Word of the Day: Miasma

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(n.); noxious exhalations from putrid organic matter; poisonous effluvia or germs polluting the atmosphere; a dangerous, foreboding, or deathlike influence or atmosphere

“If the Internet is a bridge to the greater world, a troll is the beast who lives under it, extracting a toll in hurt feelings, outraged sensibilities and fear from all who pass.”

–Laura Miller, “We’re All Trolls Now”

If you’ve ever had occasion to visit an online discussion forum—be it the comment section of your local newspaper or a niche community of Northeastern birdwatchers—you’ve likely encountered the nasty phenomenon of the Internet troll. All it takes in an otherwise innocuous, even intellectual, conversation is one less-than-witty troublemaker to bring a sour smell into the virtual room. This week, Laura Miller publishes a clever piece on Salon chronicling what is described as the “toxic element” of troll subculture and the rise and fall of the “lulz.”


Sara Menuck is currently pursuing BA in English & Professional Writing at York University, Toronto, without being very professional at all. Having interned with a variety of small press publications, she currently works as a prose reader for The Winter Tangerine Review, a department editorial assistant, and, in her free time, a teacher of music to very small, adorable children. More from this author →