Language experts to identify ‘trolls’

Well you will be all pleased to know that this post won’t be taking up quite as much space as the posts of Pat Brown, but I thought I would highlight something that I stumbled across of JATYK2 last night.

They posted a story about how language experts are going to be used to identify internet trolls.

Yes we know those horrible people who leave threatening messages on forums, blogs and social networking sites.  People who don’t think twice about hurting the family of a missing child (and my god there is no better example than the #McCann hash tag on Twitter) or person by leaving messages that are designed to inflict as much pain and anxiety as they can.

People who decide to invade tribute pages created in memory of a person who has passed away,  due to illness, tragic accident or because they can’t take no more of situation they find themselves in and commit suicide.  You will be surprised at the number of suicides, especially by youngsters, that happen due to online bullying.

Yes we all thought the bullies frequented playgrounds, but unfortunately some of them don’t, some of these bullies are adults who should know better.

Anyway an article on the BBC News site, tells us the following:

Linguistic experts at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN) are working with police and child protection agencies to develop an automated system to recognise language patterns.

Claire Hardaker a lecturer at UCLAN says:

“Everyone has a unique way of writing, of putting certain words together, which is subconscious.

“Many teenagers say they are able to identify who sent a text to them – just by the style of writing and word habits or the way the words are written.

“Someone might be pretending to be someone else, but by analysing the way they write online, we can determine a probable, age, gender – even a probable region from where they come from.

“In its simplest form, people use different words for things – for example a bread roll. Some people would say a tea cake, some people would say a barm – it is these sort of elements that help to narrow down a search.”

The article also states:

Every computer connected to the internet can be traced through IP addresses, but trolls often use special software to disguise their location making it harder for authorities to find.

Ms Hardaker said she believed this was where linguistic profiling could help.

As they say, you can run but you can’t hide.  And yes people do give themselves away, and it is so easy to spot who is who on twitter, forums and blogs.  No matter what username they invent they always slip up in the end and their true writing style is picked up.

Just one more thing, we all remember this tweet from last Monday, don’t we?

How about the University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN) or is that BBC report a figment of my imagination?

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