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Encounters with the nastiest people on the internet

Two new books on internet trolling reveal that the geeks, hackers and misanthropes who are wrecking people’s lives are mainly young, male Americans — but with a fair smattering of Brits and Aussies

6 June 2015

9:00 AM

6 June 2015

9:00 AM

Reading the Comments: Likers, Haters and Manipulators at the Bottom of the Web Joseph M. Reagle Jr

MIT, pp.240, £19.95, ISBN: 9780262028936

This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things: Mapping the Relationship Between Online Trolling and Mainstream Culture Whitney Phillips

MIT, pp.256, £17.95, ISBN: 9780262028943

It is almost a century since the Michelin brothers had the brainwave of supplementing their motorists’ guide with information about fine-dining establishments. Their star-rating system had become a mainstay of lifestyle reviews long before the Internet came along. In the digital age, this work has been comprehensively crowd-sourced: the immense success of review sites such as Yelp and Amazon has been built on the voluntary input of users.

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Houman Barekat co-edited (with Mike Gonzalez) Arms and the People: Popular Movements and the Military from the Paris Commune to the Arab Spring.

'Reading the Comments', £17.96 and 'This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things', £16.16 are available from the Spectator Bookshop.  Tel: 08430 600033

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