Ellen Pao, who just stepped down as CEO of Reddit amid much drama, has a bleak assessment about the current state of the Internet: "The trolls are winning." As Pao writes in the Washington Post, she learned this firsthand when they went after her in savage fashion as Reddit began trying to weed out the worst abusers on the site. She got death threats and rape threats, along with attempts to post her personal information online—in short, she endured "one of the largest trolling attacks in history." Pao, though, also began receiving hundreds, sometimes thousands, of messages of support each day. And it is this "astonishing human" response that gives her hope that the trolls' days are numbered.
The founders of the Internet emphasized freedom of expression, but trolls have exploited that to harass and abuse, writes Pao. Today, Internet platforms such as Reddit are struggling to balance the good with the bad, and long-term solutions are obviously complicated. But Pao sees reason for optimism in all those supportive messages she got: "In the battle for the Internet, the power of humanity to overcome hate gives me hope. I’m rooting for the humans over the trolls. I know we can win." Click for her full column.