The interweb tubes are supposed to facilitate interactions, allow free exchange of ideas, help people to network with and understand each other, make this world a better place. But it's only the normal people who suppose such things; while they are willing to live with some of the side effects such as the online disinhibition effect, they are forced to give up -- or seriously curtail -- their online presence when bad elements get out of control.
Some recent events (Amrita recounts one here) are forcing a few bloggers -- all of them women -- to consider such defensive moves. At least one of them has made her blog private, and another may follow suit. Anindita Sengupta (who contributes to Ultra Violet, a feminist blog) has chosen to keep only some of her posts in the public domain.
We, in India, woke up late to the many charms of Internet communication and as a result are behind on the curve. For example, nothing like the Kathy Sierra incident has happened in the Indian blogosphere. But there are the early signs — aggression in various forms.
wasam increasingly uncomfortable about the different kinds of blurring and there is the temptation to yank this page off cyberspace altogether but it’s also an empowering space in many ways. So I decided to impose some sort of control over it, or try to, at any rate.
I opted for a compromise by changing the look and feel, the name, the mood. I kept the posts that talk about the things I like or feel strongly about. I removed the ones about ‘me’. [...]
This sad development poses some questions for us: Can anything be done? What can we do with these nasty people who are polluting the interwebs? What can we do to prevent the nasties from gaining control? I don't know what motivates them, but, to the extent their tantrums (name-calling, threats) are attention-grabbing exercises, I think something can be done.
So, here's my humble request: banish them from your (online) world. Completely. Totally. Don't give them a chance to participate in your blog's comments section. If you don't want to do that, the least you can do is to not link to their posts.
I admit that in the current episode, I don't know who the nasties are. Except for one. Fortunately, I have not had much of an interaction with this person, and nor am I likely to. I promise to do my best to keep this person off my blog.