TED Conversations

David Williams

Training Specialist , Arvato

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Is trolling the start of sociopathic behaviour?

As we are losing the social interaction skills that were previously developed over time from social environments like play and outdoor games, with online gaming and social networking, are we encouraging a lack of accountability for sociopathic behaviour online?

Do we need do include social skills as an agreed part of educational programmes?

For example in traditional social environments a bully could be held accountable and shunned or even defended against, in cyber bulling there is little if any backlash which can result in a feeling of immunity to the social norms, and as such sociopathic behaviour can be dismissed as trolling.


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    Sep 11 2013: Do you think of sociopathic behavior as a dimension that places people on a scale from zero to one hundred, or more like a category that is indicated by having surpassed a set of diagnostic thresholds?

    Trolling is not community spirited, but it exists in a variety of forms, just as other communications do. For example, there are clowning sorts of trolls who may disrupt regularly for attention and in that create annoyance, but there are also trolls who engage in much more destructive behaviors and intentions.

    In some trolls one sees the schoolyard bully and in others the schoolyard clown.
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      Sep 11 2013: Thats quite interesting but again, do you think the clown in only the clown online because of it being a virtual identity as opposed to a real one? and do we run the risk that the clown could, like the bully push things to far because the social accountability is no longer there?
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        Sep 11 2013: David,
        I see on-line interactions as "real", and different. As Fritzie writes...trolling is not community spirited and exists in a variety of forms.

        As thinking, feeling, multi sensory, multi dimensional intelligent human beings, we can sense behaviors even on line.

        Sure, on line "profiles" and accounts that are created may not totally reflect the personality of the person writing the comments. However, there is still an identity of some sort being projected/reflected with the comments.

        There is a certain degree of accountability and acceptance with TED for example.....the moderators. As individual participants in on line conversations, we have the ability and choice to simply not participate with some people.....just as we have choices in our world to participate with certain people, or not. In that way we can demonstrate and encourage a certain level of accountability.....don't you think?
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        Sep 11 2013: Yes, clowns can push things too far for other people's comfort, but I don't know whether that automatically becomes sociopathology. It depends on how you use the term.

        And yes, people often behave under pseudonyms in ways they would not under their own names.

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