I have been saying for awhile now that, the longer I’veblogged the more adept I’ve become at spotting patterns that help mepredict when a commenter is going to become A Problem.Via The Mary Sue,researchers at Cornell and Stanford have analyzed “troll” behavioronline, in an article entitled, “Antisocial Behavior in OnlineDiscussion Communities” [PDF here].I use scare quotes around “troll,” as it was used by The Mary Sue andwithin the study itself, as I find that term to often be used inambiguous and unclear manners. Oftentimes, the term trivializes what, inreality, is violent and profoundly antisocial rhetoric and disruptionto people’s communities, forums, and lives.The researchers, in the above-cited study, examined user behavior onCNN.com, Breitbart.com, and IGN.com, all of which post articles on whichusers may comment and which ban users found to be disruptive to thecommunity. Analyzing the language in posts, the researchers founddifferences between who they call “Future Banned Users” (FBUS) and“Never Banned Users.”Some of these differences include:

  • “FBUs tend to write less similarly to other users, and their postsare harder to understand according to standard readability metrics.”
  • “They are also more likely to use language that may stir furtherconflict (e.g., they use less positive words and use more profanity).
  • ”…FBUs make less of an effort to integrate or stay on-topic.“
  • FBUs post more than those never banned.

Well, yes, duh. But, it’s nice to see it actually researched, Iguess. Of note, the study also found that communities become lesstolerant of someone who is showing antisocial commenting behavior themore frequently that person comments - that is, their later posts aremore likely to be deleted than earlier posts even if the later posts arenot worse than earlier posts.What I’ve often noticed with respect to that point is that (a) some people actually do escalate their comments when they believe no one is paying attention to them, and (b) when people don’t escalatetheir comments, they will simply post the same thing over and over andover and over again until someone does pay attention to them. Bothmethods exhaust the tolerance of online communities, for good reason.

Fannie’s Room (posted via feedly/ ifttt)(Excerpt etc first posted on feimineach.com. Orig. attribution above.)