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> Open letter to Durova and anyone else it may concern, Dilution of the term "harassment" is offensive
Anna
post Mon 1st August 2011, 5:21pm
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Dear Durova and anyone else who thinks that the mere act of sending unwanted e-mails constitutes "harassment",

This is in reference to the information published here:
http://wikipediareview.com/index.php?showtopic=34354

If I understand correctly, you (that is to say, Durova and possibly others), believe that sending unwanted e-mails constitutes "harassment", even when those e-mails are on the topic of a public action you took, and contain nothing obscene, threatening, sexist, racist, classist, homophobic, ablist, etc.?

If that is the case, I am greatly offended, as a person who has known many who have experienced real harassment.

Harassment is when people threaten to kill, recklessly endanger, or do violence unto you, for any reason. Harassment is when the police threaten to take away a lady's wheelchair because she "refuses" to get on a sidewalk that lacks a wheelchair access point. Harassment is when a clerk calls a customer a terrorist because her breathing equipment obscures part of her face and refuses to provide customer service. Harassment is when a man throws a rock through the window of a woman who rejected him. (It is also vandalism.) Harassment is when a group of people call a black man the n-word repeatedly and throw things at him or kick him. (It is also assault and battery.) Harassment some druggie decides to attack someone for no reason that would make sense to a typical non-druggie. Harassment is when a man gropes at a woman he is not in a relationship with, especially if she has clearly indicated that this is unwelcome. Harassment is when someone keeps waking you up in the middle of the night, e.g. by banging on the door at 4AM in the morning, especially after being told that this is unwelcome. (It might also be trespassing.)

You, ladies and gentlemen, do not sound as though you have ever experienced anything vaguely resembling harassment, or you would not dilute the term so offensively. And if you have, well, you know what they say about crying wolf.

Emails of non-threatening, non-derogatory protest are not harassment. If it were, Change.org and other petition sites like it would be shut down. In fact, e-mails of non-threatening, non-derogatory protest are free speech. It could be classified as annoying, but being annoying isn't a crime.

There are, of course, simple ways to avoid reading e-mails which annoy you. You could, for example, use a filter. You could delete the annoying e-mails unopened. Many people keep separate e-mail accounts for friends and for public matters.

Yours truly,
Anna

P.S. To readers who are concerned about being falsely accused of harassment, racism, sexism, etc., on the basis of private e-mails, the best way to avoid it is to communicate publicly with people you don't know personally, especially on any remotely controversial topic. For example, you may observe that I am posting this letter publicly, for the world to see, rather than e-mailing it to anyone privately. This can help avoid he-said she-said arguments.
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melloden
post Tue 2nd August 2011, 4:08am
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QUOTE
I am greatly offended, as a person who has known many who have experienced real harassment.

As a person who has received unwanted emails about an action that I took, I am greatly offended!

Actually your statement sounds kinda weak. Couldn't you just say "as a person who has experienced real harassment" and be done with it? Even if it's not true, I don't expect Durova to care.
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Anna
post Tue 2nd August 2011, 9:00am
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I get unwanted e-mails too. I delete them. It isn't a big deal.

I don't really expect her to care, but the word is overused. If people are going to go around throwing the word "harassment" left and right to shut people up, they shouldn't be surprised at arousing the ire of the anti-censorship crowd. On the other hand, there is such a thing as actual harassment, and it dilutes the word to misuse it so.

If sending unwanted e-mails is "harassment", then signing petitions on websites like Change.org is presumably illegal.

I like signing petitions. I think it's activism, not harassment. I'm not clear on what the guy in question was protesting about, but as an activist, it behooves me to support free speech.
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lilburne
post Tue 2nd August 2011, 12:03pm
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QUOTE(Anna @ Tue 2nd August 2011, 10:00am) *

If sending unwanted e-mails is "harassment", then signing petitions on websites like Change.org is presumably illegal.

I like signing petitions. I think it's activism, not harassment. I'm not clear on what the guy in question was protesting about, but as an activist, it behooves me to support free speech.


Its not illegal because just like voting it doesn't fundamentally change anything.

Petitions and elections, they just give the impression of change. Millions signed petitions against the Iraq war did it stop it? Nope. Millions sign petitions in favour of nuclear disarmament are we disarmed? Nope. Millions vote for a Labour government do we get socialist policies? Nope.

Burnin 'n lootin that is the only language they understand.




This post has been edited by lilburne: Tue 2nd August 2011, 12:06pm
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Anna
post Tue 2nd August 2011, 12:30pm
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Well, those are big really big issues. You often have a better chance of winning the smaller battles.

Here's some of the victories people on Change.org helped to achieve:
http://www.change.org/victories

Look, I don't agree with every petition on Change.org. There's a lot that don't look terribly important to me and some I outright disagree with. But I still think people I disagree with have a right to express their viewpoints. Sure, there are exceptions, like if someone wanted to post a sexually obscene petition (which I've never seen happen, but for the sake of argument), but in general, I think that people's voices ought to count. They are people, after all.

Now, if the people receiving the petition e-mails want to ignore them, set up a filter to prevent them from showing up in their inboxes at all, or whatever, that's their right. Freedom of speech isn't the same as freedom to be listened to.

On the other hand, a lot of people do listen, like Congressmen and Congresswomen concerned about keeping their constituents happy. A number of the politicians I have e-mail through Change.org have put me on their e-mailing lists. A few have even sent me physical mail. On nice paper too, I might add. Corporate publicity officers also often care what customers and potential customers think about their company. Public opinion is business.

I don't want some censorship extremists who think that all unwanted e-mail is "harassment" to have a chilling effect that might prevent people from expressing their political and philosophical views to people who might actually care, or at least be tolerant enough to set up an e-mail filter rather than crying "harassment".

Arguably, falsely accusing people of stuff and advocating censorship is free speech too. But the counterpoint of free speech is that my free speech gives me the right to publish an opposing opinion, as I have done.

And no, I'm not a free speech extremist. I do think there ought to be limits, as a matter of courtesy at least, although I'm still on the fence about how far the government ought to go.
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LessHorrid vanU
post Tue 2nd August 2011, 9:23pm
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I think the point that Anna is making, in simple terms, that being written to and being told that you are wrong (or the writer thinks you are wrong - same thing to some recipients), even repeatedly and after requests to stop, does not constitute harassment; and to then portray yourself as a victim because your views are being rebutted is inappropriate.

If that is indeed the point, I agree. If you don't want the point debated, shut the fuck up.
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Anna
post Tue 2nd August 2011, 9:52pm
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LessHorrid --

Precisely!

If you're going to dish it out, you ought to be willing to take it.

Cheers! :-)
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radek
post Tue 2nd August 2011, 9:58pm
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QUOTE(LessHorrid vanU @ Tue 2nd August 2011, 4:23pm) *

I think the point that Anna is making, in simple terms, that being written to and being told that you are wrong (or the writer thinks you are wrong - same thing to some recipients), even repeatedly and after requests to stop, does not constitute harassment; and to then portray yourself as a victim because your views are being rebutted is inappropriate.

If that is indeed the point, I agree. If you don't want the point debated, shut the fuck up.


My favorite is the "I wuz reverted therefore I iz being attacked!". 90% of the time your ass SHOULD HAVE been reverted. At least when I'm the one doing the reverting.

It's up there with the "they iz disruptive cuz they wont let me push my POV!" (this is an almost verbatim quote of what somebody actually said in the EEML case!) though doesn't quite rise to the level of "the encyclopedia that anyone can edit meanz I can write whatever junk I wants"
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Anna
post Tue 2nd August 2011, 11:16pm
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And in another posting from Malice, things did not go so well for Durova when she attempted the to force an Arbitrary to stop rebutting her. Firstly, it's harder to do something like that to someone with more, rather than less, power than you have. Secondly, the Arbitrary was sensible enough to put some of the communication out in the open, for the world to see.
http://wikipediareview.com/index.php?showtopic=34354

Which lead to this totally spot-on comment from one Lara Taylor, brought to us courtesy of Malice:
"Furthermore, this "no means no" thing she's doing now over Risker's edits to
her talk page is utterly ridiculous.[1][2] Disgusting, really.
Particularly when you consider it is coming from a woman who is
ultra-sensitive to sexual references (such as the thong issue and her
reaction to a Kegel exercise joke on BN, for example). Using an anti-rape
slogan out of its standard context... it's just grossly offensive.

[1]
http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=...oldid=340394259
[2]
http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=...oldid=340281628 "
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SB_Johnny
post Wed 3rd August 2011, 12:30am
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Not that Durova deserves much in the way of slack, but didn't she pretty much retire quite some while ago?
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Anna
post Wed 3rd August 2011, 12:33am
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I don't know, did she?

If so, then nevermind.
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Anna
post Wed 3rd August 2011, 11:36am
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If Durova left, then any of the persons responsible for the false accusations of harassment listed by Dan Tobias could be substituted, more or less.
http://dan.tobias.name/controversies/cyber/wiki2.html

Are MONGO, Crockspot et. al., Guy et. al., or WJBscribe still active?

Dan Tobias sounds like a reasonable man.

Still, it's rare to get evidence that someone falsely represented a private conversation.
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Ottava
post Wed 3rd August 2011, 2:52pm
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Unwanted emails sent over and over are harassment. The same with phone calls and any contact. You do know that if it gets to a great extent people can file restraining orders, right? I find your attempt to justify such behavior as really suspicious.
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Anna
post Wed 3rd August 2011, 3:58pm
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Phone calls are different because they ring loudly, thus allowing them to do things like wake you up in the middle of the night, and it's harder to screen out unwanted callers. A few advanced phone systems now have the ability to block certain callers, but a lot of phones still don't, and even the ones that do often require the telephone user to go online. In fact, a lot of people still don't have Caller ID. Also, exes are different that people who disagree with you about some action you took publicly.

Ottava, suppose, hypothetically speaking of course, that I were to tell you that I wanted no further contact with you. Suppose I were to tell you that I wanted you to avoid responding to me in any thread which I started, or, for that matter, any thread I chose to comment on. Suppose that even though I said this, I continued to say things like "Ottava is excessively paranoid and thinks I'm some sort of identity stealer called Poetlister even though I've confirmed by phone that I have a woman's voice", but that if you responded to the accusation that you are paranoid, I said things like "No means no. Please stop reminding me of your existence."

Hypothetically speaking of course, how would you respond?
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Vigilant
post Wed 3rd August 2011, 4:12pm
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QUOTE(Ottava @ Wed 3rd August 2011, 2:52pm) *

Unwanted emails sent over and over are harassment.

Bullshit. They are a single entry in your killfile/spam filter.


QUOTE(Ottava @ Wed 3rd August 2011, 2:52pm) *

The same with phone calls and any contact.

I'm sure you are as good a lawyer as you are an astronaut.

QUOTE(Ottava @ Wed 3rd August 2011, 2:52pm) *

You do know that if it gets to a great extent people can file restraining orders, right? I find your attempt to justify such behavior as really suspicious.

Internet tough guy going for the lawyer.

Hey Jeffrey,
Should I send you 10000 emails?
Would you have the technical knowhow to do more than bellyache on this site?
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Hipocrite
post Wed 3rd August 2011, 7:38pm
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QUOTE(Anna @ Wed 3rd August 2011, 3:58pm) *

Suppose I were to tell you that I wanted you to avoid responding to me in any thread which I started


Without discussing the underlying Ottavissue, it should be noted that the majority of cyberstalking statutes involve one-on-one communications - see, for instance, 47 U.S.C. 223, NY 240.30.
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Anna
post Wed 3rd August 2011, 8:47pm
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Hipocrite --

It was a hypothetical based on the Durova/Risker thing. I'm not actually going to tell Ottava that. I'm just curious how Ottava would respond if I did.

Interesting law, probably unconstitutional:
http://news.cnet.com/2100-1028-6025396.html
http://news.cnet.com/2010-1028-6022491.html
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melloden
post Thu 4th August 2011, 5:01pm
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QUOTE(Anna @ Tue 2nd August 2011, 12:30pm) *

Well, those are big really big issues. You often have a better chance of winning the smaller battles.

Here's some of the victories people on Change.org helped to achieve:
http://www.change.org/victories

Look, I don't agree with every petition on Change.org. There's a lot that don't look terribly important to me and some I outright disagree with. But I still think people I disagree with have a right to express their viewpoints. Sure, there are exceptions, like if someone wanted to post a sexually obscene petition (which I've never seen happen, but for the sake of argument), but in general, I think that people's voices ought to count. They are people, after all.

Now, if the people receiving the petition e-mails want to ignore them, set up a filter to prevent them from showing up in their inboxes at all, or whatever, that's their right. Freedom of speech isn't the same as freedom to be listened to.

On the other hand, a lot of people do listen, like Congressmen and Congresswomen concerned about keeping their constituents happy. A number of the politicians I have e-mail through Change.org have put me on their e-mailing lists. A few have even sent me physical mail. On nice paper too, I might add. Corporate publicity officers also often care what customers and potential customers think about their company. Public opinion is business.

I don't want some censorship extremists who think that all unwanted e-mail is "harassment" to have a chilling effect that might prevent people from expressing their political and philosophical views to people who might actually care, or at least be tolerant enough to set up an e-mail filter rather than crying "harassment".

Arguably, falsely accusing people of stuff and advocating censorship is free speech too. But the counterpoint of free speech is that my free speech gives me the right to publish an opposing opinion, as I have done.

And no, I'm not a free speech extremist. I do think there ought to be limits, as a matter of courtesy at least, although I'm still on the fence about how far the government ought to go.

One of those "victories" in your link is titled, "IKEA Workers Win Union Representation in Virginia". I would hardly call that a smaller battle--we all need designer Swedish furniture at exorbitant prices.

QUOTE
Not that Durova deserves much in the way of slack, but didn't she pretty much retire quite some while ago?

From what I can tell, she basically gave in to the fact that Wikipedia is a waste of time and decided to forget about it.
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Milton Roe
post Thu 4th August 2011, 5:37pm
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QUOTE(melloden @ Thu 4th August 2011, 10:01am) *

One of those "victories" in your link is titled, "IKEA Workers Win Union Representation in Virginia". I would hardly call that a smaller battle--we all need designer Swedish furniture at exorbitant prices.

So.... you're of the opinion that things like self-assemble flat-pack particle-board bookshelves qualify as "designer Swedish furniture"? What sort of thing is it that you think IKEA sells most of?

Where did you find the "exorbitant prices"? Did you perhaps compare lingonberry jam to whatever jam is cheapest today at Food-4-Less?

I thought maybe you'd confused IKEA with Nordstom, except that mentioned furniture. Perhaps you live in an alternate universe where the names are switched.
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thekohser
post Thu 4th August 2011, 5:41pm
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QUOTE(Anna @ Wed 3rd August 2011, 4:47pm) *


That law was clarified as the result of a lawsuit filed very soon after it was enacted.

The court ruled that the proper interpretation of "annoy" in this respect is to "intend to instill fear in the victim".

Fortunately, my campaigns against the Wikimedia Foundation wouldn't fall under this law anyway, being that I don't speak anonymously, and instilling fear has never been my intent. Instilling shame? That's a different story.

QUOTE(Milton Roe @ Thu 4th August 2011, 1:37pm) *

QUOTE(melloden @ Thu 4th August 2011, 10:01am) *

One of those "victories" in your link is titled, "IKEA Workers Win Union Representation in Virginia". I would hardly call that a smaller battle--we all need designer Swedish furniture at exorbitant prices.

So.... you're of the opinion that things like self-assemble flat-pack particle-board bookshelves qualify as "designer Swedish furniture"? What sort of thing is it that you think IKEA sells most of?


Did somebody mention IKEA?
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