Do Online Trolling Strategies Differ in Political and Interest Forums: Early Results

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This study compares the effectiveness of different trolling strategies in two online contexts: politically oriented forums that address issues like global warming, and interest-based forums that deal with peo- ple’s personal interests. Based on previous research, we consider trolling as context-bound and suggest that relevance theory and common ground- ing theory can explain why people may attend and react to certain types of troll posts in one forum, but pay scant attention to them in another. We postulate two hypotheses on how successful (i.e., disrup- tive) trolling varies according to context: that trolls’ messaging strate- gies appear in different frequencies in political and interest forums (H1), and that context-matching strategies also produce longer futile conver- sations (H2). Using Hardaker’s categorization of trolling strategies on a covert–overt continuum, our statistical analysis on a dataset of 49 online conversations verified H1: in political forums covert strategies were more common than overt ones; in interest forums the opposite was the case. Regarding H2 our results were inconclusive. However, the results moti- vate further research on this phenomenon with larger datasets.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDisinformation in Open Online Media
EditorsMax van Duijn, Mike Preuss, Viktoria Spaiser , Frank Takes , Suzan Verberne
Number of pages14
Place of PublicationCham
Publication date2020
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-61840-7
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-61841-4
Publication statusPublished - 2020
MoE publication typeA4 Article in conference proceedings
EventMultidisciplinary International Symposium
on Disinformation in Open Online Media
- Leiden, Netherlands
Duration: 26 Oct 202027 Nov 2020
Conference number: 2

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science
ISSN (Print)0302-9743

Fields of Science

  • 113 Computer and information sciences

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