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Professional Boxer Becomes Latest Person To Confront Online Troll

Submitted by on March 13, 2013 – 5:05 pmNo Comment

Twitter user James O’Brien experienced every online trolls worst nightmare this week when his internet insults suddenly provoked a reaction AFK- away from keyboard. Worse still for the 24-year-old resident of Driffield, England, was the target who finally fought back: professional boxer Curtis Woodhouse.

O’Brien, who tweets under the handle Jimmyob88, had been sending insulting messages to Woodhouse, as well as numerous other celebrities like Victoria Beckham and another boxer, Lennox Lewis.

Woodhouse, who is also a former professional footballer, finally tweeted that he would pay £1,000 to whomever gave him an address for Jimmyob88. It is unclear how the information came out, but Woodhouse eventually learned the street O’Brien lived on. Woodhouse then tweeted a picture of the road sign by O’Brien’s home, with the ominous message, “right Jimbob i’m here [sic]!!!!!”

O’Brien claims he wasn’t home at the time, and Woodhouse eventually left, tweeting that what he did was “maybe a bit daft… but sometimes enough is enough.”

O’Brien told the UK’s Mirror that he is sorry for his actions, and”won’t be doing it again.”

Due to the very effective anonymity of the internet, confronting trolls is still a relatively rare phenomenon. But when it does happen, it appears that full out apologies like O’Brien’s are mixed with instances of unrepentant belligerence.

One of the most popular results in a Google search of “confronting internet trolls” is an article published last September in the UK’s Guardian newspaper by Irish writer Leo Traynor, who allegedly discovered that his friend’s teenage son was an  internet stalker who had been harassing him terribly. When confronted, the boy reportedly broke down. (Critics have alleged that Traynor’s story lacks evidence.)

Gawker internet investigator Adrian Chen also unmasked a notorious internet troll, Reddit’s infamous moderator ViolentAcrez. ViolentAcrez was known for posting to forums dedicated to Nazism, underage girls, and violence against women (just to name a few) solely to provoke other users.

According to Chen’s report, when confronted with his real identity, ViolentAcrez quiet pleaded with Chen not to expose him- not out of remorse, but out of concern for losing his job, saying he just liked “riling people up” in his spare time. (The man did ultimately lose his job when Chen’s article came out.)

On the other end of the spectrum, A BBC reporter confronted a Facebook user who repeatedly posted horrible comments on memorial pages for dead people. But Darren Burton was unapologetic, saying he had the right to say anything on the internet. He even casually accepted the idea of spending a few weeks in jail for his actions.

It seems like there are all kinds of negative commentors. Some are just looking for a cheap, mean laugh. But others could be serious threats; and some are only encouraged when they receive any kind of attention.

And to some degree, trolls will probably always be an unavoidable consequence of the internet.

What do you think?

[via HuffPo; image via Action]

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