SXSW Interactive 2013

The End of Trolls? New Ideas of Online Identity

When are anonymous users good? When are they bad? What are the effective ways of dealing with trolls, and what can we reasonably expect from online communities?

Facebook, Quora, Twitter, Google+, Gawker and others have widely different policies about how to certify users, whether to allow anonymous users, and how strictly to enforce identity. How does this affect the communities that congregate in these different channels?

In this conversation, we will discuss the changing notions and expectations of online identity, how websites make tradeoffs between user identity and robust conversation, and how do services like and FullContact impact users' use of handles and alternate identities?

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  1. What are the range of options to handle online trolls? Do we need to keep them in the corner?
  2. How can technology help manage bad online behavior? What should the community be responsible for, and what should the system handle?
  3. How are our notions of online identity changing? What are the old models that don't work anymore, and what are the new models that are effective to understand who someone is online?
  4. Why do we feel the need to create a variety of online handles? Are there parts of ourselves that really are distinct? What are the implications of these shifts?
  5. With the rise of celebrity status, are we treating our online personas more like celebrities do - carefully curating our online presence to be seen in the best possible light?


  • Jamie Beckland, Digital and Social Media Strategist, Janrain
  • Jenna Langer, Director of Community and Strategy, Livefyre


Jamie Beckland, Digital and Social Media Strategist, Janrain

Meta Information:

  • Tags: identity, community
  • Event: Interactive
  • Format: Core Conversation
  • Track: Community and Activism
  • Track 2
  • Level: Advanced
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