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Thread: "Anonymous comments, gutless trolls, and why it's time we all stop drinking this digital poison"

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    Politics.ie Member gracethepirate's Avatar
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    Default "Anonymous comments, gutless trolls, and why it's time we all stop drinking this digital poison"

    The title quote is from Robert Fisk writing in The Independent (London) on 10 January. Anonymous comments, gutless trolls, and why it's time we all stop drinking this digital poison - Comment - Voices - The Independent

    For a moment, after reading the first paragraph of the article, I thought he was talking about p.ie in particular.

    Fisk reports that an Irish TD committed suicide because of a rash of online hate-mail:
    Just before Christmas, an Irish minister of state, Shane McEntee, committed suicide after receiving a swath of online hate-mail. At his funeral, his brother Gerry was applauded when he attacked social media: “Shame on you people, you faceless cowards who sent him horrible messages on the website and on text, shame on you.” Shane McEntee had been particularly condemned for defending government cuts to Ireland’s respite care programme and, anyway, I’m not sure that anonymous emails kill. Newspapers persecute people, too, but at least editors have an address.
    I did read a bit of the thread about McEntee's death on p.ie but I did not know the reason for it.

    Fisk is arguing for non-anonymous comment on the Internet. He thinks "moderators" are useless:
    Chat rooms and comment sections of online newspapers often claim to have a “moderator” – a craven expression since it suggests that the abused and the abuser are equally guilty or innocent – who can remove “inappropriate” material. This is a bit like saying that Hitler could sometimes make “inappropriate” remarks. Indeed, reading a book over Christmas about the Nazi rise to power in Germany, I found that many NSDAP (Nazi party) threats in the thirties did read like web insults.

    So what to do? Online comments are often factually wrong, but anonymity allows writers to use vulgar and abusive language to support their lies. They often fail what has been called “the quality test” – rigorously applied, for example, when newspaper editors refuse to publish letters without a name and some form of address. We are talking about verifiable comment.
    Fisk mentions that both the French and Irish governments are considering new legislation against Internet abuse, the French in particular against some Twitter abuse that is racist, anti-semitic and homophobic, but Twitter won't reveal the identities of some of the culprits to the French because they posted from California. Fisk also mentions the Malicious Communications Act of 1988 - but not which country's. Presumably it is UK law because he is writing for The Independent. So that legislation won't apply to malicious abusers in other countries.

    Do you think there needs to be international uniform legislation to counter web abuse? This could be a solution, but almost impossible to implement. Even to start the process imho there will be great difficulties to get agreement between different countries and blocs.

    As for anonymity, I am in favour of it still even though I agree with Fisk that it can be taken advantage of by malicious posters. Our anonymity may be short-lived, however, and then what will happen to politics.ie and similar websites?
    Brexit comes straight from hell. Everywhere it goes it causes disharmony, turbulence and misery. I think Brexiteers themselves must have some form of mental illness.

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    I'm somewhat surprised at someone like Fisk jumping on the luddite bandwagon.

    I also thought the notion that McEntee killed himself because of Facebook comments had been thoroughly debunked at this stage.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SideysGhost View Post
    I also thought the notion that McEntee killed himself because of Facebook comments had been thoroughly debunked at this stage.
    Whatever about Facebook, some of the comments on here were disgusting.

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    Politics.ie Member Astral Peaks's Avatar
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    Fisk jumping to conclusions again, becoming more and more his SOP.

    McEntee's death had nothing to do with online abuse.......
    "Don't need a whore, I don't need no booze, don't need a virgin priest."

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    The internet is the last remaining platform for free speech and a free media. They'll viciously attack it until they totally control it. Free people discussing and debating online is far too dangerous to them.

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    Dylan2010
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    if there was any logic too it, this shower and the last shower would all be pushing up daisies by now. The guy is talking horse manure.

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    more godless propeganda 5hite.

    quite convenient politicians are scrambling to force legislation that would prosecute internet rumours when the Jimmy saville fallout is just beginning.

    Free speech I say.. people need to stop been so sensitive. If innocent, nothing to fear.
    There is something pigheaded about Wexford this season, something pigheaded and perverse and oddly beautiful. In certain lights they are starting to look heroic.

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    Politics.ie Member stopdoingstuff's Avatar
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    It's just an excuse to go after anonymous political speech.
    Faoi mhóid bheith saor

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    Politics.ie Member Clanrickard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stopdoingstuff View Post
    It's just an excuse to go after anonymous political speech.
    Note he mentions homophobic and hate speech. Leftists love curtailing free speech. I am surprised at Fisk.

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    It's a complex situation. And I have genuine sympathy for ordinary people who run into problems.

    But I think public figures need to be a lot less thin-skinned about online comments.

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