Monday, September 08, 2014

How To Combat Online Harrassment

It's a problem that just keeps getting worse and worse: more and more people (often, though certainly not always, females) are targeted by online trolls and arrested adolescents for abuse.  Death threats, rape threats, verbal abuse...  It's something I hear a lot about on the comic book sites I frequent, as well as being famously bad within the various gaming communities.

I like the thinking behind this Wired article, which argues that the same sort of community norms that exist within our work environments and social settings (in the real world) need to be expected and enforced online.  I think that's exactly right, and the only reason it hasn't happened yet, I suspect, is that it hasn't really been all that long that Joe and Jane Q. Public have been frequenters of the web world.  Not too many years ago it was only a small, socially-dysfunctional subset of society (among whom I'd count myself, more or less) who were spending a lot of time on their computers, interacting virtually.  Back then, it was more of a private club, and as we all know, those are the sort of places that are usually the last to welcome diversity or adapt to changing social pressures (see: golf memberships not allowed for Jews, or blacks, or ....).

Here's hoping the ideas expressed in the article can be embraced by the main social networks, as this is clearly a problem that needs to be solved. 

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