What Do You Do When Bloggers Are Harassed?

In the light of events post-Kathy Sierra, harassment towards bloggers seems to take back seat because people tend to forget what doesn’t concern them. Worse yet are the smaller bloggers that have yet to make any name in the public. The best they can do is try and ignore it and hope that it goes away, but for what the net is worth, some things can be downright scary for them.

A friend of mine, Sharina has that problem right about now. For the past month, her search results pointing to her blog has been inundated with lewd references to her. It wouldn’t be so bad if it was a one off thing or that it’s just some random words strung together. However, what does scare her is the fact that the searches have been very specific, targeting her name, what she does and till recently, her sibling’s name as well.

To date, she has removed all instances of her picture on her blog as well as links to close personal friends and family. Which is the best that she can do for now considering she is still willing to go on unfazed by this incident.

The thing is that things like this aren’t just isolated events. There are more people out there that experience the same thing, almost always women who blog. The anonymity of the net makes it hard to trace the perpetrators, what’s worse are the people who hide behind the mask of free speech making these derogatory and lewd remarks. There is wide gaping chasm between responsible free speech and twisted stupidity and you don’t have to pass your ACCA examination to see which side things like this are on.

So what can you do when bloggers like this feel harassed by people on the net? I don’t know. Legally and technologically, it’s a pretty big thing to go about searching for the identity of the people who commit such perversions. The Kathy Sierra case was big enough because she was the target of a death threat as well and being a big name in the technological world, people would definitely take notice. So what off the smaller folks of the blogosphere? Is there anything that can be done for them?

Events like what Sharina goes through while small has the capability to escalate into something bigger and more sinister. Are we willing to turn a blind eye towards things like that until after something goes horribly wrong? What do you do? How do you protect people this way?

I leave your thoughts in my comments.

9 thoughts on “What Do You Do When Bloggers Are Harassed?

  1. My blog came up in a search once for “Xiaxue masturbate” which pretty much confounded me why people are looking for that!

    She’s an outspoken Muslim chick and there’s probably many who wants to put her in her place. Apparently, this time it’s the coward’s way to go about it.

  2. I’ve had such rubbish on my blog too, by idiotic trolls who lurk the Internet. As annoying as they can be, I have to admit that it’s quite frightening when you read threats and curses on you, by people whom you don’t even know.

    It’s so sad when outspoken Muslim folks get slammed, threatened, etc for speaking their mind by the very bigots who should be slammed.

    Honestly, I have no idea how to protect oneself on the Internet. I still maintain that there’s no such thing as anonymity on the Internet. Be very careful, I guess.

  3. Unfortunately that’s just the nature of the Internet. No matter where – there is surely some weird psycho with half a brain that is only interested in disturbing or annoying other decent people.

    That’s why we can never be too careful!

  4. Hmm… nastiness spreads to the blogosphere, after all it is an extension of the real world. I had a blog stalker once, not in the nice sense of reading all my archives, but one with a mission who planned their steps over a few months. It was scary, just like the real thing.

  5. Wahlau: That’s as close as it can be.

    Nyx: At least that wasn’t directed towards you. “Make You Penis Bigger” is my number one incoming search in this blog. It’s sad to see such perversions come out this way because people stand above the rest.

    Tine: There is no true anonymity unless you start off anonymous to begin with. Few of us practice that, like ChickyBabe here. 🙂

    HabrX: Some things aren’t random and this certainly isn’t one of them. This one is quite directed against her. But it’s true, we can never be too careful.

    ChickyBabe: You didn’t tell us! Or at least I didn’t know about it. We could have at least done something to help or at least tried to. At least you have true anonymity beside you. None of us really know who you are at all.

  6. You may have… I don’t give such things the ‘publicity’ they feed on. But thank you Kami, it’s nice to have that support if I need it again. 🙂

  7. i think that’s the risk we bloggers face nowadays. we cant runaway from attention, particular when the things begin to make sense… very good sense. that’s how it is… here at least.

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