Crap on social media “fucking disgusts me”

@FrancesCook posted this on Twitter yesterday:

I didn’t know Jo Cox. But I have some thoughts on her awful, tragic death.

There is quite a bit – far too much – of disgusting, disgraceful personal attacks in social media. Mass attacks are common.

Confronting this sort of gutless behaviour is not without it’s risks, as I’ve found out. People have gone as far as attempting legal action, trying to shut down this website and threatening me with jail – someone said they wanted me jailed for 3 months ‘by Christmas’ (last year).

But that doesn’t mean confronting abusive and threatening behaviour shouldn’t be attempted. It’s critical that it is done, double. Bullies typically react badly to being ridiculed but that’s one of the best and most deserving approaches.

Because if more people don’t step up and speak up about online anger and provocation then it’s just a matter of time before some nutter sees things said online as encouragement and justification for doing very bad things. As we have seen in the US and UK this week.

Political debate should be, must be vigorous. Passion is and should remain a part of it. There are serious issues at stake.

But there are lines that should be obvious to anyone involved in politics that should not be crossed.

Partly for basic human decency.

Partly so as not to provoke and reinforce less controlled people.

And partly because talking up intolerance and evil and violence are counter-productive to sensible and effective politics.

Democracy 101 is to attract support and attract votes. Arsehole behaviour does the opposite.

Crap on social media is too often disgusting. And ironically it is often perpetrated by people who somehow believe that a million people disillusioned with politics (or never illusioned) will suddenly like their crap behaviour and start to vote their way.

Violent language wins few arguments and less respect and votes.

Some politicians and many political activists set very poor examples of acceptable behaviour, but the rest of us should rise above this, confront the crap and show that there are better and more decent ways of debating.

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32 Comments

  1. PDB

     /  18th June 2016

    Funny but I feel the same about the MSM and social media…….the only difference between the two is one is not pretending to be something it is not.

    Reply
  2. Steve Taylor

     /  18th June 2016

    Like the media don’t mercilessly vilify people, ideas, and perspectives they don’t agree with?

    2014 Election, anyone?

    Methinks Ms Cook doth protest too much.

    Reply
  3. Brown

     /  18th June 2016

    ”Partly for basic human decency.”

    Remind me how that looks in the real world where people are free to disagree but don’t like not getting their own way.

    Reply
  4. Iceberg

     /  18th June 2016

    Good luck with all that PG. Free speech only exists when there’s a whole bunch of crap out there that you don’t like. The anger, the hate, the lack of control and the pettiness is what freedom looks like. It’s ugly. When you see as a hater, another sees a freedom fighter.

    “Partly so as not to provoke and reinforce less controlled people”

    Because car bombings, shootings and molotov cocktails being thrown at politicians never happened before social media? Has a US president been shot at since FB emerged?

    Alternatively, we could remove internet connections from those we don’t like. Can we start with those on my list?

    Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  18th June 2016

      Long, long before the internet was a twinkle in its inventor’s eye, there were broadsheets. Many of these were as vicious as anything on social media. Not many survived, of course, because such ephemera doesn’t, but enough did to show this.

      The only difference is the availability of this sort of thing, something that the scurrilous broadsheet writers couldn’t have dreamed of. The equivalent has been around since someone invented the alphabet, of course, with the only difference being, as I said, the availability.

      It is often overlooked that Gulliver’s Travels was written as a political satire, and I cannot understand why the unexpurgated edition is often relegated to the children’s books at book fairs-I assume by people who haven’t read it. The scatalogical detail of much of it is not something that I would allow a child to read, and Swift never intended it for an audience who would not have understood that it was a satirical allegory. The final section is not for those with weak stomachs, and nor are some other parts. The book is as graphic as anything written today. Some things never change.

      When I come to think of it, some c.18 political writings are probably worse than their modern counterparts.

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  18th June 2016

        It’s all the fucking swearing online that gets up my nose. There wasn’t so much fucking swearing in the old days.

        Reply
      • Nelly Smickers

         /  18th June 2016

        Same thing with Enid Blyton!!

        Big Ears would be wearing an ankle bracelet today for what he got up to with Noddy o_O

        Reply
      • Iceberg

         /  18th June 2016

        In modern times the Internet has brought us online bullying and hate rants. Meh. It’s a minor irritant when when weighed against the massive benefits of the free spread of ideas and information. Hopefully it means that kings, clergy and wannabe despots never hold all the information again.

        Reply
    • ” The anger, the hate, the lack of control and the pettiness is what freedom looks like.”

      I disagree. Of course there’s been crap for a long long time, but I don’t think what is happening now should be accepted as just the way things are in a civil society. We should be better than this. I think we should strive for better and we should challenge the worst of it and call it what it is.

      Anger, hate and lack of control in social media is a serious impediment to improving ‘free’ speech.

      If we all shrug and accept crap then we will head towards online anarchy.

      Reply
      • Iceberg

         /  18th June 2016

        Who are you to judge?

        You can make a judgment for your own blog, for your own interactions, you can even sit on a jury and judge harm to others. But to set yourself up as the moral police for what you call crap on the internet is a hiding to nothing.

        What you can access on social media and Google is way less than 10% of all interactions via the Internet. For every time you see online bullying or somebody saying “fuck off” in a political blog comment, there are 100 million messages, snap chats and emails that say “I love you”, “well done” and “let’s have coffee”. It’s not broken and it’s not anarchy. It’s freedom and progress. There is no good, without bad.

        Reply
        • “But to set yourself up as the moral police for what you call crap on the internet is a hiding to nothing. ”

          Who has done that?

          I call things as I see them, and that sometimes involves confronting behaviour that I think is crappy and unacceptable rather than accepting bad behaviour as just the way things are.

          Sometimes people have confronted my behaviour when they haven’t liked it. Fair enough. Sometimes I disagree, sometimes I rethink my approach if it is seen as unacceptable to others.

          Some people try to set themselves up as the criticism police – perhaps because they don’t want crappiness curbed.

          Reply
          • Iceberg

             /  18th June 2016

            “Who has done that?”

            Umm, you. Your last sentence puts you out there as the judge of “crappiness”

            Reply
            • I’m not putting myself out as “the judge” of anything, just expressing my opinion.

              Everyone judges crappiness in their own way. You seem to think my opinion on this is crappy.

            • Iceberg

               /  18th June 2016

              No, I think your opinion is worthwhile, that’s why I come here. I don’t think online interaction is leading to oblivion. I think the oposite.

          • Kitty Catkin

             /  18th June 2016

            No swearing ? There was plenty of obscenity. Swearing as we know it was a comparative newcomer linguistically, but obscenity most certainly wasn’t. Swear words go in and out of fashion, but the principle remains.

            That hoary chestnut-that ‘bloody’ comes from ‘by our lady’ is just that, of course.

            Only the very dirty-minded think that all relationships are sexual. Anyone who sees it in a book for small children must have a very strange mind indeed. I am not a fan of Noddy, but have yet to hear of any reason or evidence for assuming that the Noddy/Big Ears relationship was sexual. But those who have to try to spoil innocent stories by seeing things in them that were never intended to be there don’t need anything but their own dirty minds as ‘evidence’.

            Reply
  5. Maggy Wassilieff

     /  18th June 2016

    If you run a public blog site then I reckon you have a responsibility to clean out the abusers and bullies at first instance.
    I am subject to repeated personal abuse from one anonymous commenter on Kiwiblog.
    The systems that the host has for dealing with such abuse are basically ineffective.
    Ultimately the site degenerates into one full of bullies and bigots.
    Check it out sometime.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  18th June 2016

      I’ve never signed up to comment there in case somebody’s rude to me.

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  18th June 2016

        I did sign up & comment on WO a couple of times, but nobody was rude to me so I haven’t bothered going back there.

        Reply
        • Nelly Smickers

           /  18th June 2016

          You’re very lucky here Geezz that you haven’t got Kitzy on your case like I have 😥

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  18th June 2016

            I think she’s actually quite fond of you sometimes Nellers. It’s Wayne she’s not keen on.

            Reply
    • I know Kiwiblog well. I hardly go there now because of the same old abusers continuing unabated. They know what they can get away with regarding moderation but that doesn’t stop insidious ongoing repeated lying and abuse.

      Reply
    • lurcher1948

       /  18th June 2016

      Why is it abusing you Maggy ???did you put (it) down once

      Reply
      • Iceberg

         /  18th June 2016

        Pro tip: better to post before Happy Hour.

        Reply
      • Maggy Wassilieff

         /  19th June 2016

        I am subjected to nasty abuse because I have stated that I do not accept that climate science is a settled science.
        I do not abuse other people.
        Whether or not I am pre, post or just plain menopausal has no bearing on climate debate. Neither does my love life from 40 years ago, or whether or not my mammary glands are little or large. How I finance my life of sloth is my business and should not be the subject of inaccurate comment on a blog hosted by a political pollster.
        Still it’s not my blog. Perhaps some guys derive great pleasure from putting uppity old ladies in their place.
        It’s pretty clear that few females bother posting on kiwi blog.

        Reply
  6. I confess to be “Linked In” and a subscriber to “Twitter” but I only use them passively. This blog is the only one I ever contribute to, although I do read other blogs for “ammunition” for comments. I joined “Facebook” and withdrew after 2 weeks when I realised how intrusive social media can be.
    I am concerned about a creeping use of expletives in this blog, and appeal to others to give it a miss as it lowers the tone and quality of the comment. I am not a prude, I have seen and been involved in a lot of things in my 74 years, but I still think there are much more clever ways of expressing yourself without reverting to expletives!

    Reply
    • Iceberg

       /  18th June 2016

      Rubbish. There are hundreds of low quality comments on this blog (many of them mine), with no swearing at all in them. Why not crusade again them?

      Reply
      • Iceberg, I hope you feel much better. I am not on a crusade, merely telling you all that the use of expletives usually shows a lack of command of the English language, and an inability to chose words that do not lower the tone of the blog! You can swear as much as you like, but please don’t rubbish my well considered position, it demeans you.

        Reply
        • Iceberg

           /  18th June 2016

          When all else fails, resort to pomposity.

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  18th June 2016

            I have a pretty good command of the English language, both the formal and the vernacular. I try to be discriminating about when to use which.

            Reply
            • Kitty Catkin

               /  18th June 2016

              One website wouldn’t allow bitch and ass in private messages, which meant that (with the latter) one couldn’t quote Kipling, PG Wodehouse, the Bible or Shakespeare among many others. It did allow some other words that most people would consider offensive, with no seeming logic to the ones that it would let through (a friend and I tried it-standing by to delete the message full of rude words immediately if it did go through)

              One had to refer to a ‘female dog’ or describe someone as a silly a-ss.

          • I say, I say Iceberg, sorry about that old chap, one never could be so ill mannered as to adopt pomposity as a substitute for speaking plainly. One only hopes you are not too aggrieved, one has taken your comment to heart!

            Reply
  7. lurcher1948

     /  18th June 2016

    Visit us Penny Bright,new fields

    Reply

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