One of the great things about the Internet is that it enables the open sharing of one’s opinion on virtually any topic. Unfortunately that open sharing has also led to what is referred to as an Internet troll.
According to Wikipedia, an internet troll is a person “who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a newsgroup, forum, chat room, or blog) with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion, often for their own amusement.”
I’m sure you’ve come across such a troll or two while using the Internet. You can find their often humorous comments at the end of articles, but sometimes the comments have an edge to them. Either way, they are usually pretty harmless.
I also thought that there were probably certain parts of the Internet that were off limits to these trolls, but after reading about the web site leagacy.com, I may need to change my opinion about the reach, and audacity, of internet trolls.
Steve Miller, the obituary writer for Bloomberg.com, had an article about Legacy.com, and what a force it has become in the world of obituaries.
While there was a good deal of interesting info in the article, what I found most interesting is that apparently there are internet trolls lurking on the leagcy.com web site, waiting for just the right moment to strike.
Miller notes that “Legacy has about 200 employees, many of whom spend their days combing the guest books for trolls: everything from profanity to reports that dead Uncle Bob had an affair to such remembrances as ‘I’m glad he’s dead.'”
Once again I’m forced to ask myself, “what is wrong with people?”
Some people have to get the last word in, and obituaries offer a perfect opportunity for doing so. After all, the person you are trolling can’t defend himself.
I think of online obituaries as a place where loved ones can express their grief share their memories of the deceased, and a site like Legacy does provide an outlet for doing so.
Unfortunately, like so many other places on the web, the internet trolls have joined in as well, but not to honor the deceased.
It’s nice knowing that Legacy has staff devoted to checking for such inappropriate postings. It is an emotional time for those who knew and loved the deceased, and the lsat thing they need is for some troll to make the matter even worse.
So trolls – stay away from the obituaries; feel free to add your snarky, insensitive, and bitter comments to my blog.
I could use the feedback…
*image courtesy of daily25