Sunday, August 30, 2015

Trolling is an Addiction


Hate on the internet has been dominated by hate websites from neo-Nazis, the  KKK, conspiracy crazies and other intolerant and racist groups.   Many of those groups and websites are still there, but there has been an increasing trend and problem with trolls, snipers and individual haters.  

People troll and post hate online for any number of reasons; revenge, frustration, anger, emotional problems or just experimentation.  But like drug abuse, there is a trap. There is a thrill, and for some people, satisfaction.  I am not a medical professional, but some quick research shows a number of well credited articles regarding correlation in brain and body chemistry to thrill seeking and drug use.  

The behavioral similarities to the cycle of addiction and dependency are hard to dismiss casually. .

Merriam-Webster (the dictionary) defines addiction as, “compulsive need for and use of a habit-forming substance (as heroin, nicotine, or alcohol) characterized by tolerance and by well-defined physiological symptoms upon withdrawal; broadly :  persistent compulsive use of a substance known by the user to be harmful.”

There are numerous stories where unmasked trolls tell  how they couldn’t stop, knew they were doing something wrong and hurtful, and if caught, acknowledged it would be disastrous.  Some have even committed suicide after being discovered.

Not everyone who uses or abuses drugs becomes addicted.  However, why would someone risk everything to post nasty comments on the Internet that they know are not just hurtful to others but ultimately self-destructive? Addiction seems a reasonable candidate.



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