online bullying

Nathan Bransford Post About Bullies and Goodreads

Nathan Bransford Post About Bullies and Goodreads

I wasn’t planning another post today, however, I ran across a recent blog post by author Nathan Bransford about alleged Goodreads bullies and I wanted to link to it for various reasons. One of which is to be able to go back and revisit the topic in the future. I really do think of my blog as a journal and I like having references. Another reason is that I think it’s one of the most neutral and intelligent posts I’ve read on the topic of online bullying in a long time.

I have always remained objective on this particular topic, and I will continue to do so. When I posted about a web site called Stop the Goodreads Bullies over a year ago here on this blog, I offered no opinions whatsoever, and I’m not doing it now. But I think this is an issue that deserves to be mentioned, I think it’s newsworthy to anyone invested in books and publishing (including readers), and I think it’s going to continue to be newsworthy because so many feel so passionate about it.

From Bransford’s post:

Everyone knows that it takes a thick skin to be an author. But no one who writes a book deserves to be subjected to online abuse. It’s one of the strange aspects of online life that it feels like nothing to attack someone through a computer screen, but the recipient of that attack feels as acutely as if it happened in “real” life. Make no mistake: These aren’t reviews, they’re personal attacks.

Bransford goes on to comment about bullying, and he even mentions the web site Stop the Goodreads Bullies. I highly recommend checking this post out. There are over 250 comments that will take a while to read, but it’s well worth your time to see how heated this discussion can get.

What I also find even more interesting is that Bransford is also a consummate, talented blogger as well as an author. He can go to great lengths of writing blog posts with links to publishing related articles on other web sites that are interesting and informative and can enrich our lives, and he only gets a handful of comments. But he posts about goodreads and bullying and the comment thread ignites, which is why I think this debate is only going to become more intense with time.

More on Fake Internet IDs, Smear Campaigns, and Bullying…

When I read this article in the Philadelphia Inquirer I knew I had to post something about it because it’s a good example of what so many are dealing with these days. In short, it’s about a disgruntled man who allegedly stalked and bullied people online with anonymous e-mails and fake accounts.

Udinski sent anonymous emails to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, first claiming Algeo sexually solicited a player, and then accusing the new lacrosse coach, Nick Pison, of sexually assaulting students, officials said.

What happened in this case supports my point about the Internet being a breeding ground for stalkers and bullies who like to hide behind fake accounts and identities. But it’s not going to continue. I predict we’ll be seeing more of this:

Tim Udinski was arrested on stalking and harassment charges, stemming from what prosecutors say were false accusations he made against against officials associated with Lansdale Catholic High School. Between October 19, 2011 and May 31, 2012.

This is important, too.

“The current publicity, it raises awareness and that is a wonderful thing,” said Ferman. “But the downside is that when accusations like this are made, they do so much damage. How do you undo that? How do you unring that bell?”

It is a wonderful thing to raise awareness that there are, indeed, online stalkers and bullies who are only out to ruin the reputations of others. In fact, I plan to help raise this awareness as much as possible in the future. It’s also very sad that reputations are ruined as a result.

But what a lot of these online stalkers and bullies don’t realize is that there are legal ways to find out who they are and where they come from. You can’t hide behind that library computer anymore.

No identity is completely anonymous on the Internet these days. It would be foolish to think otherwise. And I’m hearing a lot more people talk about taking action against them. I also believe this sort of legal action is going to increase in time as more and more people start to use the Internet.

So those doing the online stalking and bullying right now should take heed to what happened to the man in the article to which I just linked. You might be taking a chance and getting results you didn’t expect.