CREEPS, TROLLS, AND WEIRDOS
There has been a spate of bad behavior around the blogosphere of late. Flame wars have been around since literally before the invention of the World Wide Web, and trolling (in the sense of making nasty comments to stir up vituperation rather than in the sense of shamelessly seeking linkage) has been around as long as blogging. But there have been a few rather ugly incidents of late that go beyond even the rather loose set of conventions that have evolved. Kate‘s situation is the most notable given the potential negative consequences of the actions involved. Dean Esmay and John Lemon have recently experienced rather troubling incidents as well.
Interestingly, given the combination of relative anonymity (which encourages cowards to act boldly) and the large numbers of people reading and commenting on blogs, it’s amazing how little of this really goes on. As Justene notes in Dean’s comment section on the above-linked post, “This is the Wild West and there’s no marshall.” Mischief-making is incredibly easy and it would be difficult to get caught; yet almost everyone behaves according to the “rules” anyway. That’s actually rather encouraging.
(Hat tip: Steven Taylor)