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May 24, 2022

We need to talk about online trolling

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Journalist and author of Troll Hunting Ginger Gorman. Photo Hilary Wardhaugh

Back in the day a troll was a scary looking doll with a squished face, curly matted hair, and vague links to Scandinavian folklore. Now they are much more sinister and difficult to reveal. Just ask Ginger Gorman.

Journalist Ginger was trolled online after writing a story for the ABC about gay men choosing surrogacy. She received hateful tweets, including a death threat. She was terrified, but once the attack subsided she found herself curious. Who were these trolls? How and why did they coordinate such an attack? And how does someone fight back?

Over the next five years, Gorman spoke to psychologists, trolling victims, law enforcement, academics, and, most importantly, trolls themselves, embedding herself into their online communities and their psyches in ways she had never anticipated.

She uncovered links between trolling, cyberhate, and real-life crimes. She mapped out a cohort of men – mostly angry, young, and white – who rightly or wrongly feel marginalised and disenfranchised and express this through the internet. She encountered the frequently extreme personal costs endured by trolling targets, not to mention the very real financial and economic costs of cyberhate.

Ginger Gorman is coming to Byron Writers Festival to provide a window into not just the mindset of trolls, but also the profound changes in the way we live and work in a post-internet world. Trolls didn’t appear from thin air – they are real people, and reflect a real aspect of our society. Ginger’s remarkable investigation will change the way you think about the internet, and what it means to be a human online.

Ginger Gorman will join other voices on online trolling at Byron Writers Festival including Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young and Maxine Beneba Clark in the panel We Need to Talk About Trolling (Friday 2 August) and will also talk about The People Behind the Internet (Friday 2 August) with UK author Claire L Evans (Broadband: The untold story of the women who made the internet). On Sunday 4 August Ginger will discuss #MeToo: Where To? with Tracey Spicer and David Leser.

For 1-day or 3-day passes, head to byronwritersfestival.com/tickets.


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Welcome to Byron Writers Festival 2019! 

Now more than ever our world needs writers, environmentalists, poets, commentators, politicians, and artists who together can shape stories of hope, courage, and change. At Byron Writers Festival 2019 we proudly bring more than 140 writers together to create a program brimming with diverse voices.

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You’ll love the Byron Writers Festival if…

Check out what's to love at the Byron Writers Festival on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

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