Dibbel’s article was especially interesting to read as it gave great insight into the darker side of the Internet. The debate as to whether the Internet should or should not allow such hateful activities and communities grows more intense each day. When browsing the Internet it is often easy to forget that many people do take it extremely seriously. With the technology’s ability to connect and inform people so quickly it has helped people not only emotionally, but financially. Because the Internet’s capabilities and successes continue to grow, those who see the Internet from a different perspective seem to feel the need to take stronger action to express their beliefs. Reading that Second Life was victim to what the article referred to as “griefing”, did not come as much of a surprise. Clearly there is a vast array of uses for Second Life and its’ reputation as being a serious virtual world would not resist those who thrive in anonymity long. I found this to be discouraging as Second Life’s seriousness and shared interests most likely helps people resist alienation, just as described in McCabe’s article about online communities who were pro-eating disorder. Places similar to these become havens of acceptance, where judgment did not come with their stories. It’s a shame that groups who go out of their way to ridicule and scorn people with unique interests do so in the ways they do. These people should understand that the Internet is going to continue to evolve and in order to keep themselves and their freedom of speech involved, they must act in ways that do not harm others. Personally, I think they are more than welcome to discuss and continue venting whatever it is bothers them so much but it must be done within their own communities and not within others’.
Last semester, in another DCIM class, we actually watched a TedTalk about such behavior. It was a woman who had been the victim of an online hate campaign because of her wish to study misogyny in the video game community. She had started a Kickstarter in order to fund her work and was soon a target for users of the more obscure discussion websites such as 4chan. These users used their technological prowess to verbally attack and sabotage her initiative. As it progressed, the attention caused by the hate campaign turned her entire project around as many people felt for her. I feel that this outcome should be a sign for those who wish to act in such absurd ways that it can actually do the opposite of what they originally wished for. If they really wished to keep her work down they should have ignored it all together and kept their opinions to themselves. Here’s a clip from her talk: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GZAxwsg9J9Q