Twitter Needs A Troll Booth
The abuse that occurs on Twitter is as substantial as it is grotesque. If you've used the popular social platform for years, like me, there was probably a lengthy honeymoon period in which you thought the trolls were outliers–just a few angry teens screaming obscenities from behind digital masks.
At some point, however, we all must acknowledge that they are more common and vitriolic than we ever thought. Recently, I read an article by Anita Sarkeesian of Feminist Frequency, a project that "critically explores representations of women in pop culture narratives." A few years ago, she tackled "Tropes vs Women in Video Games" and has since been the target of constant, start-to-lose-your-faith-in-humanity type of abuse. Just look at the harassment she receives in one week! (warning: it's incredibly offensive)
I don't know what Twitter has planned to enhance its anti-trolling policies. It's a delicate dance–deciding where "offensive yet acceptable" runs into "totally unacceptable." There's context and tone to consider. Is @Dillhole256 just being snarky? Are he and @StankyBasementBoy friends who enjoy tweeting at each other using foul language? Are there cultural considerations where politically correct Americans take offense to something that's normal to say in Europe? Do we care? Should we care? I'm not sure, but there is a line and "not sucking" at dealing with abuse is vital to Twitter's continued growth.
There will undoubtedly be interesting discussions going on at Twitter HQ in the days and weeks ahead. In the meantime, report abusive conduct when you see it.