Death and Lulz: Understanding the personality characteristics of RIP trolls

  • Kathryn C. Seigfried-Spellar Purdue University
  • Siddharth S. Chowdhury
Keywords: Trolling, Individual Differences, Cyberharassment, Memorial Page Trolling, Personality

Abstract

Trolling on the Internet is a form of deviant behavior that borderlines cyberharassment. A specific type of trolling behavior involving individuals posting rude/harassing comments on online memorial pages is known as RIP or memorial page trolling. This study compared the personality traits of self-reported RIP trolls to other trolls who did not engage in RIP trolling (non-RIP trolls); 30 respondents were classified as RIP trolls and 119 respondents as non-RIP trolls. Results indicated RIP trolls scored significantly lower on conscientiousness and internal moral values compared to non-RIP trolls. Overall, trolls are not a homogenous group; further supporting the need for future research to explore individual differences within the trolling community. By understanding the personality and morality differences between trolls and non-trolls, we may be able to identify those individuals at risk for engaging in different forms of online harassment.

Author Biographies

Kathryn C. Seigfried-Spellar, Purdue University
Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer and Information Technology at Purdue University
Siddharth S. Chowdhury

Master's student in the Department of Computer Information and Technology at Purdue University

Published
2017-10-31
How to Cite
Seigfried-Spellar, K. C., & Chowdhury, S. S. (2017). Death and Lulz: Understanding the personality characteristics of RIP trolls. First Monday, 22(11). https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v22i11.7861