Anatomy of a Troll

26aug13_troll1Trolls come in a variety of different sizes and shapes. Some are the hit and run types and will create a different username and profile for each attack while others are in it for the long haul and stick to a single profile.

Trolls have been studied for awhile and the more thats learned about them the more an understanding develops of what they have in common and what drives them. Trolls love anonymity and there’s usually a good reason for it. We’re not talking about successful popular people when it comes to trolls. They are very often exactly as they would be imagined – basement socially awkward dwellers with little to offer anyone or anything. Trolls are angry at the world and try to take out that anger by causing grief to others.

One troll in particular was outed by the BBC as part of the documentary Panorama. A reporter tracked down a troll in Cardiff, Wales, who goes by the handle Nimrod Severn. His real names is Darren Burton, and he comments on memorial pages set up on Facebook to honor those who have died. In particular, he’s fond of posting that he hopes the deceased “rot in piss”. See the thumbnail to the left above that was posted on Rehtaeh’s memorial page and you get the idea.

Burton fits the profile perfectly. He’s a lonely angry little man and he gets off lashing out and causing pain to others. He didn’t seem to impressed when he was outed. Below is a segment from the documentary:

Michael Brutsch
Michael Brutsch
Another famous troll was outed last year by GAWKER‘s Adrien Chen. Michael Brutsch, aka Violentacrez (pronounced Violent-Acres), was a Reddit moderator who was responsible for creating such categories as r/creepshots, r/beatingwomen, and r/jailbait. Yes, jailbait as in images of minors.

A week after being outed, Brutsch held an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper. In the interview Brutsch was apologetic about his activity and said he made a mistake by not listening to people concerned about his “contributions.” He also lost his job.

The risk factor in trolling has certainly changed. Anonymous and other groups have begun outing and reporting pedophiles, rapists, and online tormentors. They helped bring down hate pages set up following Rehtaeh Parsons death and have been helpful with Amanda Todd’s case. Anonymous also drove the Steubenville Rape Case and helped bring justice to a traumatized victim.

Edmontonian/Calgarian Barry (Walter) Winters

Given the costs and embarrassment of being exposed why troll at all? I recently asked that very question to a blogger who has written some very disturbing things about my daughter as well as me, her mother, Arabs, Muslims, First Nations Peoples, and many, many others. His response thus far, other than to “dissuade” me from emailing him, has been silence. He has gone on a panic posting spree. Getting as much hate spread as he can before he’s gone.

To be clear, I fully support freedom of speech and am not interested in censoring anyone, especially not for a lack of taste, class, and decency. He can post away for all I care. I doubt anyone even visits his pathetic site and if they do I’m sure they leave rather quickly.

I do believe there is a point when behaviour online becomes criminal. Stating to have seen images of an underage girl naked could very well mean this individual is accessing child pornography and that may need to be looked into by law enforcement. I have been in touch with the police in Edmonton. If he has accessed these images they may be on his computer.

Barry Winters
Barry Winters
This is Barry (Walter) Winters. Winters does work the the Department of National Defence in Alberta, possibly in a security role. He’s run his blog since 2009 and appears to have covered every topic under the sun but is fixated on an individual I’ll not name (besides me, he’s fixated on me too).

Winters emailed me, much to my surprise, when I found out through another source he was behind the site. At first I really didn’t care because he’s just one nut and the bowl is full, so to speak. We’ve had lots of trolling on the memorial page and I’ve had some comments posted here that are disgusting to be polite about it. Ignoring them is the best policy unless they are threatening or criminal in nature.

I can’t understand the why though? Why post this type of hateful dribble if being exposed for doing so could have serious consequences. Winters works for DND. Do they know he wants to shoot Palestinians, or as he calls them, “the under-evolved animals.

The Muslim and self described “palestinian” immigrants aren’t Canadians or fit in here as real Canadians. Lets give them, Fatima and the kiddies ten minutes to clear out of Canada, and then start shooting the under-evolved animals.

Or how about this one:

Indians are drunken pigs.

His claims to have seen child pornography involving Rehtaeh Parsons is puzzling. Usually the kinds of people who view something as sick as child porn don’t openly brag about it.

I HAVE SEEN naked pictures of Rehtaeh.

There’s a lot more filth and hateful comments on his site. I can’t read it, it’s nothing more then the ramblings of a sad angry little man who is so frustrated with life he just wants to share his pain. I really hope DND takes a look at Barry. Our tax dollars should be going to better Canadians than him.

Trolls do what they do for a reaction. They almost never think there will be consequences for it.

5 thoughts on “Anatomy of a Troll

  1. UPDATE: A police report has been filed with Edmonton Police to verify whether or not Barry Winters has accessed child pornography like he’s claimed to have done.

    1. Glen, keep us updated. Blogs, Twitter and Facebook are delivering the news that matters. Deeply saddened that you’ve been forced to contend with this after the loss of your daughter. Bullies want our silence. Heartened to see you have the courage to take a stand.

      In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends. ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

    1. Please do not swear or use profanity. We don’t want children to see this kind of language in your post regardless of how angry you may be

  2. What an evil, disgusting, miserable POS Barry Winters is. Glen, I am so sorry about this nightmare you and your family have endured. I know that nothing can ever bring Rehtaeh back, but I hope and pray that justice will eventually be served. Sending you, Leah, and Rehtaeh all of my love.

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