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To test your knowledge of concepts associated with problematic behaviours online, we provide a short orientation quiz below. Once you have attempted your first answer, and in the event that you are not familiar or not sure what the alternatives mean, click on the options to find out more about the concept.


Test your knowledge

Answer the questions which follow by clicking on the best option.

  • Which of the following terms best describes the online practice of posting comments online with the purpose of upsetting others to evoke an emotional response.
    • Online harassment
      • Not quite. Online harassment is a collective term used to refer different types of harassment. Choose another alternative.
    • Sockpuppet
      • Incorrect. A sockpuppet is an online identity used for purposes of deception.
    • Internet troll
      • Correct. An Internet troll is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a newsgroup, forum, chat room, or blog) with the intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal, on-topic discussion, often for the troll’s amusement.
    • Bike-shedding
      • Incorrect. The term bike-shedding was coined to illuminate Parkinson’s Law of Triviality. It refers to disputes over minor issues while more serious ones are overlooked. The reference is to arguing over what colour to paint the bike shed while the building of the house is far from complete.
  • The online practice of posting a detailed point-by-point criticism dissecting a response intended to debunk the original piece is best described by the following term:
    • Flaming
      • Incorrect. Flaming is a hostile and insulting interaction between persons over the internet, often involving the use of profanity. It can also be the swapping of insults back and forth or with many people teaming up on a single victim.
    • Flamebait
      • Incorrect. Flamebait refers to a provocative or offensive message, in an online discussion with the intent of provoking an angry response.
    • Fisking
      • Correct. Fisking is blogosphere slang describing a point-by-point criticism that highlights perceived errors, or disputes the analysis in a statement, article, or essay. According to The Guardian, “fisking” has come to denote the practice of “savaging an argument and scattering the tattered remnants to the four corners of the internet”.
    • Rebuttal
      • Incorrect. While a rebuttal is a reply intended to show fault in an opponent’s statement, its intent is usually constructive. Savaging an argument online is better described by another term.
  • A hacker is a computer programmer who seeks to breach defences and exploit weaknesses of computer networks for motives of profit, protest or recreation.
    • True
      • Partially correct. While the popular media associate the concept of hacker with individuals who maliciously exploit weaknesses in a computer or network, the computing world in general, and, the free and open source software community in particular, prefer the term of “cracker“, “black-hat“, or “security hacker
    • False
      • Correct. The terms “cracker“, “black-hat“, or “security hacker” are preferred. In the computing world, a “hacker” is a skilled programming expert who uses technical knowledge to overcome a problem. If a programmer calls someone a “good hacker”, it’s a sincere compliment.
  • Stealing an online photo of an individual and then creating a fictitious social media account for personal gain is best described by the following concept:
    • Doxxing
      • Incorrect. Doxxing is a form of harassment where the personal details (for example, telephone number, address etc. of an individual) are made completely public, with the intention of inciting others who don’t agree with something the individual has posted online to harass and threaten them in some way.
    • Impersonation
      • Almost correct. While the example is a form of “impersonation” this normally refers to the practice of someone creating a social media presence in the “name” of a real person. In extreme forms, it is intended for disruptive and harmful deception.
    • Catfishing
      • Correct. Catfishing is similar to impersonation, but the offender is not pretending to be a person who really exists. The offender steals the image to deceive, frequently to incite a romantic relationship for fraudulent financial gain.
    • Swatting
      • Incorrect. Swatting is a serious offence, where the offender uses details of the physical residence of an individual, sometimes harvested from information published online, to call the emergency services reporting a hoax, for example domestic abuse, fire, terrorism etc aiming to dispatch law enforcement officers to the home of an the alleged victim.


Optional quiz

Take the Spot the Troll quiz developed by the Clemson University Media Forensics Hub which uses images of real social media content.

How did you go with the quizzes? Have you encountered any of these behaviours online? Share your thoughts by posting a comment on WENotes.

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