I must have missed this announcement. No doubt in the world that blog posts, comments, and message board posts have the potential to cause harm to others. I worry that just annoying someone has become illegal. If that sort of thing transferred into everyday life, most of us could think of at least one person a day who should be headed for jail. Co-workers who gives us rides to work, but then forget us and leave us stranded there. The guy who cuts us off on the Interstate. The guy with his blinker on for five miles. The loud kids at the restaurant. Etc.
In the case of this law, I suppose the implication is that it’s legal to annoy someone if you use your real name. My experience has been that almost no one who doesn’t like something I’ve have written and wants to leave a negative comment uses his/her real name. I had a few comments about posts I wrote about Marilou Braswell that were all anonymous and signed off with a dismissive, “God Bless!” (Being such an ass as to criticize Coach Braswell meant I must need God’s blessing, I suppose.) I deleted them because I don’t see a reason to give someone who isn’t brave enough to stand behind his/her words with a real name air time on my blog.
Then, too, there are instances when someone makes it a hobby to set up a blog and criticize someone. There are probably a few of these, but I’m most familiar with the one set up in mockery of my husband’s blog. I scratch my head over that, because I don’t understand what the point is. Why does this anonymous person care so much? It’s confusing to me, but then I suppose some people have copious amounts of time to waste on such fruitless endeavors. I think when these sorts of sites are not open to feedback or comments, then it is because the writers realize what a waste of time it is and are scared of being harassed in the manner in which he/she harasses others through this kind of activity. I should be less circumspect and link the blog, but 1) I don’t feel it needs even the paltry traffic I would deliver to justify its existence, and 2) I have no desire to be a target of his/her strangely obsessive and certainly venomous nastiness. As far as I’m concerned, if you have a beef with what my husband writes about, keep it between the two of you and leave me out.
I don’t know. I just think it’s weird to hide behind anonymity and expect to be taken seriously. It also makes it impossible to engage in dialogue because the footing is not equal. It’s kind of like the difference between a debate between two individuals in which each participant knows or knows of the other and some heckler in an audience who keeps screaming out, “You suck!” As much as I don’t get heckler comments, I really don’t get heckler blogs.
One thought on “Waste of Time?”
One of the reasons I've never started a blog/online diary is because of the annoyance factor. They're going to have to do something with "annoy" as it's a very weak word in regards to implicating you've done something "illegal." I wonder how they will prove this? IP addresses? Are those always 100% a good source to who the person behind anonymous posts is? I personally don't see this as a very necessary law. Most online blogs, diaries, and forums have ways to block certain IP addresses, which helps you weed out those people who may be "annoying" you. This seems to be the only effective way of solving this, as it seems likely to become a real mess – legally – if you're able to report everyone who you think is annoying. As if we don't have better, more important issues to concentrate our time and money on. And, unless you're dealing with out and out harrassment or being threatened, then I really think you put yourself out there to deal with the sort of comments that may come – just as you would if you were having a group discussion or talking to someone in real life.
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