What I Might Do If I Got Really Angry

So every now and then we get some semi-hard core trolls around here who decide to make annoying and stupid posts on every post they come across starting on the front page and going backwards. Or sometimes they start out in one particular conversation and radiate out as we get wind that they’re really nothing more that bored assholes with nothing better to do. Usually I can shut these people down by banning them, but every now and then one gets it in their heads that the conversation isn’t over, that they have more to say and, damnit, we WILL listen!

The last time this happened I banned a guy, watched him hit the moderation wall 4 times, then say something like “Huh, I guess you really can ban me. Oh well, I’ll try again on Monday.” to which I thought “Oh no you fucking won’t.” That particular douchebag was not only posting from work, but used his work address in the email field. So I called up his company, explained to them what was going on, and asked if they could ban him from further trolling while he was at work, at least.

That’s right, I called up someone’s job and emailed their HR office comments from ABW.

Some might say that I went a bit too far. After all, I could have endangered that man’s job and he might have gotten really pissed at me. Well, you know what, I am fucking tired of you entitled assholes that think it’s your goddamned right to abuse me and my guests without any thought that we might be real people with real feelings in a real world. So I brought the Internet to YOUR house and you’d better believe I’ll do it again. Because I am tired of this shit.

If you want to argue and disagree with me, fine. But if you take it to the next level and I decide to ban you, go the fuck away. I mean it. I’m not joking and that really isn’t the time to test me by making up a new name or using a different email or finding a way to mask or change your IP. And yes, Michael, I’m talking about you now. I banned you. I emailed to say that I banned you. You told me that this was fine with you and you were going away. Now I still see your ass all over my blog.

And just like that other asshole, you don’t have the sense that God gave jellyfish. I know your full name, Michael. I apparently also know your wife’s name. A simple Google search also tells me that you might have a daughter. I may even know where you work down there in Texas. Comcast now knows about your actions on this blog. We’ll see if they have anything to say about that. And if you continue to post your hateful screeds here, I will take the information I found on Google and find who I can possibly talk to that will make you leave us alone.

I will not let trollish asshole douchebags run my blog into the ground. I will not let you 1940 throwbacks chase me off the Internet. If it means getting personal with you, I will get personal. That goes for anyone.

I’ll say this again: I have no problem with disagreement and debate. Civil discourse, even between people who don’t see eye to eye, is always welcome. But if I choose to ban you, you need to just get over it and go away. I don’t want to spend my day on the phone with various HR departments determining whether you are, in fact, the person who has been on my blog. But I will if your abuse rises to the level of harassment.

Michael, you are harassing us. Take your toys. Go home.

ETA: Pursuant to an email from Michael, I’d just like to clarify something.  At no point did I ever threaten to release Michael’s name or the names of his family members on this blog or anywhere publicly.  Michael seems to think I was making a veiled threat of doing so.  I thought I was pretty clear concerning the nature of who I might reveal any information to, i.e. his ISP or his HR department.  Not only would I not put his last name, workplace, or kid’s name up in a public place, I would certainly never do so here.  I’m just not an asshole like that.

98 Responses

  1. Wow, ABW. I think you crossed the line.

    Trolls are definitely annoying, but stooping to their level (and much, much lower) by calling up his office doesn’t make you the better (wo)man of the situation.

    Also, calling the trolls “entitled assholes” just reveals that it isn’t actually the trolling that bothers you so much to call their offices, but it’s their viewpoint. If somebody were blog-spamming you, they wouldn’t be “entitled assholes,” they would be spammers, and you’d probably delete the comments, ban the IP, call it a day. But since what he [i]said[/i] while trolling got to you, you’ve sort of revealed your train of thought by calling him an entitled asshole.

    It’s no longer the issue of “an asshole” trolling your blog. It’s the issue of an “entitled asshole” trolling your blog, and I don’t know you personally, so I don’t know how you would tend to react to trolling, but calling up his office to humiliate him just shows how petty you took the online (anonymous, meaningless) attacks.

    Don’t get personal. It just cheapens the entire site. I come here to read thoughtful write-ups, not how much some asshole in Texas was getting to you. Assholes on the Internet are a dime a dozen- don’t make him worth anything more than that!

  2. Just because it’s the internet, doesn’t give asshats immunity. People like to act like it does, and act out all kinds of sociopathic behavior, especially towards (female) bloggers. It’s a proven fact. I don’t see why she should be expected to take it with a smile on her face as if it’s normal, because it shouldn’t be.

  3. I’m going to take you at your word that you’re not Michael. I think you need to do some reading. ABW and her regular correspondents can point you to some educational materials about what Michael was saying, but if you really think online attacks are meaningless, I suggest http://headrush.typepad.com/whathappened.html as a place to start.

    Trolling is an attempt to silence voices on the internet (which is sometimes a person’s only accessible platform, tho I’m sure ABW has others). It’s disproportionately used against non-privileged voices. So “entitled” _is_ relevant.

  4. Oops, that was a response to the first comment. Somebody got in while I was typing there.

  5. I called those particular trolls entitled assholes not because of what they said, actually, but because of what they did or are doing. I’m not talking about entitlement based on race or gender, I’m talking about the entitlement they think they have to come here and do what they want without consequences and against the stated rules put forth by me, whose blog it is. This entitlement gnome is not limited to race or gender or sexual orientation or anything. Anyone can have an entitlement gnome.

    So no, you’re wrong, it’s not *what* they say that bothers me, it’s what they do. There have been roughly two dozen people I have had to ban from this blog. Usually they realize they are banned, maybe try posting two or three times to no avail, and then go away. i feel no need to bother any more with those people. they went away.

    I don’t think you realize just how dangerous it is to allow people to harass you. I assume you’re male, though you may not be. If you’re male, you’ve probably never been harassed before and therefore don’t understand the need to be very aggressive in protecting yourself from it. Michael is harassing us. He has responded to multiple attempts to make him go away by getting around those attempts in various ways and continuing on. That’s not cool. If I cannot employ the tools I have on this blog to get him to stop, what else should I do? tell me, Not Michael.

    I cannot spend every moment of the day on Michael watch. I won’t do that. i will not sit at the computer waiting for him to comment so I can delete it. You may not have noticed 9especially since he’s been banned) but Michael posts A LOT. Multiple times a day. AFTER his ban. I don’t have the time and patience for that shit.

    I also take issue with the notion that his attacks are “meaningless”. they are not. Words have power, and he’s attempting to use his words to bully and harass us. And though it’s just words on a screen, I’m not going to let that go. After all, I make it my business to point out how words, whether written by someone anonymous or not, can lead to much worse. it’s completely disingenuous to say that Michael’s words are meaningless.

    I won’t need to get personal if Michael goes away and respects my rules and my space on the web. But if I’m not respected, I’m going to react. You think that’s too harsh? I’m sorry you feel that way. but you know what, I refuse to get tot he point on this blog where people think they can harass me, hurl racial slurs at me, or threaten to rape me. That happens to other black and/or female bloggers. I intend to nip that shit in the bud. And the first step is making sure that people respect this space. If you or anyone doesn’t like the fact that I get personal with habitual harassers, well, I’m very sorry, but I will do what i can to protect myself and my blog.

  6. Supporting the blog owner, not that she needs it. Michael, have some sense. The internet is not fantasy land, it is a part of real life.

  7. o.O Damn, I would’ve NEVER thought of that! That’s pretty smart actually, because then at least there’s a trail in case something worse does happen, gods forbid *fingers crossed*.

    And I think your actions are totally appropriate — after all, if they’re willing to act like this on the internet, I can only imagine how those feelings might spill over, say, in their interactions with their coworkers, especially women and poc. If I owned a company I’d definitely want to know who among my crew harboured -ist sentiments and was willing to deploy them around the internet.

  8. I disagree with “Not Michael.”
    1. ABW was talking about two different people: an anonymous troll and “MIchael.” We don’t know what the anonymous troll did to deserve a phone call to his job, but I can think of any number of things that would justify that reaction: repeated posts that are not on topic, contribute nothing to the conversation, and contain little more than profanity or racist rants; repeated violation of requests to cease cluttering up the blog with garbage, etc. So, if the anonymous troll was doing these things and would not stop after being asked politely, he probably deserved the more activist response he got.
    2. Michael is a harder case. I don’t think his responses on the “Racism=prejudice+power” thread merited banishment. He sounds like a white guy who has been hurt one too many times by being rejected by people of color based on his race. He doesn’t understand that most persons of color have perfectly legitimate reasons for hesitating to trust white people. His pain has caused him to adopt some silly beliefs. But, I think the other posts dealt with him very effectively with the “Black Whisper” and other hilarious comments. In my opinion, banishment based on the comments I read was probably counter-productive in that it tended to legitimize his view. On the other hand, he hasn’t gotten a call at his job yet. And, ABW says that Michael had already been banned prior to his latest comments. So, who knows what other, more offensive garbage he had been posting before these latest comments. And yet, here he was, posting again. If his prior behavior was similar that of the anonymous troll, I think ABW is right in warning him to stay away.
    3. It’s a hard call. Like “Not Michael,” I, too, come here for the thoughtful comments on race and prejudice. However, I would stop coming here if the site were so cluttered with white supremacist rants that it was unreadable. On the other hand, I would also stop coming if all of the comments expressed essentially the same view as the ABW’s. I mean, what would be the point of having a blog if you only allowed comments that agreed with your own viewpont?
    4. ABW has voluntarilly taken on a very difficult task, and she is doing it very well. I don’t envy her, but I certainly admire her for it.

  9. CroMagnon,

    Actually, Michael was banned for comments made on posts other than the racism=prejudice+power post. He made those comments AFTER he was banned and said that he wasn’t going to post anymore. Michael started out okay, though seemingly really clueless. But at one point he posted something really vile and hateful which was deleted. When I went looking for his IP address to put him on moderation I saw that he’d been posting under a different name (saying essentially the same things) and, at that point, he’d violated all kinds of rules, so I banned him permanently.

    I’m going to let Nora decide if she wants to let some of his comments stand on her post. I see she’s devoweled some of them. Not all of Michael’s comments were deleted, moderated, or devoweled. The ones that merely express a contrary opinion are fine as far as that goes. it’s when he became abusive and downright racist that I had a problem.

  10. Brava, ABW, brava! Michael and folks like him need to understand that when you play poker it always hurts.

  11. You’re my new Internet hero.

  12. Look! Fuck the rules of etiquette when it comes to trolls on your blog. This is the Wild Wild West as far as I am concerned.

    If she needs to take drastic measures to keep assholes out… then thats what she needs to do.

    Micheal could be a neo-nazi ….Micheal could be KKK

    You know the Internet and HH are two of the best things for Black folks right now.

    Nobody is running anyone anywhere…..

    Yo Gil, When the revolution comes…..I am going to be at my computer….

    Peace

  13. Coming out of lurk to applaud.

    I’ve been on the internet for a long time and am well aware of what persistent snerts can do with “just words.” Bad enough when you’re in a commercial space and the staff are required to tread lightly and allow all sorts of abusive crap before banning a paying user, but a blog like this is like someone’s home. Going into someone’s home and being an asshole, breaking things and spraying graffiti on the walls and verbally harassing the person who lives there, is clearly unacceptable behavior. It should be no less so online.

    The anonymity of the internet has a tendency to turn otherwise nice people into jerks and jerks into raging assholes. I have no problem with someone who’s being harassed making it clear to one of the raging assholes that his nice, protective anonymity can be taken away at any time. Maybe if more people understood that their anonymity will last only so long as they behave like reasonable human beings, we could all get on with our business — including civil debate — without having to constantly look over our shoulders, ready to duck the flamethrowers.

    Angie, clueless white chick who’s found this to be a great place to pick up clues and doesn’t want to see it trashed

  14. You own the site, you get to set the rules. This isn’t a public forum, people, it’s not town square. It’s ABW’s blog, and if she chooses she totally has the right to disemvowel you, delete you, or ban your ass.

    It’s an interesting contradiction I sometimes see online: the same folks who are all “OMG Free Speech! You must let me piss all over you in the furtherance of my free speech rights!” are the same folks who … want to protect private property.

    People, blogs are private property. Allowing other people to comment on them doesn’t make them less private property. And the day they become public fora is the day the US government subsidizes Blogger and Livejournal. Ahem.

    As a result, the right for any commenter to be offensive extends just as far as the blog-owner chooses to let it.

    Rock on, ABW.

  15. I second M’s comment: you’re my Internet she-ro and it takes a LOT for me to get impressed.

  16. ABW, I applaud what you did.

    Other women on blogs HAVE been stalked and harassed beyond the digital realm and you’re absolutely right: whether in real life or the internet, if you lut bullying assholes take one step over the line, they take it as a victory and push farther.

    You’ve got to stop harassment short, and some buttwipes only understand forceful language.

    It’s your blog; like your house, it’s not unreasonable to expect visitors to conform to your rules. some people just don’t know how to be responsible with anonymity.

  17. ” I don’t think his responses on the “Racism=prejudice+power” thread merited banishment. ”

    Seriously? He was saying that black people can’t be trusted; it’s as if it’s in the DNA. And then saying he spreads that racist crap to his students!

  18. Freakin’ excellent!!!

  19. You rock!

  20. Mandolin,
    Seriously. I guess it all depends on what kind of blog you want to have. There are plenty of other blogs where the editor censors all comments with which he or she does not agree. Those are really boring to read, and I usually don’t visit them more than a couple of times. I’ve been a fan of the ABW’s blog since I discovered her a few months ago because she allows dissenting comments to be posted and then allows the other posters to deal with those comments. For example, the comment you quote was dealt with quite nicely by the other posters when they called him the “Black Whisperer.” That was hilarious. And much more effective than just censoring him. Of course there are lines that should not be crossed: profanity, racist ranting and raving, etc.. But, I don’t think any line was crossed here. My read of it is that Michael was complaining that he has been the victim of backlash racism at the hands of people of color. I’m not white, but I can see what he’s saying – as far as it goes. His sin is that he is clueless. He does not understand, or even think about, the fact that there are reasons for the backlash. I think the ABW has done an admirable job of “devoweling” trolls when they cross the line, but keeping those comments that need to be posted so that people can respond to them.

  21. right on, ABW!

  22. I think Angie is right on about the anonymity problem. It’s a shame people use it as a shield from which to hurl insults and threats, and it’s perfectly fair to strip that shield away when people use it for harassment.

    As for Michael being banned… CroMagnon, he really did spam up a lot of posts with Whats Wrong With Black People stuff. He was dragging a lot of conversations into it and taking them away from whatever the original topic had been. I completely agree with you about disagreement being a good thing on the blog. At first I thought it was a good thing he was around — and I told him so after we had a relatively civil disagreement.

    But then he made some really racist remarks. He got warned by ABW — a few times, I think. If he’d toned it down and actually shown some sign that he was listening, I think he would have been all right.

    But he didn’t listen. His posts were often not civil. Actually that’s an understatement… his posts varied from the somewhat rational to the very offensive. By the time he posted in the Racism=Prejudice+Power thread, he’d had several warnings and was ignoring all of them. He called most everyone on the blog racist white-haters (including me, until he found out I was pretty much white). Given that history, I understand why Nojojojo (Nora? One and the same? Do you have a name preference? =) ) devoweled him.

  23. Belated –

    Nora, Nojojojo, whichever you want to call me. =) Sorry, didn’t think about the confusion implications when I set up an account separate from the “ABW’s Guest Blogger” one I originally had.

    As for Michael’s comments on the R = p + p thread — I have no problem with comments that dissent. What I have a problem with are comments that express blatant racism. And what bothered me most of all about Michael was that he seemed to be trying to spread his racism, not only to his hypothetical students, but to another white commenter in the thread. Racists can spew their verbal diarrhea all they want in their own space, but damn if they’re gonna come here and recruit new soldiers for the Aryan Nation. I ridiculed him the first time he did it, but disemvoweled him when he repeated the same crap twice, and then let ABW know. If I had known she’d banned him once already, I wouldn’t have ridiculed him — wouldn’t have given him another chance to waste people’s time. I’d’ve just whipped out the banhammer right away.

    Now please note. I don’t want to ridicule anybody in this blog. I don’t want to spend all my time disemvoweling and banning and trying to think of ways to keep crackpots like that from eating up people’s energy and time. Like many of you, I came here for honest, open conversation, and I’m honored that ABW has let me post here. I don’t participate as much as I want to due to time constraints, however, and I really don’t want the small amount of free time I have for this to be consumed by the Michaels of the world. That is how too many bloggers of color, feminist bloggers, and other bloggers-against-oppression get silenced — they get tired of bailing the bullshit out of the boat. It’s the death of a thousand cuts, and the only way to prevent it is to be ruthless about squashing it after the first slice.

    So go, ABW. Do whatever you have to do to get these ratbastards to stop. Then we can all get back to what we really came here for.

  24. “Of course there are lines that should not be crossed: profanity, racist ranting and raving, etc.”

    I consider the assertion that black people can’t be trusted because of their DNA to be racist ranting and raving.

  25. My kneejerk reaction to things like this tends to be “Don’t bring Real Life into this”, but in this instance, I believe that reaction is wrong and that what you did was the right thing. And really, posting from work with a work email is just asking for it.

    It’s never “just words”. Sometimes words are all we have, and like you said, trolling is an attempt to take that away.

  26. ABW — good for you!!!

    I don’t know of any offices that don’t forbid that kind of use of the office e-mail. So, the troll was breaking the rules in two places. Abusing people in two places. Some people just ask for it.

  27. “Wow, ABW. I think you crossed the line.”

    I don’t.

    If he or she breaks the rules, nail their butt to the wall.

  28. I think it’s great ABW laid the smackdown on the jackasses who come here. On craigslist they have a ‘rants and raves’ section that’s basically worthless unless you want post and read sexist, homophobic, racist BS 24-7. Most of the people there aren’t even clever, they trust twist words to spout the same rhetoric we’ve heard for years and post offensive images we’ve seen a thousand times before. That’s why this quote is so relevant:

    Words have power, and he’s attempting to use his words to bully and harass us.

    PoC, women, and gays have to be especially thick-skinned to deal with the crap that goes on in some of these forums otherwise they’ll be run off. Kudos to ABW, hopefully this will send a message to others.

  29. “Kudos to ABW, hopefully this will send a message to others.”

    Absolutely! I’ve heard too many stories about feminist bloggers and others getting silenced by all the harassment. Nora and Antonio — what you said really hit me about people being worn down by all the BS. It goes to the heart of what I like about this blog. I don’t have to wade through dozens of sexist, racist, homophobic comments and either choose to ignore them or engage in pointless and frustrating debates.

    Go ABW! I hope other bloggers follow your example. =D

  30. but stooping to their level (and much, much lower) by calling up his office doesn’t make you the better (wo)man of the situation.

    I strongly disagree with this judgement. It seems like the country is full of poorly raised guys who believe they’re anonymous on the internet and say and do things they would not dream of doing if there was a chance they would be held responsible for their actions.
    They need to learn that “no” means “no”, that they aren’t special and that this belief in anonymity is a false one. I say good for ABW

  31. Awesome, ABW! It’s high time that assholes like Michael learned that the internet is not neatly separated from the real world. Words have meaning; they’re not just text on the the screen. Prepare to be held accountable, jerks.

  32. This ain’t a public forum, this is a BLOG and the BLOG OWNER can do whatever the fuck THEY WANT.

    I would do *exactly the same*. These guys take a wonderful concept like “freedom of speech” and twist it to suit themselves. As Abbie Hoffman used to say “freedom of the press, for those who own the press.” …but see, blogging has opened up the floodgates… democracy is indeed on the horizon. ANYBODY can write now, and garner an audience if people are interested in what they say. These guys *don’t like that*–because it really does mean ANYBODY, and they are no longer the gatekeepers of opinion, as they have been for centuries in the mainstream media. So they single particular people out and try to drive them out of the discourse.

    And I say FUCK THEM! Go ABW! RIGHT ON, YEAH!

  33. Also on board with the actions ABW took. I see posting in comments on a blog as being like participating in a private, if open, conversation. You don’t have an inalienable right to take part in a conversation if the other people involved don’t want to talk to you. (Or, since a blog is owned by a person, to speak up at a moderated meeting if the moderator doesn’t want to include your arguments in the discussion.)

    You have freedom of speech: you’re free to get your own damn blog.

    If you’re asked to leave a conversation you don’t moderate, just leave, and if you get nasty, you’re asking for trouble. ABW didn’t post anyone’s name or spew hateful commentary on anyone’s blog, she just acted to keep someone who’s disrupting the discourse from doing so. I say, yay!

  34. I totally support your action in calling the man’s office.

    It’s not what they say. It’s not that they say it. It’s that they say it in your space that shows they have no boundaries. “What’s mine is mine; what’s yours is mine.”

    Think of it this way? What if ABW went to a forum for racists and posted polite rebuttals? Do you think even without her acting like a troll, they’d let her comments stand? No; because racism is about entitlement. Misogyny is about entitlement. It’s all about defining the world in a way that rationalizes why you should have more than your fair share.

    Even if Michael’s actions don’t sound so bad to you, consider how hard it gets to have a conversation around these people. It’s like letting your boarish neighbor crash all your parties and start brawls. Why would you put yourself or your guests through that, given a choice?

  35. Hate speech and the abusive misogynist racist harassment that keeps women off internet spaces is unacceptable. You have not even remotely “gone overboard!” Anyone who suggests you did is a sexism/racism sympathizer and an abuse apologist.

  36. ditto what K.A. said

  37. I totally agree with your right to ban people. This is your space, after all. If someone crosses the line and makes harassing comments or veiled threats, then I think it is reasonable to alert their workplace. As one writer wrote, ‘this is not fantasyland, this is the real world”. Ultimately that means people should keep a civilized tone to the same degree you do.

    I don’t think you should have to spend mental energy in defending yourself against every racist tirade that could find your blog. Human beings aren’t built for that. We simply haven’t evolved community standards/etiquette for the cyberworld, though. Journalists should be contacting you, since you are on the cutting edge of creating this standard.

  38. All I can say on this is that I know exactly how you feel, and I get about an average of 20-30 racist trollish comments a week at Rachel’s Tavern. You can ignore most of them, but it is tiring to have to constantly deal with them.

  39. ABW: If I cannot employ the tools I have on this blog to get him to stop, what else should I do? tell me, Not Michael.

    You ignore it. You take the higher road, and you ignore it. You have nothing to fear from some pathetic, low-life scum who has nothing better to do than post harassing comments on your blog. Your blog’s message is not threatened. The mere fact that they feel the need to come and spew their bullshit over the comments actually strengthens your message, not weakens.

    ABW: I assume you’re male, though you may not be. If you’re male, you’ve probably never been harassed before and therefore don’t understand the need to be very aggressive in protecting yourself from it. Michael is harassing us. He has responded to multiple attempts to make him go away by getting around those attempts in various ways and continuing on. That’s not cool.

    You assumed correctly; I am male. However, I have been harassed before, and most of my male friends have been harassed as well, some violently, some not. The notion that only women are subjected to harassment is completely ludicrous. I am aware that women must put up with it on a much more regular basis (daily sexual harassment is not something I wish upon anybody, but in reality most women do), but the idea that it *only* happens to women is just plain ignorant. Your assumption that I have never been harassed before is incorrect. I have been stalked several times during my life, one of which led to being raped. Don’t you assume SHIT about me just because you think you can guess my gender.

    And once again, you have nothing to fear from this idiot. Incidents of real-life violence stemming from online feuds are extremely rare, and almost always involve people who knew each other for awhile, generally on forums. This isn’t some guy leaving notes in your backyard like Boo Radley, which I had to endure for over a year as a child.

    Your anti-male sentiments came out very acutely. I think you should ponder very carefully why you said what you did, and what your assumptions actually led you to think.

    Discrediting my opinion? Sure, go right ahead. Discrediting it because I’m a male and therefore have never had to endure this “harassment”? Bullshit, I’ve been participating online for years, and I’ve been threatened (online) with rape, murder, kidnapping, blackmail, and rapture. I have never responded to one of those types of comments and emails, and nothing ever came of them. Delete, forget, repeat ad nauseam. That’s my honest advice to you, and I wish you could have taken it with grace rather than pouncing on me because you guessed I was male.

    Why did you attempt to teach me about harassment? Because I was male, you assumed I was ignorant? It speaks volumes about what you think about men in general, and your judgmental attitudes don’t reflect the types of views you express in your posts. Your response made me feel at first insulted, then shocked, then furious. But now all that’s left is disappointment, ABW. I guess I expected better treatment from a blog such as yours.

    Sorry for the slow reply. I use an RSS Feeder, and only remembered my post this morning. Sincerely, Not Michael.

  40. Because I was male, you assumed I was ignorant?

    But you ARE ignorant, don’t state that Nu-uh you’re not six kinds of ignorant when you present evidence to the contrary!

    What exactly do you think if going to happen if you treat people as though they’re so stupid as to not be able to read what you say? in what world do you live that teaches you to think other people are somehow obligated to give you a free pass when you come to their place and insult them to their face?

    If you say something ignornat, you are being ignorant, that’s how things work, now you can do the whole whiney ass titty baby dance about how being ignorant somehow magically becomes a show of intellectual rigor, but it will never, in a million years, be an accurate representation of reality.

    Your response made me feel at first insulted,

    NO BODY CAAAAAARES. No body cares, I don’t know why people like you are under the misapprehension that people care if you feel insulted, especially after you write a meandering, condescending, shitstain of a whine fest about how she should feel some how bad because she didn’t defer to your poor oppressed man-child fee-fees.

    She has no duty to put up with harassment, even if you state otherwise (without any supporting arguement of course, because it wouldn’t be quite as piss takingly insulting enough without that) and she has no duty to care if you feel upset that one of your fuckwit white pals suddenly had to, for a split second only, feel the fear that women and POC both have to put up with on a daily basis.

    And then you have the fucking gall to imply that Her emphathy is off? As though She was the one who has the malfunctioning theory of self? Fucking puh-leeze, we understand you, we can feel your so-called-”hurt” (because, make no mistake, THAT ain’t pain, that ain’t suffering, and pretending that your pathetic little emotional boo-boo is the fuckign ragnorok ain’t helping anyone), we just choose not to, because if we waste yet more time caring about folks who don’t care about us, WE will not have enough time to care about ourselves, and protect what is ours when you idiots and assholes come to take what is ours.

    Like our rights, like our freedoms, like our families and sense of self worth, like our right to live without fear, like our right to be able to walk down the fucking street without having to fear every passer by.

    Our bank does not give out credit unless you earn it. Either accept that and act like an adult or get the hell off our property and crawl back to what ever playground you usually troll for dates at.

  41. Not Michael,

    You ignore it. You take the higher road, and you ignore it. You have nothing to fear from some pathetic, low-life scum who has nothing better to do than post harassing comments on your blog. Your blog’s message is not threatened.

    Untrue.

    I’ve seen this happen over and over again, particularly on blogs devoted to fighting oppression. Trolls like Michael — usually white men, though not always — try their damnedest to dominate the conversation, posting frequently and provocatively and steering every conversation off-target whenever possible. They often call their friends to help out. Eventually the crap gets so thick on the ground that the people who just wanted to have a good conversation are silenced, whether out of disgust or annoyance or whatever. Conversation stops. That is a threat to any blog’s message, as shown by the silencing of a number of well-known blogs dedicated to fighting oppression (like Blac(k)ademic).

    There’s a power game in this, Not Michael. That you don’t recognize the tactic suggests that you’ve lived in a safer space than some of us; you haven’t encountered this behavior often enough to recognize it as a pattern. You’re lucky. This is not said to dismiss your own experiences with harassment or worse, but to point out something most women (and PoC) figure out early on — that allowing a harasser to continue their work is to give that person power. To ignore the harassment is to enable and encourage further harassment. And while most harassment is of a petty and nuisance-level nature, it doesn’t always stay that way. When a harasser shows signs of escalating — ignoring warnings, then ignoring bans, then posting under different aliases to make themselves appear legion, becoming increasingly irrational, etc. — then it’s foolish and risky to ignore those warning signs. The person who is being harassed — whether female, male, intersex, or gender-of-choice; white or PoC; rich or poor; whatever — needs to do what’s necessary to protect herself.

  42. Wow – how did that get through? Was it to give another example of the kind of harassment you’re getting regularly, ABW?

    Not Michael, you’re reading into ABW’s comment hugely. She in no way negated your experiences or denigrated you as a man. That’s some of your own baggage you’re bringing into the mix.

    You’ve also got alot of nerve coming here and telling her how to run her blog. Or telling her, and by extension, all of us, to just keep a stiff upper lip and ignore harassers and harassment. Back off.

  43. It’s kind of hilarious how “Lucy” says “now you all come here and steal from us” when, even according to the most whitewashed history books, black folk were enslaved and brought here forcibly. Her post reads like she thinks y’all just sort of strolled over to the US a couple years ago because you heard about their great “Benefits for Blacks” program.

    Ah, delusion.

  44. Hmm, ugly escalation of ugliness…

    Just wanted to say that Not Michaels posts have been correct and not-insulting. Not saying I necessarily agree with his ideas–if ABW keeps her blog civilized by calling someone’s boss, that’s fine with me–but I certainly am not ok with the way he’s being shouted down.

    My two cents.

    I won’t comment on Lucy’s post, for obvious reasons.

  45. This was a kick ass debate. Lucy made me laugh. The crazies are everywhere. At least they are typically stupid.

  46. Sara, you’re talking out of both sides of your mouth:

    Which is it? Have Not Michaels post been “correct and not-insulting” or do you not “necessarily agree with his ideas”?

  47. I don’t think Sara’s contradicting herself in her post. I’m not sure what she means by “correct,” but it sounds like she’s just saying this: she disagrees with him, but he phrased his viewpoint without being insulting and she respects his right to do so in an open discussion. That’s what this blog seems to be about, really.

    That being said, I don’t necessarily agree with her post. ^_~ I think the majority of the replies to Not Michael (excluding Mildred’s) have been emphatic but civil, which is fine.

  48. You have nothing to fear from some pathetic, low-life scum who has nothing better to do than post harassing comments on your blog.

    I’m assuming you’re unfamiliar with Kathy Sierra?

    I could not get financial assistance for school because I am white! I guarentee you if I were black or balck & pregnant, I would have gone to school on the government.

    Oh, please. I was on the poor end of middle class when it came time for college, and yes, I couldn’t qualify for ALL the financial aid. And there were no private scholarships I qualified for. So I took what loans I could get, and then I got scholarships based on my reasonably high GPA. And I didn’t have to be black or pregnant! Amazing!

    And hey – I’m not even the first non-black, non-pregnant woman in my poor white trash family to go through college! You know how the others did it? They worked full time at night and attended college in the daytime because it was worth that to them.

  49. Angel H.

    Ico’s right. I meant the mechanics of his argument were perfectly fine. I also think people flew up on his face a bit. But maybe that’s just a cultural difference thingy…

    Americans in general do tend to speak with a bit more emphasis than Europeans. It comes from the proactive mentality. I’ll try to get work around it, but it doesn’t mean I have to like it.

  50. R. Mildred, your comment was so incredibly uncalled for I’m not even sure how to reply. I honestly think you ought to be ashamed of yourself. I don’t enjoy being attacked due to my gender any more than the next person (or any more than the ABW, for that matter), so please, have an iota of consideration next time.

    nojojo, you raise valid points, but I am still of the opinion that the best thing to do is turn the other cheek, rather than give the trolls the attention that they crave. Online trolls are in it for one thing- to anger people, and therefore feel powerful by being able to anger so many people so rapidly. Why would anyone ever want to give them that satisfaction?

    And, as a final note: I am so thoroughly disgusted by the intense sexism and racism I’ve encountered from just a few members of the commenting system that I honestly feel very little inclination to return. I’m no stranger to heated debate, but the attacks here are so personal, and based so purely off the simple fact that I am a man, I honestly don’t think any constructive discussion could be held. C’est la vie. Trolls come in all forms.

  51. Online trolls are in it for one thing- to anger people, and therefore feel powerful by being able to anger so many people so rapidly. Why would anyone ever want to give them that satisfaction?

    Then why do they stay when they’re ignored?

    Abuse =/= Anger. Trolls are seeking the former, and not the latter — which is why remaining silent gives them satisfaction.

    I don’t know about you, but I’ve never seen a bully stop bullying because the abused attempts to ignore the attacks. The only way you stop a bully is by beating him at his own game.

  52. Sorry for the lack of block quotes in my previous comment; I forget how they work at WordPress.

    Not Michael: “I’m no stranger to heated debate, but the attacks here are so personal, and based so purely off the simple fact that I am a man, I honestly don’t think any constructive discussion could be held. C’est la vie. Trolls come in all forms.”

    If the attacks here are so personal — and based purely on identity — then why haven’t I been attacked? I’m not a frequent commenter, but I am white.

  53. No worries about the lack of blockquotes, I’m not sure what markup WordPress uses for them, either. I’ll just use bold (strong tag).

    M: “The only way you stop a bully is by beating him at his own game.”

    I practice Zen, and have attempted to explain my views on passive resistance numerous times. However, I’m pretty positive it is simply personal principle: I am not a Christian, but there is a lot to be said about turning the other cheek. While it may not produce visible victory, I believe the victory in taking the high road goes much deeper than, say, calling up some loser’s office to complain about his immaturity. It just depends what sort of closure you seek, so I think it’s purely personal preference. Agree to disagree, as they say.

    M: “If the attacks here are so personal — and based purely on identity — then why haven’t I been attacked? I’m not a frequent commenter, but I am white.”

    I do not know what prompted R. Mildred to lash out so hurtfully, particularly unprovoked, so I cannot speak as to why I was made to feel guilty/ignorant due to the color of my skin or gender, and you were not. In any case, it is still difficult for me to read her comments.

    Sincerely,
    Not Michael
    (I find it amusing to call myself “Not Michael” so I think I’ll stick to the name.)

  54. Not Michael: While it may not produce visible victory, I believe the victory in taking the high road goes much deeper than, say, calling up some loser’s office to complain about his immaturity.

    So victory is silent, invisible martyrdom?

    Not Michael: I do not know what prompted R. Mildred to lash out so hurtfully, particularly unprovoked

    Except that you did provoke it. Your insensitivity to others and refusal to listen led you to break pretty much every rule in the “How to Suppress Discussions of Racism” post.

  55. Yes, I know this is about sexism. But I’ve noticed that it also applies really well to converstions about sexism, especially the “it also happens to men!” b.s.

  56. M: So victory is silent, invisible martyrdom?

    I’m not sure if Ghandi, Martin Luther King Jr, or Jesus himself would have agreed with your choice of words, but it could be expressed as such, yes.

    M: Except that you did provoke it. Your insensitivity to others and refusal to listen led you to break pretty much every rule in the “How to Suppress Discussions of Racism” post.

    I was simply stating that I had never spoken with R. Mildred before, and therefore felt that I was under an unprovoked, personal attack. I don’t think I suppressed the discussion, and it was certainly not my intent to do so. I was trying to inform these people that their assumptions about me (that they admittedly formed just by guessing my gender) were incorrect. I did this in the pursuit of expressing my opinions clearly, and having them being understood correctly.

  57. he phrased his viewpoint without being insulting

    Hmm.

    So you’re not a member of a school of thought that holds that a good way to tell if you’ve insulted people is by looking out to see if people are getting a teensy itty bit angry and insulted at the way you’re saying things?

    acausal logic: No longer just for time travellers

  58. Not Michael: I’m not sure if Ghandi, Martin Luther King Jr, or Jesus himself would have agreed with your choice of words, but it could be expressed as such, yes

    Refusing to confront a social problem =/= Using pacifism to confront the social problem. You’re asking her to do the former — if only because there is no way to do the latter online.

    Not Michael: I was simply stating that I had never spoken with R. Mildred before, and therefore felt that I was under an unprovoked, personal attack.

    Except that your contribution to the community constituted an attack on the community — and by extension, everyone in it.

    Not Michael: I don’t think I suppressed the discussion, and it was certainly not my intent to do so.

    ttp://coffeeandink.livejournal.com/607897.html

    You started by attacking ABW personally. Further you did so directly and indirectly. You did so directly by saying “I think you crossed the line.” By making statements such as “don’t get personal,” you also implicitly attacked her by implying that ABW is simply being histrionic.

    You then attacked a strawman when you made unwarranted inferences from ABW’s post about harassment. This strawman naturally led you to step #5, by arguing that ABW is just as sexist and racist as she believes American society to be.

    Finally, you also attempted to deflect attention away from the specific issue at hand — her harassment — by arguing that it happens to men as well, and specifically you.

  59. Wow.

    I’ve enjoyed your blog, ABW. It’s a nice diversion from the real world. Thanks for your graciousness in allowing me to visit and to post.

    Ciao

  60. “a good way to tell if you’ve insulted people is by looking out to see if people are getting a teensy itty bit angry”

    Mildred, I think this is true sometimes, but not always. After all, lots of huffy white men come here getting angry at ABW. But she hasn’t insulted them. Just said things they don’t like. :)

    In all honesty? I think Not Michael’s posts have pushed the bounds of civility. But I think your response escalated the attack much more. Comments like “whiney ass titty baby dance” and “NO BODY CAAAAAARES” are just name-calling. The fact is, I agree with you about Not Michael’s argument — I think he’s dead wrong and should be directed to the required reading section. I do not agree with his posts AT ALL.

    But I don’t see how shouting insults at him helps. If he were truly just trolling, fine. But, to me at least, his comments haven’t crossed that line yet. You can tell him that you find his argument ignorant and presumptuous and still be civil about it. I think that also makes your side look a lot better, you know?

  61. And since I went there anyway… Not Michael, I find your argument to be ignorant and presumptuous. :P

    In all seriousness though, I’ll try and explain… You stated, “the idea that it *only* happens to women is just plain ignorant.”

    ABW never stated that harassment *only* happens to women. You’re leaping to conclusions there. She said, “If you’re male, you’ve probably never been harassed before.” And statistically she’s right. Of course males face harassment too; but in degree and frequency when compared to women? Huh, it’s no comparison. Your accusation completely twisted what she said. She never claimed, “men don’t get harassed.”

    She was wrong in her guess about whether you’d personally been harassed or not, but she did qualify it with “probably.” I think here it’s just fine to point out that her assumptions were wrong.

    But then you swore a few times, accused her of being anti-male and ignorant, of attacking you, and so forth. Where did you get the anti-male from? I read ABW’s post closely and it’s firm but polite. Even if you feel her assumptions are wrong, your response was very angry and aggressive (“Don’t you assume SHIT about me… your anti-male sentiments” etc). I think if you truly want to foster discussion (and spare yourself personal insults from others), you have to keep attacks out of your posts.

  62. This is where I started doubting Not Michael’s open-mindedness:

    Also, calling the trolls “entitled assholes” just reveals that it isn’t actually the trolling that bothers you so much to call their offices, but it’s their viewpoint. If somebody were blog-spamming you, they wouldn’t be “entitled assholes,” they would be spammers, and you’d probably delete the comments, ban the IP, call it a day.

    The “entitlement” was not in their having a different view but in their feeling entitled to spout that view in a space where it has proven unwelcome and they’ve been asked to stop. How this was not obvious to him, I can’t imagine. ;)

    And for the record, I do consider spammers entitlement assholes. They feel entitled to waste my paid bandwidth and precious time on a meaningless exercise that gets them big bucks from uninformed clients.

  63. Ico, I realize that I was very in my second post. In my head, I felt that my opinions had been attacked on a personal level that I felt was unwarranted. In reality, I think I just needed a cigarette. I’m not proud of how I reacted. Hopefully it is distinguishable which statements were my opinions and which were the liberal editorializing that losing your temper can cause. I do think, however, that your analysis of that post was a little one-sided, and I still do not think that I was 100% in the wrong with ABW being 100% in the right. I believe unfair assumptions were being formed on all sides in this situation.

    Mea culpa for my part in it.

  64. The mysterious “very” was meant to be “very rude” in the first sentence of my previous post.

  65. Whoa. ABW and I have both been busy, so I missed some of this. Apologies, everyone, or I’d’ve disemvoweled Lucy as soon has her crap splattered the comments page. At this point I’m not sure it’s necessary, but what the heck: Lucy, I’m banning you. Buh-bye.

    Not Michael,

    Two points. First, what we’re talking about here is not mere trolling. Trolls indeed go away when you ignore them. To repeat my last email, Michael and people like him escalate — they don’t go away, they get worse. They bring friends. And unlike trolls, who just want attention, there’s an uglier purpose to what folks like Michael do. They want to shut down anti-oppression sites like this one, and they generally won’t stop until they’ve succeeded. So please don’t invoke MLK and Gandhi or other nonviolent activists in this, because I don’t think you understand what they did. It was nonviolent action, but it was still active, intensive resistance. Civil rights protesters did not ignore the actions taken against them. They braced themselves against the fire hoses. They covered their necks when the dogs came. When I volunteered to work at the Million Man March in college, the older folks there were very careful to instruct us younger folks in the fine art of protecting ourselves, just in case there was unpleasantness — if you’re attacked, curl into a ball so they’ll be less likely to hit or kick your midsection. Protect your head and neck area. If they seem intent on killing you, do what you have to do to survive.

    What you’re suggesting is nonaction — the equivalent of standing there with your head bent back while a dog is going for your throat. There’s a big difference between passive resistance and suicidal stupidity.

    On other matters, I’m pretty much in agreement with M. There was no sexism or racism in ABW’s comments to you, though there were some stock, cliched responses to imaginary sexism and racism in yours (and in your insistence on playing the injured party when really, we’re talking about people attacking ABW). I would strongly suggest you hit the “Required Reading” section if you’re planning to post more. At the bare minimum, please try to remember: the moment your responses start to veer into “but what about me? Let’s talk about me” territory, you’re going to annoy people. The nature of patriarchial, white-dominated society is that most of it is about you, if you’re a white male. This blog is one of the precious few places where the rest of us get the spotlight, so don’t be surprised when people react badly if you try to hog the stage here too.

    That said — R. Mildred, your response to Not Michael went over the line. Accusing him of being a pedophile? Come on, now.

  66. nojojo, points well taken, particularly as to the fact that I mentioned myself- I didn’t think personal evidence would have spurred such a reaction, and was confused as to why it did, but now I understand that part. And it makes sense- a second mea culpa is deserved.

    I’ve already read the Required Reading, and have been reading this blog for a few months, along with a few other blogs of similar nature. I don’t think I’m “unfit to comment” and hopefully all would agree.

    However, I was surprised by your equating passive resistance to suicidal stupidity. I fully understand why that sort of mindset is not for everybody, but I would hope that it wouldn’t be dismissed as suicidal stupidity. I think the Quit India movement was one of the most powerful events of the 20th century, one of the greatest turning points in the history of the human psyche.

  67. To be nitpicky–

    since when did Boo Radley leave notes in the backyard? Must have been some version of the book that I’ve never read.

  68. since when did Boo Radley leave notes in the backyard? Must have been some version of the book that I’ve never read.

    If memory serves, Boo Radley left notes in the knothole of an oak tree. He is the first person that comes to mind when I think about my notes, because Boo Radley scared the bejeezus out of me the first time I read that, just because it way too familiar an idea.

    I was trying to express the fear with a familiar situation that would be recognizable, not really delve into the precise plot of To Kill A Mockingbird. The guy leaving me notes would usually put them on the ladder of a treehouse in the backyard. It was also an oak tree — damn you, Boo Radley!

    Anyways, this is all off-topic, but I guess I’m just as nitpicky as judochick sometimes.

  69. Not Michael: However, I was surprised by your equating passive resistance to suicidal stupidity.

    She’s not: you are.

  70. M- She’s not: you are.

    I said what I believed passive resistance was. She said she viewed it differently, and explained. She then said, quote, “What you’re suggesting is nonaction — the equivalent of standing there with your head bent back while a dog is going for your throat. There’s a big difference between passive resistance and suicidal stupidity.”

    I disagreed with her on this point, and still feel that my definition of passive resistance was correct. When she said there was a big difference between passive resistance and suicidal stupidity, there was the obvious implication that she believed my initial definition of passive resistance was suicidal stupidity in her eyes.

    We’re using two definitions for the same phrase, so understandably it can be a little hard to follow! I’m not sure what your intent was in your four-word response, but I’m trying to stay positive about it.

  71. Not Michael: When she said there was a big difference between passive resistance and suicidal stupidity, there was the obvious implication that she believed my initial definition of passive resistance was suicidal stupidity in her eyes.

    It goes back to an earlier point I made that you didn’t respond to: “Refusing to confront a social problem =/= Using pacifism to confront the social problem. You’re asking her to do the former — if only because there is no way to do the latter online.” (emphasis added.)

  72. M: It goes back to an earlier point I made that you didn’t respond to: “Refusing to confront a social problem =/= Using pacifism to confront the social problem. You’re asking her to do the former — if only because there is no way to do the latter online.” (emphasis added.)

    Sorry I wasn’t able to address it initially. I am not asking her to refuse to confront a social problem. I think she is addressing numerous serious social problems with her blog every time that somebody visits this site. The only people who are asking her to stop confronting the issues are the trolls who harass her.

    Here is the crux of the issue: I just don’t think that initiating arguments with a troll is actually helping the social problems- I think that is is actually rewarding the troll for his bad behavior in the form of ABW’s fury, which seems to be his primary objective here. Online, you cannot be a pacifist; you can participate or you can abstain. By not participating in the troll’s antagonisms, you’re letting the troll know that he isn’t worth even participating with: which is the strongest blow you can land when your only weapons are words and attention.

  73. As a disclaimer, I already stated a few posts above that this issue is one that I know is purely personal opinion. I did not always think this way about conflict- my views are very much shaped by practicing Zen over the last few years.

    I don’t think it’s something one could actually convince another of, I think it’s simply which direction your moral compass points. I do not think my view is “right” and yours is “wrong” – I simply think they are two very different approaches to the nature of conflict and justice.

    Sincerely,
    Alex

  74. Not Michael: By not participating in the troll’s antagonisms, you’re letting the troll know that he isn’t worth even participating with: which is the strongest blow you can land when your only weapons are words and attention.

    Except that trolls don’t always go away when you ignore them. It’s why they’re the bane of every blogger working on racial and gender issues.

    my views are very much shaped by practicing Zen over the last few years.

    Keep working on it: your words reveal a deeply confrontational nature (e.g., “Don’t get personal. It cheapens the entire site”).

  75. M: Except that trolls don’t always go away when you ignore them. It’s why they’re the bane of every blogger working on racial and gender issues.

    No, they don’t always go away initially. From what I have always seen online most trolls go away after a few days of banning IPs and deleting their posts, but the longer you actively argue with them, the longer they tend to stay. They come to empower their own fragile egos by harassing others. By ignoring them, their ego is returned to its usual frail state, and they slink off with their tails between their legs.

    This is not all-encompassing by any means, but from my experience, this is the typical trolling pattern that I’ve witnessed.

    M: Keep working on it: your words reveal a deeply confrontational nature

    I always hope to better myself… various anger issues were what led me to originally discover Zen. I think I’m making progress, but I’m the first to admit that I still have a plethora of problems to work through. Hopefully the discussions here will help, not hinder.

  76. Not Michael,

    Here is the crux of the issue: I just don’t think that initiating arguments with a troll is actually helping the social problems-

    Wait, wait, wait. ABW does not go to these people’s blogs and make anti-racism speeches. They come here and start shit. So please remember — she’s not “initiating arguments” by any means.

    The thing you need to remember is that this blog does not operate in a vacuum. Look at the links along the right side sometime. ABW is part of a vast and growing network of anti-sexism, anti-racism, anti-other-oppression blog sites, and she’s only the latest in a long line of textual crusaders. There have been many others since the internet was popularized. Quite a few of the pioneering sites have died — enough that we’ve learned a few things about the tactics of racists on the ‘net. For example,

    a) Racists are not ordinary trollers, any more than stalkers are ordinary annoyances. Racists aren’t just out to have some fun by pissing people off; harassment is not an end in itself for them. They’re trying to disempower others, using harassment as a weapon. This distinction is important, because it gives them great incentive to persist long past the time when a troll would’ve gotten bored and moved on.

    b) Like harassment, persistence is also a racist weapon. Racists do not go away. When they realize they have free reign, they usually take encouragement from the silence. There are never as many of them as they want you to believe, but to make up for their small numbers, they never shut the fuck up.

    c) Racists act out of fear. They fear the loss of their power; some fear the loss of their “racial purity”, some just fear change. Regardless, frightened people are irrational people, and irrational people are dangerous. Would you ignore an irrational person who was coming after you over and over again, and getting worse each time? I don’t care how Zen you are; that’s not smart.

    d) All this has the side-effect of silencing the non-racists, who get tired/frightened by the ugliness.

    And of course, d) is what kills blogs.

  77. On a side note….
    Flag on the overuse of the word “disemvowel”. First of all, it’s not a word that exists in the English language.
    I think the word you’re meaning to use is “disembowel”, which means to strip or remove the substance of.
    Once the first poster used it incorrectly, several others parroted it again and again, ad nauseum, as if it was the word of the day. Please check your dictionaries, and also find another synonym so you don’t keep overusing the same word! Damn!

  78. Um, since they’re using “disemvowel” to describe the action being taken against trolls in which all the vowels are removed from their posts, I’d say it’s a rather appropriate use of the word.

  79. [...] while one poster (quite possibly another troll who’s been escalating) accuses her of stepping over the line, the rest are trying to explain to him how that being white and male is a ticket to almost anywhere [...]

  80. Isn’t it interesting how we can easily spot the folks that haven’t bothered checking the “Required Reading” or “The Rules”?

    Just Listen, please just read, specifically the above-mentioned two pages (see tabs at the top of this site). Disemvoweling — i.e., removing the vowels from a post, so that it’s still readable for those who feel like bothering to puzzle it out, but doesn’t annoy anyone else — is what ABW does to casual trolls. Persistent trolls get banned, but usually we let the more harmless ones stick around awhile to amuse us.

  81. ABW was not out of line at all contacting the Trolls workplace. Anyone that works for a company bigger than a phone booth has to know that ISP’s are easily traced and, I know beyond doubt, the fastest way to get fired is to send or receive inappropriate content on the company line.
    We are banned from all blogs and opinion sites automatically to keep us out of trouble. Her identification of this employee to the employer probably saved a lawsuit. If I was the employer, ABW would be getting a gift basket at least and Michael would be fired on a number of principles.

    ABW – I had the same thing happen. I was on a board on a major news site and about 10 of us were having a great discussion about race and prejudice, everyone was really being honest and respectful at the same time.

    Until the troll. Jeff. He would post all day from 9-5 vile racist rants, everyone blew it off but it was annoying and extremely racist.

    I got to thinking…..I googled his screen name. The dumbass uses the same one for everything. I found him on dating sites, his works company site, his kids names, work history and current employer.

    So, I signed in the next morn under a fake name and stated I was a Black Female. Jeff immediately started a sexist, racial rant. I asked him, “would you say this if I posted your name, employer, picture and address?”

    He dared me in a racist rant.

    The next post was:
    Picture of him from dating site
    Full name
    Name and Address of Employer
    (Who soon found out all he did all day was type the N word on their dime)

    You could hear him crap his pants from across the country.

    He first tried to say he was kidding. Then I made him write an apology to all , and to write a 10 page essay on racism. Then I told him that Chris Hansen was going to do a Dateline NBC story on him and other internet racists called “To Catch a Racist”.

    He didn’t even think to delete all his posts until a week later. Too long.

    Do I feel bad he got fired? Not at all. A person that warped and STUPID to post from work is a HUGE liability for any company. They got off cheap and avoided an inevitable lawsuit at some point. If someone did what he did at my employer, fired isn’t the right word.

    Now – My name is Mike, and I’m from Texas, but Im not “Michael” (except to my parents). No kids or wife either……

    .

  82. Sorry I was away for so long, guys. I got a little annoyed at the Internet and had to step back. But Nora handled things well in my absence and I must thank her profusely once again.

    One of the things we learn as children is that actions have consequences. the fewer consequences a child is subjected to in their early years, the more they get the impression that they can do whatever they want. Same works for adults. If a person spends their day being a racist troll and nothing comes of it, they learn that being a racist troll has no consequences and continue doing so. For minor trolls, the mere act of banning them is consequence enough. They go “Oh, no one likes it when I do that. Ah well, I’ll go away.” Hopefully they go away to be a better person, but my instinct says they go away to be a racist troll somewhere else. If so, my hope is that others will ban them and, finally, the consequences will mount up and either change that behavior or drive them into a small hole where they have no one to talk to but other racist assholes.

    The bigger the entitlement, the harsher consequences must be. The guy who replied to my banning him with “I’ll just keep trying to harass her until I get to do it again” was obviously in need of harsher consequences. because he believed it was his right to continue being an asshole on my blog. Well, it wasn’t. This is why I took things to another level. not because I enjoy calling people’s workplaces and informing on them, but because otherwise, they won’t get the message that what they are doing is not okay. Consequences are important.

    Sometimes the mere threat of consequences is enough to make people realize where they are in the wrong. or, at least, get them to back off. Michael sent me a note very soon after this post went up to say that he would not darken our doorstep again. He tried his own version of consequences by implying that I had threatened to expose his name and daughter’s name and address publicly (which I did not). He wanted me to take this post down. Maybe he was afraid his employers would see it. He was definitely afraid of me going to his HR department, that was clear.

    In the end, I didn’t have to do any such thing. I just had to let him know that I meant business. Hopefully this post will serve as a similar deterrent to others. Now that they know the consequences, they won’t be so quick to think “I can just keep on doing what I’m doing.” That’s the problem with Internet trolling. people think they can do it without any consequences. I’m here to say: you can’t.

    Not Michael, this may offend your Zen sensibilities and I’m sorry for that. But it’s not as if I’ve actually physically hurt someone here. Also, even MLK and Ghandi brought consequences. they didn’t just stand around and yell that they wanted equal rights or a free India. they *did* something about it. that something was not war, that something was not physically fighting, but that something was NOT just turning the other cheek. It was refusing to meet violence with violence but instead with protecting one’s self and showing the futility of violence.

    I could respond to trolls by just being nasty back at them and that would be the equivalent of meeting violence with violence. Instead, I show them the consequences of their actions. for MLK, it was to bring hundreds or thousands of people to the government’s workplace and to show them that injustice would NOT be met with silence and would NOT be patiently endured. That they were prepared to take action 9though that action would not have been violent). I’m doing the same (though not comparing myself to MLK or anything). Harassment will NOT be met with silence. I won’t come to your house and beat you up or anything, but I will use the resources available to me.

  83. ABW,
    I cant believe there is any discussion of the ethics or Karma or your actions. You acted professionally, probably gave too many warnings and then Michael forced to notify his employer. It appears he might have kept his job but I do not see how.

    If you post racist garbage while at work, you will be found out, either by a mod, co-worker or the IT guy. The consequence is determined by one person, the scribe of the inappropriate content. Knowing that you will be found out and exposed should act as a deterrent to any other Trolls.

    Even though you were mad, the was nothing nasty about your course of action.

    You own the URL and buy the bandwidth. Its your house. You can ask someone to leave for any reason or no reason, just like you can in your house. It is not censorship, or a violation of the constitution.

  84. I can’t believe that there are people still arguing about this. I mean, I can, because there are a lot of entitlement jerks on the internet who think that it should be their right to say whatever they want, wherever they want, and however they want, but, um, dude.

    Why is it so hard to get that a woman has a right to protect herself from harassment by any means necessary?

    Seriously, folks, this is a pretty fundamental concept here. And cyberstalking — which is what Micheal was starting to do — is a crime. It’s not a very well documented or talked about crime, but it is a crime nonetheless. If contacting HR hadn’t gotten him to stop, then ABW could have gone to the cops and she would have been right, legally and morally, to do so. Because no one should have to deal with harassment. Full stop.

  85. [...] the Angry Black Woman posts about an experience she had with a troll who, when banned, continued to harass her. The post itself is worth a read, [...]

  86. I’m new to your blog but in reading this I applaud completely what ABW did. Kudos!

  87. You are awesome. This is one of the best posts I’ve ever seen, and you did A LOT to increase my inner peace around the subject of racist trolls. Ahem.

  88. Here from tekanji’s link – just adding another voice to the chorus of those who recognize that your actions have been totally reasonable and necessary. You attempted to disengage with the troll by banning him, but since he proved that this wasn’t enough to get him to stop harassing you, you took the next step.

    I don’t see why some people have such trouble understanding this. If, as people are insisting, words are so harmless and we should ignore the words of trolls like Michael – well, then, why is it such a big deal that ABW shows those “harmless” words to Michael’s employer?

  89. I applaud your response! Based on what I’ve read over the past few months, any lesser reaction on your part would have negated what you have been teaching us all along. What I’ve learned from your blog is that it is NOT ok to make it a practice to let insults verbal or written be waged against you…sometimes you have to bide your time before you strike back, but strike back you must! I’ve lived my life in two phases: phase one from birth to college, where I was quiet and demure, allowing folks to say whatever they wanted whenever they wanted…I was not happy, because it invited more insults. The latter part of my life has been me being true to myself, which sometimes means letting loose, leaving some folks licking their wounds – but Oh Well! What gives people the idea that they can say and do whatever they want to black women without ANY repercussions? When we sit back and take it – WE DO! The bullshit must stop…NOW!

  90. Many people believe that the computer shelters them from any backlash that may occur when making statements about things they read on the internet.
    I too hate douchebags(a word I use frequently) who self important and pretensious enough to stop at nothing to let you know how important they are.
    I’m gonna give you a little air time on the Angry Zone.

  91. Thanks for standing up for your rights.

    Also, thanks for the information about how to handle douchebag trolls in the future. I’ll definitely look into it.

    Thanks a lot.

  92. ABW: You are the woman. Poor Kathy Sierra needs to come and take some lessons.

    THAT is how you handle Inflammatory Entitlement on the Internetz Disease. Because if you don’t fight back the trolls will escalate. And nowhere in the “progressive” blogosphere will you be taken seriously until post-death-threat-realized.

    Yeah. Martyrdom is so fashionable.

    Of course, it’s good that you already titled your blog b/c since you were victorious, if you hadn’t already been known as ABW, you certainly would be now. :D

    It just gives me a nice warm glow deep down inside to have a lovely example of how you don’t have to suffer to survive.

    I’m gonna get my t-shirts now. Y’all carry on.

  93. Ww! Y ppl rll r thck. Dd y vr stp t thnk tht myb (r mst lkl) th trll pt SMN LS’s ml ddrss n th Ml fld? Thr s n vrfctn f th ml n yr cmmnts systm. Bscll, y clld p cmpn t cmpln bt n ml ddrss f n f thr mplys tht y sw n th ntrnt, s tht y cld mk yrslf fl gd bt ‘cnfrntng rcsm’, vn thgh y hd N vdnc tht th mply ctll pstd th cmmnt. Stpd s s stpd ds. h, nd yr rgnl cmmnts bt Mchl rd lk vld thrt. Y’r nt wth ngr mngmnt sss. rcmmnd tht y dl wth t bfr smn slps rstrnng rdr n y.

  94. Hr’s nthr sggstn… f y dn’t wnt n ld prsn t pst t yr brd, mk pstng B NVTTN NL. thrws y’r jst whngng, s y’v pt p pblc mssg brd, bt nl wnt ppl wh pst t t t gr wth y. ll f ths slf rghts ndgntn tht y hv bt ‘yr’ mssg brd, nd ‘gttng prsnl’ wth ppl mks y lk ptt nd bsrd (f t lks lk dck, nd wlks lk dck, nd qcks lk dck…). f y dn’t lk smn, dn’t lt thm pst.

  95. If you don’t like someone, don’t let them post.

    THAT’S WHAT SHE DID, DUMBASS! Michael was banned once, and the asshole came back. She doesn’t have to let him spew his garbage all over her blog. Why?Because IT’S HER BLOG! No one is entitled to post a damn thing. Not you or even me. In fact, if she wanted to dump every last comment, she would have every right to because IT’S HER BLOG!!!

  96. I assume someone’s going to mark Captain Reality as a troll, right?

    Because the idea that a company can’t determine whether said employee actually sent those emails or not is just stupid. I don’t know of any company that lacks the ability to trace every keystroke typed on one of its computers. And without being able to independently verify it, there’s no way they’d fire the guy, so no worries there. Idiot.

  97. “I assume someone’s going to mark Captain Reality as a troll, right?”

    Tht’s wht y lt d t nyn wh dsgrs wth y. nj yr ch chmbr. Lsrs.

    [note from ABW: yes, he's been marked]

  98. Ah, he makes so much more sense now! :D

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