Confronting online abuse

I think many people were quite shocked by what they heard.

Much of the contact is anonymous. People use fake names and hide behind their keyboards. A friend of mine calls them ‘keyboard cowards’ and I think that’s quite an apt term.

I’ve had my fair share of abuse as well.

The attacks via twitter that followed were awful. One that sticks in my mind is the woman who tweeted me and said I deserved to die.

I’ve received messages that are too vile to write about here, but most are triggered by those who feel strongly about one political party or the other. I can’t post the most abusive feedback.

For others, it can wear you down, it can make you think about what you do and why you do it, and it can make you worry about who’s living in our communities – so much anger, so much hatred.

The sad reality is that there’s no way to stop it. Not at the moment.

But at the moment, technology is developing at a far greater pace than the checks and balances that should be in place to protect people. Maybe in the future that might change. But I don’t think we should hold our breath.

Those comments could apply to many situations (read this link for specifics).

We shouldn’t hold our breath. Those who care should do something about it, confront bullying and abusive behaviour, and take the fight to the online thugs.

Most people are decent people. If enough of them speak up they will show that the abusers are a small (albeit loud) minority that can be overcome.

There’s no way to stop it but here are ways to reduce it – like more people confronting the abuse and the abusers and not letting them get way with shouting down decent discussion and debate.

There are risks, the bullies often turn and attack when confronted, but if you stay dignified and strong they usually end up backing off. Like any part of society it’s up to good people to stand up and not allow an abusive few ruin our forums.

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