Wednesday, January 08, 2014

In Reply: I don't agree that I should willingly silence myself against those who lash out and lie about me, even if I'm throwing away the opportunity to be the better man by speaking up

Revised and extended a little, in reply to the following comment at the (surprisingly, willfully dishonest) Other McCain post "Portrait of a Stalker Troll: @Repsac3, Also Known as Walter James Casper III," by "journalist" Robert Stacy McCain:

OK, here's the deal: I'm going to give you a fair shake because you're actually coherent. (unlike Schmeldfelt) I was right, I've seen this before. Specifically on LiveJournal fandom communities. As much as I'll admit that I look down on teenage girls in fandoms, they've provided a lot of insight and some of them have been surprisingly mature. So here goes.

Girl A and B are in the same fandom, let's say Doctor Who, and they both write fanfiction. Girl A is upset at Girl B for some reason, let's say that Girl B doesn't like the Doctor/Jack Harkness "ship" and writes Doctor/Martha fanfiction. So Girl A starts writing gossip on her LJ about Girl B, and Girl A's clique gets in on it. And even worse, either Girl A or one of her clique starts posting in one of the many anonymous communities about Girl B and her fanfiction. (They're like 4chan. If you don't know, don't ask. Believe me, you're better off not knowing) Every manner of high school gossip you can think of, with a bunch of "anons" badmouthing Girl B among a relatively small community. However, they keep their gossip and badmouthing to their own journals and the anonymous community; they never contact her directly.

Now, Girl B usually has two options. The first option is to go on these communities to defend her reputation. Occasionally, the friends of the injured party also get in on the act to defend their friend, i.e., "whiteknighting", thereby escalating the incident and earning Girl B a reputation as a "wanker", someone who drags out drama. By answering drama with more drama, Girl B ends up making a bad reputation all on her own where one usually never existed in the first place.

The other option Girl B can take is ignoring the threads about her on anonymous communities or on the journals of Girl A or those of her friends. And eventually, the drama started by Girl A fades away, since Internet memories tend to be short unless there's something to the rumors or the issue is exacerbated and artificially extended by Girl B herself.

Is it fair? Hardly. Welcome to human nature. But it's been accepted by both courts and by piddling little online fandoms alike that being gossiped about online is not cyberstalking. When badmouthing crosses over into direct and continued contact, it becomes bullying, and persistent following of someone crosses into stalking. One tweet does not constitute stalking or bullying, but continued attempts to contact a target is, even if the stalker in question thinks he is "trying to set the record straight." No one else sees it this way, nor will anyone but the stalker ever see it this way.

So that's pretty much where we are right now. You have the same options as Girl B.
- La Pucelle

First off, the nature of partisan blogging is that it is confrontational... We frequently post on our blogs about the facts, ideas, and attitudes that another blogger is discussing on his, sometimes in agreement, but far more often in opposition. Sometimes the confrontations are all about the ideas, and sometimes they get personal, but ether way, it's built into the thing in a way it more than likely isn't in the communities you're describing.

That said, there has been no contact between Dr Douglas and I in about 9 months. He posts about me on his blog or via twitter, and I respond in kind, posting about what he said or making note of the fact that he once again lashed out, on my twitter feed or blog...

Sure, I have the choice not to post... (...just like Dr Douglas does, and just like every blogger or commenter or twitter-user does, just before posting about what some liberal/conservative asshat said on their blog.) But being cowed into silence because the crazy ass who's writing about you will be somewhere between slightly-and-somewhat more likely to post additional crazy shit about you if you respond to what he says (and will perhaps have friends who'll pile on along with him, taboot) is no way to live your life...

I call Donald Douglas out when he attacks because much of what he says is patently untrue, and he shouldn't be able to lie about me on his blog without my pointing out every lie he tells on mine if I so choose...not even if some think that not doing so would be the smarter or more "sane, grown-up" way to behave.

I understand what you're getting at but no, I don't agree that I should willingly silence myself against those who lash out and lie about me, even if I'm throwing away the opportunity to be the better man by speaking up... (I decided a few years ago to curtail being the guy who lashes out in the first place as often as possible--and yes, I have at times failed at doing that, since...but that's about as far as I'm willing to go...)

(As an aside, if even half of we partisan bloggers and commenters were sane grown-ups, the partisan blogosphere would shrivel up and die.)

Posted Wednesday, January 8, 2013, 10:45 PM (or thereabouts)

No comments:

Nerd Score (Do nerds score?)