When Socialization Goes Wrong: Understanding the We-Intention to Participate in Collective Trolling in Virtual Communities

Yang Jun Li, Christy M K Cheung, Xiao Liang Shen*, Matthew K O Lee

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Although collective trolling poses a growing threat to both individuals and virtual community owners, the information systems (IS) literature lacks a rich theorization of this phenomenon. To address the research gaps, we introduce the concept of we-intention to capture the collective nature of collective trolling in virtual communities. We also integrate the social identity model of deindividuation effects (SIDE) and situational action theory to invoke the sociotechnical perspective in theorizing collective trolling in virtual communities. The objective of this study is to use the sociotechnical perspective to understand the we-intention to participate in collective trolling in virtual communities. We test our proposed model using data gathered from 377 Reddit users. Our moderated mediation analysis elaborates how technical elements (i.e., anonymity of self and anonymity of others) influence the we-intention to participate in collective trolling via individual-based social elements (i.e., perceived online disinhibition and social identity), with an environment-based social element (i.e., the absence of capable guardianship) as a boundary condition. We contribute to research by explaining collective trolling in virtual communities from the group-referent intentional action perspective and sociotechnical perspective. We also offer practical insights into ways to combat collective trolling in virtual communities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)678-706
Number of pages29
JournalJournal of the Association for Information Systems
Volume23
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2022

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Information Systems
  • Computer Science Applications

User-Defined Keywords

  • Absence of Capable Guardianship
  • Anonymity
  • Collective Action
  • Collective Trolling
  • Moderated Mediation Analysis
  • Social Identity Model of Deindividuation Effects (SIDE)
  • Sociotechnical Perspective
  • We-Intention

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