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Author Topic: Where do I draw the line?
mizchastain
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As I've discussed here before, I have an unfortunate tendency to end up in places or on sites where someone picks me as a target or I get into fights. My question is, at what point do I draw the line and walk away? I don't really feel I can leave sites or locations I like just because a person I don't get on with is also there, or I'd never be able to leave the house or turn the computer on. Since I spent my childhood being bullied in school, which is a situation from which I couldn't walk away at all, it's hard for me to judge a definite point at which things become too much.
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September
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You are the best judge of when to walk away: you know how you are feeling and what you can and cannot handle. The trick is recognizing your feelings as valid and acting on them. So, anytime you are feeling uncomfortable, it is up to you to acknowledge your feelings and listen to them.

It may also help to remind yourself that, while it's generally also a good idea to be mindful of others on the internet, you are not necessarily bound by the same social rules, and you can walk away from a situation that is making you feel uncomfortable without any repercussions. If you don't feel okay on a given message board, or with a given conversation on a board, you can just close down that window and walk away.

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Johanna
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"The question is not who will let me, but who is going to stop me." -Ayn Rand

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mizchastain
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One of the girls I mentioned before is sort of following me around on one site - whenever I make a post, she pops up and makes a snarky comment. I don't look at the comments, but on this site users aren't allowed to delete other users' comments, and it's hanging over my head more than it should. I don't even know who this girl is. I'm not responding to her because I don't want to get drawn into a fight, but it's rather frustrating even so.
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Saffron Raymie
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That person is what's known as an internet 'troll'. Many people 'troll' the internet looking to cause trouble, or a reaction of any kind. If they feel that they are getting a reaction from you, they will troll; because that's what they get out of trolling - a reaction.

That's why some people say, in a very victim-blaming way, that you 'don't feed the troll'. However really, people shouldn't bully others.

I think an important thing to recognise with trolling is that - it isn't personal. It just plain isn't. If you weren't there - that girl would be trolling someone else. That's what trolls do, always to the folks they feel they can upset or anger. It's about power.

If she's saying personal things to you, one suggestion would be not to disclose personal things on sites that don't control and ban trolls, because trolls will use anything to get the reaction they want.

Unfortunately, that's just something that happens on the internet - there's millions of people on it, all very diverse and complex people - and sometimes people troll. I know you feel like you shouldn't have to leave the site - but sometimes we just aren't up to dealing with sites that allow trolls. That's not about being scared away or anybody 'winning' a fight - it's about being strong enough to say 'you know what, I'm not up to this, and I'm okay with that.' Knowing our limits is a huge part of being a strong person; we all have feelings, and we need to be strong and protect and defend those feelings, so that the rest of us can be emotionally well, and therefore strong and safe.

That way, those sites will get less traffic - therefore less income - and will get their act together and start to deal with bullies properly, rather than expecting other folks to put themselves at an emotional risk and put up with them.

[ 11-24-2011, 10:19 AM: Message edited by: RaeRay2112 ]

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'Obtain the virgin's consent before you marry her' - Prophet Mohammad (pbuh)

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mizchastain
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I've experienced trolls before, but in this case it's different. What she's saying may be a legit point, but she goes out of her way to be so unpleasant I find myself wanting to disagree with her just on principle even if I agreed with her before. This time she's apparently decided that I think rape is funny because I said that, while I don't think rape should be treated as funny in fiction, I'm hesitant to say that it should never be involved in the same work as humour. (I deal with bad experiences using humour, and I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one to do so.) Looking back I may have phrased it pretty badly, but I think I was still clear that I don't find rape funny.

[ 11-24-2011, 04:35 PM: Message edited by: mizchastain ]

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Saffron Raymie
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But, when people disagree on something like that, they can usually be mature enough to politely diagree, even if they strongly, passionately disagree. Accusing someone of 'thinking rape is funny' is one heck of accusation, and it's very clear to me that isn't what you've said. It really does sound to me like she's trying to get a reaction from you.

If she didn't agree, she could have phrased it like: 'I don't agree at all! I think that writing about it that way adds to rape culture by...' However, instead, she personally attacked you. Personal attacks have no place in progressive discussion, and only serve to hurt another person. You can disagree without personal attacks. It really does sound like trolling here; especially when she's seeking you out to personally attack in this way, just because she disagrees.

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'Obtain the virgin's consent before you marry her' - Prophet Mohammad (pbuh)

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Saffron Raymie
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Rape survivors often experience what has been termed 'Rape Trauma Syndrome'. During the Acute Phase a survivor may become 'Controlled'. This is when the survivor appears to be without emotion and acts as if “nothing happened” and “everything is fine.” This appearance of calm may be shock. While healing the survivor may then move into the Outward Adjustment Phase. A part of this can mean that 'Minimization' is a coping method they use. This is when the suvivor pretends that “everything is fine” or that “it could have been worse.” Using humour may be a part of either of these phases for any given survivor. There's more on this here: What's it Like to be Raped?

If you'd like a personal opinion from me, I'd say that it depends on the writer, and the way in which they write about a character healing from a rape, including the level of sensitivity and grace.

However, it's possible this person on the forum may be a survivor themselves, and may not understand that we are still saturated in a rape culture, and is lashing out. However, if they do it to a lot of opinions you post, I'd say troll. [Wink]

[ 11-24-2011, 05:17 PM: Message edited by: RaeRay2112 ]

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'Obtain the virgin's consent before you marry her' - Prophet Mohammad (pbuh)

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mizchastain
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She did say she was a survivor herself, but I had no idea she was until she said so, because, as I said, I didn't know who she was. I don't think I've ever seen a fictional treatment of a rape which was meant to be funny actually be funny, but I hesitate to use absolute statements about it not being possible to make it so because I haven't seen every single attempt that's ever been made.
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mizchastain
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One more thing that's bothering me. I don't usually direct abusive language at people at all, and I agree with the people on that site that you shouldn't. Their condescending or bullying tone and tendency to hound anyone who says anything that could even possibly be taken as mildly offensive is making me desperately want to start using the most offensive language I can think of. I like to think I'm mature enough not to do this, but not doing so is a bit of a strain.

I've also been angry for other reasons recently - namely my computer has kept breaking down and so I'm behind on some important work for uni. I'm just not having a good time.

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Stephanie_1
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Mizchastain: I know Heather has had this conversation with you, as have I. As a group, we have to have limits and boundaries as far as what we can and cannot deal with. We are our own site, and are not working in conjunction with the other sites. We have no control over their site or their policies. If they're not protecting their users from any kind of abuse, the best advice we can (and have more than once given) is to simply not use or go to the site.

That being said, I think it's important to look at our site and our site's policies. We have the right and really the need to set boundaries (just as we set limits with pregnancy risk questions for users that are given advice repeatedly and choose for themselves - as is their right - to not follow said advice). This is something that we have and are setting as a boundary - we've discussed this with you before, if you're choosing to continue going to the site(s) where abuse is occurring and admin is not helping that's your choice, but we cannot continue walking this same line with you. As said in our user agreement we reserve the right to set those boundaries and really can't continue discussing this with you.

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"Sometimes the majority only means that all the fools are on the same side" ~Anon

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mizchastain
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Okay, I promise I'll stop. It's just kind of hard, because it only got problematic very recently - I've been there for a while and it was fine, but recently it just got bad, and I felt like if I just waited it'd start being good again.
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