Internet trolls reply to certain trends with bile in total anonymity with 2 followers and an Avatar with no photo. But YouTube commenters are more sinister and frightening. It is the temperature of the country.
Customer service can really be corrosive, and it gets worse than the usual trolling and abuse. However, singer and poet Leonard Cohen really helps me get through the day, with a small but substantial assist from Dr Stephen T. Colbert, DFA.
The exchange, in combination with a number of other unpleasant exchanges I've had in the past couple of years since venturing into Internet writing, made me think again about the purpose of public discourse.
One rule of thumb is that trolls pretend to be sincerely interested in a topic at hand -- that's how they rope you in -- but their real motive is to push your neural buttons and elicit some sort of reaction.
One of the questions that comes up when discussing the subject of trolls is how best to deal with people who misuse social networks -- which are, in my opinion, an incredible force for good -- to spread vile abuse.
A new Facebook commenting add-on puts even more power in the hands of Facebook which not only has 600 million people visiting its own site, but now has its tentacles into perhaps millions of other websites.