:21AM

    by TheloniousToady (820) on Wednesday March 05 2014, @01:21AM (#11099)

    I used to participate a lot in a Usenet newsgroup about 10 years ago, and we had one troll who was very successful at it over a long period of time. He (it?) was very good at pushing people's buttons, and I'm sure there was an element of sadism in it. That said, I think there also was an element of masochism in those who responded to him (myself excluded, of course. ;-) Basically, his trolling gave those who responded an excuse to participate in some way, mostly negative. And of course, on Usenet, there's no mechanism of modding or banning to slow him down.

    Trolling was a concept I hadn't previously been familiar with, but it didn't take too long for me and others to figure it out. But long after that point, he continued to get a lot of attention. The troll was a bit of an artist in his way. I always wondered why somebody who clearly had something to offer didn't use his powers for good instead of evil. But I guess that's where Sadism comes into it.

    • (Score: 2) by Debvgger on Wednesday March 05 2014, @12:17PM

      by Debvgger (545) on Wednesday March 05 2014, @12:17PM (#11283)

      Many times the best and most intelligent commenters love to have an alter ego for trolling. A prime example of this was Barrapunto, when they somewhat got rid of the trolls the general level of the site rotted to death. A troll is not the same thing as an asshole: A troll is a social engineer who enjoys pushing people to see what happens, not someone trying to sabotage the site, quite the opposite! The more they like their forum/mailing list/etc the greater the quality of their trolling. I see real trolls as necessary on every site out there. REAL trolls, not assholes. 99% of the time real trolls just try to make other people think and laugh, but as they say, humor is a sign of intelligente :-)

  • (Score: 2) by zim on Wednesday March 05 2014, @02:30AM

    by zim (1251) on Wednesday March 05 2014, @02:30AM (#11128)
    I have long said the internets forums and game communities are a GOLDMINE for those in the psychiatric fields.

    And on games specifically.
    I still don't understand why drug companies and hookers don't advertise on them directly.

    This IS their target market.