Story made me think about online cruelty...

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by totoro, Mar 23, 2007.

  1. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    This story made me think about how cruel people are as well as how I really don't feel like we encounter this problem here on CD.
    I can honestly say I don't feel anyone has ever been outright mean to me... sometimes brutally honest!!!LOL but we need honesty for what we are dealing with and I truly feel none of us are really mean spirited... I have seen threads here where someone will correct the other person or it gets a bit heated, but usually the people will discuss it... why they are right or wrong, or what they were thinking or not thinking!!!
    I know I have said things I thought were true, but learned I was wrong or my opinion was altered because of what I have been through or dealing with, and sometimes it is good to see it from another perspective. But sometimes even if a thread makes me angry or think about something more than I want to, I never feel like this place is full of mean or demeaning people whether or not we are anonymous... just a thought.
     
  2. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    Cruelty finds home on the Internet

    Anonymity probably helps fuel nasty comments

    Jocelyn Noveck
    Associated Press
    March 23, 2007

    When a California woman recently gave birth to a healthy baby just two days after learning she was pregnant, the sudden change to her life was challenging enough.

    What April Branum definitely didn't need was a deluge of nasty Internet comments.

    Postings on message boards made cracks about Branum's weight (about 400 pounds – one reason she says she didn't realize sooner she was pregnant). They also analyzed her housekeeping ability, based on a photo of her home.

    And they called her names. "A pig is a pig," one person wrote. Another suggested that she "go on the show 'The Biggest Loser.' "

    "The thing that bothered me most was, people assumed because I am overweight, I'm going to be a bad mom," Branum says. "And that is not one little bit true."

    It was yet another example of how the Internet – and the anonymity it affords – has given a public stage to people's basest thoughts, ones that in earlier eras likely never would have traveled past the water cooler, the kitchen table or the next barstool.
     
  3. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    I think we don't see as much of this here as other sites do because most members are pretty vulnerable when we arrive. We have a culture of understanding, support and of building up rather than tearing down.
     
  4. runawaybunny

    runawaybunny Guest

    That story is one that happened locally, the newspaper's new unmoderated forum is where the messages were posted. It's the paper that we have delivered daily and they covered the story.

    Here's my opinion:

    The newspaper, the Orange County Register, unveiled their new forum and marketed it as an unmoderated forum where anyone can post their anonymous comments without registering. When I saw that was their marketing angle I thought they'd have some backlash, and within a couple of weeks they did.

    There are a very small number of really unbalanced people that get some kind of twisted gratification posting vulgar and hurtful things on message boards. I've been running forums for over 7 years and from what I've seen these people are all hit and run cowards. They use the anominity offered by "freedom of speech" forums and post things that they would never say to anyone's face. That encourages other weak minded people to strike out in the same way. That old saying birds of a feather flock together is true for internet forums.

    This forum is the most welcoming and supportive community that I have ever found on the internet. Once again it's birds of a feather...
     
  5. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Forums should not be unmoderated. The legal ramifications alone are immense. Our local paper was discussing having a 'Net forum and I begged and pleaded for them to have a moderator. There were others crying foul at the thought of censorship, but I pointed out that they also had to protect the paper legally from allowing defamatory comments to remain anonymously or otherwise.
    I'm not sure what they ended up doing because I left them to it when I realised they would never have consensus.

    My mother was six months' pregnant with me before she found out. She was then too embarrassed to tell anybody because she was 44 and already had a big family. My mother was a large lady and nobody knew except for immediate family. Not even her parents-in-law knew - she visited them the week before I was born and STILL didn't tell them. The next door neighbour asked my oldest sister where my mother was, he hadn't seen her for a week. "Oh, she's in hospital, she had a baby last Monday," said my sister. The neighbour didn't believe her.

    It happens. My mother wasn't embarrassed because of her size, it was her age. I'm so glad for her that the internet was not around - she would have copped a lot of abuse. I also found it difficult at times, growing up with parents old enough to be my grandparents. But they also had a wealth of knowledge and experience which I still value. My mother in law is closer in age to my sister, than my mother.

    Marg
     
  6. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    Marg - It DOES happen! I knew a girl who thought she was having an appendicitis attack and ended up delivering a full-term 8-pound baby girl in the doctors office! And no, I'm NOT kidding! This girl went to school with my daughter and I worked with her dad.

    There had to be a great deal of denial at work here too, but she really did not know! She was a senior in high school and her parents were away on the first real vacation they had taken in ten years. She was somewhat overweight but not that much. She took a home pregnancy test very early on that said "negative" (probably too early) so she assumed that she wasn't pregnant and attributed all her symptoms to something else, and she didn't tell her parents because she thought she had some horrible disease and she was afraid to tell them. Then came the day a few weeks before graduation, parents on vacation in the Bahamas, and she started having abdominal pains that got worse and worse. She got scared and literally ran down the street to the doctors office. The doctor, of course, saw right away that she was in labor ... she had about a half an hour to get used to the idea that she was going to be a mother before her daughter was born right there in the doctors exam room! Surprise! Surprise!

    Her poor parents hadn't even known that she had a boyfriend much less.... Having had two children myself, I can't imagine how anyone could possibly mistake the feeling of having another entire human being kicking around inside of you in the later months! But apparently she did!

    But we all did some very serious giggling trying to imagine that difficult phone call she must have made to her parents ... "Uhhh, Dad, guess what...!"
     
  7. HereWeGoAgain

    HereWeGoAgain Grandpa

    Political and/or religious issues discussions attract this stuff, and social forums frequented by younger people (like some of our difficult children!).

    One board I was on was devoted to discussion about certain cultural/political/religious issues; the members of another board organized and carried on an attack that shut it down for awhile. The other forum was moderated too, but the mods were part of the problem!! The admin on the victim forum did some sleuthing, discovered who the "moles" were, and banned logins from their IP addresses. Some of them re-registered from other computers (library, schools) but there is software that can analyse language patterns and uncover sockpuppets, so most of them were ferreted out and banned too, eventually.

    I do like this site for the absence of sniping and backbiting. I think it's because of the ethic of mutual support, as has been mentioned.

    In other words, you people are the best!
     
  8. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    There have been times when I've been researching something, often as innocent as a recipe, and stumbled on the most appalling garbage ever spewed out of the minds and keyboards of fellow human beings. It scared me to think that I share breathing space on this planet with some of these individuals.
    But yes - language patterns can be highly revealing. I manually used something of this nature to identify a flamer I had on another site, who was stalking me online and dogging every post with abuse and public accusations. But the more this person said online (all anonymous, of course) the more fodder she gave me to finally work out who it was. To my face she was as sweet as pie, but online she was vicious.
    Once I worked out who it was I never had the chance to challenge her - the site I'd been posting on shut down independently anyway. And I realised that I had no reason to be afraid because she really WAS a pathetic, sad creature whose sole enjoyment was feeling powerful in 'getting at' people she was jealous of.
    But the big givaway - her stock phrases and pet topics. Initially she tried to disguise her identity, but with time she got careless, like a stalker on the phone who is trying to avoid being there long enough for a successful trace. Eventually they WILL get traced.
    And one other givaway - people tend to accuse others of their own crimes. An embezzler will be anxious about the security of his own bank accounts, for example. So when my stalker accused one of my supporters in a post of being me and using multiple false identities to pretend I was being supported by others, I went through and checked ALL my negative comments and presto! There were her signature comments and typos also. Silly cow...
     
  9. dreamer

    dreamer New Member

    i think we were sorta cruel about the person mentioned in this article on this thread........
     
  10. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    This is a moderated forum and we have to register. That makes a big difference. Plus, we're all in the same boat, and all need, give and take advice.

    Yes, I've seen some awful stuff out there. It is an unbelievable slice of human garbage that makes me ashamed to be human. I've seen notes that are literally cut-and-paste duplicates of the same idiotic note, placed in very inappropriate forums--not only hit and run, but cut-and-paste and run! There are some very sick, immature people out there and I/we just have to stay away from there.

    This bb is very supportive and great.
     
  11. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    I've been really shocked a few times going on to public forums, even those from local TV stations and newspapers! You do have to register on these sites but they all use screen names, and it seems to be a regular crew who frequent the forums. There's no profanity or actual threats, and the sites are monitored, but their main purpose in posting seems very far away from just commenting on the issues being discussed. They seem to get great joy out of one-upping and insulting each other and some of them are really "out there".

    I always have this mental image of these people as nerdy, friendless little outcasts, the perpetual losers, the ones who have no real life other than what they can come up with on the computer. I can just see them sitting alone in a dark room at midnight, cackling to themselves as they type in their latest sarcastic, smart-:censored2: remarks, things they would never have the courage to say in person to someone's face!
     
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