The power of the malicious anonymous user

By on November 18, 2013 9:40:29 PM from JoeUser Forums JoeUser Forums

Frogboy

Join Date 03/2001
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Listen to this, it’s worth it

A good friend of mine sent me a link to this episode of “The Moth”: http://themoth.org/posts/stories/anonymous

It’s about a popular teacher who nearly saw his career ruined by hateful, anonymous rivals who took snippets from his blog to paint a horrible, completely inaccurate picture of him.  It illustrates the disproportionate power of cowardly, anonymous people have to inflict harm on others.

The power of malice

I can relate to this in a very personal way.  Not a week goes by where someone doesn’t take a snippet from something I’ve written and uses it to smear me in a very personal way.  I’ve been blogging since 2001 and posting on forums for much longer.  As you can imagine, I’ve got thousands of writings out there and if you are willing to sift through them and cherry pick you can probably put something together that sounds horrible. 

The power of narrative

The Internet makes us all into empty vessels that people pour their hopes and dreams or their bile and venom into.  I’ve been both kinds of vessels during my career and neither one remotely resembles reality.  Once a narrative gets started, it’s difficult to change its course. It is easy to become a passenger on the narrative that ultimately forms your reputation – for good or ill.

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November 18, 2013 10:18:40 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Sounds like 'his kids' had some decent, sensible parents...

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November 19, 2013 3:27:22 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Unfortunately, that is how it is.  

I wrote something the other day "I think my sports team should do X" and the anonymous responder countered "well thinking isn't your strong suit".   And that's it.  As if this person knows me from Adam for one thing so how would he be able to form an opinion of my thinking?   Also what happened to rational disagreement if you think the sports team should do Y?  Where's your argument?   There is none.

People easily say things like "Bob hates puppies".  In this day and age,  the burden of proof would be on Bob to clear his name.  This is ridiculous.  If Bob didn't know about this and it gets repeated a few times, people just accept it since they heard it from person A and person B even if original source was just made up.  Also if Bob had found out someone had slandered his love of puppies, people might tend to disbelieve his refutation that no he doesn't hate puppies.   The public tends to assume some kind of kernel of truth in it.

It's all too easy these days to be attacked once you put yourself out there. And Haters gonna hate.

 

 

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November 19, 2013 3:51:10 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Yea it happens to everyone who expresses an ideas in a forum where they hold the minority opinion.

Just a few weeks ago, some guy, in an indirect/passive-agressive manner called me a Communist, Socialist and an Anarchist in the same paragraph. And then later in another thread, he misrepresented what I had said earlier to "prove" his point.

Although, he did have the "courtesy" not to mention me by name when twisting my words.

He was on a roll for sure, repeatedly quoting lines from Atlas Shrugged over and over like he was an Evangelical Christian quoting from the Bible.

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November 19, 2013 5:30:15 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I'm not sure if the internet has anything to do with it. Haters are everywhere. 

At my first job during my orientation I had a manager tell me to start building my reputation early. 6 years later this same manager attempted to smear my reputation. His x-wife was my best friend and they had a messy breakup. I was let go after 6 years of employment, I did not question why, I basically grabbed my things and never looked back.

I ran into my former general manager, who had just transferred when he was my boss an has since moved on to another restaurant. He just stopped by the table, when I was out with my wife, and apologized. I told him it wasn't a big deal I was a crappy server anyways I was super introverted at the time and used to get anxious talking to people. I know brilliant job choice.

So he explained the reason he let me go. Apparently the manager that day had told him that I stood in the front of the house and cussed him out in front of the customers. For the record I rarely cuss unless I'm being silly. Anyways, he said one of the regulars and complained. So he let me go. A few weeks later this regular came in and asked where I was. The GM told him about his supposed complaint. This started an investigation and it turned out the MOD lied and was trying to get rid of me, his x-wife was my best friend. We did not get along and he kept trying to throw me under the bus. 

The ending of this story is beautiful. My firing was the best thing that happened to me. I was too comfortable at the time in the restaurant industry. I had a degree in computer programming that wasn't going anywhere because I did not try to find a job. Because of him got a job doing tech support and tripled my salary. Also through one of my coworkers I met my wife who is also a gamer.

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November 19, 2013 5:46:15 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I still remember the good ol' days when everything on the internet was true.

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November 19, 2013 6:19:47 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Yeah, the days were we gamers were outcast of society and before it went mainstream.

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November 19, 2013 6:46:36 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Illauna,

Yeah, the days were we gamers were outcast of society and before it went mainstream.
 

The internet finally became cool when I connected to it on my 28.8k modem.

 

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November 19, 2013 7:19:12 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting smeagolheart,
The internet finally became cool when I connected to it on my 28.8k modem.

Ah....so it's YOUR fault then....

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November 20, 2013 8:58:56 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

I think the key word is malicious (meaning: not true), not anonymous. Ben Franklin was an anonymous poster in his time to bring ineptness and corruption into the light. AND just because one disagrees does not make it untrue.

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November 20, 2013 4:01:57 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting gmc2,

I think the key word is malicious (meaning: not true), not anonymous. Ben Franklin was an anonymous poster in his time to bring ineptness and corruption into the light. AND just because one disagrees does not make it untrue.

 

malicious does not mean not true.  It means hurtful.

adjective: malicious
  1. 1.
    characterized by malice; intending or intended to do harm
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November 20, 2013 5:09:00 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

This is today's iteration of Yellow journalism. Every generation of technology has it's own version.

 

I've found 3 ways to deal with it.

 

1) Do not engage the trolls as much as possible.

2) Do not post personal information online, ever.

3) Use pseudonyms and do not have any links to your personal life.

 

All of that is contingent on not being a piece of s*** yourself, and trying to treat others as you would like to be treated yourself.

 

User beware!!!

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November 20, 2013 6:08:11 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

true smeagolheart, oops

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November 20, 2013 10:39:14 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

That teacher's story was very moving. 

People can be malicious in little ways or big ways. Anonymity lets them do it with impunity.

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November 26, 2013 2:31:00 AM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums

You will be hated. There nothing you can really do to render yourself immune to being hated. There will always be someone who will have a reason (or find one) to hate you.

You could be black and be hated by whites. You could be white and be hated by all those the white race has exploited and abused. You could be American and be hated by Muslim terrorist. You could be Muslim and be hated by Christians. You could be Jewish and be hated by Christians because you refuse to accept Christ as your savior. You could be rich and be hated by the poor. You could be poor and be considered one of the riff raft by the elite. You could be successful and be hated by those who don't even try. You could be born rich and be hated by those born poor. You could be hated because you are an Athiest because some people assume you must be denying the existence God because you want to sin. You could be hated because you have a different opinion than someone else. You could be hated because you made one little mistake and someone can't let that problem go and blows it way out of proportion. I can go on and on about this.

Its one of those things I try to keep an eye on and learn about. Not everyone thinks the same way you do. It can be hard for people to understand that people think differently than you do. This means that people can do things for reasons that you wouldn't consider to be good, or even consider at all.

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November 26, 2013 2:39:50 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting DivineWrath,
This means that people can do things for reasons that you wouldn't consider to be good, or even consider at all.

The Op is about the empowerment of 'anonymity' and how it undermines good behaviour and common courtesy.

It creates the opportunity....not the motive.....that's imbued by poor character....

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November 26, 2013 9:58:47 PM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums

I thought that talking about motive might be relevant to this discussion. If not, I can reconsider what I talk about.

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November 26, 2013 10:23:24 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting DivineWrath,
I thought that talking about motive might be relevant to this discussion. If not, I can reconsider what I talk about.

That's fine....except the motive behind anonymous slandering/defamation/trolling/bullying is simply their sad, unfullfilled lives needing validation... a raison d'etre.  The anonimity is simply the empowerment afforded them.

It's all about 'because they can' rather than 'because there's a need'...

If there were a genuine and valid reason for verbal 'attack'.... a legitimate 'motive' one would do so publicly and stand behind what one said...in other words....add your signature.... just as you do in a Statutary Declaration.

But, what they do is typically NOT defensible [as in arguable in court with appropriate evidence] but is simple white-anting or libel.  Character assassination without recourse can do more damage than when the 'claims' are able to be tested in court ....with the potential result of criminal findings against the 'attacker'...

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