Susan Benesch on Troll Wrastling for Beginners: Data-Driven Methods to Decrease Hatred Online


Hateful and even violent speech is familiar online; what’s unusual are data-driven efforts to diminish them. Experiments so far have produced intriguing results including: some ‘trolls’ recant or apologize in response to counterspeech, and small changes in platform architecture can improve online discourse norms.

In this talk Susan Benesch — founder of the Dangerous Speech Project and professor of American University’s School of International Service — discusses early research and experiments into managing and responding to hateful speech online, especially in climates where online speech may be tied to offline violence.

Also in ogg for download

More info on this event here.

Read more here

  • Susan’s Homepage
  • @dangerousspeech
  • A Prelude to Murder: Calling Humans Vermin
  • The Innocence of YouTube
  • Words as Weapons
  • Umati: Kenyan Online Discourse to Catalyze and Counter Violence
  • Elections and Ethnic Violence
  • Umati Final Report
  • Vile Crime or Inalienable Right: Defining Incitement to Genocide
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    1 Comment »

    1. Vanessa Blaylock

      October 16, 2014 @ 11:23 pm


      I’m just now listening to this compelling talk from Benesch. Ironic timing in the wake of the Kathy Sierra and Anita Sarkeesian incidents.

      I too have always heard “Don’t feed the trolls,” and it was great to hear Benesch offer that while that advice might work sometimes in some contexts, it often doesn’t work. Her emphasis on Counter Speech was very compelling. It gives us both the responsibility and the opportunity to act.

      Thank you Susan Bensch and thank you Berkman Center! Here’s hoping we can find our way to a more human and humane Internet future.

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