Internet harassment

Internet harassment

Internet harassment, stalking, abusive phone calls and hate mail - from the same stable

Ulterior motive - jealousy, maybe ?

In most cases, they have an ulterior motive, but not necessarily. They may just identify a 'target' for a bit of 'sport'. Sometimes, they are just rather 'sad' argumentative people who have nothing else better to do (really, who knows why they do it ? - I'm sure that in their 'own' mind, they have

Internet harassment - entrapment

dreamed up some reason or, justification for what they are about to do but then, for some, I don't think that it really matters). Having identified their target, they post a comment designed to entrap their victim into conversing with them. Usually, they use a topic that they know something about and use it to try and pick an argument and if the 'target' responds,

Obsessive, compulsive, repetitive

their 'obsession' begins. How dare 'you' disagree with their opinion ? BUT, at what point do their 'postings' become 'harassment' ? Simple, when they post the same thing repetitively (remember, it's their obsession) and if, what they are posting makes you 'feel' as though you are being harassed.

Internet harassment

Article first published 26-03-2011
If you use BBC iPlayer, there are several good programmes to watch at the moment. One of them is called "Silk" - a drama series about the day to day routines and working lives of several Barristers at Law.
Episode 5 is about a teacher who attacks and seriously injures one of his pupils. He is charged with attempted murder - what could possibly drive a teacher to do this ?
Someone, (one of his pupils) is running an anonymous internet harassment campaign. The anxiety, stress and grief that this inflicts causes numerous personal and occupational problems for him, including the break-up of his personal relationship.
When he thinks that he has found the culprit, he snaps and...(I've already explained what he does.) Why do I mention this ?
Well, presumably, the BBC wants to make programmes that are true to life, programmes that viewers will be able to identify with and relate to. Well, in my opinion, with this programme, they got it spot on. I watch this type of internet harassment on a daily basis.
The perpetrators of internet harassment are either quite evil people with an ulterior motive or, absolute morons, devoid of any personal responsibility to their fellow man - they just do it for the hell of it - to entertain themselves, because they think that it is clever/funny or, maybe, they just have nothing else better to do ?
They 'tip-tap' their keyboards whilst their 'victims' suffer the consequences of their attackers perverse, obsessive compulsion to victimise their chosen target with internet harassment.
There are various online publications where this type of thing is rife. I like to describe them as the "Jeremy Kyle" computer show for people with an internet connection. There's no doubting the popularity of some of these web sites. Human beings tend to enjoy sensing the grief, stress and embarrassment being suffered by someone who is having their dirty linen washed in public (being subjected to an internet harassment campaign).
I can almost here a unanimous shout from our readers - "well, if something is true and it's in the public interest, what's the problem ?"
OK, before I answer this, let me first compare the 'modern' world of internet forum reporting with the more old-fashioned method - newspaper reporting.
I am sure that, in the early days of newspaper reporting, when there was little if any, restriction, regulation or, a libel law, that some newspapers adopted an 'anything-goes' policy. For a few years, some newspaper owners/editors may have had to witness 'the worse thing that can happen' to a newspaper when they printed something that was 'wrong', before they adopted a more sensible approach to reporting a story.
Nowadays, newspaper editors are burdened with the responsibility of checking the source of their information and testing the credibility of their source before they go to print and the journalist must properly identify themselves and put their name to a story.
The world of internet forum reporting is completely different. First of all, as an anonymous member of an internet forum, you can post whatever comments you like without the fear of being subjected to any legal retribution - why ?
Well, if the forum in question doesn't ask you to properly identify yourself and no-one knows who you are (except by the identity that you have assumed - your false or, pretend name) - how can someone identify you properly to exact legal retribution ?
When you join an internet forum, except for a brief period of moderation when one of the moderators looks at what you want to post before it 'goes public', posting to an internet forum is instant. Posters can make whatever
comments they like and they are available for everyone to see instantly !
Of course, there are forum moderators, there could be several or, many of them, depending upon the size of the forum. They are supposed to 'moderate' - in the same way that a newspaper editor 'edits' - the problem is, as most of them are usually independent of the forum owner(s) and usually, just forum members that moderate 'unpaid', what have they got to lose when they get it wrong ?
The internet forum owners will argue that they are not publishing the comments at all, they will argue that they are merely providing a method for members of the forum to publish their own comments. Much in the same way that the printer of a newspaper may shout "it's not my fault"
This may be so, but if they do argue this, I contend, that there is an obligation for them to 'vet' their members more rigorously when they join and to make them properly identify themselves and further, to ask them for proof of identification upon registration. If they don't do this, I further contend, that they are running their forum negligently, recklessly or, with the intention of purposely allowing anonymous registration of members because they know that then, their members can make whatever comments they like (anonymously). In other words, it makes their forum more dynamic and exciting for its members and therefore, more popular, which results in them selling more advertising space and earning more money.
So, when someone uses a forum in an internet harassment campaign resulting in the type of tragedy that was depicted in "Silk" (the BBC programme) who is to blame, who is at fault, whose responsibility is it to see that it doesn't happen again ?
Can any blame be attached to the author of the original internet harassment campaign ? Well, whatever the circumstances, there's no excuse for beating someone up, but in putting forward their argument of 'mitigating circumstances', I am sure that a
Internet hate campaign

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