internet bully culture

Delaware Passes Gay Marriage; Anne R. Allen on Internet Gang Culture

Now that Delaware has passed a same sex marriage bill it will become the 11th state in the US to legalize same sex marriage, and gay couples in Delaware can start getting married July 1 as soon as the law takes effect. The interesting thing about this is that Delaware already had legal civil unions.

Delaware’s same-sex marriage bill was introduced in the Democratic-controlled legislature barely a year after the state began recognizing same-sex civil unions. The bill won passage two weeks ago in the state House on a 23-18 vote.

While it doesn’t give same-sex couples any more rights or benefits under Delaware law than they have in civil unions, supporters argued that same-sex couples deserve the dignity and respect of married couples. They also noted that if the U.S. Supreme Court strikes down the Defense of Marriage Act, which bars married gay couples from receiving federal benefits, civil unions would not provide protections or tax benefits under federal law to same-sex couples in Delaware.

Read more: http://swampland.time.com/2013/05/07/delaware-to-become-11th-state-with-gay-marriage/#ixzz2SiGlKDtx

The opposition in Delaware said this:

“We’re about to change the entire definition of marriage in order to make people feel good about themselves,” said the Rev. Chuck Betters, pastor of Glasgow Reformed Presbyterian Church in Bear. Betters recounted how he became the subject of scathing attacks in social media recently after posting a sign outside his church suggesting that Christianity was more powerful than the movement for gay marriage.

Just for the good Rev’s information: you are not about the change anything to make me feel good. I already feel good, thank you. You are about the change the definition of marriage in order to give everyone the equal rights they deserve. And you won’t even notice the change because we’ve been around forever and we’ve been in long term relationships forever. So calm yourself. In fact, you should be more worried about straight people in their twenties and thirties who aren’t getting married these days. I have a few close to me and I’m always worried about them. In other words, there’s a serious disconnect somewhere within the straight community, Rev., and you’re not going to fix it by bashing gay people who are looking for nothing more than equal rights.

In any event, Wilmington, DE, is only an hour away from here, and Tony and I go there often to see friends, to spend time in Rehoboth Beach, and even to check in on people in hospitals. They have some of the best hospitals in the country. And if you’re ever traveling the 95 corridor and you pass through Delaware, check out the little old town of Old New Castle. It’s only a few miles off track from I95 near the Delaware Memorial Twin Bridges, it sits on the banks of the Delaware River where the river opens up to the bay, and you’ll think you stepped back into the 18th century. I’ve done done some very serious antique shopping there, too. It’s very gay friendly. And in the l990’s I actually won a “Best Buns” contest at a nightclub in Wilmington…but I digress.

Photo of Delaware Memorial Twin Bridges attribution.

Anne R. Allen on Internet Gang Culture

In this brave and eloquent blog post, author Anne R. Allen talks about “Gangs of the New Media” and something we’ve all either had to deal with, or will have to deal with, which is basically bully/gang culture. No one is exempt. It can happen to authors, readers, consumers, reviewers…or anyone involved in any Internet activity. I’ve heard about it happening in online poker forums, and I’ve heard about it happening in book forums. I’ve seen it on Yelp, and I don’t even go near Huff Po comments anymore. I’ve posted before that I had to enforce comment moderation here on this blog for reasons that included a death threat. And I’m not the only one who has experienced this, as you can see below from Allen’s post:

 I’ve seen dozens of good people attacked by gangs on social media in the past year or so. Usually for unverified infractions of murky rules. I’m not sure the people who sent me death threats even knew what I was supposed to have done. (I’m still not clear on that myself.) They only knew somebody told them the hive was under attack, and I was the designated villain.

Plus they were getting a rush from their own smug, self-righteous rage.

I also like the fact that Allen mentions the cyber attacks on Barry Eisler that were recently mentioned on Joe Konrath’s blog. These attacks didn’t come from the usual sources. This quote below is from Konrath’s blog where Barry Eisler wrote a guest post about what happened on Twitter when he began a speech at a recent publishing event:

Agent Janet Reid of Janet Reid Literary advised that it’s a mistake to even attend a conference where I’m speaking (apparently it’s not sufficiently protective to boycott just me; you have to boycott the entire conference). Agent Pam van Hylckama Vlieg of Larson Pomada tweeted that she wanted to walk out, though she didn’t. Agent Barry Goldblatt of Barry Goldblatt Literary tweeted, “I had to be restrained in my seat. What a douche!” (Goldblatt subsequently retracted the name-calling aspect).

This is nothing new to me. I wish I could say I’m shocked, but I’m not. What I find highly amusing is that one person mentioned in the above paragraph was allegedly involved in a shitstorm of their own not longer than six years ago. It involved online bully/gang tactics, a lawsuit that’s been one of the most toned down events in the blogsphere, a rather high profile online fake identity and blog, and the quick disappearance of one high profile publishing blog. Oh, that was entertaining. One day here, gone the next, and no one really ever knew what happened.  

And what a shame to see a group of literary agents, publishing professionals who’ve been preaching about being professional for years, behave this way on social media like Twitter where everything is exposed. It bothers me to see professionals act this way, and also validates a lot of the things I’ve suspected for a long time.

In any event, Allen offers a list of solutions for anyone who is engaged in an online gang attack that covers a good deal of territory. I’ve reached the point where I wouldn’t hesitate to contact the authorities and my attorney. I used to think it wasn’t all that important and shrug it off as the Internet. My skin is thick in that sense, and I honestly don’t give a damn most of the time. But I’ve been looking at things differently lately for reasons that include all of the above and more. I’ve said this before: I have a feeling this old wild west attitude on the Internet isn’t going to last much longer. And people are going to have to pay prices for their actions on the Internet. I know two people in law school right now who are planning to specialize in Internet law, which would cover things like bully/gang attacks, defamation, and harmful threats.