Senate to Vote on Anti-Trolling Bill Next Tuesday
The Senate will meet to discuss the proposed Trolling Online, Meanness and Teasing Act (TOMATA), which would make trolling a felony, and force sites that post unkind user comments to police their users, with legal implications for sites that fail to respond to requests. The Act would give the Department of Justice the power to shut down unresponsive sites and even jail their owners.
Critics are skeptical of the effectiveness of the government in curbing Internet unkindness, however. "We all want a nicer, kinder Internet, but compulsory anti-trolling laws are unlikely to work. It is time for our representatives to learn how the Internet works," said Todd Christensen of Ignore Trolling, a group that promotes a passive approach to curbing trolling on the internet. "Forcing people to be nice to one another will just fuel more flame wars. Trolls feed off negative reactions and being able to get the DoJ to take down those sites who refuse to police their users will just give trolls another source of entertainment."
Proponents disagree, calling Ignore Trolling a socialist front that seeks to foment meanness and undermine the traditional family. "Their pro-trolling approach is an affront to patriotism and belies their socialist roots. Only weak-willed ninnies would resort to even-handed dialog in the face of overwhelming meanness."