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Cyber Harassment: Yes, It is a Woman’s Thing

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53 Responses

  1. I’d add that a lot of online harassment is targeted at people who are perceived as being vulnerable. That includes ethinic minorities, gays, people contemplating suicide, psychiatric patients, and people with serious illnesses. The lulz are all about sadism; online bullies, like offline ones, pick on people they think they can break. This preying-on-the-weak aspect of online harassment plays directly into the gendered aspect that Danielle identifies. “Female” is still beneath “male” on the privilege hierarchy; women in general are poorer, easier to target, and more at risk than men are. They’re also generally less physically able to protect themselves and can’t reliably count on society to protect them, either. Online harassers disproportionately target women because they can get away with it.

  2. DevinB says:

    My comment was never that cyber harassment is not a gender related issue. I suggested that painting it as a gendered problem will get it treating in a different light than highlighting it as a serious moral issue that disproportionally affects women.

    Part of living in a society with sexual and racial baggage means recognizing that the eyes of justice are not blind, nor are the opinions of the commentators or the legislators.

    A relevant example affirmative action vs. drug use. Please note, I have NOT done the relevant research, my recollection is that this is generally the case.

    Affirmative Action is a racial issue. It is also a workplace fairness issue, but it can also be construed as an unfair issue which leads to the best candidate not being selected. The reason why affirmative action is necessary is to alleviate the racial stigma that is damaging those applications credibility.

    When it comes to drugs in inner cities, the devastation has been wrought upon the black youths. (This is where i haven’t done the research, so I apologize if I’m incorrect) However, the focus wasn’t put upon the “racial” aspect but rather on the social norm aspect. Drugs are an ‘absolute wrong’ and must be extinguished. They were able to get traction on the issue by highlighting the damages that were caused, destruction of peoples lives, deaths, communities that imploded. The people pushing for these changes were certainly looking out for the black youth, but they weren’t characterizing it that way.

    I believe that the same approach is necessary here. Cyber harassment is something that needs to be taken seriously, for example, Anna, Beth, Carrie, Diane.

    If you focus on gender, you get responses that focus on gender stereotypes, and not on the merits of your argument.

    That is why commenters say “maybe women are just more sensitive” because you have highlighted that women are the victims. If you give pressing heinous examples, the commenters will focus on whether or not the actions of the perpetrators was acceptable. And, by the way, whenever the commenters mentioned the actions of those specific perpetrators (and not online harassment in general) it was agree that those forum posters went wildly too far.

  3. A.W. says:

    Well, really, no duh on that it is a gender issue. Not all men are pigs, but let’s face it there is a disproportionate distribution in that category. We can go into a long nature v. nurture discussion on why, but that is present reality and its not likely to change.

    DevinB, I think you and Danielle are really saying the same thing only with slightly different words. But I will leave that for you to worry about.

    As far as the first amendment is concerned, what Danielle seems to want to do is expansively define the concepts of hostile environment and threat. Particularly on the concept of “threat” she would expand it so that a guy expressing a desire to do a bad thing written with no apparent awareness that his imagined victim is even aware of his statement, is the same as a threat to do it. As for hostile environment, it is already a serious infringement of freedom of speech, where the undeniable effect has been to chill not only unprotected speech but protected speech as well. Normally that kills a regulation, but not here. I would not want to see this violation of the first amendment expanded.

    Take the case of the man fired for discussing an episode of Seinfeld. He gave the synopsis, which was that Jerry forgot the name of a girl he was dating, but he had one clue: her name rhymed with a part of the female body. Eventually at the end he remembered: Deloris! Well, the schlub in the case told that story and a female colleague claimed she didn’t get it (um, really?). So he gets out a dictionary and show her the word it rhymes with. Accounts vary on how boorish the man was in doing so. The woman made him sound fairly creepy, but she frankly lost me when she claimed that him showing her the word traumatized her to the point of tears. Yes, women do sometimes try to manipulate the protective side of decent guys, and this struck me as a particularly bald attempt at that. I mean I am decent guy, but I’m not an idiot. Anyway, so the company fired him and he sued for wrongful termination. And won. But if you think that means he really won in the end, you don’t know our legal system, and in many states he wouldn’t have had a chance. Now, what do you think his colleagues did next? Do you think they dared to tell a story so mildly risqué that it could air on national TV? Of course not. Even though they had the right to say it, they were chilled. And yet the Supreme Court seems either unaware of this modern reality, or they just don’t care.

    Hostile environment as a breed of discriminatory harassment is itself a violation of the constitution. That is, the courts created a rule that itself violates the constitution. Threats, defamation, batteries (remembering that a battery is merely unwanted touching of any kind), are one thing. Even a quid pro quo is something that should not be allowed. Even denial of service attacks (though google-bombing, as I understand it, is not that). But the hostile environment theory is wrong, and unconstitutional. And the conduct you described in your previous post was constitutionally protected, or at least should be in a free society.

    And at least when you tie it to Title VII, you are talking about a limited context in which there are actual superiors and subordinates: the employment context. But just allowing a free roaming right not to be offended, is nothing more than undisguised fascism. Why not next arrest the proverbial construction workers who make catcalls and use the best forensic technology to determine who wrote those bad things on bathroom walls?

    Oooorrrr, we could just say, “you know what? You have the right to say what you want, with very narrow limits. And that means if you are an employer, a bunch of morons mouthing off on the web does NOT reflect on the character of your employee, but most likely on THEIR character.” Which is not to say that these things shouldn’t be taken seriously, but there are ways to take it seriously without repealing the first amendment.

    Besides, bluntly, it is not the words we ultimately worry about, say in the case of those law students the subject of comments like “I would like to rape her.” It is the actions. If you want to prevent rape, which is the reality you want to live in? the one where people feel free to write that kind of stupid stuff on the web and thus give warning to potential victims, and evidence with which to hang the creeps should they commit the crime? Or the one where free speech has been repealed and so there is no warning until it is too late, and the investigation into the crime itself is that much harder? It is not altogether clear that further eroding the first amendment would make a single woman safer.

    Finally, there is no more dangerous doctrine than to say “we enhance freedom of speech by suffocating the speech rights of bad people.” A shame on anyone who says that.

  4. Paul Gowder says:

    As I hinted at in my comment to the previous post, it’s not just gendered because of the quantitative distribution of misbehavior and victims. It’s gendered a) because of the way the harms work — many of the injuries inflicted on autoadmit and in these places generally are injuries that are inflicted uniquely on women, like accusations of sluttiness; b) because gender is often specifically invoked, as with the rape menacing that was, again, frequently used on autoadmit; c) because in many cases, the posters were obviously motivated by issues directly relating to the gender of the victims, and d) probably because the behavior was considered acceptable in that fucked-up community in part because it was inflicted on women — I’m less sure of d) than I am of a) through c), but it fits the usual pattern of this sort of behavior.

    To say that this sort of thing is not a women’s problem is to just totally miss these frequent phenomena.

  5. With these “statistics,” we still leave out a lot of variables. We don’t define “malicious” or “attacks.” I haven’t seen the messages, but I’d wonder how many of them were geeks who have no social skills trying (poorly and unskillfully) to “attract” a female by moronic means.

    But, saying “hey baby, wanna have cybersex with me?” isn’t an “attack.” It is a 14 year old male’s dumb attempt to impress a perceived female in a chat room — where the mere appearance of a female is often a cause for irrational exuberance. It is often referred to as a “nerd rush.” Add nerd rush theory to the Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory and you’ve got a far cleaner explanation. But, now lets consider some non-anecdotal theory — When we communicate, only 7% of our thoughts are communicated via words. The rest is via tone and visual cues. Have these studies adjusted for the fact that only 7% of the communication gets through online? I doubt it.

    Consider what a douche the average person is. Half the people are douchier than that. Now, stir in anonymity, 93% of the communication being lost, and the GIFWT and what do we have? A pretty good picture of why people act like jerks on the internet, but one that is remarkably gender-neutral.

    This hardly proves some conspiracy to drive women off line. Furthermore, I can probably dig up plenty of examples of women driving other women off line. this story, for example, in which a “feminist” professor drove another feminist blogger offline. Lori Drew was “bullied” by a female neighbor, Juicy Campus would never have reached its heights of filth without angry sorority sisters. William Patry, probably the greatest copyright mind of our lifetime, shut down his blog because it just wasn’t worth the hassle anymore. The marketplace of ideas, however, seems to strongly support Feministe and Tatiana Von Tauber (to name a few).

    I’m sorry Diane, but the fact is that humanity may be ugly, but there is no conspiracy to drive women off the internets. There isn’t even a desire to do so.

    The fact is that even those of us who are immune from nerd rushing, the GIFWT, or even who think that we can cram 100% of our thoughts into 7% of the communication waves (I think you and I are both guilty) still push back against those we disagree. You disagreed with my statements on air, so you decided to post patently defamatory statements about me. Was this a move to drive men off the air or off the internet? No, it was you fighting to try and prove your point.

    And to get to your point, I’ve read your article and it hardly “honors” the First Amendment. Simply re-defining censorship as something else, relying on absurd theories like (paraphrased) “silencing some augments the speech of others, therefore it is advancing First Amendment interests” doesn’t make it so.

    This kind of second-wave alarmism and victim campaigning is something that Kristina Hoff Sommers has been railing against for more than a decade. The link is to a brilliant speech by Ms. Sommers, don’t miss it.

  6. JP says:

    I apologize if this comment is too “meta,” but I think Devin’s point illustrates a significant schism between the academy and democratic-governance.

    I would venture that, all else being equal, framing the issue as a women’s issue, as opposed to a social order issue, will result in greater visibility within the academy (marginally higher likelihood of publication, higher readership, etc…). But as Devin notes, the same framing has the opposite effect when the issue is raised in the policy-making context.

  7. JP,

    This illustrates a key problem with academia. For second-wave feminist theorists to survive in the academy, they absolutely must convince upper middle class white women that they are victims, that they are constantly under attack, and if they do not rally to the cause, all will be lost.

    This isn’t to say that this is uniquely a gender issue either. The fat white males in charge of the DARE programs only survive by creating a false drug “crisis,” MADD does so by creating a false “drunk driving crisis,” the TSA gets more money by trying to scare the living bejesus out of us.

    And what reasonable people must do to push back and save all of us from the fear mongering is to chill for a second, tell any fear monger that our precious rights are not going to be the first thing you grab for, and to try and influence others to reject any notion that war=peace, freedom=slavery, or censorship=honoring the First Amendment.

  8. JP says:

    I’m not sure that the U of MD study is that instructive. As a commenter on the previous post noted, social norms on the internet are still evolving from the “geek phase” (oddly predominated by misogynists) to be more reflective of the broader society. (Maybe this is the “nerd rush theory” Marc mentions above?)

    The study looks at IRC. I’m not familiar with IRC, but it doesn’t seem to be a mainstream public discussion forum. Based on a google search, I’m guessing it is primarily dominated by gamers, hackers, and perverts. These are groups with a disproportionate incidence of misogyny (the reasons for this, I think, merit study), and probably aren’t reflective of internet users in more accessible fora.

    Of course, if I’m correct, this doesn’t remotely suggest that there isn’t a gender issue among internet users more broadly, or that discrete communities of misogynists on the internet aren’t a problem. It might, however, impact potential solutions.

  9. A.W. says:

    Marc

    Well, you and i are close on the first amendment, but… the fact is that men are more often harrassers. We can defend the first amendment without denying that obvious truth. Women are disproportionately targeted and the jerks are disproportionately male.

    Freedom has a price. there is no question on that. Some of that price is the blood of patriots who gave their last full measure of devotion to protect that freedom; and some of that price is the granting of the right of some men and even some women to be completely sexist, racist, etc. jerks.

    And we just have to be dedicated to that freedom enough to pay it.

    As for the experiment, well, bluntly, try going to a chat room first with a male name, and then with a female one. i never tried that experiment, but i often go with a handle based on my first name, which is considered a “jewish” name, even though I am not jewish. i cannot tell you how much anti-semitism is thrown at me. People’s biases come out badly on the net, it seems, and i have little doubt that gender bias is included.

    Btw, your last paragraph was far more eloquent than anything i could have said.

  10. DevinB says:

    First a quick one off.

    There is a fundamental difference between DARE and MADD, who are fundamentally aimed at the people they are protecting. Regardless of if there is a drunk driving crisis, drunk driving is never acceptable. And regardless of whether there is a drug crisis, drug use is incredibly detrimental to users. (I’m not getting into the MJ thing here) But those programs are designed to discourage people from doing those things, and I support that. They can show that they are doing well by statistics of numbers going down.

    The TSA on the other hand, is not encouraging people to make their own choices. They’re trying to convince people that the only way to save themselves from terrorism is to give more money to the TSA. Which is an extortion racket. Read Bruce Schneier’s blog on Security Theatre.

    AW.

    Clearly, we disagree at a very fundamental level. So I’ll choose to comment only on specific details.

    “…the one where people feel free to write that kind of stupid stuff on the web and thus give warning to potential victims, and evidence with which to hang the creeps should they commit the crime?…”

    If you’re talking about freedom to be an *ss online, that’s an ‘ugly byproduct of free speech’. That is an argument I can accept if not necessarily choosing to agree. However, if you’re trying to pretend that a bunch of guys saying “I’d love to fucking rape that bitch” and “You should take a picture of her at the gym” is in ANY WAY beneficial, then you’re out of your mind. “Gives warning to victims”. Do you think she feels better that she was WARNED that people want to rape her? I don’t think so. Marc himself mentioned that he recieved a death threat, and bought a gun to protect himself. Do you think that he felt safer because he was warned? Some person who was angry enough to write a letter just to try and destroy his sense of safety.

    They are part of free speech, but don’t you dare try to imply that they’re the positive part.

    “Particularly on the concept of “threat” she would expand it so that a guy expressing a desire to do a bad thing written with no apparent awareness that his imagined victim is even aware of his statement, is the same as a threat to do it”

    I like your implication that the statement “I’d like to rape that bitch” would be somehow acceptable if she never heard about it. It is not acceptable ever. Maybe not legally actionable, but as Marc mentioned yesterday, it is not up to the government to govern free speech, but it IS up to society to enforce societal norms. It is NOT ACCEPTABLE to say those things, regardless of whether or not the victim is listening. It is up to someone/everyone to come down HARD on those people and tell them that they are the maggots of society.

    But hey, we were all childish once. Which is all the more reason that someone needs to show these people the consequences of their actions.

    Alright, that came off more venomous than I meant it to. Rest assured, I know that you are not one of those people, I just didn’t like those parts of your argument.

  11. DevinB says:

    @AW

    Your last comment: “Freedom has a price…” is something that I can definetly get on board with. I unfortunately didn’t read it before I wrote up my own comment on your earlier post.

    @JP

    IRC was the mainstream chatroom from a number of years ago, which is when I imagine the study was from.

    The internet bring out the baser emotions in people, because there is no social accountability. So the worst of the things they would ever say or do in life, they have an outlet for. It’s because no one understands the pervasiveness of the internet, that these people believe that their internet comments have no real world consequences.

  12. JP says:

    Devin: I can’t tell when the study was done. (It cites wikipedia, which suggests it wasn’t that long ago.) But whether the study was done when IRC was mainstream for an internet dominated by geeks, or when IRC is a geek holdout in a mainstream internet, the point holds.

    Maybe the distinction between you (and Danielle) on the one hand and me (and Marc) on the other is that Marc and I hold out hope that social norms on the internet are evolving in a positive direction, and that at the very least we should wait and see how those shake out before constructing a regulatory regime (likely to have unintended consequences) to “solve” the problem that exists right now.

    That said, I think I could support Danielle’s proposals if they came with a loser-pays fee-shifting structure.

  13. A.W. says:

    Deven

    > Do you think she feels better that she was WARNED that people want to rape her?

    Well, I worry more about what makes people actually safe, rather than what makes them “feel” better. And a warning (if received) almost always makes a person safer, as does an increase in the chances of being prosecuted.

    Why don’t I care about the feelings so much? Because feelings are subjective and impossible to measure in any meaningful way. For instance, suppose the police learned a man was saying loudly in a bar that he wanted to rape a certain woman. Should they tell her? Well, gee, she might not *feel* very good about knowing that. But then, if he did actually rape her, she might *feel* really angry that the police didn’t even warn her. Oh, and being raped doesn’t *feel* very good either. (rolls eyes) But lordy, lordy, let’s protect women from even knowing how ugly the world can be, so she will *feel* better.

    > I like your implication that the statement “I’d like to rape that bitch” would be somehow acceptable if she never heard about it. It is not acceptable ever. Maybe not legally actionable…

    This is what I hate the most about this discussion. If you don’t think these a–holes should be strung up by their testicles or something like that, then you are constantly subjected to the ad hominem attack that you don’t take it seriously enough. This is the second time you have accused me of this sort of thing, last time suggesting I thought that this was merely “innocent teasing, [or] even malicious childishness.” It is logical poison and has no place in rational debate.

    It also isn’t even remotely factually based. When exactly did I say it was morally acceptable? Was it all those times I said they had a legal right under the first amendment to be pigs or a–holes? Would you care to quote those words back to me? The answer is you can’t.

    In fact to borrow Danielle’s terminology when you use that technique what is created is… wait for it… a hostile environment, which of course falls disproportionately on one gender. Of course, its not as bad as what these cretans did in that cyberstalking case, but still men feel obligated to urge for ever more draconian measures in contravention of our God-given rights, in order to prove how “enlightened” they are. Fortunately for you, I don’t think that should be actionable and I live my principles. Instead I buck up. But I also point out that this technique is contrary to rational discussion and should stop. I counter your bad speech with good speech just as we should.

    But then, maybe Danielle shouldn’t have done the same thing in yesterday’s post, either. Maybe she shouldn’t have specifically called out Marc, given that I see no evidence that he doesn’t take this harassment seriously—he just believes the answer to bad speech is good speech (Marc, correct me if I am wrong in that characterization). If we are going to take seriously the idea that creating a mere hostile environment is the equivalent to censorship (and it is not), then what exactly did her post do? This is PRECISELY what is wrong with speech regulation, because the chances that it will be administered fairly and blind to politics, or any other bias, is “slim” and “none.”

  14. DevinB says:

    AW.

    I began by quoting your exact statement.

    “Particularly on the concept of “threat” she would expand it so that a guy expressing a desire to do a bad thing written with no apparent awareness that his imagined victim is even aware of his statement, is the same as a threat to do it”

    My argument is that the awareness of the ‘imagined victim’ as you put it, is of no consequence.

    The person is a victim as soon as the statement is uttered, or written, or typed. The fact that you ‘think’ they don’t know about it, doesn’t make it less egregious. Or, in any way acceptable.

    “and a warning (if received) almost always makes a person safer, as does an increase in the chances of being prosecuted.”

    Let’s imagine a hypothetical situation in which a man emails a woman, (or posts on a forum) that he wants to rape her. Let’s pretend that he didn’t know she would read it.

    Situation A) (which you insist should be allowed… even if you don’t support the perpetrator) The poster never meant to carry out his threat.

    Consequences, you should clarify your own argument, but I believe you would consider this free speech, and she should ‘buck up’.

    She’s going to feel incredibly violated, she will feel constantly watched, she will feel unsafe in her own home, and that feeling will take years to recover from, if she ever does.

    Situation B) The poster intends to carry out his threat.

    And he does.

    Maybe he broke into her house.

    Maybe he grabbed her on the way from her car to her apartment.

    Maybe he cornered her at a party.

    Would this internet post be admissible evidence? This one post amongst 30 posts all saying that they want to rape this woman?

    Let’s say they do prosecute. Will she ever feel whole again?

    As I said in my last post. I do not believe that you are one of those people, nor that you would consider any of these things acceptable.

    That’s why I’m referencing direct quotes when I respond to you. If you feel you were misquoted, or that your quote should be clarified (Lord knows I’ve written some sentences that I wasn’t able to understand what I meant until afterward.) then I apologize. I didn’t mean to offend you personally.

    Oh, and as a final note.

    I do digress from Danielle. I am fully aware that my opinions would engender a curtailment of free speech in some way shape or form. And I’m aware that it’s incredibly dangerous to do that. I’m simply trying to highlight that there are already situations where unadulterated free speech is unacceptable, and I’m trying to highlight the case for making this one of them. I refrain from making prescriptions as to what that curtailment would look like.

  15. A.W. says:

    Devin

    > My argument is that the awareness of the ‘imagined victim’ as you put it, is of no consequence.

    I am sorry but under what law can we say that a statement not communicated to a person is a threat to that person? If I go and write in my journal “I would really like to kill X” and then bury it in my backyard and it is never even opened for 500 years, how on earth have a I threatened anyone? That is certainly not how they saw things, for instance, in State v. Schweppe, 237 N.W.2d 609, 615. There the court found that a threat is not made unless it is personally to the victim, or under such circumstances where you would expect that person to know. I don’t see that here. not to mention, that the prosecution has the burden to prove it was not just idle talk or a joke (good luck with that one).

    > Let’s imagine a hypothetical… Situation A)…

    You forgot situation C. She is warned. She buys a gun and if he tries it, she shoots his balls off. Don’t forget, I am big on both the first and second amendments.

    Or situation D. The cops put a few cars around her dorm, see the guy try to hurt her, and they shoot him. Maybe in the balls. ;-)

    Or situation E, he sees the cops or her gun, and runs away like the p—y he almost certainly is.

    Its not that you misquoted me above, but you fail to understand the full implications of warning her (and society in general). As they say, forewarned is forearmed. I don’t want to leave her disarmed.

    As far as whether it is admissible or not, yeah, probably, especially if he took the stand. And even if it wasn’t, suppose in your scenario he does the rape and then the police need to find suspects? Well, I can almost hear the detective on Law and Order: “Why don’t we start with the guy saying he wanted to commit the crime?”

    And finally saying that the law shouldn’t say X has nothing to do with what I consider to be appropriate conduct. Sheesh. You’re like one of those people who confuse being for the legalization of abortion as being pro-abortion; or being for the first amendment as applied to “the piss Christ” as being pro-blasphemy; or supporting the right to due process as being pro-criminal. It’s a complete logical fallacy.

    So in short, you have quoted nothing from me on the subject that supports your claims that I think their conduct was appropriate and I can quote you a lot more clearly stating I did not, regularly referring to the right to be an a–hole, and so on. And indeed, while you have a right to be an a–hole, it is not your duty to be one.

  16. Maybe she shouldn’t have specifically called out Marc, given that I see no evidence that he doesn’t take this harassment seriously—he just believes the answer to bad speech is good speech (Marc, correct me if I am wrong in that characterization).

    No correction needed.

  17. DevinB says:

    AW

    “There the court found that a threat is not made unless it is personally to the victim, or under such circumstances where you would expect that person to know”

    I do not know the law as well as you do. That much should certainly be obvious. However, I’m focusing on the “circumstances where you would expect that person to know”. When you’re publishing on a law student forum, and you’re aware that people who go to the same school as her are participating as well, and they have the intention of google-bombing so that a google search of her name will come upon these posts, I think it’s reasonable to expect that she would find out about it.

    As for situation C) I’m not going to get into a gun control fight, but I disagree with you.

    D) The police don’t have the man power to surround her dorm 24/7, and unless they are surrounding HER 24/7, it won’t necessarily help. Although it DOES lead to the much more likely situation E.

    I agree that situation E could occur. But, your situation E is the same as my Situation A.

    Even if the perpetrator doesn’t go near her, and never intends to, he has already caused severe harm that possibly cannot be undone. The woman has become a ‘victim’ and she’ll remain so, even if no physical harm occurs.

    I do not believe that you think their actions were appropriate. Perhaps I implied that, and I apologize.

    “And finally saying that the law shouldn’t say X has nothing to do with what I consider to be appropriate conduct”

    On the opposite side of the coin, when I disgree with you about what the law should or shouldn’t say, and I can disagree with you about the way to characterize these events, I do not mean that you believe it’s appropriate. And as you say, the right to be a jerk doesn’t mean you should be a jerk. I’m simply clarifying that there are times where being a jerk is benign and relatively harmless, and there are times where characterizing their behaviour as ‘jerky’ trivializes the real-world harm that can be done.

    Just to be clear, again. I’m not saying you did that. I’m simply re-iterating my point.

  18. BLB dude says:

    Did anyone actually read the study that the author claims supports her contentions? Look how the study defines “attacks”

    “The set of behaviors defined as attacks included attempts to send a file to the user, attempted DCC chats with a user, malicious private messages sent to a user, and links sent to a user.”

    So any time anyone tried to chat privately with someone (regardless of content) or sent that person a link or a file, it was considered an attack.

    I, for one, am absolutely astonished that in a setting dominated primarily by males, women would get more private messages than males.

  19. A.W. says:

    Devin

    I think you hopelessly have your facts mixed up, to be blunt.

    > As for situation C) I’m not going to get into a gun control fight, but I disagree with you.

    You don’t think that she could shoot the guy? Or I guess you would hope that if we are all disarmed we’d be safer, or something. Well, in case you haven’t noticed, the average woman is weaker than the average man. We can talk about why if you are interested, and whether that can change, but that is current reality and I doubt that it will change anytime soon. Her best chance is to own a gun.

    I really don’t understand why people don’t get that. I have long said, when talking about disability law, that really humans are the disabled species. Compared to other animals, we are slow, weak, blind, deaf, nasally insensitive and so on. But we have one thing on our sides: our brains. That in turn allowed us to make tools and from there we came to pretty much dominate the planet like no other species did before it.

    But anti-gun types would reduce us back to jungle conditions, where often our survival would depend on our bare hands, and our physical strength, or just our ability to run, see, hear, etc., all the things humans aren’t good at in the first place. We have brains and we should use them. And part of using them is for a weak person to use tools, in this case guns, to even the odds. It is an utterly human thing to do. indeed, creating weapons is probably the most important thing that separated us from the other animals and allowed us to dominate this earth.

    And all that forgets the fact that criminals can usually find guns when they want them regardless of what the law says and I don’t think you could change that short of creating an outright fascist government. I mean, my god, we can’t stop people from smuggling human beings from Canada and Mexico. About a year ago, a man with a Mohawk and a bloody chainsaw was allowed through a checkpoint at the Canadian border. Turned out, surprisingly, that the man with a bloody chainsaw had used the saw to murder (no kidding). That’s our border control, for you. So what makes us think that we can stop a gun? Hell, just strap it on the back of the illegal immigrant as he goes toward America and arrange to have someone take it off of him when he arrives. And all that for a questionable benefit to society. Yeah, England has a low murder rate with strict gun control, but then again, Israel not only doesn’t have gun control but they have guns with them all the time. Not only is the murder rated (excluding their terrorist problem) only slightly higher than England’s, but their rates for rape, theft, etc. is much lower. And let’s remember the terrorist problem for a moment. Every day 500 million Muslims are told to hate them, that they are pigs and apes, and yet the Israelis are still free and alive. Do you think their gun ownership has anything to do with that?

    (by the way, how does that philosophy of humans as the disabled species apply to disability? Because much of the time using accommodations is really about using the tools we have around us, from the blind person who tape records his classes, the dysgraphic who uses a laptop to take notes, to the paraplegic using a wheelchair. So those things are in fact quintessentially human. But I digress…).

    > Even if the perpetrator doesn’t go near her, and never intends to, he has already caused severe harm that possibly cannot be undone.

    But if she never knows he said this thing in the first place then she won’t have her own gun, which you acknowledge is more likely to make him run and never try it. She might be psychically injured, but by being warned she was actually safe, which seems better to me.

    Like I said, feelings are mushy and hard to quantify, i.e. subjective, so I focus on objective things, such as keeping her from being attacked in the first place.

  20. A.W. says:

    BLB

    Excellent points. But… still, big picture, there are clearly more guys prone to harrass women than women who are prone to harrass men. I mean I don’t have a study to back that up, and that one seems pretty flawed, but c’mon, guys, we know how some of us are.

  21. BLB dude says:

    A.W.

    I completely agree. I just find that when someone plays so fast and loose with the facts that are supposed to support their claim, it makes it hard for me to give credence to any of their other assertions. If you’re going to be bandying about numbers like “100 v. 3.7,” you should at least know what those numbers are referring to.

  22. DevinB says:

    I should note, I’m Canadian. So I wasn’t brought up in a gun culture. Yes, there are guns, but I wouldn’t consider a gun a solution.

    And I don’t want to get into an argument about gun control philosophies. Nor whether it would be effective for her. You’ll just have to accept (if not understand) that I both understand and disagree with your opinion.

    “”> Even if the perpetrator doesn’t go near her, and never intends to, he has already caused severe harm that possibly cannot be undone.””

    “But if she never knows he said this thing in the first place then she won’t have her own gun, which you acknowledge is more likely to make him run and never try it. She might be psychically injured, but by being warned she was actually safe, which seems better to me.”

    Firstly, to clarify my statement.

    I was predicating my argument with the assumption that she KNOWS about the ‘idle’ threat. That she has somehow become aware of the content of a public forum that is the first item in a google search of her name. So she ALREADY feels unsafe. And she doesn’t necessarily buy a gun. I’m saying that no matter what is done, this perceived threat will seriously hinder her ability to live a normal life.

    Secondly, I never acknowledged that the gun would drive away a potential rapist, unless she was brandishing the gun… pretty much all the time. I acknowledge that a massive police force would scare off the rapist. I did not say anything about the gun in that D scenario

    And you say “psychically injured” but you say “actually safe”. In your next statement you say “feelings are mushy and hard to quantify so I focus on objective things.”

    Let me draw a parallel, there are soldiers who return from Iraq, or Afghanistan and are completely devastated. They are suffering from post-traumatic stress, and are unable to live normal lives. These traumas are not physical trauma. So even though they are “actually safe” in your words, they are still severely damaged.

    And so, yes, while I would say that not being physically attacked is better than being attacked, I would still consider this woman to have been attacked. Even though you don’t give any regard to her ‘mushy and hard to qualify’ feelings, From the moment they willfully tried to publish their threats (through google-bombing) she was already victimized. She had already been attacked.

  23. JP says:

    BLB Dude: I noticed that as well, but it’s pretty clear in the study that “attempted DCC chats with a user” were negligible, and the result holds even if you limit the definition of “attacks” to “malicious private messages sent to a user.”

  24. BLB dude says:

    JP-

    Agreed, but the study also said this:

    “Among the private messages, on average, we found 30% of malicious ones for the female bots, 24% for the male bots, 23% for the ambiguous bots, 28% for the female human users, 26% for the male human users, and 25% for the ambiguous human users.”

    So while a particular message was slightly more likely to contain explicit language if it was addressed to a female than to a male, the vast, vast majority of the “100 v. 3.7″ disparity comes from the simple fact that females got far more messages than men did.

    I don’t see how anything in this study offers support for any argument beyond “women online are likely to get more attention than men, and that attention is ever-so-slightly more likely to contain explicit language”

  25. JP says:

    BLB Dude: You’re right. It is odd that the study doesn’t identify the total number of all private messages, and break that down by category.

    Also, the study only used silent (i.e., non-responsive) users or bots, even though the first experiment suggested that silent users received more attacks then active ones. (The study found this disparity immaterial, apparently for the sole reason that they expected the opposite.)

    In other words, it seems that IRC users were much more likely to contact test users (or bots) with female names. However, when the initial contact was returned with silence, the IRC user was only slightly more likely to send another message (or messages) containing explicit language or threats if the test user’s name was female.

    Yeah–this study doesn’t say much at all.

  26. You can’t swing a dead cat through Citron’s writing without finding bunk. Try this one on:

    A poster told the community there that he sent an email to a named student’s faculty members with embarassing information about her. Posters hailed the sender as a hero who should be awarded a Congressional medal. (source)”

    A “Congressional Medal” comment was made, but even a drunken blind reader in a hurry could tell that it was pure sarcasm and a statement of disdain for the sender. I reproduce it below:

    Date: March 9th, 2007 2:17 PM

    Author: David Carr (Glass of water for Mr. Grainger)

    DUDE, DONT DO IT!

    Date: March 9th, 2007 2:19 PM

    Author: c00kie

    This is a great idea that you are guaranteed never to regret. ( MJR note, that is called sarcasm)

    Date: March 9th, 2007 2:34 PM

    Author: Bodhi Tree Miracle

    Clearly.

    Will likely lead to a Congessional medal of some sort. (MJR note, that is sarcasm too)

    Even if you can’t see the sarcasm in that statement, if you read the entire thread, you’ll see that the vast majority of the comments condemned this action. That isn’t exactly being “hailed as a hero.”

    But, why let a little provable fact get in the way of your point that this is all some kind of conspiracy?

    The thread is fully available here.

    Judge for yourself. Then ask yourself how Citron could have made that mistake. Did her sources lie to her? Did she not bother to read the thread before making the statement? Is this evidence of a conspiracy to try and drive men off the internets?

    Stick to the truth. It really makes the criticism of your “work” a lot less scathing.

  27. Well, I think you guys should be ashamed of yourself for beating up on a girl. So there.

  28. A.W. says:

    Devin

    If you don’t believe having a gun makes her less likely to be shot, even without “brandishing it all the time” you simply don’t believe in experience or anecdote. i don’t know what fairy tales you have been sold, but guns do work to deter crime.

    And second, it is paternalistic to say that a person should be protected from the awful knowledge that people have evil in their hearts. Besides the self-protection angle, let’s remember that this hypothetical woman is or presumably will be a voter. She will have to, by proxy, make decisions about the priorities of the public, including how much to put into things like rape prevention. If she lives in a dream world that inappropriately underestimates the danger of that sort of thing, she becomes an uninformed voter.

    Which is all pretty ironic because this discussion started in a post talking about how people need to take this thing more seriously. But by suppressing the speech that might warn you to the crime, you make people underestimate the danger of the crime. Twist and turn all you want, but if you want to protect a girl’s precious little mind from the truth, you are immediately on thin ice. Most people think that the maximally respectful thing is to allow people to know about the dangers they face.

    Marc

    To be fair, sometimes it is hard to tell that someone is being sarcastic on the net. I just can’t believe that in the process of sourceciting, that no one picked up on at least the possibility that sarcasm was involved.

  29. Yes, it is hard to tell sometimes. However, take a look at this and forgive the lack of an ability to see sarcasm.

    Even absent a sarcasm gene, anyone can see that the statement was not that the poster “should” get a medal, but that the action “will likely” lead to such a medal. That’s a big difference.

    Even with the sarcasm taken out of it, does that look like a community that condoned the actions of “lonelyvirgin”?

    It looks to me like there were a couple of guys who told him “if you’re gonna do it” then do it with an anonymizing service. There were a few others who told him not to do it because he might get caught. And the vast majority disapproved of it. But, that doesn’t fit the chosen narrative.

  30. Yes, it is hard to tell sometimes. However, take a look at this and forgive the lack of an ability to see sarcasm.

    Even absent a sarcasm gene, anyone can see that the statement was not that the poster “should” get a medal, but that the action “will likely” lead to such a medal. That’s a big difference.

    Even with the sarcasm taken out of it, does that look like a community that condoned the actions of “lonelyvirgin”?

    It looks to me like there were a couple of guys who told him “if you’re gonna do it” then do it with an anonymizing service. There were a few others who told him not to do it because he might get caught. And the vast majority disapproved of it. But, that doesn’t fit the chosen narrative.

  31. Yes, it is hard to tell sometimes. However, take a look at this and forgive the lack of an ability to see sarcasm.

    Even absent a sarcasm gene, anyone can see that the statement was not that the poster “should” get a medal, but that the action “will likely” lead to such a medal. That’s a big difference.

    Even with the sarcasm taken out of it, does that look like a community that condoned the actions of “lonelyvirgin”?

    It looks to me like there were a couple of guys who told him “if you’re gonna do it” then do it with an anonymizing service. There were a few others who told him not to do it because he might get caught. And the vast majority disapproved of it. But, that doesn’t fit the chosen narrative.

  32. I’ve now read all the comments, and the only possible explanations for taking the bulk of the supposedly-supportive ones as supportive of the jerk fall into one of two categories: the embarrassing, and improbable and embarrassing.

    I think my favorite is “I can’t see how an inflammatory e-mail to individuals with a lot of influence and a lot of free time could possibly be a bad idea.” Sheesh.

    As to the notion, perhaps put forward by some folks, that Ms. Citron’s work ignores the First Amendment, I respectfully disagree; as a matter of first impression, it’s far worse than that, and I’d normally be tempted to use a colorful albeit not entirely delicate metaphor involving the First Amendment, its trousers* and ankles, a table, a chainsaw, and an act that is entirely appropriate when engaged in by consenting adults (sans the chainsaw), but I’m afraid that, err, some folks wouldn’t see the sarcasm.

    _________________

    *Yes, the First Amendment can have trousers — and, for that matter, ankles — in a metaphor. Look it up.

  33. DevinB says:

    AW

    Deterrence only works when people are aware of the deterrent. That is, for you to be less likely to attack someone with a gun, you have to KNOW that they have a gun. A concealed weapon is not a deterrent, it would be considered protection.

    So a concealed weapon has no effect on her likelihood of being attacked, but it has an effect on what would happen to her if she is attacked.

    Okay, so I’ve granted your gun premise about protection. But this is, once again, NOT a discussion about guns.

    “And second, it is paternalistic to say that a person should be protected from the awful knowledge that people have evil in their hearts.”

    I never said that she should be sheltered from the knowledge that there are bad people out there. NOR that she should be sheltered from the fact that people out there want to rape her.

    I was saying that I don’t think people should be able to say those things at all.

    Legal sanctions would run afoul First Amendment snafu’s (which you have all elaborated on quite well). Even though I believe that the First Amendment can withstand some caveats, I know that there have to be people who disagree with me, so that the country (mine, or yours) doesn’t shift wildly to a police state.

    However, as I’ve said before, the notion that this is simply an issue of an internet forum full of filth, is an incorrect notion. It did spill across into the real world, and it did damage their lives, and I think there should be consequences. Even if those consequences are simply public shaming and ridicule of the perpetrators.

    You said “sheltered against the evil in people’s heart.” I don’t think sheltering is the way to go, I think we should shine a light on those people, and fight them (the evil, not the sheltered). Defending them with “I don’t support them, but it’s free speech” means that these people know they can get away with it in the face of intense public disapproval. That is what I’m against.

    “Besides the self-protection angle, let’s remember that this hypothetical woman is or presumably will be a voter. She will have to, by proxy, make decisions about the priorities of the public, including how much to put into things like rape prevention.”

    As shocking as it is to believe, politics isn’t that clean cut. Politicians aren’t focused on one issue, and they aren’t necessarily going to fulfill campaign promises even if they had happened to mention this. How far do you think a candidate will get if s/he makes their entire campaign about rape. The public policy argument doesn’t fit in that well, unless you’re encouraging her to take a stand, and somehow convince her local MP or MPP (Member of Parliament, and Member of Provincial Parliament) to do something about it.

    Which of course, is exactly what they did. They raised the issue to such an extent that you and I are able to argue about it, and at some level the politicians will have to talk about it.

    “If she lives in a dream world that inappropriately underestimates the danger of that sort of thing, she becomes an uninformed voter.”

    The problem with representative democracy, (the kind that our countries espouse) is that we are asking someone to represent us, whichever candidate we support more. Which doesn’t mean I support all or even half of the things they want. It just means that I support this party more than the other parties.

    “But by suppressing the speech that might warn you to the crime, you make people underestimate the danger of the crime.”

    The broken window theory has shown that in areas that appear to have more crime, there WILL BE more crime. Not that there has been more crime. So, if we allow discussion of crimes to flourish, we will eventually discover that MORE CRIME has flourished.

    This has HUGE Free Speech implications, but I’m simply raising the fact that it is possible that more people discussing crime guides them to believe that they can follow through on these things. If they felt pressure to stop even discussing these things (or as Marc mentioned in the previous blog post, there is opposition when they discuss these things) then more people will stop discussing them, and spend less of their time thinking criminally. Yeah, that’s a little utopian, but there are studies that show that people who are exposes to violent video games have more violent thoughts than those that were playing cooperative peaceful video games. Now the study I saw didn’t seem that interesting, because the questionaaire was adminstered right after playing. But if someone spends more and more of their time in the dark places, and less and less of their times in the less violent places, their whole attitudes will tend to shift.

    “Twist and turn all you want, but if you want to protect a girl’s precious little mind from the truth, you are immediately on thin ice.”

    I’m not trying to protect her from the truth. I’m saying that we, as a populace, need to CHANGE THAT TRUTH. You and I both do not think that anything that was said on that forum was within any distance of acceptable. I’m saying we should be doing more to make that stuff disappear. Then her “precious little mind” wouldn’t have to be protected from the truth, because the truth wouldn’t be as bad.

    “Most people think that the maximally respectful thing is to allow people to know about the dangers they face.”

    I’m a fan of fewer dangers. And fewer people trying to mentally destroy her by pretending there are dangers.

    Neither of us think that the guys on that forum were helping her out by “warning” her “precious little mind” by informing her of the “truth”.

    -Devin

  34. A.W. says:

    DevinB

    > Deterrence only works when people are aware of the deterrent. That is, for you to be less likely to attack someone with a gun, you have to KNOW that they have a gun.

    Who said anything about it being concealed? Why not carry it on her hip?

    And even when not in plain sight, studies show that in most cases one is able to defend yourself merely by brandishing it, or perhaps firing a warning shot. That works pretty well.

    > But this is, once again, NOT a discussion about guns.

    No, but if we are going to talk about the value of warning, then we have to talk about what they could do with that information.

    > I was saying that I don’t think people should be able to say those things at all.

    Which would a) end the impulse? or b) just keep him from saying it?

    > First Amendment can withstand some caveats, I know that there have to be people who disagree with me, so that the country (mine, or yours) doesn’t shift wildly to a police state.

    Well, I believe you said you are from Canada, so don’t look now, but your country is infringing on freedom of speech in a terrible fashion. You’ll forgive me if I don’t follow suit. And believe you me, the logic behind raking MacLeans over the coals is very similar, to the logic you are offering here.

    > did spill across into the real world, and it did damage their lives, and I think there should be consequences. Even if those consequences are simply public shaming and ridicule of the perpetrators.

    Well, now at least you are back in Marc’s territory: counter bad speech with good speech.

    > As shocking as it is to believe, politics isn’t that clean cut.

    Of course not, but 1) some people truly are single issue voters. And 2) there is no rational doubt that an informed populace is better able to govern themselves. Why should I even belabor the point? And 3) even if you are not a single issue voter, it is part of your decision who to vote for. Unless you literally don’t believe the politicians are at all responsive to the will of the people, then making sure the people is informed is a part of democracy.

    > The broken window theory has shown that in areas that appear to have more crime, there WILL BE more crime. Not that there has been more crime. So, if we allow discussion of crimes to flourish, we will eventually discover that MORE CRIME has flourished.

    Um, broken windows applied to physical signs of anyone being in charge. Everyone understands that if people can speak freely, it only means that the constitution exists. It doesn’t meant they are free to act however they please according to whatever evil is in their hearts. Most sane people understand the difference between freedom of speech and freedom of action. And, I might add, the man wasn’t talking about crime, but a desire to commit a crime. Evil, yes, but it is his right.

    Indeed your own language betrays what a complete logical fallacy that is. Yes, when it appears that there is more crime, crime is more likely to occur, not more discussion of crime.

    I mean, my God, what a fascist utopia you create this way. So “I want to rape her” is banned. Okay no sympathy for that lout.

    So is, “I would love to kill OJ Simpson.” Are you feeling a little more sympathetic? What if it was Goldman who said that, maybe right after the bastard was acquitted of murdering his son? Feeling a little more sympathetic? Want to call of the jackboots?

    How about, “I would like to smoke some pot.” The entire country of Jamaica is sympathetic. (kidding) How about “I have aids and I would like to smoke pot in order to treat my illness.” Now California is sympathetic, too.

    How about, “I live in D.C. and I would like to own a gun for personal protection.” That is what Heller said to the court in D.C. v. Heller? Feeling sympathetic?

    How about “I would like to be able to buy organs?”

    How about, “I am a man and I would like to marry my boyfriend.” Or, before 1967, “I am white and I want to marry a black person.” Or just, before 1954, “I am black and I want to go to the same school as white children.” it goes on and on.

    But you can’t, consistent with any freedom of speech, say that you can only advocate the crimes that don’t bother you very much or at least you don’t condemn very much. That is inevitably a restriction on content and cannot do. For instance, prior to Lawrence v. Texas, it was illegal in many states for two men to sleep together. According to your theory, then, they should not be allowed to express a desire to sleep together, either, so long as the conduct is illegal. Or would you recognize a bit of absurdity, there, that it is awful hard for gay men to try to change the law without saying they desire to do things presently illegal? But then how do you write a statute that says “Okay to mainstream gay rights groups, but not NAMBLA.” How is that not a content-based restriction?

    And do you notice that by talking about the desires to do dastardly, illegal things also might come up as part of a discussion about the policy regarding whether those things should be considered dastardly, and illegal? For instance, George Takei saying he would like to marry his boyfriend can be part of the discussion of whether he should be allowed to (and actually, he already did). So quickly a claim that you cannot express a desire to commit an illegal act harms political discourse over whether the act should be illegal in the first place. NAMBLA and mainstream gay rights organizations have an equal right to agitate for legal change. The fact that NAMBLA is advocating monstrous behavior doesn’t change the fact that they have the right to do so, just as you have a right to be a klansman or a nazi (so long as your activities are peaceful and law abiding).

    We are allowed to want to do illegal things. Basic concepts of privacy says you cannot jail a man for wanting to do a bad thing. I don’t see how you can say, “but you can’t express it.” give me a break.

    > I’m a fan of fewer dangers.

    Again, you keep assuming that if you stop the man from talking about his desires, he will stop feeling them, or will not act on them.

    And the deeper point is this (and I will end with this). You can’t say with anything near 100% certainty that she will be 1) safer and 2) better off, if the jackboots come in and we throw that idiot in jail for what he said. If you are going to trash my first amendment, shouldn’t you have some assurance that it will at least accomplish your goal?

    Well, in fact that is what the law says. When you infringe on a fundamental right, it must be narrowly tailored to serve a compelling interest. I don’t see how the interest of protecting women could possibly be compelling when you have no idea whether it will work. And aside from the law, isn’t that how it should be? Shouldn’t a reasonable certitude that the intrusion will succeed be a necessary condition before we curtail freedom of speech?

  35. The worst aspect of this gender-bias in harassment is that, I feel, some victims view all males as people who will harass them to the point that when they meet someone who isn’t inclined to, the person is accused of having hidden intentions (e.g. “He’s just hiding his stalker side till I commit to him”). After hearing this enough, the “he” gets sick of these accusations and moves on.

  36. ‘m saying that we, as a populace, need to CHANGE THAT TRUTH.

    (Applause)

    Yes, we need to strive to create an environment where such incivility is met with contempt. I think a lot of A.W.’s theories about free speech are spot-on, but I also think that you guys are descending into a pot of red herring stew.

    Stay focused: The way to cure this bad speech is through more speech. The way to bring about more speech is through commitment by good people to speak up. The wrong way is to, as Joel put it, screw the First Amendment with a chainsaw.

    We will all be victimized if we let the Academy play its “victim studies” game by simply re-defining very important concepts like “freedom” and “free speech” and “equality” to fit their publishing agenda. We similarly are victimized when “academics” rely on lies and half-truths to do the same.

    However, we all lose a little something as well when the trolls win.

    So, how do we beat the trolls while simultaneously holding back the academic/left-wing/censorship hordes? That is really what should be debated here. I think that Citron’s ideas are as much a threat to online discourse as a dozen “lonelyvirgin” posters.

    Smack in the middle are a few people who still believe in the First Amendment and the search for truth. It is like standing between the Hutus and the Tutsis, both of which want to hack each other to pieces, but both of them are dead wrong.

    So pick up your blue helmets and come up with a solution. Be part of the solution. I’d suggest you start by posting with your real names. Of course, if you are in academia, I realize that being against the critical gender theorist is professional suicide, so perhaps you can’t. But, if you can own your words — then do so!

  37. Yes, we need to strive to create an environment where such incivility is met with contempt.

    Dingdingding. For those folks who haven’t heard that before, that’s the sound of the nail being hit on the head. The proper social sanction for somebody saying something almost preposterously creepy is to be thought of as a preposterous creep, after all.

    (Oh, and Devin? While the First Amendment, hereabouts, does allow you to make factually incorrect statements about what can or can’t be done with firearms and then immediately declare the the discussion isn’t about firearms, it’s just a tad unfair to those of us who know something about the subject.)

  38. DevinB says:

    Marc,

    Well said, as always. My name is Devin Bialo, and I’m actually not in academia, I’m a computer programmer. I hope that doesn’t make you think less of me.

    Another thing you noted is “So, how do we beat the trolls while simultaneously holding back the academic/left-wing/censorship hordes?”

    If you’ll allow me a moment to take your comment and change it. I thought that Left Wing is generally regarded as the Liberal sect, who are fans of freedom of speech in every way shape or form.

    A key tenet of freedom of speech is that I’m allowed to voice my (apparently unpopular) opinions about it, without rebuke. However, it is NECESSARY to have a devil’s advocate. Even though in this case, I am espousing my own position, I think that all debate is heightened by having someone argue the other side.

    The people like me, who are in favour of tempering freedom of speech, and not given free reign to… damage… (I’ll refrain from your imagery) the constitution, whilst the balance is held in check so that the people like (an exaggerated version of) you are not able to include all speech in freedom of speech (I.E. blackmail is legal because it’s just speech).

    Balance is only possible through compromise, not by brow-beating your opposition.

    That’s why I appreciate all your opinions (not just Marc, but everyone) because it gives me some perspective so I can temper and clarify my own beliefs.

    @JR

    I echo your appreciation for Marc’s comment, and I apologize if anyone feels I was even uncivil.

    On the other note, if you could quote my factually incorrect statement about firearms, I’d appreciate it. Because I only stated my beliefs. And the reason I said I didn’t want to make it a discussion about guns is because I don’t share your beliefs, and I haven’t shared your experiences, and although I’ll voice my disagreement when I disagree, I don’t want to talk about it, because we’ll simply continue to disagree, and no headway will be made. I never meant to be unfair to you. If you want to get into a long-winded discussion about gun philosophies, I’ll be happy to do it, but I admit I would be thin on facts until I studied, and so I try to avoid stating those facts that I don’t have.

    Once you highlight the factually incorrect statements I’ll be happy to clarify what I meant, or recant my statement if false.

    @AW

    I’ll try to keep this short… probably unsuccessfully.

    There is a theme in my following comments. I’m going to characterize the forum posters as terrorists. This is because I believe the shoe fits. Regardless of if they were trying to harm this woman, they WERE trying to attack her sense of self and her ability to live her life on her own terms.

    The goal of a terrorist is not necessarily to kill all their enemies. Their goal is (definitionally) to terrorize people. The famous terrorists have done this through mass murder, but the goal was to have the entire country fear them. Their object was shock and awe, they wanted everyone to feel fundamentally unsafe, and they were successful in that. Residents of suburban Granville, Ohio, to Skokie, Illinois, to San Francisco, California. Everyone felt it, even the people who had a infinitesimal chance of being attacked, they were stocking up on canned goods.

    I hope you’re accepting my definition of terrorist, because it’s critical to what comes next. Once the forum posters crossed the line into knowing that she was aware, and they continued to taunt and continued to threaten, they were not necessarily possible rapists, but they were using the fear or rape to exert control over her life, they were trying to feel powerful that they could anonymously harm her, and she had no recourse.

    Maybe they were inadvertent, maybe not, but it’s what they were doing.

    “Who said anything about it being concealed? Why not carry it on her hip?”

    Once she is carrying the gun on her hip, her life is changed, she is characterized by her NEED to protect herself. Even if those men never go near her, the constant weight on her hip reminds her that she can’t feel safe anymore.

    “And even when not in plain sight, studies show that in most cases one is able to defend yourself merely by brandishing it, or perhaps firing a warning shot. That works pretty well.”

    In the case where she was confronted, yes. I agree.

    I’m curious as to what the studies would show about a criminal who also had a gun? Would it cause the situation to escalate? (I’m asking because I don’t know)

    [Politics is not clean cut]

    “but 1) some people truly are single issue voters.”

    Back to the terrorism issue, if she is forced to become a single issue voter, then those forum posters have stolen her democratic rights. She must now ignore all her other issues, because the only thing she can think about is safety. I would draw an analogy to the American Elections after 9/11 where issues other than Security were all shoved aside. That’s not good for democracy, and it would not be good for the person in question.

    ” And 2) there is no rational doubt that an informed populace is better able to govern themselves. Why should I even belabor the point?”

    I 100% agree.

    “And 3) even if you are not a single issue voter, it is part of your decision who to vote for.”

    Yes, and I don’t believe I’ve ever advocated straying from that.

    “Unless you literally don’t believe the politicians are at all responsive to the will of the people, then making sure the people is informed is a part of democracy.”

    I agree, although I would like you to clarify the relevance.

    [Broken Windows]

    “Um, broken windows applied to physical signs of anyone being in charge. Everyone understands that if people can speak freely, it only means that the constitution exists.”

    In this case, I was drawing the analogy to the broken window theory. The analogy (to be more clear) is that in environments where people believe such behaviour is acceptable, then they will be more likely to act in such a way. That is the underlying part of broken windows. I am suggesting that the prevalence of these boards where people foster such outlandish statements, makes each of the posters feel more comfortable that such things might be acceptable in the real world. I understand that you disagree, I was just trying to put different words for my argument.

    “Most sane people understand the difference between freedom of speech and freedom of action. And, I might add, the man wasn’t talking about crime, but a desire to commit a crime. Evil, yes, but it is his right.”

    I’ve already said that unlike Danielle who is reconciling her opinions with freedom of speech, I understand that my opinions in this case are contrary to freedom of speech. As I have mentioned before, there are already notes on what kind of speech is acceptable. There is a difference between calling someone a slut, and saying that you enjoy watching them in the shower. I am simply characterizing the comments of these forum posters as more akin to the former than the latter. And as such, I would look at what kind of consequences there would be to such things.

    “Indeed your own language betrays what a complete logical fallacy that is. Yes, when it appears that there is more crime, crime is more likely to occur, not more discussion of crime.”

    My own language didn’t betray a logical fallacy because there wasn’t one. An analogy is not a literal interpretation, in the same way that the broken windows theory applies to more than just windows.

    “I mean, my God, what a fascist utopia you create this way.”

    You then describe quite a number of different statements with varying degrees of “offensiveness”. (Side note, I completely, wholeheartedly, and totally support gay marriage in all it’s forms. I feel strongly enough about it to break up the flow of my argument)

    According to reductio ad absurdum, which you used to imply that I’m a fascist (or that I support a fascist utopia), I’ll use to imply that you’re an anarchist.

    Actually, I won’t. Because you’re not. The fact is, every new law takes away a little bit of freedom, and shifts us a minuscule amount towards fascism. Every repeal, on the other hand, reduces order, and moves us a bit towards anarchy. I’m defining anarchy, by the way, in the terms i understand it. In an Anarchistic society, there are no laws, and the punishment for all crime is simply enacted by the general populace without guidelines. Please correct my misunderstanding.

    “According to your theory, then, they should not be allowed to express a desire to sleep together, either, so long as the conduct is illegal.”

    You took my argument to mean that i feel speaking about breaking the law should be considered breaking the law. I hope that I didn’t actually imply that, because I certainly don’t believe it. I’m saying that the forum posters were using words as weapons to terrorize this woman. Their goal was to use freedom of speech as a tool to hurt her, and they did. A bank is not robbed by saying “We should rob a bank”, but a person can be terrorized by the words “I want to rape you”. That is the distinction I would like to make.

    “”I’m a fan of fewer dangers.””

    “Again, you keep assuming that if you stop the man from talking about his desires, he will stop feeling them, or will not act on them.”

    I feel first of all that my benign statement does not say what you say.

    Second of all, I’m saying that when people say malicious, terrorizing, threatening things, we must not hide behind freedom of speech and let them get away with it. we must BRANDISH freedom of speech (as Marc does) and bring the mountain down on them. The conditioning (yes, conditioning) will convince these people that such words and thoughts are not within the norms. Please note, since I believe I just irked enough of you to spew fire at me for that statement, that this type of behavioural conditioning is implicit in ALL SOCIAL NORMS. That’s how we teach our children, that’s how we learn how to behave in company. If we do something and everyone laughs at us, we make a mental note not to do it. If we say something, and everyone spews venomous fire, then we must re-evaluate saying those things.

    Yes, I’m saying exactly what Marc said. But I’m willing to go further, and say that there could be codified consequences.

    Also, you say “stop a man from talking about his desires” and as I’ve characterized in my terrorism thread, in this case, the man can accomplish his desires through speech. Freedom of speech does not protect the man who asks another man to kill for him. Freedom of speech should not protect those who are using the words to carry out their harm.

    Your last two paragraphs, which were very well written, I’ll simply paraphrase.

    “New laws must be created only to serve a compelling interest.” and that we should be 100% certain (or at least very certain).

    Keep in mind, I don’t believe I’m the one who should write the law, and when the law is written (or quashed) I hope there are people like you there to ensure balance. But as I’ve highlighted before, I believe that the freedom of speech banner is obscuring some issues which need to be confronted, such as terrorizing a woman and then ducking behind free speech. Freedom of Speech is the foremost right, which is why it is the most often abused.

  39. I’m a computer programmer. I hope that doesn’t make you think less of me.

    Au contraire, sir. It makes me think infinitely more of you.

  40. I thought that Left Wing is generally regarded as the Liberal sect, who are fans of freedom of speech in every way shape or form.

    BA HA HA HA! You didn’t REALLY think that of the Left, did you?

    No, the Right wants to repeal the First Amendment. The Left wants to simply change what every fuckin word in it means until it doesn’t mean anything anymore — all in the name of making sure that nobody ever feels offended again, because in Left Wing Academia World, the right to never have your widdle feewings hurt and the right to never feel offended trumps the right to Free Speech.

  41. Okay, since you asked, Devin: Deterrence only works when people are aware of the deterrent. That is, for you to be less likely to attack someone with a gun, you have to KNOW that they have a gun.

    Well, no. Deterrence doesn’t require knowledge; it requires fear. In this case, it’s demonstrable (and it’s been downright, err, demonstered) that the fear of being shot by an erstwhile victim and and does (not always, of course) deter certain kinds of misbehavior.

    And: Once she is carrying the gun on her hip, her life is changed, she is characterized by her NEED to protect herself. Even if those men never go near her, the constant weight on her hip reminds her that she can’t feel safe anymore.

    Again, well, no; I know people who openly carry tools of various sorts on the hip, and no, that doesn’t characterize them, and no, the weight is not that big a deal.

  42. DevinB says:

    Deterrence only works when people are aware of the deterrent.

    This is a literal fact.

    If you see a sign (that you believe) that says “minefield” then you are less likely to walk there. If no such sign exists, and you do not already know it’s a minefield, then the fact that it IS a minefield will have no effect on your behaviour.

    If she buys a gun, and no one knows about it, then the ‘deterrence’ argument cannot be made.

    AW did successfully argue for deterrence when he mentioned brandishing, or firing a warning shot. In those cases, she is publishing her deterrence. That is why, a dog stops intruders who trespass, and “beware of dog” discourages people from trespassing at all. So if your argument is that having a gun will be a deterrent in the short case, where she is required to show her attacker, then I’ll agree. If you think it will make her better off in general, then you’ll have to allow me to respectfully disagree. If you believe that having a concealed weapon will act as a deterrent by it’s unknown presence, then that is factually incorrect.

    “Once she is carrying the gun on her hip, her life is changed…”

    “Again, well, no; I know people who openly carry tools of various sorts on the hip, and no, that doesn’t characterize them, and no, the weight is not that big a deal.”

    I was not talking about literal weight. I feel like a simple symbolic statement shouldn’t need extra clarification, but you are correct that in such a long and careful argument, I should have articulated myself better.

    I meant what it represents. A person who carries a toolbelt isn’t characterized by their tools unless they allow themselves to be. I have to carry my work phone with me, which constantly reminds me that I’m working, even when I’m ‘off-duty’. In her case, the gun on her hip means that she is constantly aware of her own fear. Of the fact that she NEEDS the gun to feel safe, or the fact that she CAN’T feel safe without it. She must strap it on every day and view all the people with shadowed faces as a possible attacker. This gun was forced upon her.

    To clarify that last statement, lest it be interpreted literally.

    She did not carry the gun until she felt threatened enough to buy one. It was not on her own terms, it was on the terms of the anonymous posters, they made her feel threatened.

    Cheers,

    -Devin

  43. A.W. says:

    Devin

    > I’m going to characterize the forum posters as terrorists.

    So we should throw them in Gitmo? Don’t cheapen the term.

    > Regardless of if they were trying to harm this woman, they WERE trying to attack her sense of self and her ability to live her life on her own terms.

    Gee, I thought they were being pigs and then lashed out when called on it. But who knew, this was a conspiracy to harm her personhood. *rolls eyes*

    > The goal of a terrorist is not necessarily to kill all their enemies.

    Gee, I found that argument persuasive until, around, say, 9-10-01. But overwhelmingly the terrorists who merely want me to feel fear don’t bother me so much as the ones who want to kill all infidels, starting with the Israelis.

    > Once she is carrying the gun on her hip, her life is changed, she is characterized by her NEED to protect herself.

    You seem to be under the impression that you can wish away the dangers in life. You seem to think that, just as Schrodinger’s cat is not dead or alive until you look and find out, that if she is only shielded from the knowledge of the danger that somehow it won’t exist. But Schrodinger made up his example to mock this frankly religious view of quantum physics, because it is, in the end, unscientific crap. (because science is precisely about what you can observe; so how exactly can you observe a lack of observation?) Schrodinger’s point was in fact the cat was either alive or dead, and our lack of knowledge of that fact didn’t change the facts.

    But then again, I am a fervent believer in murphy’s law, so there is that.

    > I’m curious as to what the studies would show about a criminal who also had a gun? Would it cause the situation to escalate? (I’m asking because I don’t know)

    So instead she should remain completely vulnerable, rather than having a fighting chance. Okay.

    > Back to the terrorism issue, if she is forced to become a single issue voter, then those forum posters have stolen her democratic rights.

    Again, you seem to think that if you don’t know about the danger, it doesn’t exist.

    > I 100% agree.

    But you don’t seem to understand how to apply that to the facts.

    > The analogy (to be more clear) is that in environments where people believe such behaviour is acceptable, then they will be more likely to act in such a way.

    If all you mean is if people think they are free to speak, then they will speak freely, then, well, no duh. But you don’t mean that. you think that people are so stupid that they can’t distinguish between freedom of speech and freedom of action.

    I suppose I should be arrested for playing grand theft auto, then. I mean, in that gane I can be pretty viscious. I have killed probably about 500 people in the latest game alone, and if a cop gets in my way, I happily take him down. Gosh, I am just a mass murderer in waiting… Orrr, we might all recognize that those pixilated people AREN’T REAL and therefore no one is really hurt.

    > Side note, I completely, wholeheartedly, and totally support gay marriage in all it’s forms. I feel strongly enough about it to break up the flow of my argument

    So then you surely don’t think Mr. Sulu (George Takai) should be arrested merely for saying he would like to marry a man, right? Even if the thought of gay marriage makes, say, Jerry Fallwell pee his pants?

    > The fact is, every new law takes away a little bit of freedom, and shifts us a minuscule amount towards fascism.

    Any law that bans speech as speech, or bans particular subjects of speech is not just a small step for fascism, but one giant leap in its direction. Freedom of speech is one of the cores that uphold our democracy. If there is no freedom of speech, a nation cannot be said to be a democracy.

    > Their goal was to use freedom of speech as a tool to hurt her, and they did. A bank is not robbed by saying “We should rob a bank”, but a person can be terrorized by the words “I want to rape you”.

    Except your hypothetical doesn’t even line up with reality. And let’s not forget that OJ can be terrorized in my example, and so forth and so on. And I remember once an emailer to Bill O’Reilly said that when she found out that NAMBLA existed, she literally burst into tears that anyone could be so evil. Freedom of speech hurts. Like all freedoms, there is a price, and gosh, it might even have a disparate impact, too. There is no way to excise the hurt without excising the freedom.

    > I feel first of all that my benign statement does not say what you say.

    No, it is exceedingly clear that this is exactly what you mean. That if we just stop people from talking about it, the danger doesn’t exist. If you didn’t mean it with those particular words, that appears to be your philosophy overall: ignorance is bliss.

    > Second of all, I’m saying that when people say malicious, terrorizing, threatening things, we must not hide behind freedom of speech and let them get away with it. we must BRANDISH freedom of speech (as Marc does) and bring the mountain down on them.

    You have been talking about a little more than just that. otherwise you wouldn’t bother to disagree with me. I have always made it clear that I was perfectly happy with Marc’s good speech v. bad speech approach. what I was objecting to is Danielle’s willingness to outlaw that conduct.

    > Also, you say “stop a man from talking about his desires” and as I’ve characterized in my terrorism thread, in this case, the man can accomplish his desires through speech. Freedom of speech does not protect the man who asks another man to kill for him. Freedom of speech should not protect those who are using the words to carry out their harm.

    What complete drivel. So basically you are free to speak as long as you don’t “hurt anyone” including harms that are purely emotional. So if I call black people bad names and make a few black people cry, I should be arrested? If I speak out against gay marriage, same problem.

    (And as a point of fact, contract killing is dealt with under the doctrine of verbal acts.)

    Gee, you are talking in such fascistic terms, I am frankly a little scared and crying. So I will go find you in Cannuckistan and carry out a citizen’s arrest for “harming” me. /sarcasm

    And though you claimed my last point was well written, you didn’t address it at all. Can you really argue that you know your strategies will work? And if not, then how can you justify this “minimal” intrusion on freedom of speech?

  44. DevinB says:

    I’ve repeatedly responded to your posts by highlighting the parts I agree with, and questioning, or countering the parts I disagree with. And I’ve done this while fully believing that you have a justified and well thought out opinion that is simply not in line with my own.

    It seems to me that your last post was simply mocking my own.

    You even mocked my “I 100% agree” comment, and took it to mean that I don’t understand you.

    I could go point by point to respond to you, but since your responses are glibness wrapped around your point, I would only responding to the glib facade in front of your arguments, while trying to extrapolate your core argument. And since we have both repeatedly misinterpreted the other person, I’m not going to try and unshroud your explicit meaning.

    If you’re going to mock and condescend my opinions instead of respond to them, then I’m afraid our conversation has drawn to it’s close.

    -Devin

  45. A.W. says:

    Sheesh, since when is condescending and mockery not a response? Or not a way to get a point across? Ask Jonathan Swift.

    Some ideas are best responded to, by mockery. in the debate over the fugitive slave act of 1850, Thaddeus Stevens constructed a brilliant satire of the claim that slaves were happy, arguing that if they were so happy, then it was a discrimination against white people to exclude them from enjoying this happy condition. He then goes on, in a very Swiftian way, to describe how white people could be enslaved, in a way that both affirms his belief that there was no difference between the races (yes, he actually thought that way back in 1850), and also to strike fear in whites that the slaveholders might start enslaving white people next.

    The example of Schrodinger I already gave is another example of how ridicule can be appropriate as a method of argumentation.

    the idea that a person is safer not knowing of the dangers in life is absurd. The idea that a woman is less likely to be raped without a gun than with one, is absurd. And ignorance may be blissful, unless suddenly reality whacks you with a two-by-four that maybe you could have avoided if you were not so ignorant. And sheesh, calling a bunch of guys saying piggish crap in a chatroom are terrorists, c’mon, that is BEGGING to be mocked.

    If you don’t want to be ridiculed, try being less ridiculous, especially as you advocate that we pee all over my first amendment. I bluntly can’t believe that a man from Canada would look with clear eyes on what is going on in the name of “human rights” and the right not to be offended and think that this is a good idea that ought to be imported south.

  46. DevinB says:

    You’ve repeatedly ascribed ridiculous beliefs to me, and then ridiculed them.

    I never said that people should be jailed for talking about breaking the law.

    That’s something you’ve “disagreed” with me about over and over and over again. It’s almost the straw man fallacy, except in this case, you weren’t framing my argument in a negative light, you were arguing against something I never said at all. And well done, I might add.

    An interesting note about Schrodinger, since I’ve dabbled in quantum physics. His experiment had the OPPOSITE effect of what he intended. The thought experiment baffled the physicists, until they discovered the Heisenberg Uncertainty principle and realized that yes, observing the phenomenon DOES change it.

    I’m not saying it affects this argument, I just find it funny that you twice mentioned Schrodinger, and got it backwards.

    Also about Jonathan Swift. I believe that if someone were to engage him in a debate, he would not have begun mocking them, he would be able to engage them in educated discourse. He wrote a treatise mocking an absurd version of his opponents arguments.

    You’ve repeatedly said of me that I believe that “people are too stupid to distinguish between freedom of speech and freedom of action”.

    Again, it’s a ridiculous idea worthy of belittlement. And you did a very good job of mocking me for it. But I never said it, and I never believed it.

    You’ve repeatedly ascribed to me the belief that people who are unaware of danger are therefore not in danger. Surely that also would be a dumb assertion. Which is why I never made it.

    Also, the belief that if we force people not to talk about something, they will simply never think those thoughts, and will suddenly become good citizens. That would be a beautiful, optimistic utopia. One that only a fool would believe in. Once again, you masterfully highlighted a ridiculous idea as being ridiculous. And I appreciate that because I never knew that I believed it until you told me I did.

    You’ve mentioned that I’m trying to create a fascist utopia. I guess you caught me.

    If this response seems less civil than my earlier attempts, that’s because it is. I appreciate debate between disagreeing but respectful parties, but it has become clear that you don’t respect me, and I no longer respect your opinions, although I respect your right to have them. Real world problems deserve serious consideration, and your trivializing mockery shows that you’re no longer willing to engage with real ideas, instead choosing to just oppose whatever I say.

    You disagreed with me even at the times I was agreeing with you. Masterful.

    -Devin

  47. A.W. says:

    > I never said that people should be jailed for talking about breaking the law.

    No, just the laws you like.

    > observing the phenomenon DOES change it.

    Really. And how exactly did those “scientists” observe non observance? The concept that observation changes things is interesting as theology, but it is not science. They can call themselves scientists all they want, and I can call myself a peacock, too, or the queen of England. That doesn’t make me either of those things. But claiming to have any idea what happens in the situation of nonobservance is silly. By definition, non observance is unobservable. It is really unbelievable the crap that passes for science these days.

    > But I never said it, and I never believed it.

    That is precisely what you are saying when you say that people will take freedom of speech as a cue to engage in unlawful action, thinking “hey if I am free to say I would like to rape someone, I guess I can get away with actually doing it.”

    > You’ve repeatedly ascribed to me the belief that people who are unaware of danger are therefore not in danger.

    When you argue that keeping people in the dark reduces danger, that is exactly what you are saying.

    > Also, the belief that if we force people not to talk about something, they will simply never think those thoughts, and will suddenly become good citizens.

    What else am I supposed to make of your silly “broken windows” theory? You were talking about speech translating into action, and limiting speech limiting action.

    And notice that you didn’t even contradict me on the terrorism thing; even you realize on second thought, that was pretty lame.

    Look, if you don’t want to own your dubious beliefs, that is fine. But don’t pretend you didn’t say it.

    (And let’s all note for the record the mocking last line. i guess mockery IS an appropriate argumentation technique.)

  48. C.L. says:

    Danielle,

    Thank you for your posts on cyberbullying. As a young female who grew up glued 5-6 hours per day to the internet and early forums, I have personal experience with these attacks on females. I, many times, had to create new identities when forums found out that I am female, simply because the harassment was extreme.

    From my experience, men who involve themselves in these types of forums expect the environment to be a safe haven for male juvenile behavior. When a female is discovered, they oust her. However, they try to scare females away by making an example of those females who participate, for example, by making very real threats of rape and destroying her offline identity.

    I agree that this is a problem of culture. Much like feminism in the real world needed the support of men for other men to accept it widely, so cyberbullying against females (and the minority which is against males) can be stopped when prominent members of forums refuse to condone the behavior. This is why I would suggest having an honorary moderator system, meaning users who frequently post productive comments (as judged by the site’s owners and current moderators) receive honors in the community which allow them to in turn judge the comments of others up or down. This creates a respected role-model of sorts in the community and can in turn prevent harassment and the horrible attacks discussed in your article here.

  49. I agree that this is a problem of culture. Much like feminism in the real world needed the support of men for other men to accept it widely, so cyberbullying against females (and the minority which is against males) can be stopped when prominent members of forums refuse to condone the behavior. This is why I would suggest having an honorary moderator system, meaning users who frequently post productive comments (as judged by the site’s owners and current moderators) receive honors in the community which allow them to in turn judge the comments of others up or down. This creates a respected role-model of sorts in the community and can in turn prevent harassment and the horrible attacks discussed in your article here.

    This is a fantastic idea. I’ve experimented with this myself. If you go over to BigLawBoard, you’ll find some still juvenile behavior. However, I’ve started posting there and I haven’t been afraid to informally use my social influence to ask for greater civility. Aside from becoming the butt of a few good natured jokes myself, it has been pretty much a success.

    C.L., what you are suggesting is actually getting in there and participating in the marketplace of ideas — instead of crying to the government to intervene or to create intervention mechanisms for individuals to abuse. Fabulous idea. Keep spreading it!

  50. Andy says:

    I know first hand that cyber stalking (or harassment) can affect both men and women, and even though I am a recent victim myself, I would definitely concur that the majority of victims are women.

    I know many would trivialize my own experience, because it occurred within an online game, but all I can say to that is it was no less unnerving.

    The harassment started as an apparent attempt to coerce me into divulging a female friend’s personal information. As our friendship was entirely within this game I had no such information, so even if I was stupid enough to answer the aggressor, I couldn’t have satisfied his requests.

    But the true motive of this idiot became clear as the stalking and harassment continued. He may well want this information, so he can then harass my friend, but he was also jealous of our friendship.

    The pattern was simple. I would be threatened and harassed and told to stop talking to my friend. I would then report him to the game’s developers and they would ban the account. Unfortunately he was adept at hacking accounts and the harassment would start up again the following day. I have no idea how many innocent people’s accounts were shut down, but certainly no less than a dozen.

    Eventually Blizzard allowed me to rename my account for free, and since then the harassment has stopped.

    But the moral here is although I was the one being stalked and harassed, the real object of this person’s assault was my female friend.

    I did tell her about the first incident because I was worried. It appeared as though someone was trying to get her information to harass her in a far worse manner than my experience. Fortunately she’s not naive and as a rule does not give out any information that could identify her, even to good friends. You really can’t tell who you’re talking with online, and someone who one day appears to be a great pal, could the next be a twisted individual.

    The follow up attacks I kept to myself. I saw no reason to burden her with this, it was my problem not hers. The guy was jealous of our friendship and was trying to end it. However it looks like he’ll be regretting this intensely in the near future.

    Blizzard have told me they have taken this issue very seriously. They have the person’s IP address, I’ve sent them screen shots of the harassment, including the requests for information, and they are going to involve the police.

    Hopefully this is one less stalker taken from the internet, and if he needs real psychological help, perhaps he’ll get that too.