Trolling In Cyberwarfare?

Check out this Wired article about trolling online extremist forums in the counterrorism battle. Thanks to Yingnan for sending me this.

While this isn’t cyberwarfare in the traditional sense—they are not trying to shut down or crash the target sites—it is a creative new ploy using the Internet. It verbally attacks the people who use the software, instead of attacking the software itself. In my opinion this is brilliant.

It’s brilliant because it’s facing people on their own grounds, fighting fire with fire, so to speak. Only the fire in question is not physical fire but Internet fire. Heck, the term for a fierce argument on forums is called a flame war.

It has the potential to work because trolling targets emotion rather than reason. People who are highly indoctrinated and who are of devout fundamentalism cannot be reasoned with, but they can be made fun of, belittled, slandered, etc.

However I will give a warning to those attempting it. Just from a sociological standpoint, you aren’t going to be able to effectively troll unless you are on a large enough forum with a large enough troll base. For example, you can’t troll a 50-member board because the administrators or moderators will catch it right away. If you want to effectively troll, you must do it on a massive scale, such as on the current Diablo 3 forums, where 9 in 10 arguments are supported by zero facts or evidence, and things like name-calling, insulting, and baseless accusations are standard. Other than that, this seems like a brilliant plan.

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