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A study of using a persuasive game as a tool to raise awareness about trolling behavior

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2019
Komaç, Gökçe
Persuasive games are powerful instruments that have the potential to influence audiences. Previous work reveals that there is a rise in awareness and change in knowledge, attitude and behavior after playing persuasive games on various topics. Although being very common, ‘trolling’ remains a complex phenomenon in literature. This is due to it being insufficiently researched and having a lack of consensus about the definition among researchers. However, it is often associated with disruptive and deceptive behaviors in online spaces. A persuasive game that was aimed to raise awareness about trolling behavior was designed and developed for this study. By applying descriptive research design, this study (1) observes the usage of a persuasive game as a tool to raise ‘awareness’ about trolling behavior, (2) explores the disruptive behaviors that are considered as trolling in the context of online gaming, (3) describes previous trolling experiences. The data was collected using an online questionnaire (N = 129). Playing the game was observed to have slight influences in the participants’ perception of trolling: it was perceived to be a more negative phenomenon after playing the game. It was found that insulting, trash-talking, feeding and griefing are the behaviors that are most commonly classified as trolling. Moreover, approximately half of the people who play multi-player online games had engaged in a trolling activity, most commonly being griefing or trash-talking. This study aims to contribute to the persuasive games and trolling literature by presenting findings about how trolling is perceived and how this perception was influenced by a persuasive game.