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Mike's Minute: Why has there been such a rise in online trolls?

Author
Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Thu, 14 Apr 2022, 9:35am

Mike's Minute: Why has there been such a rise in online trolls?

Author
Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Thu, 14 Apr 2022, 9:35am

Is there something to be studied here? 

A Dunedin bar called Woof did a couple of interesting things. They decided to keep vaccine passes. Why? I have no idea. Sure, you want to avoid getting Covid, but whether a person is vaccinated or not has less and less to do with whether they have Covid. And whether a person is vaccinated given most of us are now doesn’t seem to matter anymore. 

But it's their business, so they are entitled to do what they like. 

They also claim since the news got out that they had their best week ever. I hope that's true given hospitality is one of a number of appallingly treated sectors during Covid and I desperately hope that what I'm seeing at the moment is the future. We are out, we are back, the fear has gone, and we are getting on with life. 

But also, they decided to track down a few of those who gave their bar one-star ratings online because they decided to keep the vaccine passes. 

Having tracked a few of these one-star stirrers down here is what is alarming. One was a kiwifruit lab technician, in other words a living breathing professional. A person with a good job who you might otherwise have assumed was normal. 

Another was a business intelligence manager for a bank. Once again probably comes across as a regular type person you'd deal with on any given day. 

There were a couple of builders. Also in the normal category, but upon further questioning they turned out to be evangelicals. 

But there is something deeply troubling here, and that is not all mad people appear mad. 

Look at the parliamentary protest, you could see why it got feral. Half of them looked mad, they acted mad, they spoke mad, and they had weirdo written all over them. 

But the online world is clearly so much more dangerous because of the cloak of anonymity.   

How is it you go to work, have a professional job that’s required training and expertise, you function I assume perfectly normally among your colleagues, and yet after hours you are happy to lie and to overtly and try deliberately bring down a fellow kiwi and their business. 

What sort of crazy is that? What sort of dark, Machiavellian low renter are you? Normal by day, sinister online at night? What lack of honesty and morals are involved here? How do you become that unhinged and detached to your consequences that you don’t care if you upend someone's livelihood? 

If it involves technicians and bankers, then it potentially involves anyone you deal with, and how dangerous and scary is that?