Here’s Where the Most Active Internet Trolls in the U.S. Live

If you’ve ever read, well, anything on the internet, you’ve seen them. Those nasty comments aimed at getting a rise out of people or just generally creating chaos.

Thanks to a partnership between Wired and Disqus, an online commenting platform, we now know where the trolls live. And when they are most active.


The two analyzed 92 million comments over a 16-month period, written by about 2 million authors on more than 7,000 forums using the Disqus software. (That means bigshots like Facebook and Twitter, which don’t use Disqus, were omitted.)

Using an API, Disqus was able to detect and rate a “toxic” comment—defined as “a rude, disrespectful, or unreasonable comment that is likely to make you leave a discussion.” Feeding the comments into the API gave a score from 0 to 1. Anything above 0.9 was considered toxic. A sample toxic comment that rated above a 0.9: “You are a disgusting, subhuman, painfully stupid waste of cells. You are a racist pig, a slime ball.” Whereas a nontoxic comment included: “Grilled cheese ideas are limitless.”

Using the API yielded some interesting results. The South is disproportionately hostile, with Georgia, Alabama and South Carolina all hovering at over nine percent of all comments being toxic. Nevada (10.1 percent) and Iowa (10.3 percent) also have a high proportion of toxic comments. The “winner” though in the troll wars goes to Vermont. The proportion of toxic comments is higher there than in any other state at 12.2 percent. Neighboring New Hampshire, on the other hand, had the lowest at 4.7.

Broken down a bit further, the absolute most toxic city in the country is Park Forest, Illinois, where 34 percent of comments are hostile. However, 99 percent of those came from just two authors! The least toxic city was Sharpsburg, Georgia, with just 0.8 percent of comments being hostile. At the 2010 census, the population of Sharpsburg was 341—meaning, “It’s just a small town, and the smaller the group, the more influence a few bad apples (or bright pennies) will have.”

Unsurprisingly perhaps, the most toxic time of day for trollish comments is 3 am. During this time, 11 percent of all comments are mean. For more civil discourse, log in after 8 am.

While knowing a bit more about the trolls is interesting, the real question is what to do about them. The Wired poll shows that a full 25 percent of people made at least one toxic comment during the 16-month period. This seeming growth of the troll population is in line with a recent report by the Pew Research Center and Elon University’s Imagining the Internet Center. In the report, researchers surveyed more than 1,500 technologists and scholars about the state and future of public discourse. 81 percent said that they expected the tone of online discourse to stay the same or get worse in the next decade.

Some organizations—like news outlets—have responded by shutting down online comments altogether, reverting back to the days of physical letters to the editor. “We’re out to raise the quality of discussion about the people, places and things covered on our website,” said Kevin Moran, executive editor of New England Newspapers Inc., which has not allowed online comments since September 2016. “And while we like to blaze trails around here lately, we’re following a growing list of news sites to drop online commenting over concerns about tone, incivility and abuse.”

For online publications that choose not to forego commenting altogether, the solution is trickier. One approach might be to allow users to register under a pseudonym, which would protect free speech while still allowing consequences for abusive behavior over time. Chatbots, filters and other similar tools could also potentially help stop the spread of trolls.

The truth is, though, even with technological advances, trolls are here to say. Cofounder of Disqus Daniel Ha said the problem with trolls is not a technological one but a human one. “It’s never really going to go away.”

Win McNamee/Getty Images // CBS Television Distribution

In December, President Donald Trump established the United States Space Force, a sixth branch of the United States Army.

The goal of the force is to protect United States assets in outer space from foreign rivals and is slated to cost around $2 billion in the next five years.

Today, Trump unveiled the official logo for the Space Force, but people think it bears a striking resemblance to another iconic symbol.

Keep reading...
Preston Ehrler/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images // JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images

People were stunned this past July when President Donald Trump tweeted that four Congresswomen of color—Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), and Ayanna Pressley (D-MA)—should "go back" to where they came from.

He also falsely claimed they "originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe..."

Three of the Congresswomen were born in the United States. Omar was a refugee from Somalia. All are Americans.

At a campaign rally days later in North Carolina, President Donald Trump mentioned Congresswoman Omar—and got a strong reaction from the crowd.

While bigotry is common at a Trump rally, it became even more blatant when Trump's supporters began chanting "Send her back," echoing the calls from Trump's tweet for them to "go back" to where they came from.

Keep reading...
Fox News

As Democratic House impeachment managers make their case against President Donald Trump, one of his favorite news networks is going to lengths to keep the bevy of evidence against him from reaching their viewers' ears.

At first, Fox News tried scrolling Trump's so-called accomplishments alongside live video of the historic proceedings. Now, the network's latest attempt to distract from the Democrats' arguments is raising eyebrows even higher.

Keep reading...
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images // Alex Wong/Getty Images

Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman was one of the first witnesses in the House of Representatives' initial impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.

Vindman testified before the House's select committee on impeachment late last year after hearing Trump's infamous July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Keep reading...
Alex Wong/Getty Images

The administration of President Donald Trump relies on its white Evangelical base to keep its support consistently hovering around 40 percent.

In keeping with this, President Donald Trump often invokes anti-abortion values he claims to hold dear. He's falsely claimed that Democrats are determined to rip babies from their mothers' wombs and that parents often discuss with their doctors whether or not to keep the baby...after the baby is born.

These claims are patently false, but they rile up the base.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos seems to be playing right along in promoting abortion hysteria, if a recent speech is any indication.

Keep reading...
Fox News

After hours of evidence presented by the House Impeachment managers in the Senate trial against President Donald Trump, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) strayed even further into the abyss of fanaticism as he defended the President to reporters.

Graham, a Trump critic turned ally, didn't attempt to refute any of the myriad evidence laid out by Democrats, but instead dismissed the claims that Trump did anything wrong when he withheld congressionally approved aid from Ukraine in exchange for an investigation into his political rival.

Keep reading...