Posted by: Jack Henry | July 14, 2022

Editor’s Corner: More Words for Online Harassment and Misinformation

Good morning, folks. Not long ago, I wrote about the term sealioning, which I described as a form of trolling that involves relentlessly pestering someone with questions and requests, with the goal of upsetting them and making their viewpoint seem weak. A couple of weeks ago, Kara wrote about the terms doxing, swatting, and firehosing, which are other fairly new terms for types of online harassment and misinformation.

Today, I present you with the final three terms for this kind of chicanery, as listed in the article Kara and I both enjoyed so much!

brigading: in online contexts, brigading refers to a practice in which people join together to perform a coordinated action, such as rigging an online poll, downvoting or disliking content, or harassing a specific individual or group. Brigading is similar to the online practice known as dogpiling, which involves many people joining in on the act of insulting or harassing someone. Unlike dogpiling, which may be spontaneous, brigading typically follows a coordinated plan. [dbb – I read that there are
various types of brigading.]

astroturfing: a deception tactic in which an organized effort is used to create the illusion of widespread, spontaneous support for something. The goal of astroturfing is to give the false impression that something has wide support from a passionate grassroots campaign when in reality the effort is (secretly) motivated by a person or group’s personal interest. Like firehosing, the term astroturfing is often used in the context of large organizations and governments due to the resources needed to perform it.

rage farming: a slang term that refers to the practice of posting intentionally provocative political content in order to take advantage of a negative reaction that garners exposure and media attention. [dbb – Often the posts are so outrageous that you feel compelled to respond, which is exactly what the rage farmers are hoping for.]

While the words themselves describe harmful behavior that we should all be diligent about not succumbing to or promoting, what I find interesting is how these new words are formed. In these cases, the new terms started with a noun or noun phrase, and “ing” was added to make a new word with a new meaning. All of the new words evoke such powerful imagery.

But I don’t want to leave you feeling like everyone online is out to get you. Kara ended her post about doxing with a very cute image of a litter of dachshund puppies. I’ll leave you with some artificial turf Akita puppies:

Donna Bradley Burcher |Technical Editor, Advisory | Symitar®

8985 Balboa Ave. | San Diego, CA 92123 | Ph. 619.278.0432 | Ext: 765432

Pronouns she/her/hers

About Editor’s Corner

Editor’s Corner keeps your communication skills sharp by providing information on grammar, punctuation, JHA style, and all things English. As editors, we spend our days reading, researching, and revising other people’s writing. We love to spend a few extra minutes to share what we learn with you and keep it fun while we’re doing it.

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