Digital guru Jaron Lanier has a name for the part of his personality that gets sucked into petty scraps online. It's called his ''inner troll'' and sometimes it gets out of hand. ''[I've] found that I can be drawn into ridiculous pissing matches online in ways that just wouldn't happen otherwise,'' the American high-tech visionary writes in his 2010 book, You Are Not a Gadget. But Lanier and his tech-savvy peers aren't the only ones at the mercy of this creature. Sometimes it turns the most sensible, considerate person into a toxic tyrant hidden behind the safety of a computer screen.
High-profile victims, such as television host Charlotte Dawson and NRL star Robbie Farah, have generated headlines in recent weeks but bullies don't restrict their prey to celebrities. For Lanier, part of the problem is the mob mentality of web culture. Psychologists also have a few theories about the motivations of our ''inner trolls''.
Via Graham Jones