This research takes place in Cyberspace imagined as a complex fantasy land, an environment built on data, where everything is possible. Populated by avatars, trolls, fairies, cybernetic ghosts and big brothers. Like every fairytale it has its light, and its dark side. In this habitat I’m hunting for trolls. The trolls have been around since the start of the internet, but the definition of a troll is ambiguous, like with all creatures one definition doesn’t fit all. The initial definition of online trolling focuses on the conscious pursuit to lure people off topic, like when a fisher puts out bait and waits for the fish to bite. As the Internet has evolved so has the troll, from amusement towards more direct forms of malevolence or, more recently, ideologically motivated information warfare. The birth of the evil troll, and the horror of the online abuser, have made the link to the mythological figure of the troll relevant. To differentiate this the hardcore troll, only driven by bad intentions, will be named the Jötunn (Old Norse for troll/giant).



Online disinhibition effect is the lack of restraint one feels when communicating online in comparison to communicating in-person. People feel safer saying things online, because they have the ability to remain completely anonymous. The most powerful predictor of trolling is sadism. The more someone enjoys hurting others, the more likely it is they will be a Jötunn. Why is this research significant? What happens online transcends into society, Tim Berners Lee (inventor of the www) has stated that online harms facing women and girls — especially those of color, from LGBTQ+ communities and other marginalized groups, threatens the equality progress in society. 

This project is using Reddit as a tool for getting in direct contact with trolls, to get an insight into their troll brain, to infiltrate the trolling community.  By visualizing the Jötunn, as a hybrid of the myth and the harasser, it physicalise the invisible horror. By designing tools as offerings for the Jötunn, that suggest humanoid presence, ‘Trollhunter’ will speculate if it’s possible to humanize the online experience in the future.

To view the project video, click here