|trouble (trouble) wrote,|
@ 2010-05-10 06:16 pm UTC
|Entry tags:||angry for a reason, angst all over (and that stuff stains), disability, feminism|
For myself, dealing with drive-by trolls is irritating, but not impossible. They usually leave something silly [my fav this week: "You dumb whiney bitch, I hope she exercised her right to ignore you."] and then leave, never to return. Sometimes they come in huge waves, like after the EE debacle, which leaves me shaking and frightened by the vitriol so many people can spit out in such a short period of time.
Then there are the campaigns some people seem to invest in. They don't just leave comments that are harassing. They send emails. They complain about the person they are harassing at other blogs. They question the other person's status. They start whispering campaigns. And every day, or every other day, they leave another harassing comment, write another harassing email, and then, when that comment isn't responded to, isn't approved, that email isn't acknowledged, it's added to the pile of sins. And since we, as Nice Bloggers, are not supposed to talk about the harassment, it looks very suspicious. "So, why didn't you approve that comment from Anna on your post? It's on topic! It's about the subject! It's very polite! Geeze, do you have something against Anna? Cuz Anna says you do."
I'm going to tell you something about me that is not good.
I have participated in some of the above activities. I've left angry comment after angry comment on a blog that I had formerly liked but eventually loathed. (I am not talking about Feministing.) I participated in one locked-conversation about how angry I was with the blog owner, and have had emails back and forth with people about how angry I still, quite frankly, am. I participated in one open conversation, that I know the blogger in question saw because she commented on that conversation as well. I've read and followed many threads that ultimately end up discussing how much people loathe this blogger.
As someone who has since become the subject of a similar campaign, I am so deeply ashamed of myself. I had no idea how incredibly horrible this stuff could become. I had no idea how much it could leave you shaking and upset, how much it could hurt. I felt that somehow or another being a "Big Name Blogger" would protect someone from the pain of being speculated upon in public.
I don't tell you the above so anyone can pat me on the head and tell me I did the right thing or that I'm a good person or that I'm being brave by talking about it now or anything of that nature. I write it because I think it's important to realise that we can be participating in harassing behavior, even if that's not our intention. I didn't want to harass this person off the internet. I just wanted to talk about her. I just wanted to "have my say". I just wanted to be sure that people knew "how I felt". And while I am far from the worst of people who have done this, I participated in this hazing because I wanted to. Because it was more important to me that people see how this person was doing blogging wrong than it was that I just ignore someone who so pissed me off.
There is a difference between questioning what someone has said, and questioning who that person is. And there's a difference between saying "Okay, I'm done with this. Your stuff is not what I want to be reading and supporting right now", and repeating that statement many many times, both to the person you mean, and to others when you talk about them, over and over and over in a public space.
There seems to be a theory in the blogosphere that some people can just take it; that somehow this type of harassment is okay because they're getting something out of it. They're "big enough" that talking about them - as opposed to their ideas - is okay. They're getting attention, right? They're Big Names, and Big Names don't deserve the same respect or response you'd give to someone smaller.
Of course, none of the above is limited to Big Name Bloggers, and I don't mean to imply otherwise. I've known of smaller campaigns against very small blogs that, just due to the sheer relentless nature of them, have driven the blogger in question underground. Because it ends up being every day - every time you check your mod queue, every time you check your inbox. And sometimes, without meaning to, other people will help the harasser. They'll ask, without knowing the background, why you aren't approving the comments. They'll be quizzical in the harassers blog about why their comments haven't been approved, because they don't know.
And as Nice Bloggers, we're not supposed to talk about it. That's "causing drama". That's "giving them power". That's "playing their game."
Just ignore them, they'll go away.
The harassment that drove s.e. smith to close comments on ou's blog started in September. It has been ongoing since then, and has including harassment at FWD. Ignoring it has not made the harassment go away, but it has made ou not blog about certain subjects, and now just shut down comments rather than deal with it anymore.
Ignoring it has not made it go away.