Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details

Journal of Politeness Research

Language, Behaviour, Culture

Ed. by Grainger, Karen

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2015: 1.441
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2015: 1.521
Impact per Publication (IPP) 2015: 1.909

99,00 € / $149.00 / £75.00*

See all formats and pricing

Trolling in asynchronous computer-mediated communication: From user discussions to academic definitions

Claire Hardaker1

1Lecturer in English Language and Linguistics in the School of Journalism, Media and Communication at the University of Central Lancashire (UK). E-mail:

Citation Information: Journal of Politeness Research. Language, Behaviour, Culture. Volume 6, Issue 2, Pages 215–242, ISSN (Online) 1613-4877, ISSN (Print) 1612-5681, DOI: 10.1515/jplr.2010.011, July 2010

Publication History

Published Online:


Whilst computer-mediated communication (CMC) can benefit users by providing quick and easy communication between those separated by time and space, it can also provide varying degrees of anonymity that may encourage a sense of impunity and freedom from being held accountable for inappropriate online behaviour. As such, CMC is a fertile ground for studying impoliteness, whether it occurs in response to perceived threat (flaming), or as an end in its own right (trolling). Currently, first and second-order definitions of terms such as im/politeness (Brown and Levinson, Politeness: Some universals in language use, Cambridge University Press, 1987; Bousfield, Impoliteness in interaction, John Benjamins, 2008; Culpeper, Reflections on impoliteness, relational work and power, Mouton de Gruyter, 2008; Terkourafi, Towards a unified theory of politeness, impoliteness, and rudeness, Mouton de Gruyter, 2008), in-civility (Lakoff, Civility and its discontents: Or, getting in your face, John Benjamins, 2005), rudeness (Beebe, Polite fictions: Instrumental rudeness as pragmatic competence, Georgetown University Press, 1995, Kienpointner, Functions of Language 4: 251–287, 1997, Kienpointner, Journal of Politeness Research 4: 243–265, 2008), and etiquette (Coulmas, Linguistic etiquette in Japanese society, Mouton de Gruyter, 1992), are subject to much discussion and debate, yet the CMC phenomenon of trolling is not adequately captured by any of these terms. Following Bousfield (in press), Culpeper (Impoliteness: Using language to cause offence, Cambridge University Press, 2010) and others, this paper suggests that a definition of trolling should be informed first and foremost by user discussions. Taking examples from a 172-million-word, asynchronous CMC corpus, four interrelated conditions of aggression, deception, disruption, and success are discussed. Finally, a working definition of trolling is presented.

Keywords:: Computer-mediated communication; conflict; impoliteness; troll; trolling

Citing Articles

Here you can find all Crossref-listed publications in which this article is cited. If you would like to receive automatic email messages as soon as this article is cited in other publications, simply activate the “Citation Alert” on the top of this page.

Thomas B. Ksiazek
Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 2015, Volume 59, Number 4, Page 556
Marc Caldwell
Communicatio, 2013, Volume 39, Number 4, Page 501
Renee Perelmutter
Journal of Pragmatics, 2013, Volume 45, Number 1, Page 74
Dawn Archer and Piotr Jagodziński
Journal of Pragmatics, 2015, Volume 76, Page 46
Cristina Cavezza and Troy E. McEwan
Psychology, Crime & Law, 2014, Volume 20, Number 10, Page 955
Thomas B. Ksiazek, Limor Peer, and Andrew Zivic
Digital Journalism, 2014, Page 1
Amy Binns
Journalism Practice, 2012, Volume 6, Number 4, Page 547

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.