It has been almost a year since I first published my investigation into cyber trolling and I’ve decided that the term “trolling” has become a wholly useless word. Or at least in the context of the discussion that has taken place over the past year.

Not all trolls are created equal.

During this time I have witnessed people who have used trolling and anonymity (although the two are not mutually exclusive) to deliberately undermine politics, culture and big issues in a really constructive, often amusing and witty way be lumped in with a group of people who have used the internet to threaten, harass, vilify and intimidate others.

These people – who have ruined families and destroyed lives - are not trolls, they’re cyber bullies.

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  • Emma says:

    06:39pm | 17/10/12

    I’m so over hearing this freedom of speech argument in regard to nasty behaviour online. Freedom of speech as I believe it, is being able to stand up and protest or disagree against legislation, politics, social expectations or ethical issues.  It’s feeling passionate about something you care about, or something… Read more »

  • Honesty says:

    06:26pm | 17/10/12

    I am glad that someone is looking at the internet bullying “problem” more clearly, if you dont like bullies putting you down, block them, close your acclount, dont egg them on with whining and threats to hurt yourself as retaliation for their behaviour. Parents, take notice of what is going… Read more »


It is not Julia Gillard’s job to solve trolling. Nor is it Nicola Roxon’s, nor Barry O’Farrell or any other government entity. But sites like Twitter and Facebook need to react more quickly when users are bullied.

You can help Zuck and Nicola and BOF out too!

It’s pretty contradictory that a time when we are concerned about government encroaching into the online space, that we are also demanding they solve this so-called “trolling problem” overnight.

Wests Tigers captain Robbie Farah has demanded Julia Gillard enforce tougher laws for online bullying after receiving an offensive tweet about his mum.

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  • Alfie says:

    07:51pm | 10/09/12

    Yep..Zuck it up sweatheart. Read more »

  • marley says:

    07:29pm | 10/09/12

    @S & S - so, you haven’t been over to the Drum lately, I take it? Or Crikey? Read more »


Welcome to the latest edition of I Call Bullshit, where we look at hype, hyperbole and hogwash. Today we’re looking at our most unmunificent mining magnate.

Bears no resemblance to Gina Rinehart. Pic: Andrew Tauber

Gina Rinehart’s outburst yesterday was charmingly described by Treasurer Wayne Swan as “pearl rattling”. In her incongruous voice (somewhat reminiscent of Little Britain’s Emily Howard) she lambasted the government for a sluggish economy, and Australians for their wanton socialising.

The heiress was rightly ridiculed for her reference to African wages:

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  • Gah says:

    07:55pm | 06/09/12

    I have a simple challenge for Gina, which I’m sure many others have issued in some similar shape or form. If our minimum wage is “too much” like she says it is then she should lead by example and show us all how to get by on less. Read more »

  • Babylon says:

    07:39pm | 06/09/12

    marched Read more »


Trolls. They’re annoying. They’re so annoying, why not unleash them on terrorists.

Fighting terrorists: check. Next up, fighting crime? Picture: Thinkstock

Trolls are the US State Department’s latest weapon “to undermine and demoralise” terrorists. Fair enough, we say.

It’s Thursday (7 am update: hang on, we just worked out it’s Friday. Thanks for telling us everybody). What’s on your minds?

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    01:39pm | 10/08/12

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The sun rises in the east. The sky is blue. And some people are mean on the internet. So when I was faced with a relatively simple task – find some people who identify as trolls to interview for a story – the outcome was a foregone conclusion.

The new Labor cabinet had a few surprise faces

I put calls out on Twitter and Facebook. And in looking for trolls, I got trolled. I was given more suggestions for ways to screw myself than I could find in an edition of Cosmo magazine.

It’s perhaps a reflection on some of the lack of sophistication in the thinking of some trolls that you could be the subject of such hostility for trying to write a story that appeals to them, that speaks for their world view.

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  • what says:

    12:29pm | 13/03/12

    -1 internets this whole page… Read more »

  • Your name: Jaywad says:

    03:13pm | 05/03/12

    Oh my god, what a manly he-man. Watch out, ladies. Read more »


Last week, Melinda Tankard Reist argued right here on The Punch that the “Pippa Middleton Arse Appreciation Society” set up on Facebook constitutes “virtual sexual harassment”.

Current membership: 3725.

She re-published some of the more hideous comments people had placed on the fan page, and claimed this is part of a trend that stems from our increasingly “pornified” culture:

When Karl Stefanovic let all the men present know in his Logie acceptance speech that his wife had “the best arse”, frequent comments were made that if a woman had made the same comments about a man, no one would mind. But a woman making a comment about a man’s backside does not carry the same weight or intent as the reverse. We don’t hear men being told to “shake that arse”. We do not hear of a man’s backside referred to as “booty”.

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  • hexfuntee says:

    12:46am | 13/07/11

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  • Catherine Rose says:

    03:03pm | 16/05/11

    Insulting women is the great taboo? 200,000+ Facebook users, mainly men, insulted women quite happily with their subscription to an ‘Ass Appreciation Society’ Read more »


The internet is emerging as one of the big heroes of the pro-democracy, anti-despot movement in the Middle East.

Hasta la Online Victoria Siempre. Pic: Rob Leeson

It’s regarded as being right up there with that courageous Gaddafi impersonator who’s been suggesting absent members of the Libyan army are simply retreating to rest and relax.

Thanks to the cybersphere, Arabic members of generation TXT are using mobile phone cameras to film political violence and then uploading the footage online.

This, in turn, is leading to more civilian fury and more amateur surveillance.

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  • Greg says:

    11:46pm | 08/03/11

    “Trolling” is just a word used by those who want to criminalise opposing opinions on the internet, just as so-called anti-vilification legislation has been used to suppress free speech everywhere else. Those who hate the truth call the truth “hate”. Then they criminalise “hatred”, but only enforce the laws for… Read more »

  • LauraBoBaura says:

    01:31pm | 08/03/11

    Okay fine, I just don’t have the inclination. Have a lovely day. Read more »


Once upon a time there was a writer who lived in a cottage nestled among the hills. The cottage was near the river Internet, over which was a sturdy bridge, The Punch.

The type of little guys you might see hanging around the website

It seemed idyllic - and indeed it was, dear reader, until one day it became clear that the gurgling he could hear from his bedroom window at night was not the sound of water, but rather, deep under the bridge, in the comments section, the grumblings of a troll.

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  • TimB says:

    07:53pm | 24/01/11

    @ 1. You searched for my initial post in this thread. @  2. You don’t dissect my posts because you can’t counter my arguments. You have no defence for the crap you post. @ 3. You cared enough to come back and check this thread over 2 days after the… Read more »

  • Seano says:

    07:22pm | 24/01/11

    Considering the target audience I’ll keep this simple. 1.  I don’t search for your posts, you search for mine. 2.  I don’t read your posts, they have no value, you spend hours dissecting mine. 3.  I don’t have a policy of following you, you have one of following me. 4. … Read more »


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