Monday, May 08, 2006

The Darker Side of the JBlogosphere

For the most part I enjoy blogging and the JBlogosphere. Granted, there are days when it's a bit obsessive, when I have nothing decent to write, when I deliver an important message to the world and only get 3 comments -- and they're from spammers.

It can be a fun place to read what's going on around the world, read faith-challenging posts, sharpen my own beliefs, and experience a microcosm of the entire Jewish world.

The blog world gives people a chance to counter balance MSM which won't always report your point of view.

And then, there's the darker side.

Serious evil.

At least two J-bloggers were forced to shut down their blogs last week.

Over the past month, other bloggers I know were subject to intimidation and sinister threats of being "outted"...or worse. That behaviour is unethical, borderline-criminal, and against halacha.

Gil Student states his halachic understanding of blog anonymity, and why revealing a person's anonymity is tantamount to revealing a secret (which is halachically forbidden)

Steven Weiss has an interesting post about why anonymous blogging actually harms credible debate.

Could be.

But the cases I'm referring to were much more sinister than a simple "outting" and the intent was harmful, spiteful and evil.

While the vast majority of J-Bloggers try to adhere to the laws of Lashon Hara, the blog world is based on the pillars of freedom of speech and expression.

Don't like something?
Comment on it.

Still don't like it?
Blog about it yourself why it irks you.

Still don't like it?
STAY AWAY.


Don't surf to the blog that offends you. Turn your computer off. Go take a cold shower.

And to the bloggers that were shut down -- you can post at the Muqata if you wish.


Eretz Yisrael. Living the Dream.

19 comments:

Dot Co Dot Il said...

The people who destroy blogs would have been the same people around the pyre burning books.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

DotCoDotIl: Actually, the people who go after bloggers are alot worse than the book burners.

Rafi G said...

I do not know why people cannot just leave it alone. if you do not like something, stay away from it. Why stop other people from doing what you do not like???

Jerusalemcop said...

some people can just be too vile and disgusting. I know of a number of bloggers who were forced to start moderating their comments because of the garbage and impolite messages people were leaving.

Very inapropriate

J.

~ Sarah ~ said...

a much needed post.

same rules of derech eretz go for blogging as they do in real life. anyone that can't or won't follow those rules should do as you say and stay away.

and it's such a shame that such wonderful blogs have had to be 'shut down' due to some nasty people giving them a hard time.

Godol Hador said...

Wow. Who got shut down and why?

MUST Gum Addict said...

I should note that I wasn't "shut down" in any way, shape, or form. My decision to stop blogging was one of my own, all though I'll admit that my frustration at how people seemed to twist my words at times, or who made nasty comments that were uncalled for, did make that decision a lot easier to make.

I think that my anonymity on my blog lasted all of 3 days. And I was fine with that. I have no desire to be anonymous and make comments that I would not normally make if people knew who I was. I am one person. I don't make nasty comments. Those who do, and who hide behind the thin veil of anonymity are what undermine the value of this wonderful level of communication we call blogging.

But it isn't all bad. We all deserve the right to say what we do and what we don't like. Thanks for the post Jameel, and the invitation to post here at your blog -- I just might take you up on that...

Jack's Shack said...

It is a sad to see that some people are willing to abuse their privileges in such a manner.

Pragmatician said...

I share your frustrations, blogs that dare people to 'think' outside of the box have a right to exist and be read by those who like them.
It is against any form of basic Menshlishkeit.

RR said...

Usually the people who cause this kind of trouble are the ones who have such miserable, lonely lives that this is their only way of making themselves feel good.

It almost makes you feel sorry for them.

ALMOST.

been there said...

I think it's hard to stay anonymous because the j-blog world is so small, and that's always a risk... and there will always be yentas who love to spread their idea of who someone is. It's annoying, and it's wrongheaded for them to do, but that's human nature. I don't think all of them are malicious. Some people probably just like the idea of being in on a secret piece of information, and don't realize it's hurtful to spread it.

It's the people who try to blackmail bloggers - take your site down, or I'll tell people who you are, or other threats - who are truly despicable.

Scraps said...

Good grief. This is disgusting. Why can't people just let people live their lives and blog in peace?

Yael K said...

Unfortunately you will always have a small subset of people who want to be the thought police (just look at the ultra-orthodox who trashed the 'net cafe in Jerusalem to keep yeshiva students from going online) and they want to make sure you do not influence anyone else nor have the opportunity to be influenced by anything they do not approve of.

Anonymous blogging is a necessity for some people -their option would be to not blog at all because they might get fired from their job, draw very negative reactions from family, and so forth because of the opinions they express. In other cases, their very lives could be in danger (I know of a couple of arab bloggers for whom this is the case).

Threatening to out someone is extremely vile.

I hope the bloggers who you mentioned will reincarnate themselves under another identity and keep on keeping on!

FrumGirl said...

Isn't it ultimately about power and control? We can call these people the tyrants of blogworld. Wanting to control what is said and who says them. Bullies with a keyboard.

I feel sad that these wonderful blogs got shut down.

cruisin-mom said...

Wow, this is something new to me. I had no idea that people have actually been forced to shut down their blogs. That is sickening. Does anyone know who did the forcing? Perhaps they should be outed. (ooops, did I say that out loud?)

Eshet Chayil said...

I know I had something to do with this post. And you're right. I was threatened, I was harassed. People got my phone number somehow, and a picture of me was emailed to me. One I might add that I never took...

I made the right decision in shutting my blog my down at least for the time being. Funny thing was, that my blog really didn't have anything offensive in it. Oh well. Life goes on and a year of writing was gone in the the push of a button.

PsychoToddler said...

Eshet, I don't know if you got the comment I left before your blog closed, but I think there are ways to track down offensive or threatening emailers through their ISPs. Get them shut down or investigated.

A Frum Idealist said...

Great post Jameel. I agree with you one thousand percent. In fact, if I remember correctly, MUST's last post summed it up. I think it was "Derech Eretz Kadma, L'???" or something like that.
The bein adam lachaveiro is out the window. what a travesty. why can't people just live and let live.

Anonymous said...

A good general rule to follow is that when EVERY commenter merely echoes the (self-serving) thoughts of the blogger then it is clear that the "other side" is not being heard.

It is amazing that not one of you will conceed that bloggers should not have the unfettered right to comment on other people's private lives. Leave well enough alone is a fine attitude, but I can see why others may not take this view when it impacts them personally.

All I am saying is that there is another side to the story here....

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