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Stanford research shows that anyone can become an Internet troll

Stanford News Service – Stanford research shows that anyone can become an Internet troll. “Three methods of research find that the situation in which an online discussion occurs influences whether people will troll more than their personal past of trolling suggests.” Taylor Kubota.

“Internet trolls, by definition, are disruptive, combative and often unpleasant with their offensive or provocative online posts designed to disturb and upset.Under the right circumstances, just about anybody can become an Internet troll, according to Stanford research. The common assumption is that people who troll are different from the rest of us, allowing us to dismiss them and their behavior. But research from Stanford University and Cornell University, published as part of the upcoming 2017 Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing (CSCW 2017), suggests otherwise. The research offers evidence that, under the right circumstances, anyone can become a troll. “We wanted to understand why trolling is so prevalent today,” said Justin Cheng, a computer science researcher at Stanford and lead author of the paper. “While the common knowledge is that trolls are particularly sociopathic individuals that occasionally appear in conversations, is it really just these people who are trolling others?” Taking inspiration from social psychology research methods, Cheng investigated whether trolling behavior is an innate characteristic or if situational factors can influence people to act like trolls. Through a combination of experimentation, data analysis and machine learning, the researchers honed in on simple factors that make the average person more likely to troll…”

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