I know we're all grown-ups here and we expect heated conversations, especially on the politics and religion boards. Ideas are attacked without quarter, and I suppose that's fine.
However, over the last couple of weeks I've watched one poster go after another on a purely personal basis. The offender learned that the other poster had a disability and has used this disability against him several times. It seems like every time he disagrees with the offender, she uses his disability to mock and ridicule him.
Now this goes beyond the occasional too personal ad hominem and has moved into harassing personal attacks bordering on hate speech. The pattern is definitely that of cyber-bullying.
The offender has been reported by several people and I'm sure that HP will do what's necessary... but it brings up a good question. Where exactly is the line between a heated disagreement and cyberbullying? Does it require an established pattern like we see here or is it a one off thing? What should be done about it? Is a temporary ban sufficient or should more drastic measures be taken?
I've noticed this trend on the forums as well - and it's not just HP. I've also noticed that a large number of people who enter into debates are uncertain on what constitutes a personal attack - or even what a personal attack is. There's a noted difference between saying "your behavior is assholeish" and "you're an asshole". I've long stated that if someone is gong to enter into a debate, they need to understand what they're doing - and avoid falling into the pitfalls that so many fellow hubbers seem to either be ignorant of - or ignore altogether.
I've seen self-professed Christians scream at atheists and fellow believers and call them all sorts of insane names. Sometimes they get banned - a lot of times they don't. But as soon as someone else criticizes their behavior, their beliefs or their ideas, it's because we're hateful and ignorant and stupid and mean. If more than one person agrees on something, it becomes a gang - while hypocritically, those people are more than happy to jump on the name-throwing bandwagon when the ball is in their court. The hypocrisy shouldn't surprise me any more, but i sincerely hoped for better.
No matter what a person believes personally, there is NEVER a reason to use hateful, bigoted language to ridicule someone's life or disability. Being opposed to homosexuality does not give a person the right to call a fellow hubber an evil, unclean *****. Mocking someone for a disability is never okay, and it's not something that is protected by free speech. It goes against the HP rules and terms of service, and it should be dealt with appropriately and swiftly - or it's likely to continue and gain traction with others that think it's okay.
I think that's a valid point. People who are getting their ideas or their statements questioned can take it as a personal attack and strike back using true personal attacks. In the case of the first, the intent was to discuss or debate and in the later the attempt is to hurt. So basically it's personally hurting somebody because they told you they thought you were wrong.
That's being a bully. If you expect your ideas to never be questioned and lash out purposely trying to hurt someone when they are, that's controlling, abusive behavior.
If the weakness you perceive is not in their logic but in a disability or skin color, sexual orientation etc, and that is what you strike at, that's bullying. It's not OK.
The other problem with that is those who moderate forums don't know that difference either, which can be seen in your next paragraph.
For some reason to me bullying has to be one on one and have some history and like stalking. An argument, even heated by two who meet to debate is not bullying at all. Insults and antagonism should be tolerated in that sense. Bullying is more a systematic plan to harass an individual and not a heat of the argument kind of thing.
So that bullying a bully consists of systematically going after someone who is systematically going after another.
Did you know that stepping on someone's toe in an crammed elevator is technically a battery?
In well moderated forums, in which those who operate it are actually interested in it's success, you'll find people are indeed given a lot of leeway in that regard. Personal insults are usually edited and the protagonists are just warned. It takes a lot for anyone to get banned there even for a day or two. The mods there are more concerned with spammers and very obvious trolls.
Forums such as this one are just an addition to the primary concern and aren't moderated at all unless someone hits the report button. And, even then, the person doing the job of reacting to the report doesn't really have a clue what's going on and often don't even read the exchanges, they're just trying to empty their report bin as quickly as possible so they can move on to their own affairs.
I've been involved in both well moderated science and religious forums that are successful and have engaging and heated discussions, where the people there aren't banned for that as they are here, where the thin skinned always get their way.
Mocking someone with a disability seems to be---even for the cyber bully, crossing a line that requires immediate attention and action from whomever is moderating the space in which the comment was made.
I know of the situation you speak of and find it very disturbing. Anyone who makes fun of, degrades, and insults someone because of a disability is inexcusable if you ask me. Disputes and debates are inevitable on forums but this incident has went beyond normal forum banter, it has become personal and disgusting.
What's really sad about it, it's unprovoked, it's simply because he disagreed with her ideas and opinions. Because of the open and repeated ridicule of a person with dyslexia, IMO, if such behavior isn't grounds for losing their forum posting privileges totally, then I'm not sure what is.
It's a sad thing to see an adult be so nonchalant and crass toward someone with a disability. *SMH*
Or their sexual orientation. Or their own beliefs. The list goes on. In some cases it crosses the line from a simple personal attack (which is still not allowed or acceptable) to genuine hate speech. It's sad, really.
I'm not so sure that we're all adults here - although we should be.
Not even children act this way. This level of abusive behavior is learned. Children, in general, don't like hurting other people's feelings. It isn't until late elementary/middle school that they grow fangs.
It's easy to tell with a bully when the last milestone of maturity was reached, when they stopped maturing. It's always the same mentality of that late grade-school early middle school.
I've always kind of wondered why the development always stops there.
I saw that forum thread. She was provoking to the point that it was obvious that she was bullying him. She deserved a ban. What I don't get is why people continue to respond to people like that. They're not worth the time or effort it requires to give a response. It's not walking away to let the thread die its own deserved death.
As far as everyone here being a grown up -- what does that even mean? Some people grow up mean, bitter, angry, ignorant, abusive.
I just love this truth rebekah. I am printing and posting on my board.
And would you mind turning on an alarm clock somehow to tell be when I have grown up -- if ever?
No mam you have got to go deeper. In 1998 I announced my presence to an ICANN (Internet Corporation of Assignment of Names and Numbers) We were crafting the rules we now live by, everything from WHOIS data bases to Censorship to retaliation on ccTLDs that did not meet internet standards. Egypt's rebellion can be directly tied to some of these efforts.
My announcement was that; I personally was the new sheriff in town. You see IP (intellectual property interests) had already hired disruptors into the forums, because they wanted no hold back any legislation that gave free speech an up over copyright. You follow that?
So we formed attack squads of our own. We attacked these professional bullies. We were free speech and open internet advocates.
Bullies must be handled the same. If I see it I will be banned but the bully goes down with me.
Have you wondered where "ATM" is. I do not think that bully is around. Wonder why?
are you saying that you're a guy that attacks other bullies? so does that make you like a cyber vigilante or something? O.o
Let us say I used to. Not a true vigilante because people paid me to do it.
Think of pre 2005 as the old west frontier. There were few laws but plenty of guns.
...with a gun....that lives in Dodge City...where he's the sheriff.
Finally you guys get it.
See ya round pards
Please understand that you are really NOT Einstein, Julian Assange, James Bond, and Wyatt Earp all rolled into one holy, messianic package.
Forums are a bit like the Wild West… more than a bit.
I just read someone saying (basically) that I am an idiot.. Now mind you he could be right. But his point was that to post/start a forum you should do your research and be knowledgeable ahead of time.
That does not seem right to me. (probably I am not an idiot and shouldn't forums be about learning not teaching)
I love the Wild West don''t much care for "polite" civilization like cities where gangs and corporations thrive.
What were we taking about here… Ahhh Right Eric.
Eric, I have absolutely no idea what you are talking about.
Well obviously, but I'm not sure how this particular post relates to the conversation. Usually there's at least a superficial connection.
And I appreciate that you operate superficially. That is good and honest.
No, normally in intelligent discussion superficial is left out or pointed to as the antagonist of reason.
Knee jerk reactions must be witty or at least snarky to be of relevance.
When we are "not sure how" we should leave our writing within our computer.
I hope Rad and Melissa are beginning to get and understand the difference between following through on the same train of thought and just trying to be cute.
Eric, I'm not sure about Rad, but I still don't understand what you are trying to say.
My communication and reading comprehension are quite good. Maybe you should try expressing yourself differently. I get that you are now trying to be insulting... it misses the point when the insultee has absolutely no idea what you are saying.
Well, I understood part of that insult.
I understand you are feeling antagonistic for some reason. I don't really feel the need to deal with your issues, so I'll be ending the conversation now.
Have a good night.
Rad do you want me to talk about you? Using oneself as an example is polite as it offends no one else. If you two really have problem with that I hope you give me an invite to talk about you. See the point?
Melissa my example was made for people who could understand that a construct. Someone attacked me personally. But we respond by laying out the issue. Are free form discussions for professorial debate or for us common folk? It is ok if you do not get that? People should be allowed to speak in metaphorical context.
Eric, I'm seriously not trying to be snotty, but I still have have no idea what you are talking about. I mean I understand the words, mostly, but I don't know how they relate.
I get what a construct is, I just didn't get the one you provided. It was unclear. I have no idea where anyone essentially called you an idiot. I'm sure it happened, I'm not doubting the veracity. Free form discussion are free form discussions, I guess. I think the name is pretty self limiting... or unlimiting as the case may be. You can speak metaphorically all you like, but you probably shouldn't get angry if your metaphor is a bit too obscure for anyone but yourself to understand.
Apparently you have served as a sheriff, Eric. Sheriffs are needed. The Wild West refers to the lack of justice in these here Forums...
Also, I would agree that sometimes one just wants to find out what others think about certain issues and don't come prepared with info. I see the forums as a way to bring many different viewpoints to the table. Maybe people think we are supposed to be debating. Maybe that isolates the problem. Sometimes people are just sharing ideas and learning about new viewpoints. When someone informs you that your thoughts are "out to lunch," "nonsense" or "silly," or your whole thread is "tripe," they attempt to shut down an exchange of ideas...
Damn, this is getting intense. O.O Although to be fair, in the real wild wild west, people didn't get into petty discussions. Nah, they just straight up shot people back in those days. Therefore if hubpages forums was like the real wild west, then a lot of people would be killed...literally that is.. Don't get me wrong, i get the comparison, but I just thought i'd point that out..
At least here on hubpages, or any online forum, you do have the option of simply not participating in said thread if someone bothers you, as you don't owe the person that's insulting you the satisfaction of a response. Heck, it's like my brother once told me. The only obligation a man has in his life is to pay taxes and die. Everything else that you do in life is purely optional when you stop to think about it.
I know that sounds like a cold thing to say, but it's the truth.
I thought you were currently banned from the forums? You're making it rather obvious who you are.
It was interesting that she came back what seemed like moments later as someone else.
And that account was set up two months prior, that takes planning.
I never said she was incapable of planning. I could however be wrong, but this new person suddenly stepped in and advised me to read a book in the same style as Kathryn
Actually 8 days before... about the time of her last ban because of personal attacks.
Just by forensic linguistics I could guestimate there are four. The tone changes a little but sentence style, structure at least look familiar (meant in both senses)
What I think is important to understand is that people, no matter if they have a disability or not, should not be subject to insults by others. Most of the time, I see forum discussions deteriorate a little bit at a time. I've rarely seen one where one person was completely innocent and another was completely guilty.
If you get in a heated discussion - just back out. Take a deep breath and do something else for a while. It's seriously not worth it.
I agree, HowardBThiname. Mature people let others have an opinion without feeling the need to shut them down or berate them. Unfortunately there are still a lot of folks that either just don't get this concept or do not want to get it. For these people, I believe, trollism has become a part of their lives, an extension of their teeny, tiny world where they are the perpetual "stars". Banning them from forum participation may help temporarily, but it won't keep them from coming back under a disguise or from pursuing the object of their wrath elsewhere on the internet. On the other hand, mature persons back off the heated conversations because they have more important things going on in their lives, and as you say, it's not worth it. Trolls will never understand why mature ppl do this and will resort to attempting, in any way accessible, to taunt those that have ignored their troll needs. So until the day arrives when we can all respect the opinions of others, backing out and letting the narcissist troll feel like they've won something is often the healthiest thing we can do.
Why am I not surprised that someone would use a person's disability to attack them---particularly in the space that is Hubpages as it seems a space particularly prone to cyber-bullying?
I don't know what situation you speak of, but there is absolutely no reason for a forum disscussion to become personal. Everyone has the right their own beliefs/opinions.
Alpha --- you cannot really mean that can you? I hope that you take some subjects personally. Abortion and War comes to mind. Those are pretty doggone personal to anyone who thinks.
Your last line is epic. If I think A is an Ass that is my own belief and so do I have a right to share that?
I don't wish to speak for him, but I suspect we both know that's not what he meant.
Wow, did you just take a conversation that was completely unrelated to you and turn it into a personal attack against you so that, once again, it was all about you?
Eric, You just said the key word, "personally" , yes there are many topics that I take personal, but that doesn't not give me the right to try on force my beliefs on someone else, & belittle them because they don't agree.
As you underlined it we are GROWN-UPS. Who could be offended by another's low level of argumentation? If someone is weak why to participate to a "debate" where the risk to be belittled is high?
I understand bullying a teenage verbally and physically, in the work environment(where hierarchic authority is synonymous of pressure) but behind a computer screen, COME ON! This person is not strong enough then don't debate!
I've been ridiculed, insulted... who cares? I've never reported them because they are nobody to me. They don't affect me. However I've been banned because I disagreed with many.
I am against stronger measures since HP bans for so little!
Who are you suggesting is the weak one. The person who resorted to irrelevant personal attacks or the person who lacks proficient spelling ability?
The person who cries behind a computer!
Why would I give credit to a nobody? Who is he or she to have an upper hand on me?
We have a platform to debate, let's debate. The strongest will survive and the weakest will go. It is nature's law.
No, not on HP! We need mummy HP to save us from EVIL! You see how stupid it sounds for an ADULT platform.
Like conspiracy theorists, like REAL heroes Manning and Snowden!
As soon as you defect from the UNIQUE THOUGHT you are banned!
UNIQUE THOUGHTS are not want gets anyone banned. Someone reporting your behaviour does.
Exactly---some people need very much to be reported and banned.
There is no debate and no possibility of any intelligent conversation if trolls and bullies populate a space; if arrogance is equated with intelligence; if bias and bigotry are equated with opinion and perspective.
Oh. And those are the people that you are trying to emulate on a smaller scale here on HP?
I guess that's cool.
However, I'm not sure I see the connection between exposing conspiracies and insulting people on a writer's site forum. Did Snowden make fun of people with disabilities in order to expose the NSA?
Help me understand the connection. I don't get it.
Seems like you are the one crying behind a computer.
And it is the basis of your debate. Arguing for the sake of arguing bringing nothing at the table.
I am not crying, the one who got bullied cried. Don't intervert roles when I am openly disagreeing with you.
Sorry, I didn't cry and didn't hit the report button as a matter of fact I thanked the person for showing me my errors. And what is it you are disagreeing with?
Actually, the one that got bullied didn't do anything. Others reported the person. He had nothing to do with it. It wasn't a case of someone who got his feelings hurt, it was a case of people seeing something that wasn't right and trying to stop it.
Do you have a problem with that for some reason?
I don't remember anything about any of you, so it's unlikely that any animosity I exude is personal.
Except retief2000 and WillStarr. Research and data are anathema to them, so I already despise them on a conceptual level, let alone for the drivel they constantly put out.
The real point is that sometimes threads are just rambling, ranting and truly ridiculous. How can you get the OP to stop already, without that person taking it personally? You can't. As much as people want others to be like automatons, impersonal and "mature", in reality, we are all humans with feelings. Often when someone wants a thread to die, all the person has to do is stop responding to it. It is called ignoring the thread. It will go away eventually. If not... let others have their fun.
I got off the forums a while back and haven't returned for a look-see just because people got so very vituperative on the topic of religion, in particular. It made me uncomfortable. I also thought, it's so very unchristian to light into an atheist with such anger; threatening hellfire and God knows what! Though the atheists had a way of calling all believers of any stripe stupid. Frankly, it wasn't worth my time. Politics is another hot subject, apparently. I can't get worked up over either one of them Live and let live! Whatever a person believes on matters of opinion probably won't change no matter what anyone else says.
As far as the issue of verbal bullying goes via the forums: a person who gets upset always has the option of staying away from that particular thread. I don't understand why more people don't exercise that option when things get too heated and their feelings are obviously getting hurt. They "cyber-bully" really doesn't have much power to harm; only as much power as his/her potential victim allows.
Then you have the question of whether someone should be forced to leave a forum, where one has made friends and in general has a rewarding experience, because someone is following him from thread to thread insulting him about his disability.
So yes, I guess he could leave the forums because one nasty person chooses to harass him. Or, we could expect that one nasty person to stop and take steps to stop her.
I just want to say, in all seriousness, that I was delighted by your use of the word "vituperative." Such a lovely word...
The propagation of lies is the natural result when there is no actual judge or jury.
Well I would say in this case, the jury is comprised of the community. The judge was HP staff. I think the verdict is pretty evident.
Have a good day, K.
For the community to be the jury, it will have to endorse the power and the role given by justice to a portion of the population. I, myself, don't feel that I am part of a jury, do you?
Is this ever a valid response to what someone has posted as a sincere topic of discussion?
"You realize that entire post was absolute tripe, right?"
You have a good point. I didn't realize he was being followed to different threads by the same person. That really reeks of something sinister, doesn't it?
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