Social media and www-trolls

I was going to write this piece on a collaboration I am hoping to start with KI and Linné. But that can wait. I came across a discussion on the social medias that, again, enforced my view to only participate in debates and discussions in peer-reviewed medias and moderated symposia’s or conferences. As I see it, there are elements in social media debates that never occurs in the regulated once. I noted two of them today. One is verbal insults on non-relevant issues. This is used in almost every debate I´ve seen in the social medias, including the one I watched today. If your arguments are not enough, then use other means to humiliate whoever you are debating with. The other one I noted today was pretending that the one you are debating has said something really stupid (which he / she has not), and then argue against that. These are two peculiarities you rarely see slip through into peer-reviewed stuff, but you almost always find on discussions in the social medias. And in several cases it goes further than that. Sarcasms, pure insults, and sometimes even threats. And all of these often behind anonymity.


Social media, like this blog, is good for describing what is going on, and where one stands, but it is always the authors side of the story that is expressed. If I publish something and someone wants to comment on it online, cool. Also if someone disagrees with me and want to make that clear, that is also cool. And if someone really do not like what I am writing and want to bring it to a discussion in a peer-reviewed forum or on a regulated conference, that is super-cool and I will be there to express my views. But do not expect me to enter into a discussion with someone who strongly disagrees with me on his or her blog or on FB. Those discussions are never on equal terms, and the verbal victory is often more important than the science in those. I consider those who push for them to be www-trolls.