Mensch and mentionability*

The Louise Mensch judgement seems to have set the seal on that weird redefinition of the word ‘troll’, which didn’t at all seem to mean then what it seems to mean now. Certainly I got introduced to the term in its online context as meaning something like ‘wind-up merchant’, someone often without a vested interest in his/her chosen argument, but who simply enjoyed the process of baiting and the ensuing ruck.

The current use of ‘trolling’ as a synonym for bullying/abusing/harassing has been strange to watch. Shut-ins who write the modern equivalent of poison-pen letters are hardly an internet phenomenon, although like many other community outliers they’ve now been granted greater reach and anonymity. Conversely, targeted and concerted attacks on individuals online should be called out, as they increasingly are.

I’m not sure that either of the above categories constitute what used to be called ‘trolling’, but I guess definitions change. Something to do with the political wish to establish a modern folk devil in advance of advocating greater restrictions on online privacy/anonymity, perhaps? Who knows. Anyway, just a thought.

* Actually almost nothing about Louise Mensch to be found here beyond what’s necessary, u mad?

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