Can this 'troll slayer' keep hateful words offline?

Willie Grace | 11/28/2014, 12:17 p.m. | Updated on 11/28/2014, 12:17 p.m.
While four in 10 internet users have been harassed online, according to the Pew Research Center, young women suffer the ...
I think that's where we each have a role to play -- to not stand for the behavior, and to demand that there be better protections.

(CNN) -- Are you ready for the "most honest conversation you'll ever have?"

That's how VProud describes itself -- an apparently troll-proof website for women to discuss everything from politics to their sex lives, all without fear of garnering online abuse.

While four in 10 internet users have been harassed online, according to the Pew Research Center, young women suffer the brunt of more extreme abuse -- 26% have been stalked online, and 25% sexually harassed.

Now Karen Cahn, a former Google, YouTube, and AOL video executive, thinks she might have the answer to keeping trolls at bay.

Her new social network filters out what she describes as "Mean Girl" language.

"Our definition of 'troll' is all about rude, hateful, mean, and unproductive comments," explained Cahn.

"And these comments can come from men and women."

In the VProud world, users are verified through their Google, Facebook, and Twitter accounts -- though they still have the option of commenting under a public or anonymous profile.

Is Cahn the equivalent of a modern day "Troll Slayer?" We'll soon find out.

CNN: What is VProud?

Karen Cahn: VProud is a digital safe space for women to have intimate conversations with each other, without feeling like the whole world is going to see what they are saying, and without trolls making hateful and unproductive comments.

It's an open platform where women can participate in discussions started by someone else, or start their own conversation and invite other people to join in.

CNN: How does it keep out trolls?

KC: We have 4 lines of defense against trollish comments:

  1. A database that understands context, and over time can determine whether a comment is intended to be disruptive.

  2. Filters that catch words and phrases that are against our community guidelines.

  3. Editors who live and breathe VProud conversations, making sure the dialogue is one that is productive.

  4. On every piece of content and comment on the site, there is a troll icon. If someone is being hateful or disrespectful, users can report the troll and our community managers will review it.

CNN: Can you still post content anonymously?

KC: Yes. Women can choose to participate in discussions using one of two identities: VPublic, which is their social username, and VPrivate which is a custom username. She can toggle back and forth between the two identities based on the conversation she's involved in.

For example, I may be perfectly comfortable talking about yoga or girls education with my real name, Karen Cahn, but I'm certainly not going to comment about my sex life or intimate issues using my real name. Instead, I will use my VPrivate name. You know, so my Aunt Gertrude doesn't see what I'm saying.

CNN: Are you concerned about limiting free speech?

KC: VProud is about the democratization of conversation. We are not the arbiters of opinions. We are not Democrats or Republicans, we are not pro-choice or pro-life. What we don't approve of is "Mean Girl" behavior -- name calling and putting people down.