Cyber trolls hiding under our bridge

The issue of cyber-bullying, or "trolling", is not just isolated to high-profile personalities

THE issue of cyber-bullying, or "trolling", is not just isolated to high-profile sportsmen, celebrities, and politicians - the rural community is also exposed to similar cowardly attacks.

These outbursts are particularly prevalent around highly emotive and controversial topics of the day, such as live cattle exports, foreign investment and Genetically Modified crops.

Of late, wheat export marketing has increased temperatures in the cyber-rural domain, reigniting old, bitter feelings lingering from the AWB single desk feud of yesteryear.

A recent barrage of cyber-bullets was fired - perhaps quite deliberately to cause pain and get a reaction - in the direction of somebody who sought my advice on that topic.

What’s most fascinating and also disappointing around this issue, is the “quality” of opinions expressed by anonymous cyber-trolls, dressed-up as intelligent comments.

They can post a comment online virtually without any responsibility or having taken time to consider accuracy or ramifications.

Of course the cyber-troll wasn’t posting the comments under their full name - but they seemed to be acting courageously.

My advice was to ignore the comments from the half attributed source and be assured others reading them would see them through a more objective lens.

Calls to stamp out anonymous vitriol and hold people accountable have made national headlines this week after rugby league star Robbie Farah called on the government to help track down and prosecute offenders, after he found himself on the receiving end of unpleasant remarks about his late mother.

These people need to know they’re firing their bullets at real people with real feelings.

And if they want their thoughts and views to be taken seriously, and be leaders who lift the standard of discussion rather than drag it down into murky waters of half-truths and misinformation, they need to stop using pseudonyms.

Colin Bettles

Colin Bettles

is the national political writer for Fairfax Agricultural Media
Date: Newest first | Oldest first


mark miller
12/09/2012 7:32:35 PM

Thankyou Colin for bringing your views to the fore. I have enjoyed many learned comments from your readers over time on the various issues as they arise. However, I have noted more recently alot of personal attacks that are totally irrelavant to the issue at hand, and alot of ''crap'' posted that has nothing to do with the story, and ends up a slanging match, and the whole issue becomes fog, and lost to other readers who may have something interesting to add. If we actually had to put our real names to these blogs, then everyone would be more conscious as to what they say and have printed.
Jus Brown
12/09/2012 9:50:38 PM

Interesting how now the fairfax media is railing against "cowardly [cyber] attacks". Look at the vile merde they have continually published regarding innocent people involved in the inception of the Doyles creek training mine concept. These articles have spawned a myriad of cowardly anonymous attacks towards the afore mentioned people and their families. Nice one fairfax hypocrites to the core!
13/09/2012 10:37:21 AM

**waves hello to Bushie Bill**
18/09/2012 7:51:59 AM itics/sometimes-it-takes-a-troll- to-know-one-20120913-25v40.html
Will from Bordertown
26/09/2012 1:40:49 PM

Hey Bluey, I was going to say that!
Canberra CommentFairfax Agricultural Media Canberra correspondent Colin Bettles tackles the big national rural and agricultural issues which will impact regional and rural Australians.


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