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 ween, trolls, Kathy Sierra, and a sense of community
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Docenspiel
 Monday, October 20 2014 @ 03:22 AM UTC  
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Quote by: Hairy+Mary

First CMJ: Could I just in passing call you out on using "virgin" as an insult? It can be a bit galling for some who are perfectly decent people but a bit shy or have some problem or other.

Now. Blokes. Read Buddleia's post. Read it again. This is shit that everywoman faces, all the time. If you're sitting there and thinking "Yes, but I've had a lot of that thrown at me as well." Then maybe. I've certainly had people criticise my choice in dress for example. But you and I get it once or twice a month maybe. Woman get it twenty times a day. That makes a big difference. That can grind you down.

Back to Micha's question. "How can we make this happen in other spaces?" No easy answers to that. With a great deal of patience. Any given space is going to depend on who's in charge of it, so unless you run your own site then there's not a great deal that you can directly do. Set a good example, as the Island does. Take care of your own corner. Sorry that I don't have anything more productive to contribute. I was bringing this up again more so that it doesn't get lost than because I had any great ideas. Anybody else?

Oh. And read this.

DoC: I'm still not with you. Are you trying to say that hounding somebody from their home doesn't make you a dick?


Just because a dick agrees with me doesn't make me a dick.

And in calling out the use of virgin as an insult, it'd be a good idea to not ascribe negatives to the reason for virginity. People making the decision to not have sex can do so for various reasons that aren't "problems".


For rent: one skull, in serious need of dusting.
 
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Harris
 Monday, October 20 2014 @ 04:25 AM UTC  
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Quote by: Escemfer


P.S. Harris: Hyperbole and melodrama inserted into a serious conversation tends to [i]muddy[/i] the discussion, rather than lighten it; I can believe you meant to be light, but it certainly didn't read that way to me. Also, dubious political comments about different countries' social structure don't seem... [i]relevant[/i] to the subject at hand. That kind of political commentary might be better suited to a different forum?



Don't worry- I won't rely on the hyperbole and melodramatics. Because you're absolutely right: exaggerate too much (or too often) and it becomes impossible for people to know when you're being sincere.

As for bringing countries into the mix, maybe my comments about the U.S. and Japan don't scan because it sounded like I was criticizing them? I was not, FWIW. To step away from any analogies to scoieties of any country (since you don't want them, and that's fair. They also didn't seem to be clear, which is another good reason.)- the point I was trying to make is that there's a lot of terrible folks on the internet, and a lot of great ones too, but neither group is very evenly distributed throughout the net. That lack of distribution (and I would guess even the amount of terrible people) is due to lack of community on the internet. There are some pockets here and there of solid community, but there's nothing net-wide.


"Ain't nothin' left to do but smile, smile, smile." -The Grateful Dead
 
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Trowa
 Monday, October 20 2014 @ 05:09 AM UTC  
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In the vein of "how often does trolling get this bad?", I found this story yesterday:

'Am I being catfished?' An author confronts her number one online critic

TL;DR: First-time book author gets a one-star review laced with profanity and inaccuracies about her book from someone that approached her with ideas for her next book. Readers publicly claim they won't read the book now because of that particular review. Author engages reviewer and gets harassed in return. Author investigates the reviewer and finds out who they really are, tracks them down and confronts them, doesn't completely get the closure she wanted.

I'm not advocating either party's actions in the story, but the author is at least conciliatory that she crossed several lines in her search for answers. There were several parallels between this story and the story Micha posted originally that struck me.

  • The reviewer wrote damaging (real or perceived) comments about the book which the author believes to be factually incorrect (according to her - I haven't read the book).
  • Reviews are not moderated by the website hosting them, Goodreads.com, not even for inaccuracies, so the review persisted.
  • The book author was repeatedly warned by friends, her publisher, and even Goodreads.com itself to not "engage" the reviewer.
  • When the author did engage the reviewer, she was harassed in return and black-listed by other book reviewers as "hostile."
  • The book author found many inconsistencies in the reviewer's varied internet profiles, which nobody else seemed to notice or care about.

Unfortunately, I don't doubt the above-linked story is filled with bias as it's written by the book author, so we're only provided one side of the story. Some comments on Reddit where I found this story were defending the reviewer's right to privacy, hiding behind a false identity, even if it was allegedly taken from the real-life reviewer's Facebook friend, which in and of itself I found rather creepy. So, like Kathy Sierra's plight, nobody seemed to care about the accuser, only the accused.

Fortunately, this story seems to have a different ending from Kathy Sierra's, and the reviewer cut her contact with the book author after an emotional phone confrontation. I think Kathleen Hale's experience is more one we would expect to see from an after-school special, where the teen protagonist confronts an online video game heckler in real life only to find out it's a younger child with no real sense of what's acceptable in polite society, resulting in a grand epiphany of the potential for real-life consequences.

FWIW, I love that this website is actively moderated. Other sites I've been on had moderators, sure, but they were purely concerned with violations of the site's Terms of Service, which is often just the bare minimum to protect the website and not necessarily the users. Besides, "TOS" just screams to me "we're covering our asses, not yours."


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Denealus
 Monday, October 20 2014 @ 05:27 AM UTC  
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Quote by: Trowa



  • The reviewer wrote damaging (real or perceived) comments about the book which the author believes to be factually incorrect (according to her - I haven't read the book).
  • Reviews are not moderated by the website hosting them, Goodreads.com, not even for inaccuracies, so the review persisted.
  • The book author was repeatedly warned by friends, her publisher, and even Goodreads.com itself to not "engage" the reviewer.
  • When the author did engage the reviewer, she was harassed in return and black-listed by other book reviewers as "hostile."
  • The book author found many inconsistencies in the reviewer's varied internet profiles, which nobody else seemed to notice or care about.

Unfortunately, I don't doubt the above-linked story is filled with bias as it's written by the book author, so we're only provided one side of the story. Some comments on Reddit where I found this story were defending the reviewer's right to privacy, hiding behind a false identity, even if it was allegedly taken from the real-life reviewer's Facebook friend, which in and of itself I found rather creepy. So, like Kathy Sierra's plight, nobody seemed to care about the accuser, only the accused.



"Don't engage with the reviewer/troll" is always a sticky subject for me because it's a resignation, not a solution. And always depends on how far that advice goes. If it's used as a source of blame, then it's really the internet equivalent of "Well, she shouldn't have gone down that alley late at night" or "She shouldn't have went to the bar" or "She shouldn't have been wearing that dress..."

Where the real statement should always be "you shouldn't be looking to attack someone."

Which is why I'm glad the Island rule isn't "Don't engage with the trolls." It's "Don't be a dick." Pure. Simple. Efficient.

-Dene's Narr


 
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Harris
 Monday, October 20 2014 @ 06:19 AM UTC  
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Quote by: Docenspiel

Just because a dick agrees with me doesn't make me a dick.



True.

But HM makes a good point: said dick does stand for bad things too. I'm betting you don't, but this's still a good place to specify what you do and don't believe that he does.

Quote by: Docenspiel

And in calling out the use of virgin as an insult, it'd be a good idea to not ascribe negatives to the reason for virginity. People making the decision to not have sex can do so for various reasons that aren't "problems".



Also true.


"Ain't nothin' left to do but smile, smile, smile." -The Grateful Dead
 
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Harris
 Monday, October 20 2014 @ 06:23 AM UTC  
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Quote by: Denealus



"Don't engage with the reviewer/troll" is always a sticky subject for me because it's a resignation, not a solution. And always depends on how far that advice goes. If it's used as a source of blame, then it's really the internet equivalent of "Well, she shouldn't have gone down that alley late at night" or "She shouldn't have went to the bar" or "She shouldn't have been wearing that dress..."

Where the real statement should always be "you shouldn't be looking to attack someone."

Which is why I'm glad the Island rule isn't "Don't engage with the trolls." It's "Don't be a dick." Pure. Simple. Efficient.

-Dene's Narr




This. All kinds of this.


"Ain't nothin' left to do but smile, smile, smile." -The Grateful Dead
 
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Wongo the Sane
 Monday, October 20 2014 @ 06:57 PM UTC  
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Comments about 'Free Speech' on this thread made me think of this:



The mousover text was particularly useful - "I can't remember where I herd this, but someone once said that defending a position by citing free speech is sort of the ultimate concession; you're saying the most compelling thing you can say for your position is that it's literally not illegal to express."


 
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Hairy Mary
 Monday, October 20 2014 @ 07:42 PM UTC  
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Quote by: Docenspiel

And in calling out the use of virgin as an insult, it'd be a good idea to not ascribe negatives to the reason for virginity. People making the decision to not have sex can do so for various reasons that aren't "problems".



That's very true. My apologies. Thank you for pointing that out.


 
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Count Sessine
 Monday, October 20 2014 @ 08:49 PM UTC  
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Hearing horror stories of disastrous encounters like these is why I avoid most forums, opted out of Facebook, and will have nothing to do with Twitter.

Twitter bullying can shatter people. One of my favourite webcomics was recently on hiatus for many months because the artist was driven into a ... well, I don't know what his therapist diagnosed it as. The generic lay term 'nervous breakdown' kind of covers the case. We're talking incapacitating anxiety attacks triggered by trying to draw his beloved comic. And, yes, there were pre-existing fracture lines -- we all have them -- but it was his Twitter experience that inserted the wedge, hammered it home, and broke him apart. (He's slowly recovering now, thank goodness.)

It's no surprise to me at all that such behaviour exists. The thing that Usenet and Twitter and all other online cesspools have in common is that nobody's minding the store. There are no negative consequences for being a dick. There is no mechanism in place to stop the people who interpret this absence as free license to say hurtful things.

You mentioned YouTube comments, Harris. Yup, they're awful. Every so often when I have enjoyed a video I do scroll down... and then within 5 comments, pretty much guaranteed, I will be thinking, "Oh yes, this is why I don't read YouTube comments!" (Unless it's something obscure and scholarly, in which case there likely won't be many comments.) Multiply that reaction by all the nice people online, each one of whom is shrugging and clicking away with an "I don't need this," and it's easy to see why the jerks have taken over there.

Except, the world isn't really divided into nice people and jerks. People have more than one behaviour mode! They will switch them in and out depending on how they evaluate their social surroundings. When it's made clear that everyone is expected to be nice, most people will remember their company manners.

Trouble is, they're going to keep on re-assessing those expectations. If someone starts being nasty and nothing happens, they're going to think, "Oh, well then. Maybe it's okay to be a bit sharp-tongued here. A bit malicious, just a sly little dig. People here think it's witty? I can do that too." After that they're less careful.

Over time, this gradual process pulls the space's social standards down to the lowest anyone will go -- which is pretty bad. When it gets too bad for someone, they'll do one of two things. They might protest... but that will make everyone else feel they're being attacked for having behaved badly, they'll tend to snarl back, and it will not go well. Or, having foreseen that reaction, the objector may skip the protest and just leave. And the average tone ratchets down again.

A culture, once established, can indeed coast for a while on its social norms without anyone actively reinforcing it. But, long-term, the site owner and/or delegated moderators have to pay attention.


 
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Genevieve
 Monday, October 20 2014 @ 09:41 PM UTC  
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Alright, I've been wondering wether to share this story but I believe it is relevant and so I will.


A little while ago, as part of the usual banter, I had posted a photograph of myself in Banter. This photograph: http://imgur.com/WiklzcT

Because that shirt is sick as all get out and I wanted to share.

Immediately after posting that image I recieved a Distraction from a brand new player.

Subject: Hi
Body: i want to fuck you

This was really, really upsetting to me on many levels. It was a whirlwind of reactions that set me frantically asking myself "what did I do to deserve this?!" Not "wow what a creep I should ask to ban this guy" not "oh that's just awful."

I was sitting at my computer wondering if I was making a sexy face in that picture that warranted being told that. That's my default setting. That's what I'm used to thinking. I'm not used to being in a place where it isn't my fault if someone is making me uncomfortable.

Right after that distraction I copy-pasted it to Ebenezer rambling on and on about how I didn't do anything wrong, the picture I posted wasn't sexy, I'm not breaking any rules. I was frantically defending myself against this guy even though I OBVIOUSLY didn't do anything wrong, but I thought I must have. I have been taught that is how it is supposed to be. I thought I was the villain for wanting to ban this guy. I thought I was wrong for feeling uncomfortable.

It took me way too long to calm down and realize wait, no, this guy is clearly way in the wrong. Why do I think I fucked up? What am I afraid of? When I asked CMJ if this guy could be banned for that he immediately did so. He didn't even ask my why the distraction was sent. He said "oh hell yeah" and banned that guy. Banned the shit out of him.

It was relieving to see. And I felt ashamed privately for thinking I would need to justify my discomfort. I felt like a bit of an idiot for rambling at Eben, for freaking out. I'm supposed to be this strong, confident person. And I'm a moderator for craps sake! But there I was quaking in my boots because a stranger on the internet saw my face and told me he wanted to fuck me. Because in that moment that one dude made me regret and fear ever sharing my face with this community that I love so much. That's a scary thought.

It's scary because when I was 14 a 28 year old man tried to find my house when he met me in Guild Wars.

It's scary because three men followed me several blocks in their car in reverse down the street.

It's scary because saying 'no' to someone in my high school got me bullied and teased. Called names. Posessions peed on.

It's a shitty fucking thing that I'm a grown ass woman and I'm still trying to get over all those experiences. That my definition of my behavior in public is based on if I need to defend myself or not. And I'm not even a famous woman. I don't think I would ever want to be.

So I'm glad this community is so accepting. That I didn't need to wonder if the choice would be "this guy vs whiny woman" it was "what a dick, let's get rid of him"

Which is of course the problem, as Sessine said, with twitter and places like it. You can't tell someone "please stop this dick"

Hopefully this was a helpful insight.

Hopefully anyone reading this will take to heart that your orientation, gender, anything doesn't justify harrassment from others. And if you're feeling uncomfortable. Tell us. Please.

Being afraid sucks. And if I can help anyone be less afraid I will.


 
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Trowa
 Friday, October 31 2014 @ 05:30 PM UTC  
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Here's something that's interesting: Moderators-for-hire! I'd seen image moderation job postings around before, but didn't realize there are entire companies that you can pay to moderate your forums for you.

The article even goes on to explain the different types of trolls:

There is the “original troll”, where someone posts something with the sole aim of riling other users. “They are just bored and often don’t realise the kind of upset they can cause. Best defence is simply to ignore them.”

Others, she says, hold views that the majority of people find abhorrent. “They feel angry and marginalised. [They are upset] that others aren’t as racist or homophobic as they are, so they go online to rant in relative safety.” These ones, she believes, are scared that their way of life is disappearing. “It’s sad that the only way they can deal with that is by shouting at other people online.”

The third type she identifies are those who go out of their way to make others’ lives miserable. “It would be easy to dismiss them as scumbags – and some undoubtedly are – but some also have problems of their own.”

I find it interesting that even the professional moderators advocate the 'ignore' defense.


Something something unintelligible gibberish something.
 
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