Trolling Could Result in Two-Year Jail Time In England and Wales

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Doom972:
Threatening people counts as trolling? I thought trolling was just doing annoying stuff like starting Anita Sarkeesian threads and getting everybody enraged.

BigTuk:
You will never have enough jail cells.

Phrozenflame500:
Will never be enforced, but pretending to be tough on "crime" (lol) is always good for PR.

^ Also these.

All of this. Threatening isn't trolling, it's verbal abuse.

Trolling is like making a thread called "Skyrim is the most overrated piece of crap" and then having your OP simply consist of "Discuss". That's on the obvious side, but you get the point. Trolling isn't usually mean spirited, it's more just getting other people worked up for the popcorn value.

It seems as if, sometime in the recent past, everyone completely forgot what "trolling" meant and started applying it simultaneously to death threats and people who express opinions different from their own.

Last I checked, trolling someone had a lot less to do with sending people threats than it did with pretending to be an idiot on 4chan so one can laugh at all the people who write angry diatribes in response to the bait.

An Ceannaire:

But that's massively subjective. If I say to the cops I'm scared for my life after somebody PM'd me on XBL saying they were going to kill me, should the person who sent the message be arrested? Like, we all know that there are people out there prone to overreacting.

Yes they should because they've committed a crime. The fact they used XBL instead of text message, a phone call or in person does not make it more legal. This is the issue, people see it as ok because of the medium rather than seeing it as the abuse it really is. There's no excuse for people acting that way, I've never threatened someone like that nor has anyone I know.

T-Shirt Turtle:
Two years seems a little too harsh, maybe one year would be better imho. Still I wish we could get a similar law here in the States, if one hasn't been made already.

If I'm not mistaken, in the US you can already get more time than that potentially if you threaten someone. You don't need an actual law to cover online harassment and threats if you already have laws that just cover those things period.

Inglorious891:
The concept is nice, but as others in this thread of already echoed: this law is ripe for abuse. What the difference is between generic assholery and death threats is all in the eye of the beholder, and no one should be sent to jail for two fucking years because someone else took something they said to heart.

People saying that their going to kill or rape someone is rather clear, weather they intend to go through with it is another matter. Thing is these actions ARE illegal already, the fact it's done via XBL doesn't magically make it ok.

I do agree the minimum sentence part is stupid, it should be set depending on the level of threat (a single message should be given a warning but constant harassment met more harshly)

RicoADF:

Inglorious891:
The concept is nice, but as others in this thread of already echoed: this law is ripe for abuse. What the difference is between generic assholery and death threats is all in the eye of the beholder, and no one should be sent to jail for two fucking years because someone else took something they said to heart.

People saying that their going to kill or rape someone is rather clear, weather they intend to go through with it is another matter. Thing is these actions ARE illegal already, the fact it's done via XBL doesn't magically make it ok.

I do agree the minimum sentence part is stupid, it should be set depending on the level of threat (a single message should be given a warning but constant harassment met more harshly)

I'll agree that the punishment is absolutely nuts, but I was more referring to the difference bewteen lighthearted trolling and death threat harassment. Rather than explain (what I think anyway) is the difference, I'll show you quickly. And no, you don't have to watch the entirety of both videos to get the idea, just the first few minutes.

My fear is that shit like the stuff in the 1st video is going to be classified by someone as being similar to stuff in the 2nd video, which is completely nuts and isn't OK if it lands some dude in prison. What the difference is between trolling and harassment hasn't really been defined or even talked about, and before we make ANY laws that can land people in jail for either or there needs to be a discusison on what the difference between the two is.

Hell, I do stuff similar to the things the jackasses in the first video do, and if someone told me to stop because it was seriously upseting them, I honestly wouldn't take them seriously. Depending on the situation I might stop, but not just because someone was getting offending at something that isn't worth getting offended over.

I'm also hoping any responses to this are going to be, "That's not the type of shit we're talking about, we're referring to death threats and SWATing!", because at that point I know people on this site are sane.

BigTuk:
You will never have enough jail cells.

Pretty much this, also when you consider that in some places there is already a wait period to serve your jail time this law pretty dumb.

So people go crazy over minor drug offenses clogging up prisons but now some old farts in the UK are doing this.

Remember there's already laws against death threats. This is putting people in jail for saying mean and inflamatory things on the internet.

Getting pissy over nothing on the internet is now enough to get somebody jail time and a criminal record.

I know that the UK has some of the tightest restrictions on speech in the developed world, but fuck this shit.

Well yay for a stand against abuse, but this seems like one of those things that can be abused to enforce censorship, as has been done so many times in the past.

roseofbattle:
A change to the Malicious Communications Act in England and Wales may increase jail time for abusive or threatening material from a maximum sentence of six months to two years.

Totally down with that. Trolls, or as I call them; social media terrorists, should not be tolerated.

RedDeadFred:

Trolling is like making a thread called "Skyrim is the most overrated piece of crap" and then having your OP simply consist of "Discuss". That's on the obvious side, but you get the point. Trolling isn't usually mean spirited, it's more just getting other people worked up for the popcorn value.

Its called willfully causing someone emotional duress. Doesn't matter if you're doing it for some agenda or just for a laugh, you're hurting people. You are causing them emotional pain, and yes stress actually CAN kill you. I have a naturally weak heart (runs in the family) and sometimes, in spite of myself, trolls have actually caused me moments of legitimate medical panic. It doesn't matter if you are using threats or just being a jackass; if your aim is to provoke some negative emotion in another person then you are being abusive. Hence why I call trolls terrorists; you are seeking to use their own emotions, often fear but just as often anger, against them. You are attacking them, and trolling should be held equivalent to assault.

Inglorious891:

Hell, I do stuff similar to the things the jackasses in the first video do, and if someone told me to stop because it was seriously upseting them, I honestly wouldn't take them seriously. Depending on the situation I might stop, but not just because someone was getting offending at something that isn't worth getting offended over.

I'm also hoping any responses to this are going to be, "That's not the type of shit we're talking about, we're referring to death threats and SWATing!", because at that point I know people on this site are sane.

My interpretation is that their talking about threats and abuse (aka 2nd video), not for 'trolling' as in people being silly in a game (honestly I don't know why that word is used at all, it's abuse and harassment that the law is targeting). Their not talking about someone being annoying but rather a person that PMs a player and calls them all names under the sun, says their going to hunt them down and kill &/or rape them etc etc which as I said before already comes under laws of harassment, threats and so on. Also this particular article is about increasing the punishment of an existing law and thus atleast in theory it shouldn't increase the amount of people arrested.

So UK is trying to jail all of its politicians?

may increase the penalty of jail time for harassment and threats sent online from a maximum of six months to two years.

wait, i thought we were talking about trolls. ah, i get it, another wrong headline that does not match with the article content.

The Association for Progressive Communications

Translation: the gang of "speak only how we like it"

All three platforms are reluctant to address technology-related violence against women

its hard to adress something that does not exist. Technology is not sexist, it does not do violence agianst women. Some people use it to do it, but its hardly technology fault. Thats like blaming Wallmart for not doing enough against knife related violence during mugging.

Baresark:
I love how they think that trolling consists of threats of violence. Trolling is pretty much any online harassment, not just threats of violence.

Erm, trolling is not harrasment to begin with. i know there are some uneducated people that limp everything they dont like on the internet as trolls because trolls got a rise out of them in the past and they need to "enact revenge", but trolling got nothing to do with harassing.

Mikeybb:

They have to start high like that as it's easy to slice that sentence up with pleas and subsequent good behavior in prison.

it does not matter how many times you slice it, jail time for a few words said online is stupid.

Jonathan Hornsby:

Its called willfully causing someone emotional duress. Doesn't matter if you're doing it for some agenda or just for a laugh, you're hurting people. You are causing them emotional pain, and yes stress actually CAN kill you. I have a naturally weak heart (runs in the family) and sometimes, in spite of myself, trolls have actually caused me moments of legitimate medical panic. It doesn't matter if you are using threats or just being a jackass; if your aim is to provoke some negative emotion in another person then you are being abusive. Hence why I call trolls terrorists; you are seeking to use their own emotions, often fear but just as often anger, against them. You are attacking them, and trolling should be held equivalent to assault.

your post due to complete misunderstanding what "trolling" means caused me emotional duress. i demand that you be put in jail for 2 years!

I hate how 'trolling' has just become a catch-all term to describe any kind of internet behaviour you object to.

Old school trolling was a thing of beauty. Like anything that involves a practical joke there's a fine line between what's just plain abusive or in bad taste, but there were ways in which you could just wind people up without being a complete cock, like the famous 'Ventrilo Harassment' series. Or there were things you could do in MMOs that were just cheeky, like placing a mage portal over the battleground portal in WoW.

Jonathan Hornsby:

RedDeadFred:

Trolling is like making a thread called "Skyrim is the most overrated piece of crap" and then having your OP simply consist of "Discuss". That's on the obvious side, but you get the point. Trolling isn't usually mean spirited, it's more just getting other people worked up for the popcorn value.

Its called willfully causing someone emotional duress. Doesn't matter if you're doing it for some agenda or just for a laugh, you're hurting people. You are causing them emotional pain, and yes stress actually CAN kill you. I have a naturally weak heart (runs in the family) and sometimes, in spite of myself, trolls have actually caused me moments of legitimate medical panic. It doesn't matter if you are using threats or just being a jackass; if your aim is to provoke some negative emotion in another person then you are being abusive. Hence why I call trolls terrorists; you are seeking to use their own emotions, often fear but just as often anger, against them. You are attacking them, and trolling should be held equivalent to assault.

By this logic, is your boss guilty of 'emotional terrorism' if he puts you under stress by giving you a very tight deadline to deliver a lot of work?

There are different emotions you can provoke. Minor annoyance or inconvenience should certainly not be causing anyone to have a heart attack, and that's as far as good natured trolling ever goes. Yes, aiming to make someone cry or have a PTSD episode is fucked, but if you can't handle a gentle ribbing now and then it's a bit rich to expect the rest of the world to walk on eggshells around you.

Jonathan Hornsby:

RedDeadFred:

Trolling is like making a thread called "Skyrim is the most overrated piece of crap" and then having your OP simply consist of "Discuss". That's on the obvious side, but you get the point. Trolling isn't usually mean spirited, it's more just getting other people worked up for the popcorn value.

Its called willfully causing someone emotional duress. Doesn't matter if you're doing it for some agenda or just for a laugh, you're hurting people. You are causing them emotional pain, and yes stress actually CAN kill you. I have a naturally weak heart (runs in the family) and sometimes, in spite of myself, trolls have actually caused me moments of legitimate medical panic. It doesn't matter if you are using threats or just being a jackass; if your aim is to provoke some negative emotion in another person then you are being abusive. Hence why I call trolls terrorists; you are seeking to use their own emotions, often fear but just as often anger, against them. You are attacking them, and trolling should be held equivalent to assault.

I'm sorry about your medical problems, but I REALLY don't think someone should be prosecuted for making a thread insulting something popular without backing up their claims. If a person can't control their emotions to the point where seeing a thread called "Batman sux" (just an example, not saying it would particularly bother you), they really shouldn't be on the internet. I think that this may just be coming down to what we consider trolling. I guess verbal abuse could fall under trolling, but it seems a lot more malicious than the pranks in which trolling usually takes its form. I dunno, to me, they're two very different things. I think what you're talking about is more "flaming". Either way, I'm pretty sure we're just talking semantics since I do agree with you that verbal abuse on the internet should be punished.

The idea is good but this is so ripe for abuse its not even funny.

No reason to mass flag tweets or youtube videos to get them taken down if you don't like the message now you can get that person sent to prison. This kind of behavior has been observed many times, people file fake DCMA's against people to silence critics even tho doing so is a crime. And you think the same people wont abuse this system?

I mean how is this even going to work? What about if you say i am going to f*****g kill you , but you where referring to there character in an MMO as they just ganked you? Or someone being a arse on a form is this trolling in the classic use of the word it is. Or what about someone calling you an idiot ( you know because that is what you are ) should that be punished by 2 years in prison?

Its not about free speech ether, genuinely threatening someones life is already illegal (as it should be) and there are already systems in place to report this and bring that person to justice.

This is a crazy law drawn up by people who don't understand how anything works let alone the internet.

In closing just because this law is stupid does not mean that people who target someone for abuse online should not be punished to the full extent of the law. Its just this law is not fit for purpose.

"What are you in here for?"
"Told this guy I was a master at gorilla warfare over the internet" or perhaps, "I decided to play a joke on feminists on twitter".

Its stupid, but I don't particularly like trolls. So I guess as long as these ridiculous sentences are thrown at those I don't care about, they can go wild. I'm an arse like that.

And its already been mentioned, but trolling is not harassment. And harassment is not trolling. The word is used incorrectly more often than literally is. Which is a lot.
Without getting into specifics, trolling is making someone annoyed through one method or another.
Harassment is seeking to instill fear in someone or, more importantly, actually do something to them. The key difference being that the impact trolls have is entirely decided by the 'victim', whereas harassment generally has a possibility of more. Hence the fear.

Inglorious891:

Hopefully the child service was contacted after this video.

If someone trolls or baits you, you do not replay to them. This should be obvious. Same when asked for creditcard or other personal info, you do not give them that. In this case, she was asking for attention. In her justification, to have the shit-talkers banned, but she did keep engaging them for attention.

Sports have shit-talkers and internet has trolls. In multiplayers you get both. We can deal with them on our own personal level and self-police them just fine. Its not law enforcement this issue needs, but EDUCATION.

I have no wish the defend her, because what she did was dumb. You can argue that the context of the shit-talk was too much, but you're not solving shit if every solution to your problem is jail.

I find the world where everything is solved with jail very black and white.

Ferisar:

T-Shirt Turtle:
Two years seems a little too harsh, maybe one year would be better imho. Still I wish we could get a similar law here in the States, if one hasn't been made already.

The States doesn't need this law. Our prisons are already stuffed with people that are in for minor offenses. This legislature would never be enforced and be a docile reminder that "we're watching you, darn kids!" rather than anything useful.

Thinking about it, this is just stupid.

In the US you may as well switch it up, have all trolls, druglords (aka: people who smoke a gram of weed), criminals etc walk in the US and put the handful of people not in violation of the law in jail.. Better proportioned IMHO

The thing is there are already laws in place to deal with threatening or intimidating behaviour, you can already end up in prison for threatening someones life and for longer than 2 years. So why this change then? Simple, if you look at the original Commincations Act, the definition of "malicious" is incredibly vague to the point it might as well just state "saying nasty or upsetting things".

The only time this could ever be used is when they can't prove intent, or when the trolling doesn't fit the current definition of any crime, and quite frankly, in those circumstances what will they be throwing people in jail for?

After all, we tell kids in the playground to be grown up and ignore it when another child says something unpleasant, when did this stop applying to adults?

Strazdas:

Baresark:
I love how they think that trolling consists of threats of violence. Trolling is pretty much any online harassment, not just threats of violence.

Erm, trolling is not harrasment to begin with. i know there are some uneducated people that limp everything they dont like on the internet as trolls because trolls got a rise out of them in the past and they need to "enact revenge", but trolling got nothing to do with harassing.

I wasn't not talking about Harassment, with a capital "H". It's generally people who join a discussion with the point of either being contrary just because or to derail the discussion in some way. They are there as a distraction to the discussion, not to add any beneficial ideas. That is why people get called "trolls", even when they aren't being "trolls". People view others who have a genuinely different perspective on the same subject as trolls, even if they aren't there to do that.

Also, when you start your statements with "erm", it comes across as really condescending. I'm just letting you know.

TallanKhan:
The thing is there are already laws in place to deal with threatening or intimidating behaviour, you can already end up in prison for threatening someones life and for longer than 2 years. So why this change then? Simple, if you look at the original Commincations Act, the definition of "malicious" is incredibly vague to the point it might as well just state "saying nasty or upsetting things".

The only time this could ever be used is when they can't prove intent, or when the trolling doesn't fit the current definition of any crime, and quite frankly, in those circumstances what will they be throwing people in jail for?

After all, we tell kids in the playground to be grown up and ignore it when another child says something unpleasant, when did this stop applying to adults?

I'm in complete agreement. When I made my original statement, I hadn't thought about that very specific thing. It's not like there aren't already laws regarding threatening someone. As a matter of fact, when someone threatens someone else online, it should be even easier to convict them with current laws because once it's on the internet it's there forever. It's the same reason why I'm against laws regarding hate crimes. Simply from the principle that people who get accused of those things are already committing illegal acts and should be prosecuted anyway.

In both situations, illegal acts are taking place and there are already laws regarding that. The fact that it is said online is no different than if someone puts a letter into your mail slot.

No justice system could actually bear that kind of burden.
Defining a law is one thing; enforcement another.

RedDeadFred:

Jonathan Hornsby:

RedDeadFred:

Trolling is like making a thread called "Skyrim is the most overrated piece of crap" and then having your OP simply consist of "Discuss". That's on the obvious side, but you get the point. Trolling isn't usually mean spirited, it's more just getting other people worked up for the popcorn value.

Its called willfully causing someone emotional duress. Doesn't matter if you're doing it for some agenda or just for a laugh, you're hurting people. You are causing them emotional pain, and yes stress actually CAN kill you. I have a naturally weak heart (runs in the family) and sometimes, in spite of myself, trolls have actually caused me moments of legitimate medical panic. It doesn't matter if you are using threats or just being a jackass; if your aim is to provoke some negative emotion in another person then you are being abusive. Hence why I call trolls terrorists; you are seeking to use their own emotions, often fear but just as often anger, against them. You are attacking them, and trolling should be held equivalent to assault.

I'm sorry about your medical problems, but I REALLY don't think someone should be prosecuted for making a thread insulting something popular without backing up their claims. If a person can't control their emotions to the point where seeing a thread called "Batman sux" (just an example, not saying it would particularly bother you), they really shouldn't be on the internet. I think that this may just be coming down to what we consider trolling. I guess verbal abuse could fall under trolling, but it seems a lot more malicious than the pranks in which trolling usually takes its form. I dunno, to me, they're two very different things. I think what you're talking about is more "flaming". Either way, I'm pretty sure we're just talking semantics since I do agree with you that verbal abuse on the internet should be punished.

A reasonable stance. For clarity my understanding of "trolling" has always been "deliberately trying to offend/upset people." While the end result of that is up for debate, and certainly there is a degree of personal responsibility to be taken on the part of the trolled, I still believe that the act of trolling itself is unforgivable and unjustifiable. It is attitudes like I've seen in this thread that allow trolling to not only continue, but thrive on the internet. Saying "its just a joke" or "its only a prank" is passively condoning the action, and frankly I don't care to what degree the harassment goes the simple fact that this person is trying to provoke another person is wrong. Harmless or not we're still talking about an asshole with nothing better to do than ruin somebody's day, and frankly I believe that passively condoning such behavior crosses the line from "innocent bystander" to "accomplice." In short; if you're not firmly against the trolls, you're just as bad as the trolls.

Jonathan Hornsby:

RedDeadFred:

Jonathan Hornsby:

Its called willfully causing someone emotional duress. Doesn't matter if you're doing it for some agenda or just for a laugh, you're hurting people. You are causing them emotional pain, and yes stress actually CAN kill you. I have a naturally weak heart (runs in the family) and sometimes, in spite of myself, trolls have actually caused me moments of legitimate medical panic. It doesn't matter if you are using threats or just being a jackass; if your aim is to provoke some negative emotion in another person then you are being abusive. Hence why I call trolls terrorists; you are seeking to use their own emotions, often fear but just as often anger, against them. You are attacking them, and trolling should be held equivalent to assault.

I'm sorry about your medical problems, but I REALLY don't think someone should be prosecuted for making a thread insulting something popular without backing up their claims. If a person can't control their emotions to the point where seeing a thread called "Batman sux" (just an example, not saying it would particularly bother you), they really shouldn't be on the internet. I think that this may just be coming down to what we consider trolling. I guess verbal abuse could fall under trolling, but it seems a lot more malicious than the pranks in which trolling usually takes its form. I dunno, to me, they're two very different things. I think what you're talking about is more "flaming". Either way, I'm pretty sure we're just talking semantics since I do agree with you that verbal abuse on the internet should be punished.

A reasonable stance. For clarity my understanding of "trolling" has always been "deliberately trying to offend/upset people." While the end result of that is up for debate, and certainly there is a degree of personal responsibility to be taken on the part of the trolled, I still believe that the act of trolling itself is unforgivable and unjustifiable. It is attitudes like I've seen in this thread that allow trolling to not only continue, but thrive on the internet. Saying "its just a joke" or "its only a prank" is passively condoning the action, and frankly I don't care to what degree the harassment goes the simple fact that this person is trying to provoke another person is wrong. Harmless or not we're still talking about an asshole with nothing better to do than ruin somebody's day, and frankly I believe that passively condoning such behavior crosses the line from "innocent bystander" to "accomplice." In short; if you're not firmly against the trolls, you're just as bad as the trolls.

That's the thing though, it's not harassment. It's trickery. If anything, it's usually the troll who ends up getting harassed.
Sometimes it can go too far, and in those instances, I agree that it's not okay, but it really ins't a black or white thing.

RedDeadFred:

Jonathan Hornsby:

RedDeadFred:

I'm sorry about your medical problems, but I REALLY don't think someone should be prosecuted for making a thread insulting something popular without backing up their claims. If a person can't control their emotions to the point where seeing a thread called "Batman sux" (just an example, not saying it would particularly bother you), they really shouldn't be on the internet. I think that this may just be coming down to what we consider trolling. I guess verbal abuse could fall under trolling, but it seems a lot more malicious than the pranks in which trolling usually takes its form. I dunno, to me, they're two very different things. I think what you're talking about is more "flaming". Either way, I'm pretty sure we're just talking semantics since I do agree with you that verbal abuse on the internet should be punished.

A reasonable stance. For clarity my understanding of "trolling" has always been "deliberately trying to offend/upset people." While the end result of that is up for debate, and certainly there is a degree of personal responsibility to be taken on the part of the trolled, I still believe that the act of trolling itself is unforgivable and unjustifiable. It is attitudes like I've seen in this thread that allow trolling to not only continue, but thrive on the internet. Saying "its just a joke" or "its only a prank" is passively condoning the action, and frankly I don't care to what degree the harassment goes the simple fact that this person is trying to provoke another person is wrong. Harmless or not we're still talking about an asshole with nothing better to do than ruin somebody's day, and frankly I believe that passively condoning such behavior crosses the line from "innocent bystander" to "accomplice." In short; if you're not firmly against the trolls, you're just as bad as the trolls.

That's the thing though, it's not harassment. It's trickery. If anything, it's usually the troll who ends up getting harassed.
Sometimes it can go too far, and in those instances, I agree that it's not okay, but it really ins't a black or white thing.

Harassment, trickery, joking...doesn't matter what you call it, the underlying motivation is exactly the same every time: I am going to do something dick-ish for no other reason than to provoke and upset a complete stranger who, so far as I know, never did anything to deserve it. That is what I am against; being a dick to a complete stranger just because, to put it bluntly, you're an asshole who got bored.

Have none of this idiots noticed the fucking block/ignore buttons on social media sites?

It is still only the law in the name only. They should put someone in jail for about half a year. Otherwise this law is worth as much as my new year's resolution.

And if it does not stop then make it five years! >:U

Sure, it's a very long time for this, however, it's also serious.

Capatcha: Pick Me! (No! I did nothing wrong. D: )

This is a violation against my freedoms. Don't care - they are. Say hello to new Big Brother #432. And if you're offended by death thread - grow a pair. This is the internet. Trolling is immortal

8. There are no real rules about posting
9. There are no real rules about moderation either - enjoy your ban
11. All your carefully picked arguments can easily be ignored
12. Anything you say can and will be used against you
13. Anything you say can be turned into something else - fixed
14. Do not argue with trolls - it means that they win

Jonathan Hornsby:

RedDeadFred:

Trolling is like making a thread called "Skyrim is the most overrated piece of crap" and then having your OP simply consist of "Discuss". That's on the obvious side, but you get the point. Trolling isn't usually mean spirited, it's more just getting other people worked up for the popcorn value.

Its called willfully causing someone emotional duress. Doesn't matter if you're doing it for some agenda or just for a laugh, you're hurting people. You are causing them emotional pain, and yes stress actually CAN kill you. I have a naturally weak heart (runs in the family) and sometimes, in spite of myself, trolls have actually caused me moments of legitimate medical panic. It doesn't matter if you are using threats or just being a jackass; if your aim is to provoke some negative emotion in another person then you are being abusive. Hence why I call trolls terrorists; you are seeking to use their own emotions, often fear but just as often anger, against them. You are attacking them, and trolling should be held equivalent to assault.

I can almost taste the emotional blackmail.

If you have a weak heart and might die from a troll trying to push your buttons, maybe you should take a step away from the internet, because trolls always find a way. And UK legislation wont change a thing about it. They also banned porn, and yet it barely made it harder for UK citizens to find porn. Because at the end of the day, this is impossible to actually meaningfully impact the internet like that.

Jonathan Hornsby:

RedDeadFred:

Jonathan Hornsby:

A reasonable stance. For clarity my understanding of "trolling" has always been "deliberately trying to offend/upset people." While the end result of that is up for debate, and certainly there is a degree of personal responsibility to be taken on the part of the trolled, I still believe that the act of trolling itself is unforgivable and unjustifiable. It is attitudes like I've seen in this thread that allow trolling to not only continue, but thrive on the internet. Saying "its just a joke" or "its only a prank" is passively condoning the action, and frankly I don't care to what degree the harassment goes the simple fact that this person is trying to provoke another person is wrong. Harmless or not we're still talking about an asshole with nothing better to do than ruin somebody's day, and frankly I believe that passively condoning such behavior crosses the line from "innocent bystander" to "accomplice." In short; if you're not firmly against the trolls, you're just as bad as the trolls.

That's the thing though, it's not harassment. It's trickery. If anything, it's usually the troll who ends up getting harassed.
Sometimes it can go too far, and in those instances, I agree that it's not okay, but it really ins't a black or white thing.

Harassment, trickery, joking...doesn't matter what you call it, the underlying motivation is exactly the same every time: I am going to do something dick-ish for no other reason than to provoke and upset a complete stranger who, so far as I know, never did anything to deserve it. That is what I am against; being a dick to a complete stranger just because, to put it bluntly, you're an asshole who got bored.

So if someone pulled a practical joke on you in real life (obviously nothing serious), you'd demand that they be thrown in jail too? It's essentially the same thing minus the anonymity. Like I said, verbal abuse is bad, but most trolling (NOT flaming) is simply mild annoyances. Is it juvenile? Yes. Do people deserve to be thrown in jail for it? No.

The thing I found interesting about the linked story and coverage on this potential change in the media, were the quoted examples of people being threatened and harassed on-line, which provoked the idea of implementing this change.

None of the multiple examples of people having nasty stuff said, etc, to them on-line involved games or gaming. With all the hand wringing that has been going on over Gamergate etc recently, it was interesting to see that people being dicks on-line is not specifically a problem in gaming culture, but a larger societal issue.

I mean people think that discussions about what console is best can degenerate into something putrid. Have you seen what football (soccer for US readers)supporters get up to in the support of their favorite teams. They like to get in physical fights.

I think that sometimes a bit of perspective is sometimes good and even though it has problems that need to be addressed, gaming culture is not some unique place of nastiness. People aught to chill a bit...

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