Kate Miltner Discusses The Kernel’s “Troll Watch”
January 17, 2013 § 4 Comments
My friend, colleague and Awl co-author Kate Milter was on CBC radio this morning debating the editor of The Kernel, which has kicked off what they’re calling “Troll Watch.” As this Kernel article explains, Troll Watch is a campaign devoted to naming and shaming online trolls (they’ve even hired a private investigator to help them track down the worst offenders). They claim they’ll hunt down any troll, any troll at all, be s/he anonymous, pseudonymous, or trolling under his/her real name.
During the interview (you can listen here), Milo Yiannopolous explains that trolls are, by definition, anonymous abusers, and that that fundamental lack of accountability is, ultimately, the biggest problem related to trolling, implying that the issue is anonymous indecorousness, not indecorousness in itself. Because apparently it’s fine to be nasty as long as you take ownership of your own bile, and only ever post mean-spirited things under your real name. Kate does a nice job complicating the question of what and who qualifies as troll-to-be-watched, and discusses various problems associated with public naming and shaming. She also calls attention to Yiannopolous’ own trollish history (on a related point I just realized I appeared alongside Yiannopolous on Al Jazeera’s The Stream; he was one of the Google+ guests, and expressed his impatience with “protracted academic discussions” on the subject of trolling, which…well that’s apparent). The following is a snippet of their post-show Twitter exchange:
These kinds of interviews are so much harder when it’s actually YOU, and this was a particularly tough setup. But Kate held her own, and was especially strong when she challenged Yiannopolous on The Kernel’s (and Yiannopolous’ own) sensationalist tendencies. +1, would listen again.
Also, 2013 is already shaping up to be an interesting year.