When I think of the Internet, I think of it as a useful tool. I use it every single day, for personal reasons and for professional reasons. So far, I have not had any negative experience online, which is honestly shocking, when you know just how prevalent it is.
Our readings for the week had us looking at online harassment and trolls.
Most of our readings were along the same theme. There were accounts of online harassment becoming a norm, doxxing women who speak on “issues they shouldn’t” (as if having XX chromosomes means that you aren’t allowed to discuss video games or violence toward women gamers) and how online comments are apparently on their way to becoming a thing of the past – or, anonymous comments are, at least.
In regards to that last article – CBC announced on March 17th that they would no longer be allowing anonymous comments on their articles, and if you look at the comments on the article itself, within the first two comments, someone mentions that the CBC is “killing Free speech.”
I assume what the commenter meant is that, in trying to get people to use their real name on the CBC website in order to comment, people would no longer be able to freely speak their minds. Which is frustrating, because using your real name shouldn’t alter what you would like to say, should it? If what you have to say is within your rights to free speech, it shouldn’t make a difference if you are saying it with your real name or a pseudonym. (Or, am I wrong? I definitely don’t want this statement to be along the same lines of “oh just don’t take naked pictures of yourself, that’s how you won’t get revenge porn.”)
Although, I can see why people would like to be anonymous online. Not everything you do needs to be entirely connected. I don’t always use my real name online and I have several different email addresses that I use, depending on what site I’m on. Amazon knows my real name, Imgur (I think) does not. However, I am using neither site maliciously.
As I stated earlier, most of our readings for the week were along a similar theme. However, there was one that was a little different.
In this video, James Veitch describes, hilariously, how he essentially trolled scammers who were trying to extort money out of unsuspecting people.
The video is amusing, honestly, but it also illustrates a point. In this, Veitch clearly knows that he is trolling someone disreputable. We, and his audience clearly agree. You can see how the audience is accepting of his tale – there is clear “what will happen next” in their expressions.
The internet is filled with stories like this. You can find listicles like the 7 Most Awesome Internet Trolls of All Times. Within that list, is my personal favourite, that of David Thorne and his spider drawing.
The email chain is funny, as are his other pranks and essays. However, I’m wondering, is there is a fine line between the humorous trolling that Thorne and Veitch are masters at and the hate filled trolling that so many experience online?
The causality might not be there – not all funny people are also awful trolls. Certainly not all awful trolls are trying to be funny people. But perhaps some of what is happening online, can be attributed to people trying to be funny? I’m sure that this excuse is used far too often and we can all safely say that it’s not funny. (And to please stop.)
The rest of the people, the ones who are threatening to kill or hurt people online, or post the actual addresses of people who they disagree with online so that others can threaten to kill or hurt them, what about them? What can we do to stop them? I definitely don’t have a solution, but having some sort of law in place so that victims can more easily seek justice is the first step.
And, as I’ve learned from John Oliver, (I’ve now binged watched nearly every segment available on Youtube, because I probably have the same crush as Brittany.) After talking about something terrible, you need to end with something a bit lighter. So, with that in mind, here is a flock of pretentious flamingos: