More on the Whole Online Shaming/Vigilantism Conversation

December 27, 2013 § 1 Comment

Earlier today, senior Huffington Post tech writer Bianca Bosker published an article arguing why we should all fear the online mob, and quoted a thing of mine, along with some things of some others, including Dr. Claire Hardacker (who someday I really need to meet). I agree with the basic idea that online mobs = scary, the vast majority of the time, depending on the case, and in honor of that series of caveats (which is essentially how I’d characterize my position) wanted to add to the below quote more thoughts on the subject. From the HuffPo article:

“Like more traditional offline deterrents … online shaming allows certain individuals or groups to model what is and what is not acceptable within a specific (sub)cultural context,” Dr. Whitney Phillips, a faculty associate in Humboldt State University’s sociology department researching Internet culture, wrote in The Awl last December. “But not just model — the second (and simultaneous) half of that equation is punishing, or threatening to punish, anyone who deviates from whatever established norm.”

But I have more thoughts than just that, oh my:

On the question of whether online mobs are the modern incarnation of witch hunters

On why some people are drawn to these kinds of vigilante interventions

On murky political waters

On even murkier political waters, particularly when the people being shamed are horrific misogynist assholes

On the whole “playing with fire” analogy

How these conversations connect to issues of free speech online

Not the most uplifting way to end the week, but that’s the internet for you.


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§ One Response to More on the Whole Online Shaming/Vigilantism Conversation

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