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Troll Hunting: Inside the World of Online Hate and its Human Fallout

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In 2013, journalist Ginger Gorman was trolled online. She received scores of hateful tweets, including a death threat. A picture of Ginger heavily pregnant alongside her husband and two-and-half year old daughter appeared on a fascist website. Understandably she was terrified, but once the attack subsided, she found herself curious. Who were these trolls? How and why did t In 2013, journalist Ginger Gorman was trolled online. She received scores of hateful tweets, including a death threat. A picture of Ginger heavily pregnant alongside her husband and two-and-half year old daughter appeared on a fascist website. Understandably she was terrified, but once the attack subsided, she found herself curious. Who were these trolls? How and why did they coordinate such an attack? And how does someone fight back against a troll? Over the next five years  Gorman spoke to psychologists, trolling victims, law enforcement, academics and, most importantly, the trolls themselves, embedding herself into their online communities and their psyches in ways she had never anticipated. What she discovered was both profoundly shocking and fascinating. Syndicates of highly organised predator trolls across the globe systematically set out to disrupt and disturb. Some want to highlight the media's alleged left-wing bias, some want to bring down capitalism, and some just want to have fun. Even if it means destroying someone's life... An intense and compelling read, Troll Hunting is an important window into not just the mindset and motivation of trolls, but the history of this kind of aberrant behaviour. Ginger Gorman has gained unprecedented access to trolls, even formed strange and enduring relationships with them, and her comprehensive investigation into what makes them tick has given us a brilliant book that is impossible to put down. 


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In 2013, journalist Ginger Gorman was trolled online. She received scores of hateful tweets, including a death threat. A picture of Ginger heavily pregnant alongside her husband and two-and-half year old daughter appeared on a fascist website. Understandably she was terrified, but once the attack subsided, she found herself curious. Who were these trolls? How and why did t In 2013, journalist Ginger Gorman was trolled online. She received scores of hateful tweets, including a death threat. A picture of Ginger heavily pregnant alongside her husband and two-and-half year old daughter appeared on a fascist website. Understandably she was terrified, but once the attack subsided, she found herself curious. Who were these trolls? How and why did they coordinate such an attack? And how does someone fight back against a troll? Over the next five years  Gorman spoke to psychologists, trolling victims, law enforcement, academics and, most importantly, the trolls themselves, embedding herself into their online communities and their psyches in ways she had never anticipated. What she discovered was both profoundly shocking and fascinating. Syndicates of highly organised predator trolls across the globe systematically set out to disrupt and disturb. Some want to highlight the media's alleged left-wing bias, some want to bring down capitalism, and some just want to have fun. Even if it means destroying someone's life... An intense and compelling read, Troll Hunting is an important window into not just the mindset and motivation of trolls, but the history of this kind of aberrant behaviour. Ginger Gorman has gained unprecedented access to trolls, even formed strange and enduring relationships with them, and her comprehensive investigation into what makes them tick has given us a brilliant book that is impossible to put down. 

30 review for Troll Hunting: Inside the World of Online Hate and its Human Fallout

  1. 5 out of 5

    Paul Bryant

    As I was reading this book it did dawn on me that I MYSELF AM A TROLL right here on Goodreads. The great majority of trolling is done for the lols, you know. Joking around, yanking people’s chains, getting a rise out of the unwary, lotsa lolz. So when I adopt the persona of an irritable 12 year old to review Gulliver’s Travels and complain that the author totally ripped off Honey I Shrunk the Kids, or I want my money back because there were no songs in Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens, or I critici As I was reading this book it did dawn on me that I MYSELF AM A TROLL right here on Goodreads. The great majority of trolling is done for the lols, you know. Joking around, yanking people’s chains, getting a rise out of the unwary, lotsa lolz. So when I adopt the persona of an irritable 12 year old to review Gulliver’s Travels and complain that the author totally ripped off Honey I Shrunk the Kids, or I want my money back because there were no songs in Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens, or I criticize Steinbeck for not writing enough about mice in Of Mice and Men to warrant the joint billing, that’s really trolling, and many people have eagerly berated me for not realizing that Gulliver’s Travels was written a long time before Honey I Shrunk the Kids, and that Of Mice and Men is a quote from a poem. Oh, I did not know that, I say, and anyway, who cares, lol. WHEN THE LOLS STOP DEAD The ugly end of internet trolling is very straightforward – anyone sending death and rape threats to women should be given a prison sentence, that’s as much of a no brainer as the scummy trolls are themselves no brainers. But there is a much greyer, more convolutedly complex form of trolling, and a lot of this book is clogged with Ginger Gorman’s flailing attempts to find a foothold in this soggy, sinking moral morass. Let’s take #sandylootcrew. This was a “successful” co-ordinated campaign of what’s classed as media fuckery, a type of trolling designed to expose the built-in prejudices of our beloved mainstream media, and by extension, our own prejudices. During Hurricane Sandy in October 2012, one of the trolls interviewed by Ginger, Meepsheep, explains that trolls pretended to be a horde of black looters by making “all these accounts on Twitter pretending to be a bunch of black dudes in New Jersey and…posting that we’re going around looting and robbing and whatever during the hurricane. We used the tag #sandylootcrew and just through that, it attracted a lot of media attention. We were saying totally ridiculous things”. Many media outlets seemed to genuinely believe that an army of black people were looting everything from shirts to…cats! . … the tweets were explicitly and obviously fake. The posts contained racial stereotypes exaggerated to the extent that the messages became implausible Meepsheep said : That is kind of where some of the value of trolling comes from, that it can point out some of these flaws. GG is not convinced. She says What if, in exploiting the community’s entrenched prejudices for caricature, you unwittingly create actual racism? THE ALF GARNETT PROBLEM This is not a new question. Way, way back in 1965 a British comedy writer created the character Alf Garnett in the tv sitcom Till Death Us Do Part (this became All in the Family with Archie Bunker, in the USA). He was a white working class Conservative bigot who was very frequently explicitly racist, and this was done by the leftie Speight in order to satirize his attitudes. But not surprisingly, a part of the show’s huge audience turned out to be cheering on enthusiastically all of Alf’s tirades against blacks and wogs and Pakis. Oh dear! The satire defense is always very dubious. For instance, you get all manner of gross misogyny being served up and presented as satire and black humour, supposed itself to be excoriating misogynistic attitudes, not confirming them. (See Brett Easton Ellis’ nervous explanations of American Psycho, and Nick Palumbo’s outrageous claims about his movie Murder Set-Pieces.) THINGS CAN CHANGE People used to chuck the contents of chamber pots out onto the street, they used to spit on the street and on buses (I just about remember signs on buses NO SPITTING), they used to smoke cigarettes all the time, everywhere, they also used to let their dogs poo all over the place, on pavements, in parks, anywhere. None of this happens anymore. THEY DO SOMETIMES THROW TROLLS IN JAIL 9 July 2013 An internet troll whose grossly offensive Facebook postings included threats to kill 200 US children has been jailed for more than two years after a judge heard how he spread terror in local schools. Reece Elliott, 24, left abusive comments on tribute pages set up for two teenagers who died in car accidents, and when challenged, he sent more nasty messages directly to pupils living in Warren County, Tennessee, in February. 24 May 2015 New figures have revealed that 1,209 people were convicted of internet "trolling" last year – equivalent to three guilty verdicts per day. Of those convicted, 155 were jailed for sending messages or other material which was "grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character". The offence falls under Section 127 of the Communications Act 2003, which was rarely used before the invention of social media networks in recent years. 10 Feb 2017 An internet troll who sent antisemitic messages to a Labour MP and other victims has been jailed for more than two years. John Nimmo sent messages to Luciana Berger, the Liverpool Wavertree MP, which included a picture of a knife and a threat that she would “get it like Jo Cox”. He referred to Berger as “Jewish scum” and signed off his messages with the words “your friend the Nazi”. 1 Aug 2018 A disabled woman who was hounded by a “warped” internet troll for more than a year said she can “finally breathe again” now he has been jailed. Nicky Wright never met online abuse campaigner Nicola Brookes but stalked her on an almost daily basis online between June 2016 and September last year – mocking the fact she had Crohn’s disease, making sexually offensive remarks and even publishing her address. The 39-year-old came face-to-face with his victim for the first time when he was jailed for six months at Brighton Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday. Ms Brookes was bombarded by the obsessive “total stranger” who used 28 Twitter, 25 Facebook accounts or pages as well as blogs, online radio and video channels to carry out his “cowardly” campaign of hatred, the court heard. He photoshopped pictures of her, doctored comments she made, created videos about her, made sexually suggestive comments and posted hate mail. 15 Nov 2018 A "callous" internet troll who posted offensive material about a woman who was crushed to death outside a nightclub has been jailed. Paul Hind, 38, called Durham University student Olivia Burt, 20, a "sex worker" and "prostitute" on Facebook. Hind admitted he carried out his crimes when he was “bored" and confessed after an earlier court hearing "I targeted dead people because perhaps I knew that deceased people could not fight back, which is a really cowardly thing to do. "I knew they couldn't say anything because they were dead, unfortunately." THIS BUZZFEED ARTICLE IS EXCELLENT https://www.buzzfeed.com/patricksmith... Here we have the stories of two jailed British trolls, one female, who both sent rape and death threats to Caroline Criado-Perez, who was campaigning for a woman to be featured on the £10 note, and Labour MP Stella Creasy, who supported the campaign. The article interviews both of them about motive and life after jail. I thought this statement by John Nimmo was remarkable : "It was trending," he says. "I saw it was trending, so I looked into what it was about and, stupid me, I decided to join in. And I was getting, like, retweets, I was getting favourites and all that – and even the person I was sending tweets to, the person I was tweeting at, was retweeting it and answering back." Nimmo had – at best – only a vague idea who his victims were. Only after sending his abusive tweets did he see a TV news item about the £10 note campaign. CAROLINE CRIADO-PEREZ "Not feeding the trolls doesn’t magically scrub out the image in your head of being told you’ll be gang-raped till you die." She wrote an article about the whole thing which includes a handy list of the rape & death threats she got, should you be interested https://www.newstatesman.com/internet... WHERE DOES THE HATE COME FROM? It’s a large question, but undoubtedly most of the hate comes from young or youngish white men who have come to feel that they live in a suffocating liberal-left culture & that white men have been made the scapegoat for the whole world’s problems and who now perceive themselves to be the real victims & react by spewing forth unlimited hatred upon the easiest, most obvious targets, women and minorities and leftists. The cliché of the kid in the basement who’s never had a girlfriend is not that far off, according to Ginger. (Cf the modern incel self-identification.) Except that the guys she interviews (at length) aren’t like that. THE WRAP-UP I already read a similar book This is Why we Can’t Have Nice Things (great title) by Whitney Phillips. She is the sociologist, and Ginger Gorman is the emotionally committed journalist. Both books are essential reading about this whole cyberhate thing. Neither has any silver bullet solution, cause there ain’t one.

  2. 4 out of 5

    etherealfire

    Chilling.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Carly Findlay

    I received an advanced copy of Troll Hunting from Hardie Grant. I have also pre-ordered a copy from Booktopia, paying for it myself. And I am featured in Troll Hunting – Ginger is a dear friend and she interviewed me about my experience of being trolled. It was enthralling and un-putdownable, but I needed to take breaks for my own mental health. I can’t imagine the impact on Ginger when researching and writing it. Troll Hunting is about cyberhate – relentless and malicious online trolling. It fe I received an advanced copy of Troll Hunting from Hardie Grant. I have also pre-ordered a copy from Booktopia, paying for it myself. And I am featured in Troll Hunting – Ginger is a dear friend and she interviewed me about my experience of being trolled. It was enthralling and un-putdownable, but I needed to take breaks for my own mental health. I can’t imagine the impact on Ginger when researching and writing it. Troll Hunting is about cyberhate – relentless and malicious online trolling. It features stories of being the victim of trolling from many people, and perspectives from trolls themselves. These are particularly creepy to read. The justification of cyberhate is vile. Ginger took such great care in telling my story of being trolled on Reddit - five years ago now - and I know she’s been gentle in telling everyone else’s stories in the book. Ginger is angry too - rightly so. Trolling is an epidemic that costs victims their jobs, families and lives – yet police and government authorities and social media don’t take tracking down and punishing trolls serious enough. This mustn’t have been an easy book to write - Ginger’s strength and researching ability is commendable. It’s so well written and researched, and easily readable for all the referencing and dark subject matter. Troll Hunting isn’t fiction. It real life. The internet is real life, therefore trolling is real life. Troll Hunting will make your stomach churn, but also make you marvel at Ginger’s (and other victims of trolling’s) resilience, and the unlikely friendship between her and a troll. I really hope it shakes up the way cyberhate is dealt with by authorities - because cyberhate destroys lives.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Katty O'Neill

    I was preparing myself to take a long time with Troll Hunting. Not for lack of interesting content, mind you, but for my general peace of mind. Delving deep into the world of online hate, I thought I would have to dip in and out - immersing myself into Ginger’s story and then coming up for air just for a bit of self preservation. But so far, this hasn’t been the case at all for me. I’ve been engrossed. ‘What are you reading?’ an 80-year-old woman asked me on the train to Ararat yesterday night, I was preparing myself to take a long time with Troll Hunting. Not for lack of interesting content, mind you, but for my general peace of mind. Delving deep into the world of online hate, I thought I would have to dip in and out - immersing myself into Ginger’s story and then coming up for air just for a bit of self preservation. But so far, this hasn’t been the case at all for me. I’ve been engrossed. ‘What are you reading?’ an 80-year-old woman asked me on the train to Ararat yesterday night, ‘you’ve had your head stuck in that book the whole way!’ And it’s true. There is something about Ginger’s writing as she leads herself (and in turn, finds herself being led) deeper into the world of trolling that holds you. As you read, you’ll feel despair and anger and frustration, but there’s also another feeling that will sneak up on you. Awe. Awe for what Ginger has done - putting herself on the line to lift a particularly heavy, slippery and dangerous curtain for everyone to see behind. In an age where the media (especially women in media) are being hounded from all sides, a book like this comes along and just blows your mind. Investigative journalism. Bam. Troll Hunting will make you look at cyberhate directly in the eye. But Ginger’s effective writing, humour and bravery, will help you see it for what it is and what it means. If you’re reading this post it means you’re online. If you’re online, you need to read this book when it comes out early next year.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Brooke - One Woman's Brief Book Reviews

    *www.onewomansbbr.wordpress.com *www.facebook.com/onewomansbbr Troll Hunting : inside the world of online hate and its human fallout by Ginger Gorman. (2019). In 2013, journalist Ginger was trolled online. She was terrified but then curious about who the trolls were, how and why do they attack, and how can one fight back? Ginger spent the next five years researching by speaking to psychologists, trolling victims, law enforcement, academics, and the trolls themselves. This book is that journey and t *www.onewomansbbr.wordpress.com *www.facebook.com/onewomansbbr Troll Hunting : inside the world of online hate and its human fallout by Ginger Gorman. (2019). In 2013, journalist Ginger was trolled online. She was terrified but then curious about who the trolls were, how and why do they attack, and how can one fight back? Ginger spent the next five years researching by speaking to psychologists, trolling victims, law enforcement, academics, and the trolls themselves. This book is that journey and the discoveries Ginger made along the way about the trolls, their targets and the costs of cyberhate. I rarely read non-fiction but this book was highly recommended to me by a friend and sounded quite interesting. Happy to report that it didn't disappoint. 'Cyberhate' is something the majority of internet users are aware of, and a high number have experienced it in some shape and form so this book is very relevant and timely as the issue gets more exposure. The book was compelling and very informative. A few times it felt a bit dry for me, however I also think the information was clearly very well researched and referenced by the author. I enjoyed and found fascinating the author's interactions with 'trolls' and respected her compassion and willingness to try to understand the motivations behind that kind of behaviour. It was disappointing to read about the lack of support for victims of cyberhate; one can only hope that this novel assists in more exposure of the trauma experienced by people and the realisation that it isn't a feasible option for people to just 'turn it off and don't look at it'. Definitely an on topic novel that doesn't necessarily find answers but rightly points out that all of us in modern society are involved in this issue; would recommend this book for those interested in the topic and any regular users of the internet.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Peacegal

    Anyone who has spent any amount of time online has encountered the dreaded trolls. Many times they're faceless accounts spouting juvenile and puerile insults; other times, they're organized and downright scary--sometimes even inciting deadly violence or self-harm. Who, exactly, are these people? While this book didn't hook me as much as a couple other recent books on the subject of online bully culture, I'm glad it was written and value its insights about online abuse and what could or even shoul Anyone who has spent any amount of time online has encountered the dreaded trolls. Many times they're faceless accounts spouting juvenile and puerile insults; other times, they're organized and downright scary--sometimes even inciting deadly violence or self-harm. Who, exactly, are these people? While this book didn't hook me as much as a couple other recent books on the subject of online bully culture, I'm glad it was written and value its insights about online abuse and what could or even should be done about it.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jaclyn Crupi

    This book offers rare insight into the terrifying and troubling world of trolls and online hate. It’s a taxing read and Gorman repeatedly returns to how difficult it was to write. Her research is impressive and my main takeaway is most of the things you assume about trolls and trolling is wrong.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Mehrsa

    It's an interesting premise that doesn't deliver the goods. It's not an inside look into trolling nor does it offer much in the way of a theory or a psychology of trolling. The interviews with the trolls are interesting I guess, but it seems like books like this just give these idiots a platform to provoke. They have disgusting views and maybe they believe them or maybe they are just trying to "troll" but we feed them by focusing on them like this. I did think her personal experience with online It's an interesting premise that doesn't deliver the goods. It's not an inside look into trolling nor does it offer much in the way of a theory or a psychology of trolling. The interviews with the trolls are interesting I guess, but it seems like books like this just give these idiots a platform to provoke. They have disgusting views and maybe they believe them or maybe they are just trying to "troll" but we feed them by focusing on them like this. I did think her personal experience with online trolling was super interesting and crazy.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Saskia

    I really enjoyed this book; as someone who is acutely interested in dark internet subcultures, it was definitely a must-read. However, I just wish the analysis had gone a bit further. I don't think the internet itself is to blame for the creation of trolls, and nor is bad parenting to blame, as Gorman posits. Society has created these people, but how, and why, and what those structures are, remained untouched in this book (although I have some theories of my own). All in all, it was an excellent I really enjoyed this book; as someone who is acutely interested in dark internet subcultures, it was definitely a must-read. However, I just wish the analysis had gone a bit further. I don't think the internet itself is to blame for the creation of trolls, and nor is bad parenting to blame, as Gorman posits. Society has created these people, but how, and why, and what those structures are, remained untouched in this book (although I have some theories of my own). All in all, it was an excellent entry-level explanation and examination of trolls - who they are, what they do - but not how they've come to be. Of course, there were definitely some shocking moments, really driving home that /anyone/ with an online voice can become a target of trolls, and lives can be ruined, in a world where the line between reality and pretend is increasingly blurred.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Alys

    An absolutely enthralling read. Engaging from the get go. Well researched and sourced. Ginger Gorman, who has long been an authority on the subject of cyberhate, goes deep into the world of trolls, providing unique insights directly from victims, experts and importantly, trolls themselves. I couldn't put it down, read it from cover to cover in a day.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Stephie

    A very enthralling and, at times, alarming read. I liked that Gorman could be sympathetic to the trolls, despite how disturbed they might be. I think people are so afraid of trolls that very few are willing to get close enough to understand why they do what they do (just for the lulz, apparently). Kudos to her for that.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    Well that was a ver educational read that was harrowing in parts but still full of hope. Ginger's passion and extensive research shows through her excellent writing and I highly recommend reading this book if you want to know more about internet trolls, cyber hate and what can be done.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Alison

    Gorman has a very personal connection to this subject. I mean, any female working in the public arena will have some experience of trolling, but Gorman has more than most, being targeted for years by a vicious, semi-organised group. This is how she starts the book, with a discussion about how she got into this. It's very much in line with Gorman's style of journalism - one that embraces the personal connection between journalist and subject, and to some extent, wears it's heart on its sleeve. Whe Gorman has a very personal connection to this subject. I mean, any female working in the public arena will have some experience of trolling, but Gorman has more than most, being targeted for years by a vicious, semi-organised group. This is how she starts the book, with a discussion about how she got into this. It's very much in line with Gorman's style of journalism - one that embraces the personal connection between journalist and subject, and to some extent, wears it's heart on its sleeve. When this works well, as in the interview with Carly Findlay, or in discussing the impact on her own family of her engagement with trolls, it can be very powerful. Gorman conveys a sense of journalism without boundaries, and excels at asking questions and developing complex empathy. However, this for me never overcame a lack of analysis pulling the book together. "Troll' is a concept I found needed unpacking, covering a range of different online behaviours with differing motivations and effects. I did feel that an approach such as that taken in Crash Override, where dynamics of online shaming, abuse, harassment and violence are unpacked would have been helpful. Gorman takes a scattershot approach to discussing themes, exploring dynamics but not in a systematic way. So, for example, she starts be iterating that trolls can come from any shade of the political spectrum. Far-right activists like weev are thrown around interchangeably with the dynamics of vigilante hacker groups like Anonymous. This approach did not focus attention on the problem at the heart of Australian discourse at the moment - the effect of intimidation on women of colour attempting to enter the public sphere. This is explicitly raised at several points by her interviewees (and reported by Gorman in the book obviously), including a Guardian editor who points out that Van Badham, interviewed by Gorman, is the only white commentator suffering the kind of attacks which are routine for women of colour; and the SBS Insight producer, who explains the program struggles to get guests because of the reluctance of non-white women to front up for abuse on an unprecedented scale. Gorman also quotes Amnesty International's Toxic Twitter report, which identifies women of colour, LGBTI, gender non-conforming and women with disabilities as the target of most attacks. Gorman did attempt to get an interview with Mariam Veiszadeh, and reprints email correspondence. Still, the scattered nature of this content means the message - of how systematic racist abuse of women is serving to change our political landscape - needed more attention. Especially given the presence of a chapter headed "White women are cancer" which features a debate between Gorman and a troll about white women specifically.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Peter Stuart

    So, here's my quandary. How do you review a book about hunting trolls without needing to give it an automatic 5 stars and a cravingly positive review? If you don't, are you indeed on the periphery of, or within, the very realm of the subject of the work ? Can there be such a thing as constructive, personal interpretation and balanced review that is not solely effusive in praise ? Well, lets see. I struggled to engage with the author and the work. I quickly understood, by directly being informed, t So, here's my quandary. How do you review a book about hunting trolls without needing to give it an automatic 5 stars and a cravingly positive review? If you don't, are you indeed on the periphery of, or within, the very realm of the subject of the work ? Can there be such a thing as constructive, personal interpretation and balanced review that is not solely effusive in praise ? Well, lets see. I struggled to engage with the author and the work. I quickly understood, by directly being informed, that the author is a journalist by trade and a feminist. All good, no problem. However I found the iteration and re-iteration of these facts throughout the work tiring and seemingly unnecessary. Perhaps however they were needed to support the authors approach, selected style of writing and methods of relaying the outcomes of her extensive journalistic research. Perhaps they were required to support her all but constant use of fellow female quotations, individual research outcomes, opinions and experiences. Perhaps the approach supports the repeating laser like focus on a specific cohort of trolls to the exclusion of any other group or collective. The author states several times that friends and colleagues recommend she write on this topic due to her personal experiences which are semi explained within the opening section of the work. It is perhaps this external force, journalistic professionalism and the authors personal viewpoints on our world that primarily drove the work. For this reader however a greater sense of breadth and journalistic impartiality would have added immense value. Now these are my observations and hopefully they are taken as such and do not result in me being classed within the realm of the subject...... Or perhaps I missed the point of the authors intention on the structure, framework and planned outcomes.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Katie (wife of book)

    I often read books about dark subject, or with bleak storylines, but this was the first time I needed to put a book down and take a break from it for a while (instead of reading it in huge gulps). Troll Hunting deals with the world of cyberhate and it's a dark topic that touches all our lives. Gorman is obviously an excellent journalist and a talented writer. This book is full of fascinating information and insights, and very well referenced, but it reads smoothly and is not dry. She deals with a I often read books about dark subject, or with bleak storylines, but this was the first time I needed to put a book down and take a break from it for a while (instead of reading it in huge gulps). Troll Hunting deals with the world of cyberhate and it's a dark topic that touches all our lives. Gorman is obviously an excellent journalist and a talented writer. This book is full of fascinating information and insights, and very well referenced, but it reads smoothly and is not dry. She deals with all sorts of issues surrounding trolls and their actions, and she reminds us that not all trolls can be dismissed as being losers in their parents' basement. She gives examples of the loner-type trolls that fit our stereotypes, but she also speaks to trolls who are "normal": girlfriend, house, normal job. Think of the Black Mirror episode Hated in the Nation and the people who we see use #deathto. We are shown how much online abuse can affect real life-many victims of trolling are told to just stay offline but in 2019 that is not possible. So many of us are online for work and socialising that avoiding it due to trolling can have a huge detrimental impact. Gorman uses various examples and case studies to show the damage trolls can do, she even uses herself as an example and tells the reader how delving into the world of trolls has affected her. This book is a great read (despite the dark topic) and I'd recommend for anyone interested in the darker side of our tech-heavy society.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Cat

    This whole book did two major things for me. It changed how I view and react to the internet as a landscape, and it gave a face to a faceless entity. I don't think I can leave a long review for this book because once I start digging into everything I want to dig into I won't be able to stop. I greatly appreciated the author's self-reflexivity. She stops and examines her own reactions and theories about the people she's writing about fairly often, which as the book goes on seems both necessary and This whole book did two major things for me. It changed how I view and react to the internet as a landscape, and it gave a face to a faceless entity. I don't think I can leave a long review for this book because once I start digging into everything I want to dig into I won't be able to stop. I greatly appreciated the author's self-reflexivity. She stops and examines her own reactions and theories about the people she's writing about fairly often, which as the book goes on seems both necessary and totally understandable. Her willingness to question herself is admirable, and gave me a bar to pass as a writer who wants to pursue journalism. There was a solid balance in her work between having a moral standard that she stuck to in bizarre and challenging circumstances, and having the ability to doubt her own conclusions and search relentlessly for evidence, alternative answers, and disparate viewpoints. This is one of very few books about trolling that exists, and after reading it, I hope more people are inspired to research and learn more about online trolling, what causes it and how to deal with it on all levels, especially legislative, technical and personal.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Corey

    It feels like this book has been rushed through to capitalise on interest in cyberhate in the wake of the Christchurch shootings because, while most of it is good (and in some parts it is utterly rivetting), parts of it should have been left on the cutting room floor. I'd say 80% of the book is worthwhile and 20% should have been edited out. Gorman's strength is recounting specific events, and parts of this book read like a well-constructed crime thriller. Her weakness is commentary, where some It feels like this book has been rushed through to capitalise on interest in cyberhate in the wake of the Christchurch shootings because, while most of it is good (and in some parts it is utterly rivetting), parts of it should have been left on the cutting room floor. I'd say 80% of the book is worthwhile and 20% should have been edited out. Gorman's strength is recounting specific events, and parts of this book read like a well-constructed crime thriller. Her weakness is commentary, where some of her insights fall flat, and she has a tendency to over-do the citing of statistics and the quoting of experts when the points she's making are pretty self-evident and don't require corroboration. Indeed, it often feels like the author has done a lot of research and has thus felt the need to include all of the research in the text, where a stronger hand at the editing end might have sacrificed some of the unnecessary parts for a much stronger whole. Nonetheless, it's an interesting read that sheds light on trolls, their victims, the nature of the internet and its effect upon society.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Lynley

    I thought this was going to be more about the psychology of trolls. I'm dubious about how much can really be learned from forming relationships with trolls themselves. The author does go into detail about the effects on her own psychology as she was writing this book, turning it into almost part memoir. The rest covers specific trolling crimes that have happened, and simply reading those is a mission. I skipped a bit of that, having run out of 'spoons', as they say.

  19. 4 out of 5

    S.C. Karakaltsas

    I feel as if I’ve lived under a rock. The revelations this book unfolded for me were not only eye-opening but positively scary. According to the book's blurb, journalist Ginger Gorman was trolled in 2013. After doing a story she received hateful tweets, including a death threat, and a picture of her, her husband, and daughter appeared on a fascist website. Although terrifying, she began questioning who the trolls were and why they did what they did. So began her incredibly insightful investigati I feel as if I’ve lived under a rock. The revelations this book unfolded for me were not only eye-opening but positively scary. According to the book's blurb, journalist Ginger Gorman was trolled in 2013. After doing a story she received hateful tweets, including a death threat, and a picture of her, her husband, and daughter appeared on a fascist website. Although terrifying, she began questioning who the trolls were and why they did what they did. So began her incredibly insightful investigation into another world, a world of cyberhate, cyber-crime and a community of faceless trolls. Gorman talks to a realm of professionals including psychologists, academics, law enforcement agencies, victims as well as the trolls themselves. The motivation behind the troll’s activities is wide-reaching from causing mischief for fun to disturbance, disruption to individual lives or in the wider arena of political spheres. Sometimes their activities have catastrophic consequences. Gorman dips deep to get into the psyche of a troll’s mindset and one troll admitted that when he was eleven he was on the internet playing pranks for hours. “in other words: the internet was my parent.” The troll in question agrees with Gorman’s observation that for some young people, radicalisation into trolling begins at a young age. The trolls' backgrounds are varied. There are the women haters, terrorists, ultra-right wingers, and left-wingers, to categorise a few. But mostly they’re men often holding down ordinary jobs, and educated too. It's naive to think that people like this haven't been around for years and years. But the difference here is anonymity in a different dimension. It makes you think about your own online behaviour. Like yelling in the car at the mistake someone’s made on the road, our road rage is often hidden safely behind the confines of the vehicle. Online, does anyone really know who we are? And words can hurt far more than anyone realises. 'There’s good evidence to show dehumanising speech can lead to sticks and stones. … numerous academic studies … show dehumanisation is ‘associated with an increased willingness to perpetrate violence.' It’s a hard read with each turn of the page revealing something more disturbing than before. Yet so compelling is it, you find yourself fascinated. I almost reached for my social media apps to delete them all. And that is a real reaction as we wonder how safe we are in the online world. This book would have been incredibly difficult to write. The depths of Gorman’s own anguish shows through and as a reader, I was right there with her. Trolling can destroy lives and although some have gone to jail, the law enforcement agencies don’t appear to have fully caught up with this epidemic activity, and that’s scary. I’m in awe of this author’s bravery to have not only conducted incredible research but possibly put herself and her family into danger, physically and mentally. Yes, it’s an eye-opener and if you’re on social media it would be wise to check this book out.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Robin

    1) first off. This book is heavy af. 2) i don't think there's anything new here, per say. That being said. 1) the deep dive gorman does into the world of trolling is both fascinating and terrifying. These (mostly) young white dudes are a scary, listless lot. Gorman contends that they are a product of being parented by the interwebs. But what she fails to realize here is that young white men have ALWAYS been a scary, listless lot. (Yeah yeah, not all young white dudes. I know.) The difference now i 1) first off. This book is heavy af. 2) i don't think there's anything new here, per say. That being said. 1) the deep dive gorman does into the world of trolling is both fascinating and terrifying. These (mostly) young white dudes are a scary, listless lot. Gorman contends that they are a product of being parented by the interwebs. But what she fails to realize here is that young white men have ALWAYS been a scary, listless lot. (Yeah yeah, not all young white dudes. I know.) The difference now is that they have a platform. A wide open, wild, unregulated platform that gives these AWD (angry white dudes) a place to spew forth the hatred and rhetoric that works to disenfranchise women and minorities. The crux of it is we are at a tipping point. White dudes have to move the fuck over. Others are rising. And they (yes, i know, not all) don't want this. (Plese Note: I am a firm believer that a rising tide lifts all boats. And no way do i think that by others rising that white men will lose power.) I do think that this idea wasn't explored because holy shit, this is heavy enough without it. Gorman's deep dive with famous assholes, I mean, trolls was intense. She is incredibly brave putting herself in that kind of position. Hell, I am afraid to write this review b/c who the hell knows who is going to read it? I actually might make my GR profile private just in case. And that folks is being an opinionated woman on the internet. It. Isn't. A. Safe. Place. To. Be. Gorman knows this and so do i.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Grant

    A fantastic read that helps give insight into the lives of online trolls, why they do what they do and how to deal with them.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Katherine

    Would give it a 3.5. Interesting and well written but not to be read when you are feeling dark.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Smith

    Well-researched, thought-provoking glimpse into the murky world of online trolls.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Ian Lambert

    4.5 stars, though I can't think exactly what would make it better. Gorman has been through a harrowing time to write this book and there could be no better time than now for a New Zealander to read it. Anyone who has some vague ideas about the mindset of the perpetrator responsible for the recent horror in Christchurch will find this interesting. There ought to be an intense, non-partisan, public debate about the role of social media in our society and the ways in which it at the very least faci 4.5 stars, though I can't think exactly what would make it better. Gorman has been through a harrowing time to write this book and there could be no better time than now for a New Zealander to read it. Anyone who has some vague ideas about the mindset of the perpetrator responsible for the recent horror in Christchurch will find this interesting. There ought to be an intense, non-partisan, public debate about the role of social media in our society and the ways in which it at the very least facilitates serious personal damage , especially to vulnerable people, through unregulated postings. The ability of ISIS to publish deeply offensive material, the proliferation of chatrooms dedicated to vile world views and hate speech plus the trolling of individuals by apparently amoral and anonymous internet users all require close examination and discussion so that something may be done to at least limit the damage. The uploading of real-time video from Christchurch and the sharing of such video should not be possible and filthy rich companies like Facebook need to spend some money and change their business models. Gorman has done us all a favour by giving us some uncomfortable insight into what's going on. Read this book!! Thankyou Ginger Gorman.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Lyn Ryan

    Interesting read. I think the author was a little too gentle on the trolls themselves, who appeared to me to be vile human beings, doing unpleasant things to often unsuspecting people for their own amusement. I am also interested to know how trolls associate with each other, how they meet and socialise their views. The book asserts that trolls do this, and I have heard the author say trolls are often members of gangs with names and offices, much like bikie gangs. However the book doesn't really Interesting read. I think the author was a little too gentle on the trolls themselves, who appeared to me to be vile human beings, doing unpleasant things to often unsuspecting people for their own amusement. I am also interested to know how trolls associate with each other, how they meet and socialise their views. The book asserts that trolls do this, and I have heard the author say trolls are often members of gangs with names and offices, much like bikie gangs. However the book doesn't really describe this in any detail or offer proof. Perhaps such proof is too hard to obtain in that shadowy world. Another thing the book doesn't cover is the world of political trolls on social media sites, and whether they are paid or influenced by political actors or political parties. But it is an interesting and well documented book. As so much of our actual life is played out on social media and we willingly or otherwise reveal so much about ourselves it is as important to be aware of troll behaviour and how it can impact our lives.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Paul Goodman

    I really wanted to get into this because it sounded like a much-needed exploration of this world, and I appreciated the attempt to humanise and understand this dark part of the world. Having said that, the hyperbole and sensationalism was making it unreadable. It's already a serious and dramatic story without loading the prose with melodrama. Couldn't finish.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jason

    Probably a little better than Danielle Keats Citron's Hate Crimes in Cyberspace yet not as good as Whitney's Phillips's This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things: Mapping the Relationship Between Online Trolling and Mainstream Culture, both of which cover the topic of internet trolling and are referenced here, Ginger Gorman's Troll Hunting is a good resource and examination of this prevalent and persistent social ill. Gorman writes as someone who herself was the victim of death and rape threats, dox Probably a little better than Danielle Keats Citron's Hate Crimes in Cyberspace yet not as good as Whitney's Phillips's This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things: Mapping the Relationship Between Online Trolling and Mainstream Culture, both of which cover the topic of internet trolling and are referenced here, Ginger Gorman's Troll Hunting is a good resource and examination of this prevalent and persistent social ill. Gorman writes as someone who herself was the victim of death and rape threats, doxing and other types of online harassment, and her own experience gives her a certain amount of authority in investigating the lives of both trolls and victims. At the same time, she takes police forces in the US, UK and Australia to task for being unable and willing to adequately deal with online harassment and, especially, social media platforms for shirking their responsibility in creating spaces for communicating and sharing ideas without stalking, racist and sexist abuse, threats of violence and urging to commit suicide. The point she makes most persuasively, though, is that far from being free speech advocates, internet trolls actively engage in silencing speech they disagree with through threats and intimidation. They are, in fact, more authoritarian than the liberals, jews, media, government, academics, minorities, etc. entities they claim to act in response to. While that might be a debatable point, what's clear is that something needs to give in our online communities where a small group of users are able to behave as monstrously as possible with little to no consequence.

  28. 5 out of 5

    SocProf

    In 2013, the author was trolled savagely. This triggered her journalistic interest in trolling, hence the book, which alternates between interviews with victims of predatory trolling, and such trolls themselves, including the infamous weev. There are also a few macro and legal considerations related to what can be done about predatory trolling and its hard-to-measure extent. Ironically, only one chapter is about troll hunting per se. This is a rather quick read. It is really engaging as stories t In 2013, the author was trolled savagely. This triggered her journalistic interest in trolling, hence the book, which alternates between interviews with victims of predatory trolling, and such trolls themselves, including the infamous weev. There are also a few macro and legal considerations related to what can be done about predatory trolling and its hard-to-measure extent. Ironically, only one chapter is about troll hunting per se. This is a rather quick read. It is really engaging as stories tend to be. However, one can't help but reach the conclusion that there is not much there there, when it comes to trolling. Despite the author's eagerness to find a reason why people, that, mostly white men, engage in predatory trolling (most often but not exclusively against women), the explanations she comes up with are unsatisfactory. It's not a lack of parental attention. It's not mental illness. There is no depth to the trolls except bottomless narcissism (hence their willingness to be her center of attention for months on end), immaturity, and boundless sadism enabled by the lack of consequences for their racism, misogyny, and enjoyment at the suffering they cause, all while blaming their victims for their plight and maintaining that words don't hurt, so, don't be a snowflake. But, as I said, nevertheless, the book is interesting but I wished there had been more sociology in it than psychology. However, one cannot deny the guts it takes to dive into this topic, as well as the risks, as one might imagine she might get trolled again for this book. I do recommend it but it might leave some readers frustrated that she hadn't gone further in a more sociological direction as opposed to the personal narrative of friendly engagement with the trolls. Again, still worth anyone's time.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jodie Warner

    Oh man. This was such an interesting read but also such a deeply disturbing one. Journalist Ginger Gorman was trolled on the internet back in 2013 and the trolls posted pictures of Gorman and her family on a fascist website. Needless to say this left her seriously shaken and upset. Over the next five years Gorman investigated these and other trolls, probing into their motives, their psychology, their own trauma and so on. The result is this really well researched and very unsettling book. I think Oh man. This was such an interesting read but also such a deeply disturbing one. Journalist Ginger Gorman was trolled on the internet back in 2013 and the trolls posted pictures of Gorman and her family on a fascist website. Needless to say this left her seriously shaken and upset. Over the next five years Gorman investigated these and other trolls, probing into their motives, their psychology, their own trauma and so on. The result is this really well researched and very unsettling book. I think I must be pretty naïve. I know that trolls exists, I know they get their kicks out of being deliberately provocative in the least and intensely aggressive and hostile at worst. But it’s so much more than that. I didn’t know that organised rings of trolls exist with the deliberate intent to destroy another person’s life (often, quite literally, as victims sometimes commit suicide) and that this take down starts online but then maliciously appears IRL when an individual’s house, pets, workplace and family are injured or damages in some way. And yet, when these issues were brought to the police they were often not taken seriously (and the victim told to just “stay offline”), or the police were powerless to do anything about it. No surprises though, that the trolls are often angry white men and that the victims are usually outspoken or representative of a minority group. No surprises also that the behaviour often starts young and as a joke, and when they are left unsupervised online for periods of time without parental intervention. It can escalate pretty quickly. I wish the world was nicer, I don’t understand this need to destroy and to deliberately hurt and harm. Recommend me a book full of joy and goodness please!

  30. 4 out of 5

    ✨ Jasmin ✨

    4 stars. Ginger Gorman's writing was so engaging, well thought-out and solid. She's a journalist from Australia so it's no surprise that she can write non-fiction incredibly well. This novel focuses on the complexities of internet trolling from the perspective of people who have been targeted by them, people who try to stop them and the trolls themselves. I found the subject interesting and found it difficult to stop reading after I fell deep into the tales being told. Ginger found herself in th 4 stars. Ginger Gorman's writing was so engaging, well thought-out and solid. She's a journalist from Australia so it's no surprise that she can write non-fiction incredibly well. This novel focuses on the complexities of internet trolling from the perspective of people who have been targeted by them, people who try to stop them and the trolls themselves. I found the subject interesting and found it difficult to stop reading after I fell deep into the tales being told. Ginger found herself in the situation where a photo of her family was being shared around by trolling websites and then the flood of insults and threats came thick and fast. There was a chapter from her husbands perspective and it really shone light on what Ginger sacrificed to write this book understanding that she may (and in extension, her family) be subjected to trolling again. I hope that this book is shared and read by a lot of people because I think it shows some pretty devastating effects trolling (which is usually seen as 'innocuous') has on people and the fact that social media websites and police alike, truly don't have the situation in their grips. Pick this book up.

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