Violentacrez exposé should be taken on its own merits

Freddie deBoer doesn't like Gawker's publication of an exposé on infamous internet creep Violentacrez: "I'll take honest depravity over depravity masked as righteousness."

It's not sympathy for ViolentAcrez that moves me, but rather contempt for the deep hypocrisy of Gawker, along with its always-hilarious sanctimony of convenience. I would argue that, in fact, Gawker's writers and audience partake in essentially the same thing that many Redditors who frequent the uglier sub-Reddits do: being titillated, in various ways, by content that they simultaneously disclaim and enjoy.

Without casting aspersions on deBoer's motives here, I can't help but notice that this looks a lot like the oldest steering trick in the book: if you don't like something that someone has written (or the journalist who wrote it), try and associate it with the publisher.

If the publisher has a good reputation, the aim is to to force the institution to take collective responsibility for the individual's beliefs—for example, to cast a contributor's opinion as that of the publisher itself.

If the publisher has a questionable reputation, however -- let's say, Gawker -- the intent is to cast the contributor's work as untrustworthy by association, regardless of its qualities.

In both cases, it encourages the reader to think not of the story's facts, but the moral and intellectual abstractions surrounding its publication: the politics, the motives, the journalistic legitimacy. The publisher, the writer and the story all become props in the play of ideas.

DeBoer's opinions about Gawker are interesting, but in picking Violentacrez as his horse--casting a explicit equivalency between what he did and what Gawker does--I think he's made a terrible mistake.

Consider two simple truths of this story:

1. Michael Brutsch acted in public, made only lazy attempts to pseudonymize himself as Violentacrez, and openly revealed his identity to others who knew him. Even if we accept the crazy proposition that he had a reasonable expectation of privacy in all this, its was used often to conceal his own invasion of other people's.

2. Brutch's public activities -- he maintained a hugely popular 'jailbait' forum which sexualized children; boasted of sexually exploiting his own step-daughter; and participated in a 'creepshots' forum that preyed on unsuspecting girls -- are definitively matters of public interest. Moreover, it's all taking place at one of the world's best and biggest web forums: Brutch was a key player in exploiting Reddit's strong free-speech policies and its weak management to create a safe place for misogynists, racists and pedophiles to gather and acculturate.

There's nothing criminal here--like deBoer, I'd guess that most of us following the story are free speech maximalists. The world won't be a safer or less misogynistic place for the downfall of Violentacrez. But it's absolutely creditable to write about it, and about him, no matter where you're doing it.

If you want to argue over institutional legitimacy, publishing Chen's exposé surely improves Gawker's reputation ... even if you think that it's got a long way to go.

Much of deBoer's post is given to dressing down New York lefties and writer Bhaskar Sunkara over a tweet that deBour misunderstood. But he's shooting straight when he makes this point:

ViolentAcrez is a deplorable guy. But he is honest in his ugly behavior ... it is a culture of open depravity. Gawker, and the larger scene of elite New York media it exemplifies, are something more devious, something more dangerous.

I just don't buy it. Who can, hand on heart, prefer the "honest depravity" of a prolific victimizer of the weak over the "hypocritical" journalism that exposes him? It's an entirely too abstract--and too privileged--viewpoint.


  1. I can’t say as the expose moved me much one way or another, but I did find it ironic for a Gawker property to be exposing someone for trolling given that trolling is a large part the business model of Gawker–perhaps not at the level of depredation exhibited by Violentacrez, but still related.

      1.  But the article in question didn’t really seem to be trolling at all.  Granted, I’m not invested in this squabble myself, but I read the article and it seemed like decent, essayistic journalism.  It didn’t seem deliberately inflammatory or provoking (although maybe I’m unaware of Reddit’s trigger words and issues, etc.)

        To my mind it was a thoughtful piece that offered insight into what happens when an online community scales up as dramatically and rapidly as Reddit did, and about the pros and cons of conscripting users as free editors (as well as free content providers).

        And an innocent question:  Why is Gawker apparently so reviled as a publisher?  The article in question was lengthy and all on one page (not spread out over 20 page loads like Cracked would do).  And the stuff I’ve read on lifehacker and i09 (other Gawker properties) has seemed reasonable.

        1. My comment was made in jest for the most part, like a lotta site Gawker has good and bad, both of which are determined by the viewer, and like many sites it is a business. 

          Yeah the article wasn’t terribly inflammatory as I saw it either, but I don’t frequent reddit often, or gawker, and a lot of the flames and smoke are based on one or the other. Some folk think that critics/journalist/blogger/whathaveyou can’t be both to a degree hypocrites AND correct, but it ain’t so. 

        2. Lifehacker and io9 tend to be fairly tame and pleasant. Kotaku frequently rams its nose straight into drama surrounding gaming (be it some publisher screwing people around, the ALWAYS fun topic of mysogyny in gaming culture and the gaming industry, or whatever they’re trying to milk for as many articles as they can, such as their post-release Mass Effect 3 coverage where they kept poking it with sticks long after it should’ve fallen out of the news cycle). Jezebel… yeah.

          Some, but not all, of Gawker’s properties are linkbaiting muckrakers that’ll do quite a lot (not anything) for lots of hits.

    1. I think the problem is a lot of people especially in America are predisposed to very quickly taking sides without considering who they are siding with. We should not promote the actions of an individual who acts primarily in self interest. It would be naive to assume this was some sort of mission that Gawker so bravely took to educate the world about unscrupulous behaviour, it was never for the purposes of enlightenment, it was for the purpose of getting traffic. While we sit here arguing the merits of this there is somebody over at Gawker rubbing his hands together thinking about the fools who have made him richer and more famous. Is that the kind of person we are going to praise?

      The truth is that gawker for a long time has participated in these types of bad behaviours and we shouldn’t support a professional big money troll for exposing another troll. The lesser of two evils is still evil and a rather tame argument for siding with Gawker.

      Reddit is a website with no moderation, I am a member and I’ve seen plenty of sexism and racism. As a “coloured” member I get my fair share of racism in fact and very little or nothing is done about it. If you don’t have rules then you are going to attract people that aren’t welcome elsewhere, Reddit is not being moderated and bad people are being attracted to the website. If they had done their jobs moderating the website in the first place the idiots at Gawker would have never made fools of so many so supporters and a fortune from everybody else.

      1. It would be naive to assume this was some sort of mission that Gawker so bravely took to educate the world about unscrupulous behaviour, it was never for the purposes of enlightenment, it was for the purpose of getting traffic.

        You’re doing what the OP is telling you not to do: judging the piece based on your opinion of Gawker rather than its own merits.  What if you judged it on its own merits?

        1. See thats where you are wrong, I am not defending Mr Violentacrez or refusing to acknowledge what he has done, I am fully aware of what he did, I am merely saying that while we condemn one trouble causer we should keep in mind the other trouble causer as well.

          Mr violentacrez we have already determined did something wrong, however on the other hand maybe it is time to look at the bigger picture and see who is delivering this news and for what purpose.

          I also take issue with the way this was handled, on the one hand we are so furious about how this ignoramus exposed people and did a great disservice to their life and on the other hand we are perfectly fine with another ignoramus doing the same to him?!

          It may be cliche but “He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”

          Looking at this situation from the top down I believe it could have been prevented by Reddit and I believe Gawker revealed it with no good intention, I also believe at this point we have established that Mr violentacrez was immoral in his actions.

          The next step is stop giving publicity to the toilet of journalism and make sure Reddit learns from its mistakes. A little critical thinking has its merits, mob mentality has none.

          1. See thats where you are wrong, I am not defending Mr Violentacrez or refusing to acknowledge what he has done, I am fully aware of what he did, I am merely saying that while we condemn one trouble causer we should keep in mind the other trouble causer as well.

            I didn’t say you were doing any of that.  I said you were judging the Chen piece on the basis of Gawker’s reputation rather than the merits of the piece instead.  I can see nothing in this reply that responds to that accusation rather than one I didn’t make in the first place.

            Mr violentacrez we have already determined did something wrong,

            How would you propose that VA could be held accountable for “doing something wrong” without doing something similar to what Chen did?  Please enlighten me.  I’ve been asking around and no one seems to have an answer for this.

          2. I believe prevention is the best cure, I believe this should have never been allowed in the first place.

            I’ve been a member of the Reddit community for a while and I’ve seen it grow exponentially over the years, when Digg fell the website got a lot of attention and grew quite rapidly. As it grew people started setting up their own little communities/subreddits. If the moderators weren’t half wits this could have been prevented.

            People complain daily on Reddit about the blatant racism and sexism and nothing is done. I think violentacrez is a pawn in all this, the problem is when everybody has had their little group rant everything will go back to normal on reddit, reddit will still happily play host to people who have racist and sexist opinions as usual and nothing will have changed.

            This is Reddits fault and they need to start stepping on that type of behaviour.

          3. That’s a pretty reasonable point of view but I think it’s interesting to take stock of why it seems to be that reddit failed to do anything about VA: because VA was a huge part of reddit, even buddying up to the founders.  Reddit failed to do anything because VA played no small part in shaping the community standards of reddit in the first place.  All the more reason for him to take responsibility for his actions in my opinion, but I also see a lot of merit in your opinion that this was a failure on the part of the reddit community or the company itself as well.

  2. I continue to not understand how it is that people seem to believe that only the pure may be critical of the impure, that Gawker or Chen, being imperfect, may not publish on the exploits of someone publishing their own exploits. 

    Seems to me way more of a chill on free speech than the threat of having bad behaviour conducted anonymously being exposed.

    “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone” has been used to shield bad behaviour as much as it has been used to prevent mob mentality, and it does not account for repentance or allow justice for the abused. Many people benefit for having been called out on what actions they have taken, if the call has merit then the merit of the caller matters less than the call.

  3. “Who can, hand on heart, prefer the ‘honest depravity’ of a prolific victimizer of the weak over the ‘hypocritical’ journalism that exposes him? It’s an entirely too abstract–and too privileged–viewpoint.”

    Easy to say if your kids didn’t die in Iraq, aren’t in jail because of the war on drugs, haven’t become crippled due to medical profiteering, etc.

    1. “Who can, hand on heart, prefer the ‘honest depravity’ of a prolific victimizer of the weak over the ‘hypocritical’ journalism that exposes him? It’s an entirely too abstract–and too privileged–viewpoint.”

      Easy to say if your kids didn’t die in Iraq, aren’t in jail because of the war on drugs, haven’t become crippled due to medical profiteering, etc.

      I keep reading this trying to make it make sense. I keep failing.

      Please explain: How do the war in Iraq, the war on (some) drug users, and medical profiteering make the actions of prolific victimizers preferable to those of the arguably-hypocritical journalists who report on said victimizers? Because that’s how your comment reads.

      1. The point the original article was making is that the media causes much more harm to society by making up bullshit reasons to endorse whatever viewpoint will be the most profitable for them on any given day. ViolentAcrez is just some guy who perhaps has some moral failings, but at least he’s honest about them. And at the end of the day whatever harm he has caused, while significant, is still trivial in comparison to the harms caused by the media. 

        1. Not all journalism is strictly profit-motive, yet. That can’t even be said about all publishing, yet.

          As for the examples, the prolific victimizers who are behind wars on regimes or vice, and medical profiteers use the media, not the other way around. Media bears some responsibility if their actions further the cause of the victimizer, but the lion’s share remains with the victimizer.

          1. “… use the media, not the other way around”

            Complete BS. The weapons companies often literally own the media outlets and are happy to run them as loss leaders to promote their wars. Same deal with private prisons, big pharma, etc. And whatever isn’t owned outright is controlled through ad dollars and access. 

            Similarly, political ads are some of the biggest revenue generators. Why do you think Mitt Romney ‘won’ the debate two weeks ago? The story wasn’t that Mitt Romney is a compulsive serial liar, but rather that Obama looked ‘tired’ or whatever. Why? Is it because they actually believed that? Of course not, it’s because an even race sells more ads.



          2. My first sentence holds even if a large number of outlets are concentrated in ownership and exclusively profit-driven. Your Complete BS (rude) is thus denied. There are outlets that are independent, even if it chaffs you because it doesn’t fit neat theory. That’s just reality, and the basis of why I said “yet”.

            Whether the prolific victimizers control outwardly or cause ownership convergence does not mean that it is the media dealing the damage, it means that media is being used to deal that damage in part, a combination of on behalf or by these large concerns that you & I don’t like. 

            Like it or not, other viewpoints still are heard, though I’m sure you can chalk it up to window dressing if you’re willing to use a phrase like “Complete BS”, you probably are most comfortable with absolutes. 

            Finally, your initial post was still fuzzy confused at best, and now revealed as a troll for bait that lets you rail against the man. 

            But your initial post puts the blame for a soldier’s death on the reporter no matter what they wrote, because of who owns share and has voting rights at the publishing house. That’s bullshit, and plays well into the line of anyone who wants to further muddy the water, excusing governments, armies and multi-national interests because of “the media”, just like some will excuse a government wrong or a corporate wrong because they’re just answering what the voter wants, or giving the consumer what they demand.

            Your point, like it or not, is that the media is a tool to some. Tools are used, some like it, some don’t. You’re a tool too. Mainly cause you’re rude.

            Edit – Here’s a bit ‘o dox “This post was anonymized by it’s previous owner” When I replied the owner of that Guest post was alexkrupp. Geez.

        2. Comparing an amorphous blob noun like “the media” to a particular individual like Brutsch seems like bullshit to me.

          You wanna talk about the harms caused by particular journalists?  OK, yeah, comparable.  But comparing the failings of one depraved dude putting thousands of hours into his “hobby” pro bono to the work of thousands of people responding to admittedly perverse incentives because they need to house and feed themselves…not so reasonable to me.

          1. “You wanna talk about the harms caused by particular journalists?  OK, yeah, comparable.”

            I think the crux of it is that the media generally pretends that what they’re doing is for the benefit of society, when in fact reality is much more nuanced at the least. It might be wildly unfair to compare the harm caused by one individual with the harm caused by an entire industry and ideology. But the idea isn’t to excuse what ViolentAcrez was doing, but rather to get people to think about what the media does more critically. 

        3. Actually, I don’t think he WAS honest about them.
          If he had been, then being “unmasked” wouldn’t have been such a big deal. 

    2. Given how few corporations own the media and so many other interests — as well as a multitude of politicians in both major parties — I don’t see how you can separate the two “options” in your example. Vis-a-vis Brutsch you’re comparing apples to oranges.

  4. I guess with all that linkbaiting Gawker was eventually destined to produce something that’s at least worth taking a look at.

    It’s like Larry Flint offering a million dollar reward for Romney’s tax info — garbage using garbage to promote garbage. 

      1. yes, those 2 paparazzi shots in there among all those professionally shot, edited and published photos of an adult celebrity who actually profits from her fame make Gawker every bit as bad as dudes sneakily snapping cell-phone panty pics of kids on their fucking daily commute.  

  5. Violentacrez wasn’t “honest” about his depravity. He used a pseudonym to troll. The exposé is what made him honest. The only redeeming thing to say about him is that when he got busted he didn’t scream about the sanctity of anonymous trolling, and appeared to accept the shitstorm that was headed his way.

        1. Right, but grimc seems to think that the simple action of using a pseudonym means someone is dishonest by default. There was nothing dishonest about Violentacrez’s actions, as depraved as they were. 

          1. Oh see, I read grimc post as saying his acts of trolling were not honest for his hiding, not that his acts of trolling were trolling because he was hiding. 

            Had he conducted all of his affairs under his name, would he have? Doubtful.

          2. I think the point was he’s using his anonymity to be a jerk; i.e. to avoid responsibility. If he were truly open and “honest” about it, he’d have been a jerk under his own name and take the heat without being busted first. You could equally argue that grimc isn’t being “honest” in his criticism for the same reason – although much like this story, taking a positive act under a pseudonym is very different from taking a negative one. It’s similar to an anonymous donation (I don’t need the credit or accolades) versus an anonymous crime (I don’t want to be held responsible). Both are anonymous, but with a very different intent behind it.

          3. I agree with you on the whole. I just think that It’s unfair to say that someone is being dishonest for doing things in poor taste simply because they’re doing so on a website where one creates a pseudonym as part of the process of becoming a participant. 

          4. Who made up the rule that you have to provide your full name and birth date in order to post a rant?  That’s the beauty of an open internet.  We get to see the full range of human viewpoints, like it or not.

  6. No one’s intentions seem pure in this matter. Just varying degrees of suffering left in the wake of people’s actions and dogmas.

  7. The world won’t be safer or less misogynistic place for the downfall of Violentacrez

    Yes it will.

    A week ago we lived in a world where harassing, non-consensual photos of women and children were posted on a world-famous website over and over and NO-ONE CARED. Everyone acted like that was normal or just what you’d expect.

    Today we live in a world where society at large has said that posting harassing photos is not an OK thing to do, and results in Consequences.

    Different world. Better world.

    1. Also, a world where less of this happens:

      1. And in a final stab at those who say that the anonymous of the net are without merit for being anonymous, that users of pseudonyms should be held to accounts for using the pseudonym without regard for their actions, that no one should be allowed to use pseudonyms because of the likes of Violentacrez or the people that bullied that girl without suffering consequence themselves. 

        1. Cave! This is the real slippery slope. A loose mob (online or not!) could ruin the life of innocent bystanders. Identifying somebody and (anonymously) sending information to the authorities is one thing, as long as the authorities do their job properly and with great care after being tipped of. Exposing someone on teh webz who might allegedly be (at least from an ethical perspective) responsible for a suicide is a totally different pair of shoes.

          Please try not to misunderstand this post. No sympathy for assholes, none whatsoever.
          However, caution and prudence is likely of need when dealing with people. To illustrate: I personally know the family of a primary school teacher who was accused of sexual harassment of his wards. As far as I know, it took more than eight years until he was cleared of all charges. In between, he lost his job, not to speak of his health (and the health and sanity of his family). If someone had posted his name somewhere, what else might have happened?

          1. I ain’t misunderstand, and my example won’t hold if it turns out Anonymous has got bad intel on that matter, and personally I agree, they did send it to the RCMP first and maybe it should have stopped there. Anonymous could have even alerted the RCMP, and posted online that they had investigated and turned over findings to authorities, so the public would know to follow up whether the RCMP investigated. My main point, obscured, was that intentions matter, though we all must admit that intentions don’t defend actions in a way that can justify them implicitly.

          2. Inevitably, we get the example of a man unjustly accused of sexual harassment.

            I’m not going to argue over your friend’s innocence or guilt. But it’s interesting how, despite how massively underreported rape, sexual harassment, and stalking are, and how lightly their perps get off, there seems to be such a critical mass of unjustly accused men out there. Why, you’d almost think that we care more about them than about victims of sexualized crimes.

            As far as legal channels go, you *are* aware that cops, prosecutors, defense attorneys, juries, and judges are part of this misogynist society and quite often deliver a second (and third, and fourth, etc.) injustice to victims? Do you care about that, or do you assume that the law is always just? If you do not assume the law is always just, why do you appear to be making an exception in the case of crimes of a sexual nature?

          3. To be clear: your implication that I don’t care for the unreported cases of sexualised crimes comes across as trolling. “No sympathy for assholes” should have been clear enough.

            ‘The law’ must not be misogynistic. Society must not be misogynistic. Both is *ours* to change this. Exposing committers of crime is just. But exposing them anonymously is dangerous. As FunkyDaddy says: intentions matter, but they don’t justify them implicitly. Or, more colloquial: good intentions and the ends don’t justify the means. You must keep a balance.

    2.  Yes, I suppose the claim that “The world won’t be safer or less misogynistic place for the downfall of Violentacrez” is sort of a reverse slippery slope, that no incremental decrease in misogyny or dickishness has any actual effect when, in fact, even the longest journey starts with a single step.

    3. My sleep-deprived mind formulated a question, open to anyone’s answer, which I am currently not able to verbalize well, but I think it interesting nonetheless:

      Contrast the incedents and reactions in this Violentacrez affair with those of the protesters who picketed Google in the UK regarding “The Innocence of Muslims”.

      I fully expect to wake up in the burn ward of a hospital, but I still feel obliged to ask the question, in the hope that the answers will illuminate.

      1. I’m not familiar with the acts of people who picketed Google in the UK over that crappy video, but,

        In both incidents, the gawker piece and the shitty video release, a large number of people openly objected to bad behaviour and disavowed the actors thereof, while a small number responded by behaving badly in fits of self-righteousness on both sides of each equation.

        *I do not refer to the -actual- actors in the shitty film, seems they were victims too

  8. In his novel The Diamond Age, Neal Stephenson wrote about how, to pass from having bad moral standing to having good moral standing, everyone needs to pass through hypocrisy: the point where you have the morals telling you not to do something, but are not yet able to live up to them.
    The character went on and concluded that hypocrisy (having high moral standards and not living up to them) is better than having no moral standards at all.

    Of course, he distinguished between those who were hypocrites through weakness, and those who were hypocrites through deception. That is, those who really wanted to be better but failed, and those who just claimed to be better.

    I’m not saying which class Gawker falls into, but I do prefer a well intentioned hypocrite to those, like the creepshot Redditors, who discard morality entirely.

  9. All this stuff about “trendy New York media elite” types just makes him sound like some kind of frother; it’s one of those “dude, did you have to go there” slips that makes his points lose merit for me.

  10. I can understand chen publishing.  i can’t forgive it.  it’s not like doxxing someone you don’t like to shut them up is a new play on teh interwebz, but striking out with PI because you can’t outargue someone is always the dick move in my book.

    1. I what? I’m sorry, was he not able to argue that the things violentacrez was doing were wrong? That seems like a fairly winnable argument. Is there some vast part of this story I’ve missed? 

      1. lol, yeah it was such a winnable argument that reddit banned his account and the police arrested him on kkiddy fiddling charges.  owait. none of that happened.  because he was doing nothing illegal. Not even in the age of thought crimes. There’s always something, somewhere on the interwebz that you’ll find offensive, immoral, obscene, or blasphemous. so what? welcome to the web.  

        1. What sort of “thought crime” do you think ViolentAcrez was committing? Are you suggesting that disseminating upskirt photos and/or photos of nude underage girls is a “thought crime” or that it is a “victimless crime”? Where would disseminating lolli fall in there? I’m trying to get a handle on the ethical system you’re applying when you mean “thought crime.”

          1. Where did you read that he was disseminating anything?

            Ironically he was appointed in many of the 400+ subreddits he moderates because of his efficacy in removing illegal content.

            He’s a moderator, not a content creator/curator.

        2. That which is legal is ethical? That which is legal is immune to criticism? That which is legal ought be freely done in anonymity? I really wouldn’t guess that you believe those things, yet I feel at least one has to be implied by your argument. 

        3. Violating women’s privacy and reinforcing rape culture isn’t a “thought crime.” It actively harms women. And the idea that anything legal is okay is a really terrible standard of behavior. Social sanctions exist to take care of these sublegal breaches of conduct.

        4. lol, yeah it was such a winnable argument that reddit banned his account and the police arrested him on kkiddy fiddling charges.

          If your standard is whether or not someone is arrested, then I have to assume that you want the government to take over the management and policing of the internet.

          1. actually i think i was using that as hyperbole in answering the poster above me.   the point was theat none of those things actually happened, because he was simply a moderator, who likes to troll in his spare time.  Making you uncomfortable, doesn’t make it wrong.   However outting someone who makes you uncomfortable, in their speech…is definitely a wrong in my book.

    2. ViolentAcrez wasn’t making any arguments.  He certainly wasn’t arguing that he should be allowed to do what he was doing without any kind of moral censure — the fact that he wasn’t willing to attach his identity to his actions makes it clear that he realized his actions do warrant moral censure.

      VA didn’t care about arguments one way or the other.  He was abusing pseudonymity to get away with something he knew was wrong.  He was a troll.  I would assume Chen outed him because there’s exactly zero other ways to hold VA accountable for his trolling.

      Open to other suggestions, though.  If you think you have an argument that would have made VA seen the light and stop the creepshots shit without outing him then I’d love to hear it. 

      1. I’m curious, when you say ‘Stop the creepshots shit’ what do you mean?  

        From what I gather, that would be like expecting Antinous to ‘Stop the steampunk shit’.

        He was one of many moderators – of a forum.  This is a key piece of information people still don’t seem to be taking in.

    3. “Someone you don’t like” != “someone who’s preying on innocent people.”

      Oh, right, silly me. Women aren’t really people! Carry on.

      1. Remember a few years back when Gawker had the real time celebrity stalking feed where users would submit libel about celebs and invasive shots of them going about their daily lives?

        Do you also remember when Gawker went after a single moderator for the content of a subreddit he had no control over?

        Who in this story has had the most influence over ‘preying on innocent people’?

  11. “ViolentAcrez is a deplorable guy. But he is honest in his ugly behavior … it is a culture of open depravity.”

    I mean, say what you like about the tenets of National Socialism, dude, at least it’s an ethos.

  12. There’s nothing criminal here

    Brutch [..] boasted of sexually exploiting his own step-daughter

    A few days ago I’d never heard of this guy, and now I know far more than I really want to. I just read about this, and while he claimed to have done this when she was nineteen (and the thread has since been deleted, I understand), I find myself wondering if he really waited until she was legal. If, indeed, it is legal and not just depraved beyond comprehension.

    1. Yeah, I have absolutely no knowledge about all of this other than what I’ve read here on BoingBoing, but the above part is when I went “Say what????”. If she was of legal age or not doesn’t matter for the “sexually exploiting” part. Being underage adds another dimension to the crime, but sexually exploiting in itself would be illegal (depending on what he meant by “sexually exploiting”).

  13. What planet are we on that we think that being an “honest” creep is better than being a “dishonest” one? That is ridiculous. 

    This thing is a total false equivalence. The Gawker piece was great investigative journalism, and it was balanced, even its treatment of violentacrez. He wants to complain about Gawker’s hypocrisy? What about the Redditors who want to have “freedom of speech” to post pictures of teenage girls without their permission, and then want to ban links to Gawker or sites that show who is posting “creepshots”? 

    Freedom of speech doesn’t mean freedom from consequence. One of the principles of freedom is that yours ends where someone else’s begins. 

    The problem isn’t anonymity per se. Newspapers publish editorials without bylines, The Economist has no names attached to articles. Journalists protect whistleblowers because they fear retribution. 

    Freedom of speech is most important in its ability to hold powerful or influential people to account, which Gawker, even its mocking tone about celebrities and politicians, is doing. 

    That is actually one of the things where the U.S. stands apart in its free speech protections: that greater latitude is given to free speech about public figures (including satirical speech) than in other countries. 

    What violentacrez and other Redditors were doing was using anonymity to use free speech that was aimed at targeting minorities, women, and teenage girls, and to say and do things they would never do under their own name. 

  14. The baggage of Gawker and Reddit did not really weigh on me as I read Gawker’s piece on Violentacrez (they can argue that amongst themselves.)  I just found it an interesting read about the weird way that the internet works, and the way it changes how our society works.

    I don’t understand the logic of “honest depravity”, nor how someone who by his own admission gets thrilled by making people upset can be somehow considered admirable; I’m all for free speech, but even if I defend someone’s right to spew various types of hate, it doesn’t mean I approve.  When I was a teenager I did a lot of stupid, violent, perhaps hateful things, and sometimes I even thought I was making the world a better place (certainly it felt good to act that way back then.)  In retrospect I wasn’t improving the world, and ultimately it’s the same world I have to live in too. 

  15. Whenever celed noods are released into the wild gawker is there to report on it and to provide links the the material. this is little different than what Violentacrez did.

    btw, its very possible that what Violentacrezwas doing was illegal in his home state of texas. Someone i a arguing with pointed this out.

    Texas state law, sec. 21.15: IMPROPER PHOTOGRAPHY OR VISUAL RECORDING. (a) In this section, “promote” has the meaning assigned by Section 43.21.

    (b) A person commits an offense if the person:

    (1) photographs or by videotape or other electronic means records, broadcasts, or transmits a visual image of another at a location that is not a bathroom or private dressing room:

    (A) without the other person’s consent; and

    (B) with intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person;

    The above is all punishable by jail time.

      1. Lots of bullshit laws everywhere, Texas has it’s own special brand. Notalotta cowboys these days, still we wear the boots there.

        I hope it’s not illegal, because as a society we shouldn’t need laws to wipe our butts to be or remain cohesive. Social censure is, right or wrong, and if everyone respects the protections of secular law in plying social censure, we all free.

        Violentacrez can keep on doing what he do, so long as the price he pays justifies it, to him. 

  16. This is an issue I find myself uncomfortably out of step with most of my fellow mutants on.  It’s also one of those subjects where- the more I consider it, the more I realize that there is just a whole lot of difficult-to-navigate grey area.

    I don’t like Violentacrez, or creepshots, or jailbait.  But- I do think that the “free” in speech refers to the freedom from a certain amount of repercussion   It definitely implies that you can say something distasteful without being descended on by policemen with truncheons.  I think it also means that you should be free to say distasteful things without being descended on by vigilantes who want to harm your livelihood.  Freedom of speech doesn’t mean that Violentacrez should be free from judgement for his speech, but I think it does mean that he shouldn’t have to worry about losing his job.  Adrian Chen definitely set out to harm him, and many of us are sitting around cheering because Violentacrez was an ugly man.  

    Should creepshots and jailbait exist?  I’d prefer not.  I’d also prefer that peopleofwalmart and tubecrush didn’t exist.  I”d love it if people just treated other people with a lot more compassion and respect all around.   If violentacrez sexually assaulted a minor, I have no problem with him being prosecuted for that, but we actually have an infrastructure for that.  If Chen had worked with authorities to try to determine whether he was sexually assaulting his daughter, that would be a very different matter.  He didn’t.  He realized that our tribe would give him social rewards for our own custom tailored flavor of macarthyism.

    Whether he was skilled in his attempts at anonymity is beside the point. The intention to disassociate his posts from his employer and life was clearly there.  If anonymity is only earned by the truly adept, then most of us will never find it.  I think a reasonable attempt to maintain anonymity should be sufficient for it to be honored.  Piercing this anonymity to enforce the law is ok.  Piercing this anonymity to bring social censure (because no laws were broken) isn’t.

    I can’t just give Chen a pass because I dislike misogyny.  Not unless I am willing for people who dislike gays and transgendered to issue similar passes to other vigilante actions.  There is a lot of social pressure to view what happened to Violentacrez as karma or justice, but the thirst for his blood that seems so pervasive of my tribe is really making me uncomfortable.  Life would be a lot easier if everyone agreed about what was right and what was wrong.  But we don’t.  Because of this, we have to demand that the people we think of as deviants be treated with the same courtesy we want extended to the practitioners of deviancy that we approve of.

      1. Policemen with truncheons: this is the state that freedom of speech is supposed to protect us from.  It was an attempt at reducto ad absurdum.

        There are lots of different meanings of free- hence the term free-as-in-beer.  I was trying to determine what exactly the freedom in freedom of speech was.  I contend that freedom of speech is the ability to speak without fear of prohibitive consequence.  When saying something unpopular exposes you to dire consequences, you do not have the freedom of speech.

        I mentioned vigilantiism because that is what I feel Chen is doing by doxxing Violentacrez.  He disliked violentacrez, and what violentacrez represented to him, so he pierced violentacrez’s anonymity, and presented him for public censure.  As a result, violentacrez has lost his job.  A consequence he anticipated when he asked Chen not to reveal his identity.

        1. As a result, violentacrez has lost his job.

          Again, you can’t put losing the job entirely on Chen.  It’s at least partially the fault of Brutsch since he’s the one who did the stuff for which he was fired.  If he hadn’t spent thousands of hours moderating creepshots he’d still be employed. Right?

          1. I invite you to read my entire comment again.  If moderating creepshots is an act of free speech, then chen working to close creepshots by making an example of violentacrez is an abridgement of free speech.

            In a society without free speech, all one has to do to avoid punishment is not speak freely.  This is basically your argument- “just don’t say anything that offends me, and you have nothing to worry about”

          2. If moderating creepshots is an act of free speech, then chen working to close creepshots by making an example of violentacrez is an abridgement of free speech.

            Was Chen acting on behalf of the government?  Then no, this is not the case.  Chen was engaging in free speech of his own, criticizing VA’s speech.  That is legal, it does not constitute censorship, and does not violate any of VA’s rights (no, anonymity is not a right).

            This is basically your argument- “just don’t say anything that offends me, and you have nothing to worry about”

            Only because you’re conflating lack of free speech to free speech with consequences.  Brutsch engaged in free speech and there were consequences.  That is completely consistent with free speech.

        2. It isn’t vigilantism to want to not employ someone that disgusting. It isn’t vigilantism to tell the employer how disgusting their employee would be. Vigilantism would be throwing rocks or setting his house on fire, and while you might be able to make the argument that Chen placed violentacrez at risk of that, I don’t think it would be very persuasive in light of the implications of the invasion of privacy that = creepshots. 

    1.  You can’t. I’m sorry, just because you imagined a place where you can do and say anything you like, hurting people as you go, destroying lives and perpetuating a behavior that most disagree with without repercussions, doesn’t make it true.

      People react when other disbehave, its part of our pattern as primarily social animals that live in flocks – we teach each other the expected behavior daily. If someone you know do something that you disagree with that makes you angry you show that and y doing so you teach him or her that this behavior is not acceptable. Perhaps you talk about it. This is part of our social make up.

      Since actions have reactions and nothing is truly isolated the reason why we do this is obvious. And I say we because unless you suffer from for example extreme cases of autism and your not very good at social situations and cues, you have done this and you will do this. Social censure is basicly what you do daily.

      And it sucks that humans enjoy seeing bad people get shit – but thats another lovely monkey feature of ours. Justice Pathos – the sense of revenge and justice served. Which kinda is problematic (I gotta admit I enjoyed seeing him get some shit… which Im not very proud of but its the truth)

      But that just leaves the journalist ethos and if Chen followed it. I think he did so. He took someone in power, who it seemed to Chen abused it (about th duality of the journalistic profession and the problems of being a moral judge is a large debate for journalists everywhere doing anything from uncovering dirty govmnt officials to business people with dirty contacts. Legality is seldom the only relevant meassure though). Then he realized that this person was well connected high up in his social sphere and realised that the story was relevant and went further than the subject. So he went to print. And now Chen is suffering from it aswell (threats to his and his families lives have been made beyond the usuall mail barrage).

      But anyway this is a relevant debate in itself: anonymity is relevant to all of us (I hope). But to what extent? How much are we ready to sacrifice for it? We really need to find a point where we can not only provide anonymity for all who wants it but also safeguard against those who use it to torture others.

      1. “hurting people as you go, destroying lives and perpetuating a behavior that most disagree with without repercussions, doesn’t make it true.”

        I actually don’t imagine that.  I think that we live in a society where we actually have laws to try to protect people from reasonable harm.  If Violentacrez was engaged in enabling sex crimes, that would be a simple matter- and Chen’s move should have been to work with the authorities to see him punished.The issue is that we all have different views as to what hurts people and destroys lives.  The gay and transgendered are perceived as actually dangerous to the religious right, for instance.  This is also why the ACLU periodically defends people that we find morally objectionable.  Tolerance of deviancy is a characteristic that makes a society healthy and free.  It’s disheartening to find this to be such a difficult idea for a community of happy mutants.

        1. It’s disheartening to find context to be such a difficult idea to this particular happy mutant. 

          Gay and transgendered people have a reasonable expectation of privacy because they don’t go around violating other people’s privacy.  VA didn’t have a reasonable expectation of privacy because he did go around violating other people’s privacy.

          1. I like this response. It provides a decent metric for a point at which a right to privacy should be waived.  I’m not sure that I agree with the degree of reciprocity (honestly, I’ve never seen creepshots or jailbait- I don’t know what is on them.  I assume anonymous photos of girls and women with sleazy comments).

            I don’t know that I agree with you, but I certainly will concede that this is a fair and good point.

          2. It’s disheartening to find context to be such a difficult idea to this particular happy mutant.

            It’s the form versus content problem. Unfortunately, many people parrot memes and believe that they’re making an argument or an analysis. But they’re just chanting a litany of rules.

            Concepts like free speech or the rule of law don’t exist because they were given to us as platonic ideals in some mystical apotheosis. They exist because, in millennia of experience, we find them to be the least heinous ways of guaranteeing happiness for the greatest proportion of people. Unfortunately, some people talk about free speech the way others talk about Jesus: as a matter of faith rather than as something to be critically analyzed and applied to the situation at hand.

          3. “VA didn’t have a reasonable expectation of privacy because he did go around violating other people’s privacy.”

            I’m not sure if he did though.  Depending on your definition of violating peoples privacy he neither sanctioned, curated no provided the content you’re referring too.  With regards to one of the subreddits he had such a low moderator level that he couldn’t even actually ‘moderate’ the content.

            If he was just some guy taking pervy, invasive shots of girls and posting them on his site this would be a much simpler argument – but he’s not.  He’s just a creepy guy that got on the wrong side of Chen; the privacy violation is coming from a completely different direction in my eyes.

        2. It is disgusting and dishonest to conflate people such as GLBT people who do nothing wrong by existing with a creep who is violating the privacy of others.

          Basically you are doing everything described in this article to justify male predation of women while objecting to attempts at fighting said predation.

          1. I’d be happy to respond to individual points that you think I am doing from that article, but I have talked about moral relativism all throughout this thread, and won’t be drawn into just saying “I’m not like the horrible men described in that article!”

            Saying that you are entitled to do whatever you want because you are right is a dangerous path.  And it never seems like YOU are the one walking it when you are.

            If we want to be in control of our prejudice and bias, we need to be vigilant about giving ourselves permission to hurt people we don’t like.  Or people who do things we don’t like.

    2. Please stop exaggerating and putting everything in such moralistic terms. “Vigilantes”. “Thirst for his blood.” “Intention to harm.” I’m not seeing these things; these are your subjective interpretations of this situation. Realistically, Brutsch maintained pseudonymity because he knew his employer, for example, would object to this hobby of his. Chen didn’t necessarily set out with the intention of harming his livelihood, though he certainly would have understood this is a probable consequence. I think it’s more accurate to say Brutsch endangered his livelihood by doing all this terrible stuff online in the first place. Even if you want to blame Chen a little bit I think you have to reserve the lion’s shame of blame for the guy who, you know, did something wrong in the first place.

      Piercing this anonymity to enforce the law is ok. Piercing this anonymity to bring social censure (because no laws were broken) isn’t.

      I disagree entirely. It is only through social censure that we can properly punish immoral acts that aren’t otherwise against the law. If we lose the capacity of social censure then we have to start making shit like this illegal the way Germany and a few other countries do, and I think that’s where we start to lose freedoms.

      Get it? Creeps like Brutsch who abuse freedoms are the problem. The solutions are social censure of those who abuse freedoms or — less desirable in my opinion — less freedom. Social censure is how we maintain freedom without anarchy. You already have legal protections for your speech; the only other significant restriction is the risk of social censure — and that’s irrelevant in cases of anonymity or pseudonymity.

      1. ” Please stop exaggerating and putting everything in such moralistic terms.  “Vigilantes”.  “Thirst for his blood.”  “Intention to harm.” 

        I’ll apologize for the thirst for blood comment.  I feel like there is very little subjectivity in the statement that Chen knew that he was going to harm Brutsch by revealing his identity.  As for the references to vigilantiism…

        “It is only through social censure that we can properly punish immoral acts that aren’t otherwise against the law.”

        I guess this is the philosophical point on which we differ.  I think we should tolerate the immoral acts that aren’t against the law, or make them illegal.  Because views on morality differ widely. What you perceive as the social pressure that allows us to avoid having to codify prejudice into law is what I perceive as acting as a vigilante- appointing yourself to be the enforcer of a given social norm through force.

        1. think we should tolerate the immoral acts that aren’t against the law, or make them illegal. 

          I agree to a certain extent.  Do you think there are any limitations to this principle? I think a reasonable limitation is that people not hide behind anonymity when they’re engaging in actions they know are immoral, and I think there is “very little subjectivity in the statement” that Brutsch knew he was doing something immoral.

          appointing yourself to be the enforcer of a given social norm through force.

          Show me where I advocated force.

          1. I’m not certain where the limitations on that principle are.  I have to confess that one of the problems with trying to remain open to being wrong is that you are always filled with doubt, even when you are trying to present a coherent statement.  In my original post, I talked about a confusing grey area surrounding this issue, and it lies in there.

            I guess if there is a exception, it probably exists at a place where there is a clear and present danger to an individual, and insufficient time to handle the matter legally.

            Threatening someone’s livelihood is force.  If I had to chose between being physically beaten or losing my career, it wouldn’t even be a choice.

          2. I disagree that it constitutes “force.”  Again, I don’t think you’re allowing for the fact that Brutsch lost his job because of his own actions.  He knew his employer would not appreciate his hobby and engaged in it anyway.  In other words, Brutsch willfully abused pseudonymity to get away with stuff he would never have done under his own name.  Losing his job was a consequence of those actions.  If he stuck to cat pictures Chen could have outed him and nothing would have happened to his job.

            I’ve said this three or four times now and Antinous is probably getting a little pissed, so I am done. If you cannot acknowledge this fact then we don’t have much to discuss.

          3. Threatening someone’s livelihood is force.

            So is making the world a hostile place for women.

          4. Journalism, by the pure (nonexistent) or the impure (everyone), would be about as effective a societal tool and measure as a bump on a log, if no one went to press for fear of upsetting someone. This includes the threat of vigilanteism. Violentacrez has the same protection of law as the rest of us, and that is the appropriate response to threats of vigilanteism, not silence. If Chen misrepresented facts in a manner that was clearly intended to incite violence, or did directly incite violence, it’d be different. But that didn’t happen.

            Threatening someone’s livelihood is not force, it is the threat of economic sanction. A socially acceptable threat, especially where the threat is not the use of influence or power to terminate employment, but by making known the public acts of the subject in question. It is also a threat Chen never made, not that I have read.

            The choice you propose is preposterous. If I had a choice between all dark meat next to my stuffing and eating a live possum, it’d be no choice at all. But who the hell offers that choice?

    3. I can’t just give Chen a pass because I dislike misogyny.  Not unless I am willing for people who dislike gays and transgendered to issue similar passes to other vigilante actions.

      Seriously? Ok, revealing a man has been violating women’s privacy on one hand, and beating up gays on the other, both involve taking action against someone. That doesn’t make them comparable at all.

      For instance, you might consider what people are harmed by actions. Being gay is victimless. Distributing underage photos is not. And in real life, the types of consequences of outing someone for them are quite different, and different again from what vigilantes tend to do to them.

      I take it this is what people mean by considering everything by form, and ignoring content and context. It’s an awful approach, refusing to judge by throwing victims and victimizers on the same moral plane.

      Seriously, people. Stop doing this.

      1. For the record- I never mentioned beating up gays.  I failed to clarify that there have been large swaths of american history where revealing that an employee was gay or transgendered to an employer would result in the termination of their employment.

        The rest of that is your projection.

        1. You were being confusing – “vigilante actions” usually means a lot more than reporting. Though yes, I know revealing someone is gay can have consequences to this day, a lot worse than losing them a job.

          It doesn’t change my point either way. Outing someone for being gay and outing someone for violating privacy are not the comparable. The difference isn’t just taste, it’s that one has victims and the other doesn’t.

          Those victims are why there are some actions that would be reasonable here but not against homosexuals. Talking about this as just “another deviation” is you implicitly ignoring them.

          1. Your point about putting everyone on the same moral plane being wrong is something I disagree with.  The problem with that is moral relativism.  Nobody persecutes someone that they think isn’t in the wrong.  And yet, people are inclined to persecute different types of people.  The way to avoid truly ugly persecution is to establish ground rules about what is ok as if everyone was on the same moral plane.

            Either that or get rid of everyone who disagrees with you.

            You and I probably agree on most things moral, which is why we intersect in this community.

            I find subreddits like creepshots distasteful.  I also find sites like people of walmart distasteful.  If we want to look into whether being featured on these types of sites is so mentally damaging that it creates victims that need legal defense, then let’s do it.  But deciding that some actions are ok for one and not the other ALWAYS seems like a righteous idea to those who empower themselves.  And it rarely is.

          2. The way to avoid truly ugly persecution is to establish ground rules about what is ok as if everyone was on the same moral plane.

            You yourself have shown where that fails: refusing to treat bullies and their victims differently is allowing persecution of the latter.

            Yes, there are some people think gays are worse than guys who post underage photos without consent. But why should we care? They’re simply wrong, and so are any standards that won’t accept that fact, if you believe in any kind of human rights.

            And apparently you do, because you don’t apply relativism to everything. But it’s interesting where you make an exception.

            None for the girls’ privacy – some deviants might think spreading stalker shots is ok, and apparently it’s up to them not the girls to decide. We would have to study the exact harm before we consider condemning it as more than just an unpopular activity.

            But for doxxing, “no pass” for deviants like Chen who think it might be ok in some cases. No call to study relative harm or help here; VA’s privacy is important, and so it should really be left up to him.

            This is a double standard, one that itself enables ugly persecution and allows cruel people to empower themselves. Again, refusing to distinguish bullies and victims does not eliminate the difference.

        2. No, it’s not projection. This is a very common game that defenders of those who violate women’s privacy for funsies like to play, and feminists recognize it pretty well by now.

          1. How do you tell the difference between someone actually trying to talk to you and someone playing a game for funsies?  Because from where I stand it looks like you just erected a convenient strawman.

  17. I don’t know, to me the lesson of the story seems to be “It’s fine to choose to play the Asshole – it’s certainly a part to play in society – but you have to own the Asshole title, which includes people pointing at you and saying you’re an asshole.”

    1. America needs more titles! 

      Other places have Lord and Lady, Dukes and Duchesses, Counts and Countesses and a shit ton of Sirs and Dames and may others galore.

      But these need to be USA USA appropriate titles, and I think Asshole is definitely a standard that can be set. 

      Imma call American Express and see if I can get that put on my card. If they will, I’ll ask them to put a title more appropriate to me on there, I’m thinking “Slacker” or maybe something else like my favourite video game or something.

  18. One very important fact on Brutsch’s firing is that he is employed in Texas, an “Employ at Will” state. What this means is that any employer may fire you for any reason as long as the employer does not violate federal or state regulations. You cannot be fired solely on the basis of yoru race for example.

    You can absolutely be fired for virtually any (or no) reason at the employer’s request. His firing is no different that an employer firing an employee who gets drunk, disruptive and makes an ass out of himself in public. In Texas, that’s a firing if the employer so desires.

  19. Today with the amount of personal info shared and deduced from big data, the caption on that famous New Yorker cartoon  should probably read:

    On the Internet, someone can find out that you are a dog.”

    1. I get tired of all of the facebook drama about facebook privacy settings: “ZOMG! They can see what I wrote!”

      But, people have had certain expectations, and they do not like those expectations over-turned.

      I tend to believe that anything I do online can be discovered and displayed to all and sundry (eg, “hey everybody, he’s a dog!”), should some entity choose to do so. As such, it tends to moderate my online behavior a bit. Hopefully in ways similar to how I would moderate my own behavior in public.

  20. All this chatter about who revealed who – Gawker and Reddit – is a waste of good brain cells and energy. Let’s go a little deeper into the real lesson. This isn’t about opinions or beliefs or reactions. It’s about consequences.

    Creepy troll Violentacrez has created this mess for himself – consequences of his actions. One could call it karma. Everything that is happening to him is like an equation that needs to balance out.

    All of the actions from Violentacrez will have consequences… heavy payback for this man. All of the pics he’s posted, the hurt and pain he’s caused, his glee at having done so… it will all balance out in some way.

    Chen has played his role in revealing the identity – also will experience consequences to his actions. In fact, IS experiencing these right now in the firestorm of opinions, beliefs, and reactions being hurled in his direction. It’s all energy – ping ponging around and they are both getting tagged.

    Best to neutralize the energies somehow and not get tagged (for both parties), but this requires more sophistication in how these energies flow, and most people do not understand how to work with subtle energies.

    Chen may not see much in way of consequences now, or care, but the lesson will come full circle some day – or even stranger yet, maybe it has come full circle and he is closing the loop, as it may be connected to some other event that we know nothing about.

    The key is to not react…

    1. The “Both sides are equally guilty” fallacy, with a generous side of “energy”/”karma” woo-woo.

  21. My only real issue with the discussion of this little fracas is the assumption that Reddit is a single entity with a single culture and mores.

    It isn’t, even a little. Reddit is a metaforum made up of thousands of individual forums (subreddits) that have individual or collective cultures, posting ettiquette and social mores.

    Making any sort of sweeping comment about the meta-entity that can encompass r/circlejerk, r/askscience, r/shitredditsays and r/suicidewatch is going to be pretty much impossible; those four more or less random examples have very little in common, other than the site and infrastructure they’re located within.

    1. Why is the “honor” of Reddit as a whole of the utmost importance to so many people commenting on this situation, across many blog sites? It’s a derail.

      1. Identification with the platform? Maybe because everyone who read or wrote in any subreddit now has the feeling of having participated in sexual abuse by not standing up against ViolentAcrez and asshole content.

  22. I can tape nasty pictures to my windows, facing out to the street. I don’t, because I don’t want people to think of me that way, but I could. If I didn’t care what they thought of me I probably still wouldn’t tape nasty pictures to my window, because someone would throw a rock through my window. Throwing a rock through my window would be illegal, but nobody would really care. It’s just one of those things, and so long as I know it’s coming I can avoid it — by not taping nasty pictures to my window.

    For those that didn’t get it, Mr Brutsch taped nasty pictures to his window, and Mr Chen (and Gawker) threw the rock. The lines of legality and morality don’t line up in exactly the same way, but the structural similarity is pretty close. The rock thrower in this case can’t be anonymous, or doesn’t want to be (for pageviews etc) but it doesn’t matter. The window is broken, and nobody really cares.

    1. “no, no, you’re no listening: Mr. Brutsch was a moderator. He didn’t tape up those pictures, he just took some of the nastier ones down, and organized them a bit. He wasn’t at all responsible for them being there in the first place.”

      Just serving as a legitimizer, if I’m understanding the apologists* correctly.

      * of whom I am not one.

  23. Boing Boing, as a blog, is very quick to censor comments they do not like. I found this out a year or so ago here when one of my comments disappeared.  It’s not a big deal to me, I like the blog and I’ll keep coming here.

    But I am a bit uncomfortable with how willing this blog is to jump on Reddit for their “free speech fuck you” stance. I quite like that Reddit has an anarchistic, ‘anything goes’ quality.  While I like Boing Boing, I do think it’s a detriment to this blog that comments are aggressively moderated/deleted by over-sensitive mods.  In other words, IMHO, it’s not Reddit with the problem. I think part of the tone of many of these articles is to try to shame Reddit away from it’s ‘free speech over all” stance.  I like that they are trying to stand tough and not back down from this, in essence, bullying by other mainstream blogs and now news media.

    As for this article… no, I have much more hatred of Gawker then this Reddit troll-guy. I don’t think what happened to this guy was particularly wrong or unjust – there are risks to behaving the way he was; he had no right to privacy – but I think Gawker is a terrible blog that has done much more damage to the culture and world then this guy has.  And I don’t think I’m ‘privileged’ for having that opinion. I just think it’s fact.

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