I've seen this *sshattery practiced, but I was unaware it had a name or was a "social phenomenon", so to speak.
Whitney Phillips, a Ph.D. student's online paper, "LOLing at tragedy: Facebook trolls, memorial pages and resistance to grief online"...
...examines the emergence of organized trolling behaviors on Facebook, specifically in relation to memorial groups and fan pages. In addition to mapping the development of RIP trolling — in which online instigators post abusive comments and images onto pages created for and dedicated to the deceased — the paper also examines the highly contentious and ultimately parasitic relationship(s) between memorial trolls, Facebook’s social networking platform and mainstream media outlets. Recalling Oring’s account of disaster humor, the paper goes on to suggest that, inadvertently or not, Facebook memorial page trolling presents a pointed critique of a tragedy–obsessed global media.
Gawker.com Article concerning the student paper.
Both writers seem to indicate that even if most RIP Trolls aren't deliberately acting as cultural whistleblowers, they still serve to benefit society. So what do you think? Is this sort of behavior redemptive if it reveals a poignant truth? (I guess it's another one of those 'do the means justify the ends' discussions.)But some of these trolls offer an interesting justification for their anti-social behavior. Phillips focuses on a guy who goes by the handle "Paulie Socash." Paulie says he and his crew sow chaos on public Facebook memorial pages for gay kids who have committed suicide because the collective mourning by people who have never met the kids is "tacky." "This isn't grief," Paulie tells Phillips, "This is boredom and a pathological need for attention masquerading as grief."
I'm of the mind that while I'm glad something is learned from their behavior, it is hardly redemptive. They're contribution to the collective consciousness is hardly revolutionary enough to justify the pain they inflict.
Per the usual, I am posting this because I am seeking the input of others. I'm sure there are perspectives that I have not considered.