The internet can allow people to distance themselves from the effect of their words. I put myself in the firing line by questioning the ultra-aggressive culture of comment sections and have received my fair share of abuse for doing so. That was inevitable, just as the criticism Traynor himself has received from commenters at The Guardian, which has republished his tale, are depressingly familiar.
The term “trolling” has been hijacked to mean this bullying, hectoring, constant abuse that some internet users believe they have a right to dish out. It is grotesquely euphemistic. The boys who bullied me as a teenager were not trolls, they were bullies, and so are those who lash out from the virtual darkness.
It is why I do not allow comments on my YouTube channel. There are levels of filth I have no intention of wading in.
And it is really a shame, but it is also indicative of the childish and absurdly ineffective powers that people seem to want to have.
What could be a wonderful tool for engaging people has spawned an industry built to prevent bullies from doing their thing.