Bookmarked Why people troll others online by an author (W. Ian O'Byrne)
  • Anonymity – People believe they can say anything and get away with it;

  • Perceived obscurity – People believe their online expressions are fairly private;

  • Perceived majority status – People believe their opinion or experience is the majority, and that people agree with them;

  • Social identity salience – People believe that their online identity means more than their offline identity. That is, online they are guided by “mob mentality” and mimic members of their group;

  • Surrounded by their friends – People believe everyone in their network, or online social circles thinks and acts like they do;

  • Desensitization – People over time see others make so many nasty comments, or they do it themselves, that it doesn’t seem like such a big deal;

  • Personality traits – People are sometimes outspoken by nature, and believe they can express themselves online without a filter;

  • Perceived lack of consequences – People weigh the risk vs. reward of engaging in these behaviors and believe that the benefits outweigh the costs.

Ian O’Byrne discusses some of the reasons why people troll online and how to respond to them. For a deeper look at the types of trolls, read Molly Hill’s post.