Internet Misdiagnosis

Are you an internet troll?

Few of us would think of ourselves as an internet troll – someone who posts rather nasty stuff about others on the internet. But with the internet, are we, without meaning to, turning into a nation of trolls? After all forums and websites are full of thousands of comments with many of us believing it’s absolutely fine to literally vent our feelings publicly – as long as we’re doing so anonymously of course… Internet Misdiagnosis

Try our quick quiz to see how much of the internet troll is in you… simply tick all that apply (and be honest with yourself!)

* I regularly leave nasty reviews about restaurants/hotels/holidays I’ve visited.
* I often leave cutting comments on stories on newspaper websites.
* I have tracked down a person from a newspaper story and facebooked or emailed them with an unpleasant comment or threat.
* I often tweet someone to get their attention with a provocative comment.
* I’ve joined facebook groups/signed an online petition calling for someone’s resignation or for an apology from them.
* I vote up comments I read on websites that I agree with and vote down those I don’t.
* I retweet comments I agree with, even if sometimes those comments are quite provocative or nasty.
* I justify a nasty comment by thinking it could help them. I hope the person concerned will read my comment and it might upset them.

One ticked: You probably have to be very worked up about an issue to do anything about it and your conscience is unlikely to allow you to be too much of a troll.

Two to three ticked: You might not like it but there is an inner troll within you – try to stop it now before it takes over your life.

More than four ticked: You are well on your way to becoming a full-blown internet troll. Try to remember that you are making comments about real people with real feelings before you make a comment. Also remember the latest research has discovered writing a comment online actually makes us unhappier – it might be best to leave well alone.

Stop yourself becoming a troll

* Think before you act: you might not agree with that person’s views but how will they feel reading what you say?
* If you must comment, try to make it constructive and not nasty.
* Never facebook or tweet people with a nasty comment – it is just plain nasty (and potentially libellous to boot.)

Featureworld believes all people leaving comments on the internet should be identified – it is all too easy to hide behind anonymity and say something that is harmful and terribly upsetting to someone or could even negatively affect their business (and how would you feel if that happened to you?)

What are your thoughts – are internet comments getting out of all control and triggering the internet troll in all of us? Let us know below…

Alison Smith-Squire

Alison Smith-Squire is a writer, journalist and media agent selling exclusive real life stories to newspapers, magazines and TV. She owns the sell my story website Featureworld.co.uk, which was set up to help ordinary people sell their stories to the press.

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