Sent: Friday, March 30, 2007 1:29:04 PM
Subject: Re: [BlogHer News] Today is is Stop Cyberbullying Day
I think you raise good questions about the difference between civil disagreement and trolling that are also being raised on other posts on BlogHer today. I hope you'll go add your voice to that conversation and represent your point of view. This is the post with comments most directly relevant to your point:
I am also cc'ing my partner Lisa Stone, as she is the author of the newsletter in question and the original post included in it.
My personal take:
I think that there is an element of subjectivity to the discussion. What crosses the line into unacceptable content for me might be seen as acceptable discourse to someone else. On BlogHer we have editorial guidelines that try to define what is not considered acceptable content on our particular site, and we give people a pretty wide berth. But I think every individual who manages their own online space gets to make their own decisions about what they'll support on their own site.
I think it's really the opposite of mob rule: it's saying set your own house rules and feel comfortable that you're allowed to do that. And if someone's rules go too far and are oppressive? We are all equally free to ignore them too. For example, there are many blogs I rarely read anymore because they disallow comments altogether, and I find that annoying and unfulfilling. It is totally their right to do that if they want. And it's totally my right to unsubscribe.
This is entirely different than discussing hate speech or threats of harm...and I think the newsletter and many posts on BlogHer encourage people to NOT conflate annoying/bothersome/painful behavior with potentially dangerous and illegal behavior.
Thanks for your thoughtful comments. I understand your concern and really hope you'll join in the conversation I linked above...it's discussing exactly this point.
President, Events & Marketing
Thank you, Elisa,
I will definitely go over and have a look. I completely agree with you about the subjectivity of the discussion. I think that one person's poison is another exciting meal. What worries me is the way that the poison of some people ends up being defined as the dietary restriction for all.
I think that setting house rules is extremely important. But as I realized not long after I entered the blogosphere, my house rules, stuff I expected to have people stand accountable for was considered common fare and completely acceptable by many just by virtue of certain behaviours and actions never having been challenged.
I tend to represent a minority report of one most days. This is an okay spot for me to occupy. But I think the whole idea of not following the dictates of this blogland clique or that blogland popular in set, really seems odd for most people.
It does become dangerous with people defining trolling according to their comfort level when you're a single blogger with no affiliates like I am. You can't call on mob rule to underscore the validity of a set of beliefs. It's been fairly easy for me to end up being defined as troll or cyberbully just because I was a vulnerable and unsociable individual not part of any ruling blogland popular clique.
I hope you don't mind that I'm posting these engagements. This is helping me sort out some of the rage, disappointment and hurt I've felt as I've continued posting a blogland minority report of sorts.