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comment by InfernalFangirl
InfernalFangirl  ·  2177 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: What do you think is the closest thing to a modern-day witch hunt?

The thing that immediately springs to my mind is making someone who has committed a perceived offense "go viral." I've seen lots of Facebook posts and Tumblr posts saying "this person did something to me that was wrong, share it and make them famous" (aka it's time for death threats and to call their employers and suggest that unsavory things happen to their mothers and children because there's no such thing as polite internet outrage.) Bonus points if you include loaded buzzwords that may or may not apply to the situation at all but will evoke strong emotions: racism, misogyny, pedophile, etc. There's lots of problems with this obviously: people act on one person's account of the story and often don't ask for the other person's - they just jump on the righteous crusade bandwagon with their pitchforks and torches. Also sometimes the person on the receiving end of the witch hunt didn't do or say anything of the sort and it's an unfortunate case of mistaken identity, revenge, or a straight up urban legend. And then there's the larger problem of mob justice. There's few to no occasions in history when a mob of angry people being judge, jury and executioner has positive outcomes.

tacocat  ·  2177 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I read this on Hubski but I can't be arsed to find it here so it looks pretty


InfernalFangirl  ·  2177 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I read that awhile ago. Sacco is definitely one of the cases I think about in this context. (I hadn't noticed before that Sam Biddle was one of the people that pushed her into the limelight. With that in mind I will admit that I indulged in a bit of schadenfreude thinking of him dealing with the blowback of his "bring back bullying" tweet.)

It seems like it's so frequently a stupid joke among friends, but people don't realize that it just takes one person to take it beyond that list of friends to the shark tank.

MrObvious  ·  2176 days ago  ·  link  ·  

My first comment on Hubski, and it's to link to something you've probably heard of already: Jon Ronson's book "So You've Been Publicly Shamed".


The guy meets and speaks with Justine Sacco, as well as the people involved in Donglegate a few years ago, among others. Some really interesting stuff in there.

InfernalFangirl  ·  2176 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I hadn't seen that but it was an interesting read. Thanks for sharing!

besthubris  ·  2177 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I hadn't even considered internet trolling as an option. That's totally true. I've seen it happen as well where a certain person, politicians and celebrities included, will become targeted. On websites where people can be largely anonymous, death threats and calls for violence can be quick to surface, and bandwagoning is common. Online spamming is definitely equivalent to a mob mentality. I hadn't considered that before. With modern resources, it takes about 3 clicks for you to ruin someone's life, and I think a lot of people forget that the internet is still very much real life.

kgb_operative  ·  2177 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Tying into this, I think that basically all of gamergate is a witch hunt to some degree, going all the way back to when it started out as the 'quinspiracy'.

InfernalFangirl  ·  2177 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Fair enough but it's probably a topic we'll have to agree to disagree on. There's been a reasonable sized avalanche of bad behavior on both sides.

kgb_operative  ·  2177 days ago  ·  link  ·  

From both sides it hasn't exactly been polite, and the reasonable people noped out almost immediately.