(See a couple of updates after Christi’s quote)
The conversation at Dear Author is, at the time I’m typing, well over 300 comments strong. I’m sure it will go on for a while. At this point it seems to have devolved into a loop, with those who get what the actual issues are–misogyny, the chilling effect of true bullying on freedom of speech, and the crossing of lines by physically endangering women for daring to speak out.
Among those commenting, the ever present asshole concern troll, moniker Author on Vacation, whose mission in life–as perceived by me–is to be a victim on every thread sparked by an opinion letter over there. No matter what the topic, poor little Author on Vacation has been mistreated in a -somewhat- related manner¹.
Then there is the new troll in town, going by the initials NM, who spits jewels such as these:
“The one begets the other. It is wrong and quite possibly illegal to post personal information that has the potential to lead to harm (I believe this is the case in California, at any rate). However, this is the road you go down when you claim that rudeness and vulgarity, cruel verbal attacks and ad hominems are some how “empowerment” and ought to be the norm. The behavior gets ramped up and ramped up until the next step is this sort of outing, is a situation that’s gotten so out of hand that physical harm is right around the corner. You open the door for nastiness, allow it to flourish, this is what happens. Physical violence is the logical next step.”
(lovely answer to that by Meljean Brook here)
“When we had standards, when society in general shunned a certain sort of rhetoric, we were better for it. If review sites maintained their TOS and put the kebosh on vulgarity and ad hominems from the very beginning, none of this would be an issue.”
(Carolyn Jewel² shows the nitwit for the ignoramus she is, here)
“a woman who wears a sexually provocative outfit and who frequents certain areas known for that sort of trouble should be aware that she may be targeted. That doesn’t mean she deserves violence, nor does it excuse those who would attack her. It does, however, mean that we are responsible for our own behavior and for the decisions we make.”
“Yeah so, this explains a lot. You know the kind of people who share that attitude? People who teach girls to avoid being raped (wear this, not that, walk here, not there, say this, not that, have sex then, not then), instead of focusing all that energy on teaching boys not to ever EVER rape girls. At the risk of hyperbole, I see a lot of parallels here.
Instead of teaching our reviewers to be and react honestly, we’re teaching them to avoid being stalked (say this, not that, act this way, not that way, post here, not there).
That kind of attitude is disgusting. We should be pouring our energy into teaching authors not to stalk and harass people in RL. Not ever. Sure, we have control over our actions, and I’m sure an internet in which people are too afraid of facing terrifying RL consequences to be honest (as well as society where women are too afraid of being raped to wear what they want) would be just wonderful for you. Personally, it makes me sick.
I have the right to express my feelings, however vulgar they may be, just as I have the right to wear whatever the hell I want. We shouldn’t have to censor ourselves to accommodate criminals. THEY are the ones in the wrong.”
Brava, Christi–and thank you.
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Update1: And after all my comments over there yesterday, Kelsey said this morning what I’ve been trying to say for days, here and elsewhere:
It is not acceptable to make someone’s personal information available for the purpose of aiming a mob of angry people. The website in question does this. While one might make an argument that the internet and social media has blurred the lines between what is really “personal” information, it is merely a semantic problem. No one has the right to make someone else feel unsafe. That this behavior is occurring within the romance reading community has brought it to our attention, but it is only a part of the larger issue.
Update2: John Scalzi chimes in. I wish he would have touched on the misogyny issue. I commented about that lack *wince* We’ll see how I fare…
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¹ This sorry excuse for a person has the unmitigated cheek of suggesting that Dear Author is behind StGRb. Yeah, she’s the stupid.
² Also, Ms Jewel post on the topic.