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Managing trolling in online communities: an organizational perspective

Dineva, Denitsa ORCID: and Breitsohl, Jan 2022. Managing trolling in online communities: an organizational perspective. Internet Research 32 (1) , pp. 292-311. 10.1108/INTR-08-2020-0462

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The literature lacks knowledge on how organizations can manage trolling behaviors in online communities. Extant studies tend to either focus on user responses to trolling behaviors (i.e., a micro-level perspective) or how the trolling infrastructure is governed by platforms (i.e., a macro-level perspective), paying less attention to the organizational community host. With more organizations hosting online communities on social media networks and trolling behaviors increasingly disrupting user engagement within these communities, the current understanding of trolling management practices has become inapt. Given the commercial and social damage caused by trolling behaviors, it is important to understand how these can be best managed. The purpose of this study, therefore, is to examine the meso-level perspective of trolling management by focusing on organizational practice. Design/Methodology/Approach The research design consists of an in-depth non-participatory netnography based on a case study of PETA’s (‘People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals’) Facebook community. Findings Six distinct trolling management strategies are identified and categorized by their direct versus indirect communication approach: non-engaging, educating, bolstering, expurgating, asserting, and mobilizing. Some strategies are deemed to be more successful than others in generating positive community outcomes such as reduced trolling frequency or further support from like-minded community members. Originality/value The findings contribute to the meso-level perspective in the trolling management literature by introducing a novel, empirically informed typology of organizational trolling management strategies.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Business (Including Economics)
Publisher: Emerald
ISSN: 1066-2243
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 14 July 2021
Date of Acceptance: 9 June 2021
Last Modified: 08 Dec 2022 07:29

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