Jerks of the Web

From ABC News:

Scammers, stalkers, online antagonists ready to pick a fight, folks who are just plain mean–what is it about the Web that turns people into jerks?

One expert says the anonymity of the Web makes everyone behave as if they were in Palm Beach in April. “Think about spring break, when people are feeling anonymous and acting in ways they wouldn’t in their hometown, where they run into their neighbor,” says Nicole Ellison, assistant professor of telecommunications, information studies, and media at Michigan University. “People are less inhibited, and they then will engage in things they would want to do all the time but wouldn’t normally because it would be frowned upon in their social circles.”

A New York University study found that subjects were more likely to express their true selves on the Net rather than in face-to-face interaction. If that’s the case, the stories we’ve collected here may make you despair for the state of humanity. Meet just a few of the Web’s aggravating trolls and irritating idiots.

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