Thanks to Straits Times which reproduced this article from NYT, I learn about trolling. (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/30/opinion/30zhuo.html)
Trolling is defined as the act of posting inflammatory, derogatory or provocative messages in public forums, often by someone hiding behind a veil of anonymity.
According to the author, anonymity gives its owner the power of invisibility, ‘that even a habitually just man would become a thief knowing he couldn’t be caught. Morality comes from full disclosure; without accountability for our actions, we would all behave unjustly.’
Psychology research has proven again and again that anonymity increases unethical behaviour.
That, I guess, is one reason why ST Forum disallow anonymity. Having been a victim recently to trolls, this article has opened my eyes to this ‘online disinhibition effect.’
I agree with the author that content providers should stop allowing anonymous comments. Those who do not would simply turn genuine users away. I personally would not want to be associated with a website who encourages trolling, as it cheapens the site and may cost it in the long run. The websites who reproduced my blog should heed these advice:
Stop allowing anonymous comments. Moderate your comments and forums. Look into using comment services to improve the quality of engagement on your site. Ask your users to report trolls and call them out for polluting the conversation.
Thanks very much, Julie Zhuo of Facebook.