italy

Florilège de textes sur trolling, vandalisme et discorde en ligne

Hello folks,
vous êtes sans doute arrivés ici après mon interview avec Vinvin et Jean-Marc Manach au Vinvinteur (épisode 28 : “Les trolls, ce douloureux problème”) de France 5. Ce billet vous propose un petit florilège – amoureusement concocté par Votre Dévoué – de mes articles, interviews et présentations sur le trollage, le vandalisme et les formes de la discorde en ligne. Il s’agit des textes qui ont constitué la base de la version extendend play du “Gros t’chat avec Antonio Casilli”. Ps. Tous les textes sont accessibles en ligne. La seule, remarquable, exception est représentée par le chapitre sur le trolling de mon livre Les liaisons numériques pour lequel, paraît-il, il faut encore débourser des €€€ (ou alors il faut être des lecteurs super-motivés…).

trollvinvin (more…)

Who are the #anarcoinsultazionisti? Insurgent trolling and the politics of discord on Twitter

[Scroll down for French translation]

Are Italian trolls uniting to oust celebrities from Twitter? At least one may think so after witnessing the birth of the satirical hashtag #anarcoinsultazionisti (“anarcho-insultationists”).

A little background. Much like his French counterpart Laurent Joffrin, Italian newsman Enrico Mentana doesn’t care for the informal style of conversations going on in social media. So he left Twitter, because he couldn’t take any more abuse from his “anonymous” followers. Laura Boldrini, the president of the Chamber of Deputies, also fulminated against such examples of “online anarchy”. Yet several public figures expressed their disapproval of their colleagues “claims of immunity”, and invited them to abide by the social codes of the potentially anarchic online platforms. But what did the so-called “anonymous Twitter users” do? They tried to make sense of this new moral panic surrounding trolling, by equating – jokingly – their behaviour to a contemporary manifestation of insurrectionary anarchism.

“’Anonymous on Twitter’ is the new ‘anarcho-insurrectionist’ ”.

There’s a fine line between this little pleasantry and the birth of the anarcho-insultationist ephemeral hashtag. The latter is a perfect implementation of the “lulz” modality of political discord, which the troll ethos is so eagerly advocating. To the Italian ear, “anonymity” and “anarchy” rhyme, like in the lyrics of Addio Lugano Bella, a famous revolutionary chant composed by Pietro Gori in 1895: “Anonymous comrades, friends who remain / the social truths do spread like strong people”. To your ear, dear reader, they probably resonate with what I previously discussed elsewhere: how trolling can be regarded as a symptom of the collapse of the public sphere. Exeunt the modern democratic ideals of civilized discourse, as well as the recognizable spokespersons developing structured arguments. Enter the inappropriate comments polluting the debate, which show that the debate itself is delusional – nothing more than a political superstition. To give you a little food for thoughts, here’s a small selection of tweets (with translation): (more…)

Please Your Holiness, feed the #troll (an open letter to the Pope)

[Update Feb. 11 2013: This post has been also published in the French edition of the Huffingtonpost and featured in Andrew Sullivan’s The Dish as well as in the Catholic Herald.]

> To : Pope Benedict XVI
> From : Antonio Casilli
> Sent:  Sun Feb. 3 2013 03:52:22 PM
> Subject: What to do about Twitter trolling
>

Your Holiness,

let me start by saying that I am not a christian, plus I am not particularly appreciative of your work. I am but a modest scholar of digital cultures who has been following, with a professional eye, your recent effort to rebrand your online image. By now, the general public is aware that you and your staff operate the Twitter account @pontifex – and its multilingual permutations @pontifex_fr, pontifex_it, pontifex_es… My sources indicate that this is the brainchild of Jesuit cybertheologian Antonio Spadaro, counselor of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications 1. So it seems only obvious that the Jesuit magazine Popoli commissioned a study to assess how well your online presence has been perceived after a month on Twitter. On the face of it, you did fine. You have been sending out approximately 100 messages in 9 languages, and earned more than 2 million followers altogether. Moreover, you have generated 270,456 responses from your fellow users.

This impressive amount of comments was also used to perform a “sentiment analysis”, to determine the general attitude of the Twittersphere. About 82% of the feedback received was “neutral”, a meager 10% was positive, and 8% negative. Let me break it down for you, Your Holiness: sentiment-wise, your entrance on Twitter has been saluted by a roaring “meh”… The not so brilliant results are summarized in the following infographic:

The Pope on Twitter. Source: Oogo.com (more…)

  1. Turns out my sources were not completely accurate after all. On Twitter, jesuit theologian Antonio Spadaro clarifies that:

Online censorship in Berluscoland: even Wikipedia goes on strike!

You can tell that in a nation the cultural and political situation has reached a height of obscurantism when even encyclopedias go on strike. That’s right, encyclopedias… the pure product of Enlightenment, over the centuries the reference for theorists of modern democratic thought, go on strike in that xenophobic kleptocracy that goes under the name of Italian Republic. This is the press release just published on the Italian Wikipedia. Be scared. Be very scared.

Dear reader,
at this time, the Italian language Wikipedia may be no longer able to continue providing the service that over the years was useful to you, and that you expected to have right now. As things stand, the page you want still exists and is only hidden, but the risk is that soon we will be forced to actually delete it.

The Bill – Rules on Wiretapping etc., p. 24, letter a) states that:

«For the Internet sites, including newspapers and periodicals delivered by telematic way, the statements or corrections are published, with the same graphic characteristics, the same access methodology to the site and the same visibility of the news which they refer.»

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R.I.P. Sandro Roventi (1947-2010) (Sunday Sociological Song)

Italian sociologist Sandro Roventi left us. Yesterday he was put to rest in the cemetery of  Lambrate (Milan). Sandro was the person who introduced me to sociology (after being trained as an economist). Passionate, funny, politically unpredictable, lucid, generous: he was all these things and much more. He started his career during the Italian Years of Lead. After the European Consortium for Political Research published his Italy and Terrorism in the 1970s (1980) he became the target of unwanted attention from both the political police and the Red Brigades. The epitome of a generation of social scientists / activists steering through a time of political unrest and de facto civil war.

The first lesson of his Sociology class went something like: “Ok kids. To make a champagne molotov all you need is a bottle, alcohol and a cloth…” – and after looking at our dumbfounded faces he would go on introducing us to the notions of conflict, labour, social justice, etc. We became friends eventually. He supervised my tesi di laurea. He wrote the preface to my first book. Until I left Italy I was a regular guest at his dinner parties. Sometimes, we would listen to music. I remember he loved this song. I love it, too.

—a

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Sunbelt Conference: Lake, sun and social network analysis, baby!

Just a quick post to tell you I’m heading to Riva del Garda (Italy). Lake, sun and social network analysis, baby!

For those of you who habe been living in a box for the last thirty years, Sunbelt is the official conference of the International Network for Social Network Analysis (INSNA), of which I am a proud member. Click here for more info and stay tuned for Yours Truly’s presentation.

Cheers,

—a