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AG

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Trolling and Abuse
« on: February 26, 2014, 09:36 »
In Australia this week we have had the tragic suicide of Charlotte Dawson ... and its highlighted - for me at least - a number of things about the internet and our level of personal responsibility for what we say.

Charlotte Dawson was a model and tv presenter who had depression and other mental illness issues, and who had a fairly substantial presence on social media.  She was could be contraversial at times, but no different from other media identities.

Last year she was subjected to a bucketload of twitter abuse, and as a direct result of that attempted to commit suicide.

http://www.mamamia.com.au/health-wellbeing/charlotte-dawson-and-the-twitter-trolls/

She was admitted to hospital and recovered - and went on to give an interview on 60 minutes about her depression, the issues with cyber bullying and what happened. 

It has made me deeply consider everything I write and read on forums such as these.  We post opinions and ideas so easily, get into arguments - sometimes heated ones - and say all kinds of things that you would not necessarily say to a real person standing in front of you.  If you are talking to someone, you can see them, judge for yourself how they react to your words and tone things down if you think its appropriate ... but on a forum (or twitter), you cant.   You cant see them, you dont know anything about them, and we hand out insults and say things that can be taken so badly

It highlights for me the fact that you just don't know the mental state of the person reading your posts 

While a normal, rational person might be able to accept your harsh words and petty insults, walk away and not be bothered ... if the person on the other end of the computer is already vulnerable, how might your words affect them?   

I would ask that people take a moment to think about what they are posting ... about how it might be received, and if you think it might be considered insulting or overly harsh ... reword it.  or walk away.     

Is it really that important that someone on the internet thinks you are right? 
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  • cj2002

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    Re: Trolling and Abuse
    « Reply #1 on: February 26, 2014, 09:59 »
    Barely a week goes by over here without some story of Twitter abuse. It's terrifying to think that there are people out there who feel that these are acceptable things to say in what - although some will argue against me - is, to all intents and purposes, a public arena.

    We are moving towards it, but I fear there will need to be a few more situations like Charlotte Dawson, or Caroline Criado-Perez before internet behaviour is brought more into line with normal behaviour.

    Rule number 1: don't say anything to someone or about someone, on the internet, that you would not be willing to say to that same person's face.

    Rule number 2: Refer to 1.

    We will also need, I think, for the networks through which this abuse is sent to start taking on a duty-of-care/corporate responsibility. And sooner rather than later.
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    Capt_Cavman

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    Re: Trolling and Abuse
    « Reply #2 on: February 26, 2014, 10:11 »
    ...
    Is it really that important that someone on the internet thinks you are right?
    If only...








    I think one of the issues is that people fall into the trap of equating internet interaction to 'real' interaction. But it isn't, there's nothing like it in the real world at all. And there should be a massive warning on the front of it that there are down sides to being able to speak to anybody in the world, whoever they are, wherever they are. They can all talk to you too.
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  • DB-Coop

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    Re: Trolling and Abuse
    « Reply #3 on: February 26, 2014, 10:47 »
    Rule number 1: don't say anything to someone or about someone, on the internet, that you would not be willing to say to that same person's face.

    This rule doesn't really work, first of all this would mean that if you troll people irl then you can also troll online. And in regards to politics it has issues. A North Korean citzident might want to say Kim is terrible. But I would not want him to say that to his face if he bumped into him.
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  • Echoes

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    Re: Trolling and Abuse
    « Reply #4 on: February 26, 2014, 12:17 »
    I can be sometimes (often? nooo  ;)) violent in debates. You all know. But my intention is never to force anyone to commit suicide. And I don't do Twitter anyway.

    I usually think before posting but sometimes it's hard. What I mean is that primarily I'd like to say what is on my mind (the aim not being to shock anybody!) and if we are stripped off our freedom of speech, it would be sad.

    It might be shocking to say (against such a tragic event) but I think Twitter should be taken [edit: read: shoud NOT be] that seriously either. If you are insulted, let it go! The insulter always places himself 'below' the insulted. But of course I don't know what it is to be depressive, so it's easy for me to say.
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  • « Last Edit: February 27, 2014, 16:19 by Echoes »
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    Re: Trolling and Abuse
    « Reply #5 on: February 26, 2014, 14:34 »
    Is it really that important that someone on the internet thinks you are right?
    Not at all.

    Differing approaches and opinions are part of life. Its how we share our views and interact with others who may not share them that marks us out.

    In the main this forum is one of the better places for that debate to take place.

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  • cj2002

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    Re: Trolling and Abuse
    « Reply #6 on: February 26, 2014, 14:57 »
    I think Twitter should be taken that seriously either. If you are insulted, let it go!

    Yes, in general this is true. But there are people out there who send hideous and targeted abuse to people, just - so it seems - for sport. The example I gave above, Caroline Criado-Perez, was receiving explicit threats of rape from the same people, multiple times per hour, 12 hours a day. You or I shouldn't have to alter our Twitter habits to avoid or ignore this... and these are the sort of people who generate new accounts to get around blocks. So being unable to just let it go, Twitter should step up and take firmer action... IP blocking is imperfect but is at least something proactive.

    And DB... I was being at least slightly tongue-in-cheek. I agree that there are people who would be just as unpleasant in real life as they are online. But for most people, just being pleasant isn't too much of a difficulty!
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  • Tuart

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    Re: Trolling and Abuse
    « Reply #7 on: February 26, 2014, 15:14 »
    You don't really have freedom of speech. Everything you do has repercussions

    I can't walk down main street shouting "cocksucker" at everyone I meet and not either a) get done for slander b) physically reacted to violently or c) people viewing me in a rather negative light.

    Meanwhile if I was to join a forum like this and start calling every poster before me a "cocksucker", then I don't think me or my IP address would last very long here.

    Now, I can make those decisions, just the same as people in Kiev can make the decision to shout anti-president remarks, but they are not free of consequences.

    Also as kids we were told not to take other people (or children's ) words to heart and that it is what we think that matters...but as soon as we get on the internet everything is taken to heart.

    When did maturity and having a thick skin regress at the touch of an 'on' button?
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    Gotland

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    Re: Trolling and Abuse
    « Reply #8 on: February 26, 2014, 15:17 »
    Communication online is the problem of generalized other. I ripped this definition from the wikipedia page https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generalized_other  "It is the general notion that a person has of the common expectations that others have about actions and thoughts within a particular society, and thus serves to clarify their relation to the other as a representative member of a shared social system"

    Right there is a problem when culture A is talking to culture B, or even different social classes within the same culture. Working class is often regarded as vulgar by the upper class etc.

    Besides generalized other, our brains are hardwired to fill in any missing bits of information. Which is really good when walking on the African savanna searching for prey/ on the look out for a lion.

    Conversely,  this is not so good in online communication. Where the whole scope of human communication is cramped into 140 characters. Just by automatically filling in the *wrong* piece of information in the brain, a person can perceive a mild remark as deeply insulting.
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    froome19

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    Re: Trolling and Abuse
    « Reply #9 on: February 26, 2014, 17:43 »

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/driver-in-bloodycylists-storm-found-guilty-after-knocking-cyclist-off-his-bike-8949449.html

    Emma Way: Driver in #bloodycyclists Twitter storm convicted after knocking cyclist off bike

    The fine was very minimal but she lost her job because of it and her image was totally ruined. This is slightly off topic, but I think it is a very promising and important sign of developments on twitter and other social interfaces. It shows that the repercussions are real and whilst you hear about it, this really brings it down to earth for many people. Hopefully the fact that legal justice can be taken via actions on social media will make people think twice about their language on the web, because it is very hard to relate to someone who you will never ever see or hear from in all likelihood.
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    Echoes

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    Re: Trolling and Abuse
    « Reply #10 on: February 26, 2014, 19:02 »
    Yes, in general this is true. But there are people out there who send hideous and targeted abuse to people, just - so it seems - for sport. The example I gave above, Caroline Criado-Perez, was receiving explicit threats of rape from the same people, multiple times per hour, 12 hours a day.

    By freedom of speech, I mean the freedom to voice an opinion on a given topic, call it 'freedom of opinion' in a way. Moral harassment and threats is very different. That is not an opinion. In my country this is sanctioned by the law, as in many others, I think. It should be.

    However freedom of opinion is something I strongly believe in. Even the most shocking ones should be tolerated and sometimes it should be understood that we get a bit hot in debate and resort to some 'ugly' words. I don't approve them!! But it's "human". It's a weakness... 

    I can understand that there are things going on on Twitter that I can't imagine (I don't do it, I repeat, so I can't really judge, I am aware of that), which is certainly a matter of upbringing. Believe me, I am still siding the victims. I don't support these trolls. But I don't know how to realistically avoid it. I guess such people will always be there.

    If an authority is making rules about it, then there might be abuses in the other way. The French are now very active in prosecuting for people's convictions. I mean Bob Dylan says something about the Croatians because of their attitude during WWII, tribunal ! Person A says this, tribunal. Person B says that, tribunal ! Opinion crimes! I mean where are we heading to? Is that a society we want to live in?

    PS: CJ, it's not too much of a problem but I wish you hadn't snipped so much of my post before quoting me. "If you are insulted, let it go! The insulter always places himself 'below' the insulted." That way you have the 'why' of my opinion. ;)
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  • AG

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    Re: Trolling and Abuse
    « Reply #11 on: February 26, 2014, 23:33 »
    while I agree with you Echoes that IMO the insulter is lower than the person being insulted ... I have learned to walk away and let things go.  And I am the kind of person who can do that.  I am rational and level headed (mostly) and of sound mind (sometimes :P ).

    But what about the many people who suffer mental illness.  They arent so rational, and cannot just 'walk away and not let it bother them'.     No that does not mean that everyone has to walk on egg shells just because someone might get offended.   But it does mean that each person has a responsibility to make sure that their posts do not cause irreparable harm to another person.

    Discussion and debate are great - even robust discussion and disagreement.  But when it comes to insults and putting people down ... I ask everyone to think carefully about the actual person on the other end of the computer who is reading that you think they are a "mindless idiot who cant read, write or form an opinion"   

    I dont have too many issues with anyone posting here.  All in all, we are a forum where the people are incredibly friendly and tend not to dish out too many insults.  More than that, we dont tend to have all that much of the "jump on the bandwagon" type stuff where everyone jumps on one person who said something silly or has an opinion that is different to everyone else. 

    There are other social media sites where this is much more prevalent, and it bothers me.
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  • Arb

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    Re: Trolling and Abuse
    « Reply #12 on: February 27, 2014, 10:42 »
    I don't really get distilling depression down to "internet trolls".

    Terrible illness, massive amounts of suffering, in some cases it's terminal. To go looking for a few responsible factors is trivialising how bad it is. When it's someone close we struggle with the burden of guilt knowing we shouldn't, yet we're happy to attribute it to others.
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  • Kiwirider

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    Re: Trolling and Abuse
    « Reply #13 on: February 27, 2014, 15:23 »
    I moved off the site a few months back - reflecting my new-found general lack of interest in most forms of cycling competition rather than anything "personal" to VR - I've lurked regularly to keep up to date with the Citizen Kaos thread ... However AG's thread here somehow caught my attention - and the link/comments etc about depression that I've seen here make me feel strongly enough to "come out of retirement" for one more post.

    My experience with depression is second hand. My partner suffers from it - she's medicated and has regular sessions with a psycho-therapist. She's suffered in some shape or form for the entire 16 years that I've known her. Right now she seems to be better in control of it than at any time in our combined history. The important phrase is "seems to be" - as only the person themselves really knows.

    Her condition has manifested in many ways. Some of the most extreme include her looking for a knife on her first night in Canada (I'd arrived two weeks before her) so that she could slit her wrists. She's also had thoughts about taking the long walk in the snow, gassing herself and other "peaceful means" of killing herself. Thankfully they've been less common over the past two years or so.

    At other times her condition reflects in not wanting to be in a relationship. That has seen us split up, and typically sees a discussion about "what do you think of us?" every couple of months - usually during or just after her period. (One of the cruel things about depression in women is that there seem to be similar biochemical links between depression and PMT - certainly the highest standard dose of Prozac is for PMT sufferers. I can always bank on her having two really bad days per month - one during her period and the other just before or just after.) This timing tie up makes me certain that it's not just me being an arsehole ...  :D

    In general her depression reflects in a massive lack of confidence, and periodic bouts of massive dissatisfaction with all things in life that would seem - to most people - to be completely illogical. For example, we're heading to Spain for a week of MTB riding in a few days. For the past couple of weeks, she has been excited. Now that the date is getting closer (we leave Sunday), the trip has become a big negative. Why? She's worried about travelling with bikes (the likely cost of excess baggage especially), whether she has the fitness (she's a personal trainer - so no brainer), whether she has the skills (we've both got over 15 years of MTB riding, and she's represented NZ before), etc, etc, etc ...

    The degree of her suffering will fluctuate wildly - sometimes due to external factors, sometimes to chemistry. Sometimes something that people say or do can provoke a response, and other times not. Two recent classic examples are a good friend of hers saying that him and his partner are looking to visit us mid-summer. That upset her because he didn't send her a birthday greeting this year. The other morning I made a comment about being sore from her exercise class the night before - and was given a rocket about how its not her fault, I didn't have to attend, etc ..

    If any of you were to meet her, I doubt that you'd know that there was anything "wrong with her" (I hate that phrase, but it's the easiest to use). She runs her own business - and is successful at it. Is driven (perhaps a sign), bubbly - if a little shy, and a warm and caring person. She generally hides the depression well - and if she thought that any of you could trace this post back to being able to identify her, would be angry at me beyond belief.

    It isn't a condition that people can "just snap out of". She has some good friends, all of whom tell her and show her how much they love her. My family has adopted her as "one of their own". Her family are a bit "stiff upper lip English", which doesn't help - but they are closer than they used to be. Despite all of this, she can't necessarily see that she has anyone on her side - mainly because she can't see that she has anything of value about her that would make someone want to stand by her side.

    The point - after this long ramble - is to say that, people like her are on the web and are on boards. (She has a couple of sites that she contributes to for her work, and runs her own exercise related facebook group for people in our area.) The vast majority of the time, you wont know if the person that you're having a debate with is carrying issues like this - and likewise, most responses wouldn't have any impact on them. The biggest likelihood of causing a problem is if people move from "playing the ball, to playing the (wo)man". That was the issue that Charlotte Dawson faced - and my understanding is that the vitriol was much worse on my (former) side of the Tasman than it was on AG's. Kiwi's are prize arseholes for anyone who dares to rise above the mass/mundanity - and Dawson committed the ultimate crime of calling the nation on it's habit of doing so. (Recently she even advised Lorde to leave NZ and was hammered for it. Surprisingly, Neil Finn - of Crowded House - didn't get hammered when he said the same thing ...)

    So, while I wouldn't for a minute suggest that anyone on VR is the type of sh*t-head that Tweets crap like "You an aresehole and should flip off and die" (as apparently one NZ TV news anchor received recently) - if there was any counsel I'd give it would be to keep the debate healthy and robust - which most people on VR seem well capable of doing!!!  ;) - and to not make it personal.

    And on that note, I'll shuffle off back to the shadows ... after seeing if The Rev's posted anything new overnight ...  :D

    Catch you later
    Kiwirider
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  • Flo

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    Re: Trolling and Abuse
    « Reply #14 on: February 27, 2014, 15:35 »
    Kiwi :hug good to see you again :wave
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    Re: Trolling and Abuse
    « Reply #15 on: February 27, 2014, 17:06 »
    while I agree with you Echoes that IMO the insulter is lower than the person being insulted ... I have learned to walk away and let things go.  And I am the kind of person who can do that.  I am rational and level headed (mostly) and of sound mind (sometimes :P ).

    But what about the many people who suffer mental illness.  They arent so rational, and cannot just 'walk away and not let it bother them'.     No that does not mean that everyone has to walk on egg shells just because someone might get offended.   But it does mean that each person has a responsibility to make sure that their posts do not cause irreparable harm to another person.

    while I agree with you Echoes that IMO the insulter is lower than the person being insulted ... I have learned to walk away and let things go.  And I am the kind of person who can do that.  I am rational and level headed (mostly) and of sound mind (sometimes :P ).

    But what about the many people who suffer mental illness.  They arent so rational, and cannot just 'walk away and not let it bother them'.     No that does not mean that everyone has to walk on egg shells just because someone might get offended.   But it does mean that each person has a responsibility to make sure that their posts do not cause irreparable harm to another person.

    I understood your point perfectly, AG. You'd notice that I did post something in my poor English that went your way: "But of course I don't know what it is to be depressive, so it's easy for me to say."  I meant that I do not know how a mentally more fragile person may react to an offensive comment, so my post is perhaps easy to say. I admit it. Perhaps a weaker person shuld try to avoid such kind of social media sites. I know it is hard to say that because it gives the impression that I amm siding the assailant and not the victim. But real life is so much more important. Also I have to say, the poor person you were talking about is a celebrity in Australia, if I understood well. At the beginning of Facebook, when I saw all these celebrities having an account, I was really wondering how that was gonna end. I mean they are really huge risks, unveiling their private life, that way ...

    There's not much I disagree with you on. I like your posts [though should be understood, I don't like what happened, I like your recommendations!]. But I'm also thinking about the solutions and I have to say I can't see any. There will always be bullies on Twitter or some other Internet boards, I'm afraid. Also I guess it's testament of a huge educational problem. I can't spek for Australia but here at school, for instance, everything is focused on "Children's Right" (they have the right to choose their classes, etc.) and in the end growing up they think everything is permitted to them.

    What I however am really afraid of is if some authorities (whether legal authorities or webmasters) are taking advantage of such cases to take actions because I think it opens the door to any kind of arbitrary measures and abuses on the other side. "I don't like your opinion, you are banned". Censorship really is an enemy. I think the Internet is a great source of information. I'm reading a lot of alternative media (though of course there's a lot of crap too). Compared to TV, its a real revolution because TV is obviously some kind of an elitist media, newspapers as well. So I really wish we could keep this freedom and diversity of opinion on the net. But I realize that it also has its dangers, that is what you showed with this thread. There is a real problem there, for sure.
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  • batchuba

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    Re: Trolling and Abuse
    « Reply #16 on: February 27, 2014, 21:53 »
    Without being too dramatic, the only reason you hear about this "issue" of online bullying, trolling and the like, are because they are part of a concerted effort to expand policing of the internet. Likewise with the horror stories about the non-existent pedo army hunting our kids ,"debates" about the damage of copyright infringement and so on. The world is full of bad things and people being nasty to eachother, and most of them aren't happening on the internet.

    Our western media ain't what it used to be. Practically every single item on every single news channel, or major internet information source has the purpose of engendering an emotional response which renders people amenable to greater reductions on personal freedom or regime change in a foreign sovereign state. It has been this way since roughly 2003. Its best to ignore them all, other than to observe the techniques they use.

    I must acknowledge however, that I always check my more flippant internet posts to make sure I didn't stray into abusive territory, for the very reason you talk about. You are right of course about the huge gap in perception and emotional investment possible between the participants in an internet conversation. I can't say it keeps me up at night though. Unlike say, an abusive workplace, one can pick and choose when to interact on the internet, and any unwanted attentions can effortlessly be avoided unless one actually chooses to be an exhibitionist. In which case you'd better get yourself a suitably thick skin.

    Entire nations going up in flames due to brutal invasions of unimaginable horror upsets me. Rich, famous, vacuous, abrasive extrovert attention seekers topping themselves because they apparently can't handle the atmosphere of hostility they decided to make a career from - not so much.

    First world problems, man.

    I'd best shut up now though, lest I actually begin to troll in a thread about trolling. Which would not be good. :)
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  • AG

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    Re: Trolling and Abuse
    « Reply #17 on: February 28, 2014, 00:35 »
    :hug  :hug  :hug   Kiwirider

    drop by anytime   :D
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  • DB-Coop

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    Re: Trolling and Abuse
    « Reply #18 on: March 22, 2014, 00:04 »
    In relation to cyber bullying, poor Bradley.

    Ive never actually met Brad, hes seen me around, knows who I am, but theres clearly bad feeling between us. Part of it stems from a blog post I wrote on TSF. I only ever wrote two opinion peices on the site. One where I said that sky shouldnt sign Cav. And another where I said I didnt think Brad was good enough to win the tour and should focus on peeking for the Dauphine or Tour de Suisse to get one of those on his palmares.

    The tipping point though was, either 3 days of de panne, or 4 days of west flanders, i cant remember which, but the final stage was a TT that Brad was favourite to win. This was the early days of Sky and a win for Wiggins in the TT would have been important for them. He rolled in HC on the previous stage with half the bunch and didnt ride the TT and I slated him for not making an effort to finish in time, that there were fans who made the trip purely for the TT to see him and he let them down. He Blocked me on twitter.

    A few days later I had a really long chat with Cath (his wife) about it. Brad was hurt by comments, and also felt let down by my comments, because, he felt that as the owner/admin of a Team Fan Site I should be supportive of all the riders regardless of my personal opinion. He was possibly right, as admin of a site dedicated to the team I perhaps did have a responsibility to support that team regardless, but then, what ive been accused of is "letting my support of the team cloud my judgement", which is ironic if you consider that it was my "judgement and opinion" that led to the falling out with Brad.

    I had a very long chat with Cath, and what became clear was that Brad isnt the tough guy he makes out, he does actually give a sh*t about peoples opinions and thoughts, and I genuinly upset him. Did he deserve it, was I right to slate him for not giving a crap and not doing the TT. Maybe, or maybe I slated him without knowing if he was ill, or injured, or some other reason. Brad was home when me and cath had this chat, and no doubt she told him what I had said (im not going to share the conversation), and no doubt his response was "hes just a flipping masturbator", but it did make me realise that Brad is just a guy with feelings the same as everyone else, with pressures the same as everyone else.

    (http://velorooms.com/index.php?topic=5219.0)

    I think the line between internet abuse and criticism when it comes to celebrities is really thin. Really I think much of it is about where it is posted. I mean there is no need to go on twitter and tell @ladygaga or what ever that there music is bad and stupidities the youth, however in a music forum such an opinion may be perfectly fine.
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  • « Last Edit: March 22, 2014, 00:16 by DB-Coop »

    Dim

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    Re: Trolling and Abuse
    « Reply #19 on: March 22, 2014, 00:52 »
    It is a fine line.

    I think, or to try and explain two different approaches using the above example.


    version 1
    @bradwiggins, lazy bastard, you didnt make an effort to finish, wont do the tt, fans went there to see you race, disrespectful etc.

    version 2
    I see that @bradwiggins decided to roll in the groupetto today, lazy bastard etc etc...

    simililarly

    version 1
    @albertocontador You are crap

    version 2

    I think @albertocontador is crap


    Now on one hand, option 1 in both cases is clearly targetted at an individual, whereas option 2 is an observation not directly aimed at the individual but discussing them.

    are they different.

    I have though seen a growing trend of people including the person they are targettng mid tweet so as not to directly "harass" them, but still make sure they appear in their mentions.
  • ReplyReply

  • Dim

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    Re: Trolling and Abuse
    « Reply #20 on: March 22, 2014, 00:52 »
    But then I would so Flo and her gang bully Michelle Cound. :D
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  • Tom

    Re: Trolling and Abuse
    « Reply #21 on: March 22, 2014, 01:08 »
    Difficulty with twitter/internet is one persons troll is just another persons honest opinion.

    I recall when some twitter 'famous' guy called Nick Harvey (and he isn't alone on this) threw a fit over people not finding him funny and disabled his twitter account due to trolling, this trolling took the form of people discussing him and his tweets and basically saying he wasn't funny, they never included his @ in the conversation (and weren't bar one person abusive) but he searched for people linking his status and set off a feud between his followers and people who didn't find him funny which ultimately as I previously mentioned led to him being runoft and his followers earnestly complaining about the state of society nowadays.

    Long story short whilst genuine trolling is awful too many people find it easier to write off differing  opinions as trolling when it really isn't, I guess that's preferable to contemplating that they might actually have a point.
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  • Flo

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    Re: Trolling and Abuse
    « Reply #22 on: March 22, 2014, 14:35 »
    But then I would so Flo and her gang bully Michelle Cound. :D

     :shh
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  • Drummer Boy

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    Re: Trolling and Abuse
    « Reply #23 on: March 22, 2014, 16:50 »
    Interesting thread, with many interesting perspectives offered. I see what I consider to be a lot of truth in all the above opinions. It's a vast topic, to be sure.

    RE: Charlotte Dawson
    Any story like that has its own inherent tragedies, but what jumps out at me is the addictive nature of online communication and the pitfalls attached. To me, that is something that society needs to look at (although I am not pretending to have the answers). In reading the attached articles relating to the OP, I found these comments:

    "It is understood it was Dawson’s failure to appear at a lunch appointment — as well as the fact her Twitter account had remained dormant for 19 hours — that alerted one friend to contact the building manager at Dawson’s apartment building early Saturday morning."

    and

    “She had failed to show up to a lunch a couple of days ago and then when I had seen she hadn’t tweeted in almost a day it was clear something was wrong.”

    To me, there is something very sad that abstaining from Twitter, for less than a single day, would be an immediate sign of dire consequences for any person. What have we become when we can no longer unplug ourselves from the matrix? The explicitly disgusting suggestions that were directed towards Charlotte Dawson are unforgivable, and I've no idea as to what kind of people would be behind such things, but it is possible to disconnect from the source. The inability to do so is what I find troubling and sad, in a very empathetic way. Some people are not cut out for online communication, and when those same people's careers are intertwined with social media, things can become quite difficult.

    A couple of years ago, I had an "interesting" exchange, via twitter, with a very famous and extremely well respected drummer. In fact, I've been a huge fan and supporter of his for years. But then things went awry. He is quite active with Twitter, Facebook, etc and I would follow his adventures and sometimes compliment him on things here and there. But then one day I did the unforgivable: I called him out on a somewhat minor display of hypocrisy, and had the audacity to question why he posted a link to a god-awful, death-metal band. This was all through twitter, and I really had no reason to believe he would even notice what I had said, or that he would respond (he never had in the past when I always had only good things to say on his behalf). In all honesty, I was mostly doing it to amuse a few of my friends that I knew would see my remarks.

    But then he did reply to me, with all the maturity of a 10-year-old. It seemed that I was perhaps the first person in his life who had ever questioned anything he had ever done. He sense of self-importance was most revealing. He then sent out a cry-baby tweet that he was shutting down all social networking, include Facebook and Twitter and that all communication would have to be done directly through his personal website.

    Fade to black...He actually did shut down his accounts.  :s

    Here was a perfect example of someone that probably is not ready for the internet, even though they were content to exploit it to their own means, as long as they could have it their way and only their way. I even sent him a message to his website, fully introduced myself, and explained what I thought to be a general misunderstanding (in terms of severity). I never got a response (more maturity on display).

    I thought to myself: Here's a guy who has some of the best gigs on the planet, has played with some of my very favorite artists, has no-doubt made more money than I will ever see, and possess and extraordinary talent as a musician. But apparently my comments on twitter were too much for him. It's hard to have much sympathy for such people. In his case, I have none. Needless to say (and I knew his ego would make it so) it was only a matter of time before his accounts were all back up and active again.

    I suppose one of my points is that as much as the internet can be a breeding ground for toxic vitriol—and because of that it's easy to question this supposed downfall of human civility—what seems to be overlooked is that much of the "criticism" and negativity is no different than what most of us might express among close friends when riding in a car or standing around one's kitchen. We say all sorts of things that, in the past, would be kept within those confines because do to otherwise, would significantly change the context and, thereby, the meaning. But much of the phenomenon of Twitter is that this barrier has, for some reason, been removed. Perhaps many people are simply much more honest? As hurtful and painful as some things come across, they are often no different than any of those kitchen conversations that most of us have had.

    '"That newscaster is such a *#@*&  *@#$%#&%@, I can't believe that ******* **** still has a job."

    I'm  sure that most of us have had such moments, the difference being that we never shared them with the world. But now that is changing, although I'm at a loss to explain why necessarily.  But the manner (and tone) in which these things are expressed is not much different than it has even been, besides the fact that it used to happen only in mostly private confines. The vehicle of that expression, however, has changed immensely.

    While I fully understand the appeal made in the OP for vigilance and self-monitoring of what we post, I fear that if everything we do is guided by the fear that someone, somewhere, might not react well to it, then the internet may become a rather dull place. Polite and informative, yes. But in time, mind-numblingly dull and possibly lacking in the ability to truly challenge our view of the world around us. I am certainly in favor of finding the proper balance though.

    I have many more thoughts on the subject, but that is quite enough for one post at the moment.
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  • « Last Edit: March 22, 2014, 21:27 by Drummer Boy »

    The Hitch

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    Re: Trolling and Abuse
    « Reply #24 on: March 22, 2014, 16:58 »
    Maybe Brad Wiggins should take other people's feelings into account before he starts crying about his own. Didn't seem to care about other people's feelings when he insulted garmin as a sh*t team, when he suggested sastre was doping, when he suggested schleck was doping, when he bullied Landis for doing the right thing, when he insulted Kimmage, when he claimed not to know who Purito is etc. The guy slings sh*t at people more than anyone else in the peloton bar none.

    When Brad Wiggins learns to treat others with respect, the argument that he has feelings may have some merit. Until then, cry me a river. No one has said a single thing on the internet about brad wiggins that he didn't say at some point about someone else himself. Typical of the double standards he and his loyal fans demand of everyone else. 1 rule for prince brad, another for everyone else.
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  • Despite the self-serving data benders and associated propaganda to the contrary, I am led to believe that there are pockets of organised, highly sophisticated dopers, even within 'new age' cycling teams. Personally, I don't accept that the 'dark era' has ended, it has just morphed into a new guise.

    mew

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    Re: Trolling and Abuse
    « Reply #25 on: March 22, 2014, 20:27 »
    lol DB
     :D
    Quote
    Here was a perfect example of someone that probably is not ready for the internet

    I like this quote... :cool :D
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  • Drummer Boy

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    Re: Trolling and Abuse
    « Reply #26 on: March 22, 2014, 22:12 »
    We are moving towards it, but I fear there will need to be a few more situations like Charlotte Dawson, or Caroline Criado-Perez before internet behaviour is brought more into line with normal behaviour.
    I think we're talking about two, very different, issues here.

    1) The overall lack of civility and respect that is often displayed online (and I'm often shocked at just how "candid" well-known people are with their "opinions.")

    2) Mentally unstable people taking advantage of the ease of internet communication.

    In the above article about Carolin Criado-Perez, the two perpetrators that were brought before the courts were clearly in this second group: mentally unstable individuals with unlimited time on their hands. Those people always have been, and always will be, out there. But in the past, these abuses would often be more frightening than a tweet. I can think of a few cases around here where someone had done something publicly, only to unexpectedly incite a reaction that was much more personal: Letters sent to their home, packages left on their doorstep, etc (the most extreme case would be the Yale professor who became one of the victims of the Unabomber).

    But now, it would seem, we've surrendered too much power over to Twitter and other online vehicles. To quote from the Criado-Perez article:
    Quote
    "Caroline Criado-Perez has suffered life-changing psychological effects from the abuse which she received on Twitter," she told the court.
    Now, this is not to defend the indefensible, but FFS, is it so difficult to just get oneself off of Twitter?!?! These weren't threatening messages painted on her front door in blood. They were Tweets, for god's sakes. Should she have had to alter her own online habits, or cancelled her Twitter account just because someone harassed her? I suppose not, as that really wouldn't be fair. But it is an option, no?

    The premise seems to be: We need Twitter to survive in the world, and the very thought of having to, god forbid, NOT USE TWITTER, is simply unbearable.

    Again, I am not trying to make light of very ugly and inexcusable behavior. But if I were ever harassed on Twitter (don't get any ideas, mew) I'm pretty sure I have the solution to put an end to it. That certainly doesn't offer any guarantee that the abuse wouldn't assume some other guise, but Twitter and Facebook, etc make it very easy for some people to "pretend" that they have all the intentions of the Unabomber, when really, they are just pathetic and disturbed individuals with no intention of doing anything other pressing "Enter" on their unclean keyboards.

    Not to mention that, should it come down to it, it is far easier for the authorities to track a tweet, email, text or phone call to its source, than it is to track the origins of a potentially deadly package assembled in a shack in the woods and dropped off at a random post office.

    I just find it disturbing that we have allowed something like Twitter to become so indispensable to our existence that some people will remained glued to it even in the face of life-altering events. Especially when we consider that Twitter, like Facebook (god willing) will likely not even exist in a generation or two. Or will at least be relegated to the importance and significance of USENET...or AOL.
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  • Carlo Algatrensig

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    Re: Trolling and Abuse
    « Reply #27 on: March 22, 2014, 23:20 »
    Dave Gorman spoke about trolling/abuse on twitter a while back on a TV show. Basically he said that you could understand people talking about famous people using their name and it being positive or negative but as soon as you actually used the @personsname on twitter it was wrong as you were personally directing it at them even if you just felt you were just talking amongst your friends about them. I agree with this as there are many things that i think I would say about people in general conversation with work colleagues and friends that I wouldn't actually say if they were in front of me in person which is what you essentially do by using the @personsname on twitter.
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  • AG

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    Re: Trolling and Abuse
    « Reply #28 on: March 22, 2014, 23:56 »
    :snip

    Perhaps many people are simply much more honest? As hurtful and painful as some things come across, they are often no different than any of those kitchen conversations that most of us have had.

    '"That newscaster is such a *#@*&  *@#$%#&%@, I can't believe that ******* **** still has a job."

    I'm  sure that most of us have had such moments, the difference being that we never shared them with the world. But now that is changing, although I'm at a loss to explain why necessarily.  But the manner (and tone) in which these things are expressed is not much different than it has even been, besides the fact that it used to happen only in mostly private confines. The vehicle of that expression, however, has changed immensely.

    While I fully understand the appeal made in the OP for vigilance and self-monitoring of what we post, I fear that if everything we do is guided by the fear that someone, somewhere, might not react well to it, then the internet may become a rather dull place. Polite and informative, yes. But in time, mind-numblingly dull and possibly lacking in the ability to truly challenge our view of the world around us. I am certainly in favor of finding the proper balance though.

    I have many more thoughts on the subject, but that is quite enough for one post at the moment.

    some good points DB.   Its certainly hard to find a balance


    My issue is that when you have a conversation around the kitchen table, you dont usually include the person you are being insulting towards.  they dont hear that.   

    And if you do say something TO someone in that kind of situation, you see them, see their reaction, form an opinion about their state of mind and ability to accept criticism.

    Its not about being guided by the possibility that someone, somewhere might not react well to what you say ... more about simply not going over the top with unnecessary abuse or nastiness.   Eg - Is it necessary to abuse that newsreader - and especially is it really necessary to tag her in with it?   :P   

     
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  • Drummer Boy

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    Re: Trolling and Abuse
    « Reply #29 on: March 23, 2014, 00:49 »
    Eg - Is it necessary to abuse that newsreader - and especially is it really necessary to tag her in with it?
    Nope. That is one aspect of twitter that definitely reeks of pure bullying, based on the way it is often used. It is certainly provocation, and usually quite unnecessary.

    Then again, some people's seeming obsession with always wanting to know when others are talking about them on Twitter in another thing that mystifies me. Some folks do go out of their way to track such things. Makes one wonder what we did with all this free time in the past...
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