“Don’t feed the troll”: Shutting down debate about community expectations on Reddit.com

Kelly Bergstrom


While many online communities have explicit codes of conduct that one must follow in order to participate, there are often many “unwritten rules” or community expectations that users are expected to abide by. In this case study of www.reddit.com, a news aggregate Web site whose affordances seem to imply a transient and fluid approach to online identity, I outline an example of a community member (known as “Grandpa Wiggly”) who ran afoul of community expectations of authentic representation of one’s “true” off–line self. I also detail how accusations of trolling were used as a justification for shutting down debates about community expectations, as well as justifying actions against Grandpa Wiggly that violated the Reddit terms of service (and his privacy).


trolling, reddit.com, community norms, authenticity

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5210/fm.v16i8.3498

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