The Bad Boys and Girls of Cyberspace: How Gender and Context Impact Perception of and Reaction to Trolling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A significant feature of virtual interactions involve online deviance and trolling; these include behaviors that range from mild mischief, to offensive language, to hacking and trolling, and to expression of complex social problem, such as by revolutionaries, freedom fighters, or pedophiles. Yet little research has examined online trolling in general or the impact of gender and context on these behaviors in particular. By focusing on the effects of gender and context on perceptions of and reactions to online trolling, this article enhances Suler and Phillips’ framework for online deviance. Results indicate that men and women react differently to online trolling, and their perceptions of the impact of trolling on online communities vary; men and women identify different motivations for similar behaviors in different communities, and they both perceive that men and women trolls differ in their behavior and motivation. The study concludes with suggestions for future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)163-180
Number of pages18
JournalSocial Science Computer Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 16 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • behavior
  • context
  • gender
  • online communities
  • perceptions
  • reactions
  • trolling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Library and Information Sciences
  • Law

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