The Only Winning Move is Not to Play

trollface

A new piece of mine just went live on the fabulous website The Ontological Geek, which publishes philosophical explorations of video games, pop culture, and the Internet.  The piece focuses on the recent doxxing of the anti-feminist pick up artist Roosh V and the dangers of using troll tactics to advance progressive ideals.

What follows is a brief excerpt.  Click on over and check out the full piece!  And while you are there, look through their fabulous special issue on video games and mental illness.

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If users make it unprof­itable for plat­forms to allow the game of trolling to con­tinue in their back­yard, then we can make those plat­forms more inclu­sive. And yet, if we reg­is­ter our dis­plea­sure via boy­cotts and refusals to engage with a ser­vice as it devel­ops, we allow pro­duc­ers to believe that “peo­ple like us” (what­ever that may mean: women? minor­ity groups? any­one who doesn’t enjoy a social media expe­ri­ence that resem­bles the Wild West?) aren’t worth cater­ing to in the first place, a posi­tion that is already ide­o­log­i­cally tempt­ing enough in cer­tain bro-centric cir­cles in Silicon Valley.

Instead, those of us invested in cre­at­ing a bet­ter web most con­tinue to pro­vide feed­back to plat­form cre­ators, work at crowd­sourc­ing effec­tive com­mu­nity norms and give devel­op­ers some­thing con­crete that they can take to their investors to serve as evi­dence of the finan­cial incen­tives attached to inclu­siv­ity. We need to make it clear that we have always been a part of these spaces, that our con­tri­bu­tions to the devel­op­ment of these com­mu­ni­ties are inte­gral to their con­tin­ued suc­cess, and that we will not pas­sively accept their descent into social chaos. Social media plat­forms are obsessed with gath­er­ing user data and mon­e­tiz­ing it. so let’s give them lots and lots of data to chew on. Let’s make it clear that the trolls are bad for busi­ness rather than stoop­ing down to their level.

After all, the only way to truly win the game of trolls is not to play.

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