First, there is a difference between a troll and a dead shit who slings abuse from behind what Slashot always called “Anonymous Coward” and who, in my personal opinion, would receive a compliment if they were drowned in damp turd.
I’ve been trolled by professionals, and abused by amateurs, and it isn’t that hard to tell the difference. However, the pop press has decided to apply “troll” to people who I more readily consider dead shits, and as a bit of a language geek, I am hip to the way that usage changes meaning…
Second. About freedom of speech.
Sorry, people, but Twitter is not the same as standing up in the Domain (or Speakers’ Corner or whatever may be substituted in your locale).
Twitter looks like a public space, but it’s not: it’s a commercial service, and when you sign on, you agree to a set of terms and conditions – in other words a contract. Not only that, but – to indulge my occasional taste for pettifogging legalism – the contract is defined by American law. If you’re outside of America, tough: you clicked “I Agree”, you’re governed by whichever state Twitter’s agreement references (and no, I just can’t be bothered to check which state).
The point is this: Twitter is a private space. It’s owned. Your free speech rights – your right to say whatever you please, so long as you willingly assume the risks (such as libel) – don’t apply on Twitter, and I am perfectly happy to call you a 90-proof moron if you think otherwise.
Third: “If you don’t like it, go away”
My short response to this is “fuck off”. But I probably have to shoulder the responsibility of justifying this position.
“Get out of here” is a bully’s charter: “I/We own this patch. If you don’t like what we do, don’t come here”.
It’s like a bunch of high school dead shits saying “if you don’t want us to beat you up, don’t come to the west side of the oval”.
I don’t accept it. I don’t accept anyone’s right to bluff or shout me out of somewhere I want to be. I don’t accept that someone should have to “go somewhere else” to avoid abuse.
For example: should a woman be told to stay away from the 20-20 cricket because some drunk idiots want to grope them in the stands?
For example: should gays accept the idea that it’s their responsibility to stay away from Hay, Hell or Booligal because “this town doesn’t like pooftas”?
Even if you accept the frankly limpwit notion that some kind of absolute freedom of speech exists on a contract-controlled service called Twitter – why should the “fuck off” charter apply? Why should I curtail communicating with my friends, just because someone with neither balls nor brains – or some raisin-nutted celebrity with lots of followers and an inferiority complex – decides to nuke my account with abuse?
I’ll even go so far as this: my Twitter name is @R_Chirgwin, because if I write it, I sign it. Go ahead, anonymous cowards and dead shits all the world over: try and take me off Twitter.
By the way: in response to a cogent remark on Twitter: I agree. Politicians do not and should not claim the right to regulate what people say on Internet forums. But that is probably a discussion for another post! ...