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24 April 2012

Cyberbullying Is Never Right


Discussion is good. Cyberbullying is bad. This is not a blanket response and pronouncement that everyone is cyberbullying. This is just a humble post on the very few who are not truly discussing an issue, but rather who might be coming very close to cyberbullying.

I won't make this a long post and I won't link to anything. Suffice it to say that something sad happened the other day with a fellow blogger and the world of online bashing rose up and decided to condemn and destroy. A Twitter hashtag was even created and who knows how much more. I understand the disappointment that comes with news like this, but when pictures are posted, threatening comments are posted, or a hashtag gets created, it goes much, much too far.

We love books, we love to read, we love to chat them up. We have our own self-made forum in our blogs to celebrate writing. Any money we put towards designing our blog comes from our own pocket, not from anything else. We have day jobs, whether we are a stay-at-home mother or whether we commute to an office. Blogging does not pay the bills and it doesn't pay the bills for the blogger I'm referencing.

I re-read my first paragraph from my review yesterday about a book which included the serious topic of  cyberbullying. If I don't feel like something's right, I shouldn't stay quiet, which is what I normally do when it comes to drama. But re-reading that first paragraph this morning was a reminder for me.

It doesn't matter who it is. It doesn't matter what it is about. It doesn't matter what caused it.

Cyberbullying is never the answer.

These are real people with real day jobs that are being affected when threatening emails and comments are posted. We are a blogging community. Wrong is wrong, but cyberbullying is never the answer.

Please. Before you click "send," before you click "post," before you tweet, please. Walk away from your computer and away from the drama that we can all so easily jump into and take a few minutes to think about what you were just about to post. Think about who you are possibly damaging. It never makes me feel good to think that someone's whole livelihood and reputation might be destroyed, no matter what may have initially caused the disappointment. If something was lifted from my blog by someone else, I would be disappointed and heartbroken, but what would make me thoroughly devastated was to know that someone was being bullied because of it, in apparent defense of me. That is not defending. That is a witch hunt.

Please.

30 comments:

  1. I agree that personal attacks and moving the topic to unrelated commentary that has nothing to do with the topic (plagiarism in this case) just clouds the waters and keeps us from having a proper conversation about a serious issue.

    I do think the person at the center of this brouhaha did something wrong. But. I'm not a fan of other people using the plagiarism scandal as an opportunity to have a free-for-all attack. It's just childish and reflects badly on them.

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    1. I'm with Janicu. When plagiarism happens to a blog, the only way to strike back is online. I'm ok with striking back regarding spreading the word about the plagiarism but not with personal attacks.

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    2. Absolutely, completely agree, and also agree that it was sad and disappointing. And I agree that civil discussion on the issue and expressing disappointment are all fair and to be expected; a public stoning is not.

      Thanks for commenting, Janicu and Juju!

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  2. Excellent post Natalie. The mob mentality never sits well in my book.

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    1. Thanks, Annie. I agree. It always makes me so uncomfortable, too.

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  3. Well said. There's so much "commentary" going on, that I have a hard time even seeing through to what the core issue is. I logged on to twitter yesterday and my feed was going insane, and I had no clue what had happened until much later when more sensible voices started appearing. Sad things happen, bad choices are made, but that's never a carte blanche to unleash personal attacks that can be so hurtful. Focusing on bashing the person is not going to do anything to help the issue.

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    1. Thanks, Rebecca. Well put; "carte blanche" is exactly right and focusing on the issue, not the person, is the right way to go.

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  4. Amen to this. I am dealing with this issue in another form, and it makes me sad and distraught that someone would go out of their way to post negative things about someone in a public forum. I have nothing but disdain and hate for bullying in any shape, and it makes me sad that people have nothing better to do than hurt others. I don't know what has been going on, or what this bullying was about, but being a recent victim of something similar has brought the issue home to me in a way that it has never been driven home before.

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    1. Heather, thanks. I'm also so very sorry you're going through something similar; no one should have to deal with negative and personal attacks in that public setting. I'm not a fan of bullying either, no matter what may have predicated it. I've seen a lot of wonderful discussion raised by this issue, but I've also seen a few slings that were downright dirty. It's never the right way to have civil discourse on a serious topic, and really clouds the water considerably.

      Again, I'm so sorry you're going through something that's putting you through your own torture; please let me know if you need anything, anything from me at all, my friend.

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  5. It's interesting how quickly the attitude changes from wanting an apology to ... what, a public roasting? While I can appreciate the OMGSOMAD! feeling, attacking someone -- or, as you rightly identify it, bullying -- will never help anyone.

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    1. You are so right, Audra. I'm right there with you in the shock and awe department, but attacking and publicly shredding someone is just wrong, wrong, wrong.

      Hey, by the way, I just finished The Tommyknockers by Stephen King. Not sure if you've read that one, but man! Not bad. I totally dug it.

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  6. Bravo! Thank you for posting this! I feel like this situation, and many that have come before it have spiraled out of control. No one deserves the kind of treatment she is getting. It is this treatment, this punishment, that brings me to say, "enough, let's move on!" Forgiveness is Devine...and the bullying needs to stop.

    I'm sorry that you are facing your own challenges with this. I hope it ends swiftly, and you too are able to move on quickly.

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    1. Alison, thanks! You're spot on that things are spiraling out of control. The mad beast of complete chaos just gets ridiculous and no one gets a chance to just have a conversation about it. Ah, well. I never put my two cents out there, but I just had to this time. It kept me up late last night thinking about it.

      I'm not experiencing any challenges in that someone lifted from my site; meant to say that if someone did, I wouldn't want anyone cyberbullying them in apparent defense of me. I didn't have enough coffee when I wrote that last section, huh? lol :)

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  7. I was appalled to get online this morning to see people hashing out the SAME EXACT thing.

    I haven't wanted to write about it and add to the drama, but it's driving me crazy. This isn't useful discourse. That's what we need in times like this, but that's not what people go to.

    Lord knows, as an English teacher, I hate plagiarism. But I also hate mean spiritedness, and that's what's going on here in many cases.

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    1. I totally agree with Picky ~ I too have not wanted to write about it and add to the drama. What you have posted here is a great reminder that bullying is NEVER the answer. I appreciate the tactful and graceful manner in which you spoke up. Thank you Natalie for saying what I wanted to say but didn't know how to say it. Bravo.

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    2. picky - Jenn, I know, right? It's just so disappointing that it's becoming this scramble for who can lob the biggest stone. In the two years I've blogged, I've never written anything about any drama since I like to steer clear from it, but I was so sad reading certain comments and "campaigns" and such.

      Stacy - Thanks, Stacy. I was worried about posting this because I didn't want to dive into it, but I was so disappointed that there were a few who seemed eager to rip someone to shreds. It's just disappointing.

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  8. Good Lord, see what I miss when I have a busy week? I do not know what happened and I'm not sure I want to find out. I tend to turn and walk the other way when there is drama (and there always is...what is this, high school?). Anyway, I applaud you for speaking up.

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    1. Sandy, too funny! I'm not surprised that you've had a busy week! I think I get exhausted reading your Sunday Salons!! :) I don't know how you do it, girl.

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  9. I'm also one of those who has no clue what happened. I'm not often on Twitter, I find a lot of the dynamics so scary.
    You are so right Natalie. Just wait a momen before pressing that send/post button could help so much. What is very sad is that people, without knowing any specifics jump in and participate. It makes me think sometimes that people are keen on drama.
    A post like yours is important. I'm glad you wrote it.

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    1. Better to not know what happened, I think. Perhaps we wait till the dust to settle, which is why I was nervous to link to anything other than the cyberbullying sites. I truly believe that most people seem to be having a really great discussion on the issue, and are able to express their disappointment. There's only a few out there doing something different, something negative.

      Thanks so much for your kind compliments. We should definitely always wait, re-read, walk away, re-read again, proofread, etc., before ever hitting that "publish" or "send" button.

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  10. This is amazing and well posed writing on the topic. Said gracefully and dignified on the issue. It just upsets me that people are going around bashing and blaming in a very offensive way that they kind of over looked the key issue: plagiarism. If they were more tactful and less emotional(i.e. - rational), then this wouldn't have escalated the way it has.

    I've even gone on to tweet this because it reflects the antics going on Twitter: "Social bullying, sometimes referred to as relational bullying, involves hurting someone’s reputation or relationships. Social bullying includes: Leaving someone out on purpose, Telling other children not to be friends with someone, Spreading rumors about someone, Embarrassing someone in public." http://www.stopbullying.gov/what-is-bullying/definition/index.html"

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    1. You are too kind, many thanks for swinging by! I agree and feel that if we could extract the emotion out of it, we'd be able to have a valid discussion on what happened and how we can all learn from this situation. I'm all about discussing disappointment, sadness, change, etc., but when we start to hit below the belt, I can't be part of that. I love the definition you've posted, it is so spot on. Thanks so very much for stopping by and for also forwarding out to your readers a link from such an important organization to end bullying.

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  11. Thanks for speaking up about this Natalie. I have no idea about the incident you are referencing but agree that cyber bullying is NEVER the answer.

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    1. Thank you, my friend. I didn't want to link to anything because I didn't want to perpetuate it even more, but I wanted to put my own two cents out there. Who cares what I think, though? I just had to ramble and vent. Perhaps it's our Stephen King Project that makes me meander away now, lol. :)

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  12. As a writing teacher, my students and I discuss plagiarism constantly...they understand that I'll bend over backwards to help them, but if they plagiarize, I'm done. My consequences are on my syllabus, a 0 on the assignment. However, a 0 on one assignment is not a death sentence, nor do I berate the student or grade his/her future papers more critically. We are living in a world where so much is up for grabs with just a quick google search that especially the younger generation is growing up thinking nothing of "borrowing" stuff they find on the web. The only way to stop this before it becomes a lost job in the future is open discussion. Should there be consequences? You bet. Should someone who plagiarizes be ripped apart in a feeding frenzy? Not if we're the civil, intelligent, progressive folks we like to call ourselves...I have no earthly idea what this is all about and don't even want to know. In some ways I'm like Sandi...what is this? high school? Thanks Natalie for keeping this true discussion of this very important issue at the forefront.

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    1. This is great perspective, Patti, thanks for posting this. The action of "borrowing," etc., is certainly not condoned, but no one deserves this destruction. It's disheartening. And you are so spot on that everything is just out there that it becomes second nature for people to grab and post, and it's important that every time the situation comes up that we calmly and rationally discuss it, versus just completely shredding someone. It makes me sick. Which, yes, it does remind me of high school. *shudder*

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  13. Plagiarism is most definitely a serious issue. But it's one that deserves a serious discussion and not a "discussion" that descends into personal attacks and name-calling (both of which I have had the misfortune to see over the past couple days). I really hate how ugly this discourse has turned.

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    1. I completely understand the disappointment and agree that discussion needs to civilly happen. My two cents are that the content was similar, but we're not talking about book reviews, we're looking at a formatted page with very similar content that can honestly be found on any design site, etc. Several graphic designers have made mention that it's not new to see the exact information spilled out over a multitude of places. I'm not saying that it's all ok, but the chaos that's come about from this has become something that would be equal to lifted book reviews, you know? Maybe I'm oversimplifying it! Oy.

      Thanks for stopping by, Meg. I agree, the dialogue has been extremely ugly and has truly spun out of control.

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  14. Terrific post! I agree. I didn't care for the cyberbulling. I didn't care for the plagiarism, either. However, ripping someone apart, public shaming is way beyond what needed to be done in this case. Taking care of things privately would have been best. It got out of hand -- with the hashtags and calling people names. I've said this on other blogs who discussed this topic, but I want it to be known...when I asked to have the cyberbulling stopped, it was turned around on me that I was defending TSS actions. No, I just didn't like the hashtag. I was questioned how that was bullying. Uh, yes that's bullying. Two people, who said I didn't know what bullying was, started calling me names and cyberbulling me. I'm not trying to whine...but it was so hypocritical! People who do that kind of thing are angry and depressed people. But I also think they revel in it and feed on it. They get a thrill from hurting other people. It's really sad.

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  15. Yes its true as cyber bullying is never right and this practice should be stop.Internet safety for kids

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