Anil Dash writes that a cynical blogger in-joke—"never read the comments"—has become a "bad habit," an excuse for giving free rein to abusive conduct.
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honestly, I get it — making a joke out of the situation may be the only way of dealing with that horrible feeling of dread that comes from knowing an institution values one’s words enough to profit from them, but not enough to protect the person writing those words…
Yet I think our reflexive use of these grim jokes have gotten accepted into the culture of people who build, manage, and publish on large social apps and media sites. The fact that we joke about it documents an acceptance of a culture of abuse online. It helps normalize online harassment campaigns and treat the empowerment of abusers as inevitable, rather than solvable.
And worse, we denigrate a form that used to be, and sometimes still is, a powerful way of making meaningful connections with the world. I met most of my closest friends in the comments on my blog, or by commenting on theirs.
“I have just endured one of the largest trolling attacks in history,” writes Reddit's recently-departed interim CEO Ellen Pao in a Washington Post op-ed today. “And I have just been blessed with the most astonishing human responses to that attack.” Read the rest
It's the equivalent of coming to a dessert party with stale celery sticks.
Prominent Christian author John Perry was accused of sexually abusing kids in two lawsuits.
New policies at Twitter for reporting, automatic message muting, and enforcement could turn the noise way down for users subject to harassment.
Glenn Fleishman explains Twitter's blocking system and its freshly-fortified abuse-reporting tools.
Glenn Fleishman reports on how the platform could fix its harassment problem.
Kurt sez, "'Stalking the Bogeyman' is a Kickstarter-funded play about the true story of my friend David Holthouse, an investigative journalists, who tracked down the man who sexually assaulted him as a child, 25 years later."
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A guard walks through a cellblock inside Camp V, a prison used to house detainees at Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base, March 5, 2013. Photo: Reuters.
Post-9/11 detainee interrogration policies of the US Defense Department and CIA forced medical professionals to abandon the ethical obligation to "do no harm" to the humans in their care, and engage in prohibited practices such as force-feeding of hunger strikers, according to a report out this week. "Ethics Abandoned: Medical Professionalism and Detainee Abuse in the War on Terror" [PDF Link] was produced by 19-member task force of Columbia University's Institute on Medicine as a Profession and the Open Society Foundations. The LA Times has a summary here. Read the rest
In 2010, The New York Times
uncovered systemic abuse within units meant to help wounded Army soldiers transition through months-and-years-long treatment and rehabilitation. Today, The Colorado Springs Gazette has a profile about one of the soldiers who stood up for Warrior Transition Units back then
. The abuses exposed by the Times weren't fixed and Jerrald Jensen ended up becoming a victim himself. After questioning the mistreatment in the system, he was nearly given a less-than-honorable discharge, which would have cost him long-term Veteran's benefits — a pattern that the Gazette
has found happening over and over among the most-vulnerable wounded Army men and women who need the most care in order to rehabilitate from their service injuries. The treatment described here is disgusting, all the more so when you compare it to Jensen's service in Iraq and Afghanistan. Exposing this kind of crap is why journalism exists. Read the rest
FunnyJunk is threatening to sue Matthew Inman, creator of The Oatmeal, for $20,000 in federal court. His offense? Criticizing FunnyJunk, and making fun of it for its relentless, unauthorized monetization of his and others' work.
Inman first lampooned FunnyJunk last year, after discovering its users had scraped most of his own website; in return, he received a sneering response that exhorted FunnyJunk's fans to "contact" Inman. But the boot was soon on the other foot: The Oatmeal's comic retort was so widely linked—because it was funny—that it is now among the highest-ranking results when you search for FunnyJunk itself.
You want ME to pay YOU $20,000 for hosting MY unlicensed comics on YOUR shitty website for the past three years? No, I've got a better idea.
1. I'm going to try and raise $20,000 in donations. 2. I'm going to take a photo of the raised money. 3. I'm going to mail you that photo, along with this picture of your mom seducing a Kodiak bear. 4. I'm going to take that money and donate half of it to the National Wildlife Federation and half of it to the American Cancer Society.
To this day, Inman points out, FunnyJunk maintains a substantially complete scraping of his site. But the funniest thing about FunnyJunk is, of course, that nothing there is funnier than the Streisand Effect.
The fine gent pictured to the top right is FunnyJunk's lawyer.
The Oatmeal responds to Funnyjunk [Reddit]
Update: The Oatmeal's pretty much dead from the traffic! Read the rest
A YouTube video posted by a person who claims to be Hillary Adams, daughter of Aransas County Court-At-Law Judge William Adams shows a video of a man said to be Judge Williams viciously beating her as a teenager in 2004 (in the video, her age is given as 16). The accompanying text states:
Aransas County Court-At-Law Judge William Adams took a belt to his own teenage daughter as punishment for using the internet to acquire music and games that were unavailable for legal purchase at the time. She has had ataxic cerebral palsy from birth that led her to a passion for technology, which was strictly forbidden by her father's backwards views. The judge's wife was emotionally abused herself and was severely manipulated into assisting the beating and should not be blamed for any content in this video. The judge's wife has since left the marriage due to the abuse, which continues to this day, and has sincerely apologized and repented for her part and for allowing such a thing, long before this video was even revealed to exist. Judge William Adams is not fit to be anywhere near the law system if he can't even exercise fit judgement as a parent himself. Do not allow this man to ever be re-elected again. His "judgement" is a giant farce. Signed, Hillary Adams, his daughter.
Someone claiming to be the judge has posted this response: "I found this easily after being told of it. I am aware of your posts. Unfortunately I can not respond much to this libel, except in court. Read the rest