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This is the Glossary for IWMF’s Know your trolls course

Abuse: Cruel, violent, improper or unfair treatment to someone. Abuse can take many forms, including bad words and injury or mental, physical or sexual aggressions, offline and/or online.

Abuser: Someone who treats another person in a cruel, violent, improper or unfair manner. The bad treatment can be offline and/or online.

Attack: Massive form of abuse. In a digital harassment attack, you can receive a high number of hate, criticism or other messages in a short period of time. The messages can be linked to the same reason (such as a published report).

Bot: Shorthand for “robot.” It is a computer program that performs repetitive tasks. Not all bots are abusers or illegal, but in digital harassment, you will refer to accounts programmed to send massive or constant abusive messages. They usually have a high message output flow and low interaction.

Bot Farm: People or groups that use social network management software to manage dozens of simultaneous accounts, which simulate normal activity until they are activated for propaganda or attack purposes. They are usually hybrid groups, with paid people and automated accounts.

Concern Trolling: Abusers pose as fans or supporters of target’s work with the intention of making harmful or demeaning comments masked as constructive feedback. [PEN America]

Cyber-Mob Attack: Also known as dog-piling. When a group of trolls works together to overwhelm a target through a barrage of disingenuous questions, threats, slurs, insults, and other tactics meant to shame, silence, discredit or drive a target offline. [PEN America]

DM: In social media, a direct message (DM) is used to exchange messages in private. For example, on Twitter, a DM is used to send a private tweet to a person you are following.

Dog-Whistling: Coded language or symbols with a double meaning, intended to be understood by only a particular group of people, with the purpose to instigate attacks.

Doxxing: Shorthand for “dropping docs.” Publishing someone’s sensitive personal information online, which can include social security numbers, phone numbers,  home addresses, personal photos, employment information, email addresses, and family members’ personal information. [PEN America]

Handle: The username of a person on social media.

Harassment: An upset and annoying behavior that demeans, humiliates or embarrasses a person. When these behaviors become repetitive, they are defined as bullying. The objective is to exhaust the enemy by repeated raids.

Incel: An online subculture of men who identify as involuntary celibates unable to find a partner despite their desire to be in a relationship.

Loners: Individuals that prefer solitude and have very limited social interaction. The modern term "loner" can be used with a negative connotation as well as gender terms such as incel.

Misogynist: A person who hates women and is prejudiced against them.

Nonconsensual Pornography:  Also known as revenge porn or non consensual sharing of intimate images. The distribution of private, sexually explicit images or videos of individuals without their consent. Revenge porn can also fall under the category of “sextortion,” i.e., the threat of distributing a nude or sexually explicit image or video in an effort to blackmail an individual. [Cyber Civil Rights Initiative]

Online Abuse/Harassment: Refers to using cell phones, social networks and other communication devices to bully, threaten and annoy someone aggressively.

Online Impersonation: Also known as fake accounts. Creating false hoax social media accounts (using target’s name and photo), usually in order to post offensive or inflammatory statements. In most cases, the harasser’s intention is to defame or discredit target’s reputation and can lead to inciting further harassment.  [PEN America]

Reputational Damage: Calling a target’s professionalism, integrity, ability, or morality into question in order to discredit them with their audiences and/or damage their career.

Sexual Harassment: Gender-based and disproportionately targeting women. Encompasses a wide range of behavior, from slurs and hate speech to sexually explicit descriptions of their bodies, unwelcome sexual advances, manipulated photos, and “revenge porn”. 

Software: Anything that is not hardware but is used with hardware, i.e., programs that can be used with a particular computer system. Totem relies on Open edX software.

Target: The object of an attack. Speaking of digital harassment, it refers to the person to whom the attacks are directed.

Threats of Violence: This can include rape and death threats. Communicating wish to harm target through physical or sexual violence. Some threats can be direct and specific — with names, places, times, etc.   

Threat by Association: Unfounded allegations linking the target to government intelligence services or organized crime in order to make them a legitimate target of violence or arrest

Troll: Person of unknown identity who sends aggressive messages on social networks, forums or other digital platforms. Messages may be abusive against someone or be intended to cause division among those who read them.

Troll Army: A group of people assume false identities in order to participate in internet forums and social media to send — or suppress — a specific message. These armies use the internet to disseminate propaganda. They use tactics such as retweeting or commenting on each other’s posts, with the aim of creating the semblance of a dominant and broadly accepted narrative. []

Victim: Someone who has been injured, damaged or suffered because of the actions of others. Regarding digital harassment, a victim who has been the target of attacks, abusive messages, smear campaigns and other forms

URL: A Uniform Resource Locator is a standardized address of a location on the internet. This is the URL of the Totem Project: