Abstract

Although collective trolling poses a growing threat to both individuals and virtual community owners, we lack a rich theorization of this phenomenon in the information systems (IS) literature. To address the research gaps, we introduced the concept of we-intention to capture the collective nature of collective trolling in virtual communities. We also integrated 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 we-intention to participate in collective trolling in virtual communities. We tested our proposed model using data gathered from 377 Reddit users. Our moderated mediation analysis elaborates how the technical elements (i.e., anonymity of self and anonymity of others) influence we-intention to participate in collective trolling via individual-based social elements (i.e., perceived online disinhibition and social identity), and with an environment-based social element (i.e., 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.

DOI

10.17705/1jais.00737

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