trolls, rape, my blog, yet another post about violent threats.

, posted: 26-May-2007 13:42

I've had some awful comments posted to my blog over my 3 years of random blogging. They come in bursts as some troll will comment again and again, before getting bored because i don't publish the comments. The comments on my blog are censored (and my bayesian spam filter is trained on comments containing "rape", "whore", "fuck" etc.). Violence and hatred towards women who blog is the norm. So, male bloggers please tell me. Men - Do you get rape threats on your blog? Have your been told you deserve to die? Do you get comments and questions on your size? Sexual orientation? Are you told you have no right to talk about technology/whatever? What disgusting responses do you get? Are women being targetting or are we all getting these trolls? Comments that my facts are wrong are one thing (though often without any explanation). Insults, "bitch", "idiot", "n00b" are normal trolling. Comments that involve rape and death threats are not okay. But my blog has a readership of about 15 people. (plus a few randoms who find my howtos). I've had maybe 50 comments over 3 years that fit in that category. Maybe the bayesian got the rest. I've read that trolls target strong outspoken women, and, yes, blogging about being raped, or a strongly opinion political post seems to attract trolls -- but think upon who started this recent exposure of these trolls. Kathy Sierra. She blogs about learning. About programming. About design. Why then is she a target for these trolls? Simply because she's an eloquent and intelligent woman who has a gift for explaining things? Or more importantly she's a prominent woman, a high flyer who presents at "male domains" (i saw her present @ Linux.conf.au) I don't know, i'm guessing. I could try and empathize with those trolls, but fuck it.. i don't want to. Those trolls can go die in a fire. Here's a collection someone else compiled of comments they received after blogging that they had been raped. (warning, trigger! if violence and threats set you off, don't follow the link.) http://kateharding.net/2007/05/16/let-me-save-you-the-trouble-i-know-im-a-fat-cunt-and-ive-already-been-raped/ Here are some quotes where the author tries to summarize how trolls think.:
What they know is, generally speaking, drawing attention to a woman’s fat is an almost surefire way to utterly humiliate her. To make her feel so ashamed of herself she doesn’t know what to say. And that, of course, is because, as a culture, we agree that being fat makes a woman — gasp! — unattractive. And calling a woman unattractive works to humiliate her, most of the time, because we all know women are worthless if men don’t want to have sex with them. Because getting fucked is our “only real purpose.” So we deserve – need – to get fucked against our will to fulfill our purpose and remember our place. Yet fucking is always about sexual desire, never about power and control. You should consider yourself lucky if a man finds you worth raping. And you’re probably lying about being raped anyway.
On a similar thread, here a constrained rant here by Josh Whedon (creator of Buffy, Firefly) http://whedonesque.com/comments/13271 It's worth reading the whole thing, but here are some quotes:
A few of you may know that I took public exception to the billboard campaign for this film, which showed a concise narrative of the kidnapping, torture and murder of a sexy young woman. I wanted to see if the film was perhaps more substantial ....... Pretty much all you learn is that Elisha Cuthbert is beautiful, then kidnapped, inventively, repeatedly and horrifically tortured, and that the first thing she screams is “I’m sorry”. ..... Last month seventeen year old Dua Khalil was pulled into a crowd of young men, some of them (the instigators) family, who then kicked and stoned her to death. This is an example of the breath-taking oxymoron “honor killing”, in which a family member (almost always female) is murdered for some religious or ethical transgression......... Because as the girl was on the ground trying to get up, her face nothing but red, the few in the group of more than twenty men who were not busy kicking her and hurling stones at her were filming the event with their camera-phones. ..... Which means whoever shot it did so not to record the horror of the event, but to commemorate it. To share it. Because it was cool.
It's probably on youtube by now. i hate this thread

Other related posts:
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Comment by juha, on 26-May-2007 14:42

That's dreadful. I'm sorry that you've had to suffer (that's the right word) all that. There is unfortunately a general undercurrent of misogyny in society and it comes out all too easily on the Internet, maybe because of the perceived anonymity.

Worst I've had have veiled death threats (just a couple) and of course, that age-old "insult" that I'm gay because of something I said. Add to that, a few ethnic slurs - very few, because most ninnies can't work out where I'm from - and accusations of being paid to be biased.

Other than that, it's general rubbish.

The kurdish girl above is a horrible, horrible example of how a patriarchal society can be wrong. Four men have been arrested for her death, but I think all men involved in the mob should be behind bars for not stopping it.


Comment by Pavitra, on 26-May-2007 15:17

As someone who's been cyberstalked by some of her perpetrators over the past year through blogs and other public forums because I had the "gall" to speak out against what they did, I am very sorry for what you've had to go through. This is absolutely unfair and disgusting... and what's worse is the general advice given to those of us targeted is to change or take down said blogs, that this is the most effective way to stop it! How about making it so that it's easier to track down these SOB's and hold them accountable in a way that smarts?!


Comment by Pavitra, on 26-May-2007 15:18

As someone who's been cyberstalked by some of her perpetrators over the past year through blogs and other public forums because I had the "gall" to speak out against what they did, I am very sorry for what you've had to go through. This is absolutely unfair and disgusting... and what's worse is the general advice given to those of us targeted is to change or take down said blogs, that this is the most effective way to stop it! How about making it so that it's easier to track down these SOB's and hold them accountable in a way that smarts?!


Author's note by taniwha, on 26-May-2007 17:40

What sucks is i didn't say a word about it until after kathy sierra...


Comment by paradoxsm, on 26-May-2007 18:23

I'm lucky, I'm caucasion, male, good looks, normal weight so the stupid kids whom have nothing better to say play the usual old "you are gay" line,,, groan.... to the point of some knob placing my pic from photobucket which was linked to the blog, on nzdating as "gay" I have had sombody in a shop give me some stick about something I said on my blog which he did not agree with quite nastily so I have now removed the photo and any personal details I had.


Comment by barf, on 27-May-2007 14:19

hi taniwha, I think it's not fair you should have to put up with abuse from idiots. I enjoy reading your blog. Keep the geekiness coming!


Comment by Brendan, on 27-May-2007 22:31

I read with some distress your revelation regarding the abuse and threats you (and other women) have suffered. I thought I'd put my two cents worth in: Yes, I am straight male and I have suffered these threats online and more. I have even been accused of being a pederast publicly, a thief, liar, abuser, etc. Once even by a published journalist. I have been threatened with violence. (Ridiculous as it may sound...) I have been the victim of bigotry also. I have been told I can't talk about this or that. Told I should kill myself, die, etc. I've had threatening phone calls in 4am and people calling my workplace telling lies. It wasn't all men either - a handful of women too (women can sometimes feel invulnerable when hiding behind their computers...). I received this attention because I am out spoken and not afraid to put my ideas out there. I expected to get lively debate - but I thought it'd be INTELLIGENT debate. What I got was 1% intelligence and 99% abuse. In the early days of the Net it was the opposite. It seems to be a matter of social standing. The 'pecking order'. These sad little rejects are on the bottom of the social order (likely for good reason going by what you write..) and so they see there only way UP is by pulling someone else DOWN. So they pick out whom they perceive as the weakest who has social value. That would be a woman - because for reasons both biological and social, women are often in a more vulnerable position than men. They are seen as an easy 'mark' (even Catherine the Great had abusers and she commanded armies and was noted for her brutality). They feel they are able to get away with this because of the great myth that the Net is 'anonymous'. It's like yelling abuse at someone on the street as they pass through town on a bus never to return: a gutless bit of hate that will keep some psychologist employed... What to do? That depends on what type of person you are. For you Brenda, I think the best thing is to remember that these cretins are provably inferior to you. Sad little psychology patients who already have the ultimate punishment: living hate-filled ignorant little lives as pustules on the infected scab of society. Then just use your Bayesian filter to filter them out. If you notice any posting from NZ though, you might get a cheap thrill by reporting them to the police. Anyway, keep up the good work Brenda. *I* am fascinated by smart women!


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Wally (Brenda) 
Te Whanganui O Tara
New Zealand