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Cowards at the Keyboard

John Hargreaves 28 November 2014 22

bully

Before the anonymity of the internet, if a person had a view and wanted it expressed, they had to write to a newspaper, call into a radio station or stand on a soap box. But these were limited options because of the need for space or time. Only a few got through to express their views.

Opinions were shared with friends and debated with those of opposing views.

In politics football and religion, tempers flared, insults flew and issues debated. Rarely, though were people irreparably injured.

Enter the internet and the landscape changed.

Now, of course, all of the above applies. But there is an insidious side to the net. Views are expressed with a violence and malevolence unheard of in the face to face interactions of the past.

People were much more mindful of the hurt imparted by a defaming comment, a vicious insult.

Now, though, through the artificial prism of the internet, people feel free, even empowered by their anonymity, to rip into others, to hurl insults and viciousness at people they have never met, and who they probably won’t ever meet.

These same people become judge, jury and executioner over the opinions of others, often belittling a view because it does not accord with theirs, because the view is not substantiated by recognised facts and “the literature”.

People judge others more unkindly because of their political preference, religious preference, and sexual preference. We have laws governing behaviour in these spheres but they don’t stop some from going to the line. They don’t stop people from being inherently nasty and bigoted.

One should be able to put a view without having to be aggressive, without having to be defensive, without fear of being belittled or defamed.

My recent experiences in the game of opinion trading, is that there are some very considered writers out there who engage with courtesy. And there are some whose access to this medium ought to be suspended.

Before entering politics I was as sensitive to criticism as the next person. Whilst there I learnt how to deal within myself with those intellectually deprived character assassins and now that I am out, I still apply those same lessons. The shame is that I have to.

I feel for those who disengage because of the louts who aggressively bully others for some sort of gratification, only they know about. Perhaps it is relevance deprivation.

In any case, I don’t care if people feel they need to belt me, because whilst they are doing it to me perhaps they are leaving others alone.

So I say to the bullies, come on! give it your best shot! If this article doesn’t apply to you, great. If it does, shame!


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Cowards at the Keyboard
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Grrrr 8:30 pm 02 Dec 14

Just because someone uses a screen name other than their given name doesn’t mean they’re a coward. And it doesn’t automatically make them wrong, either. (Though there are certainly a few riotACT posters – known for their repugnant opinions – whose factual statements manage to be incorrect almost all the time.)

Sorry to hear you don’t like people being aggressive or defensive in online fora. It appears to contradict your assertions as to your “thick skin” and your acceptance that “In politics football and religion, tempers flared.”

Welcome to the Internet!

VYBerlinaV8_is_back 4:36 pm 02 Dec 14

Mysteryman said :

John Hargreaves said :

In response to those who wanted examples of how I have been bullied, let me firstly say that I have received many posts which contain vicious and often (bordering on) defamatory comments. I have has slurs on my integrity and much more over the time I have engaged.

So you’re allowed to make defamatory statements, and slurs on the integrity of the Liberal party and the current government, but it’s a problem when someone does that to you?

John, the issue here is not cyber bullying. The issue is that you can’t post anything on here without taking swipes at the Liberal party, and then getting defensive when people draw attention to it. It’s tiresome.

http://the-riotact.com/reith-still-raging/137729

Kalliste 9:35 am 02 Dec 14

miz said :

John, you say “The excuse that public servants would get into trouble by posting their names is rubbish.”
Au contraire, you could lose your job and livelihood for saying what you think, see for example

http://www.canberratimes.com.au/national/public-service/no-stay-of-termination-for-rogue-public-servant-tweeter-20130923-2u9yy.html

Hence anonymity.

I was going to say the same thing. If you identify yourself as an APS employee and then rant on facebook/twitter etc. they can fire you for it.

miz 6:58 am 02 Dec 14

John, you say “The excuse that public servants would get into trouble by posting their names is rubbish.”
Au contraire, you could lose your job and livelihood for saying what you think, see for example

http://www.canberratimes.com.au/national/public-service/no-stay-of-termination-for-rogue-public-servant-tweeter-20130923-2u9yy.html

Hence anonymity.

Masquara 6:03 pm 01 Dec 14

John Hargreaves said :

However, I am not precious and have a very thick hide. I got this way from being the subject of this sort of stuff over many years.

No you don’t. Cut the revisionism, John. You took umbrage and got upset when I referred to you by your surname! Something lots of people do in the normal course of interaction. You are in fact hypersensitive and touchy (when it comes to yourself).

Mysteryman 11:54 am 01 Dec 14

John Hargreaves said :

In response to those who wanted examples of how I have been bullied, let me firstly say that I have received many posts which contain vicious and often (bordering on) defamatory comments. I have has slurs on my integrity and much more over the time I have engaged.

So you’re allowed to make defamatory statements, and slurs on the integrity of the Liberal party and the current government, but it’s a problem when someone does that to you?

John, the issue here is not cyber bullying. The issue is that you can’t post anything on here without taking swipes at the Liberal party, and then getting defensive when people draw attention to it. It’s tiresome.

John Hargreaves 11:39 am 01 Dec 14

In response to those who wanted examples of how I have been bullied, let me firstly say that I have received many posts which contain vicious and often (bordering on) defamatory comments. I have has slurs on my integrity and much more over the time I have engaged.

However, I am not precious and have a very thick hide. I got this way from being the subject of this sort of stuff over many years. A troll (deliberate use of the word) of the posts when I was a minister will reveal the depth of hatred to which I have been subjected to.

BUT… folks, I don’t really care if those posts continue to attempt to denigrate or belittle me or my opinions.

The aim of the article was not to draw attention to me, cos I just don’t give a bugger, but to draw attention to those cowards who hide behind pseudonyms and write stuff they would not be game to say to a person’s face.

Those same writers who adopt the holier than thou attitude, tolerate no one else’s opinion and take to insult and innuendo to come out on top. They are the cowards.

To Justin Heywood, I say that sometimes you write garbage (as do I sometimes I guess) but at least you sign a name. The term coward does not apply to you. Also, the excuse that public servants would get into trouble by posting their names is rubbish.

But also, and finally, people who hide behind ridiculous and sometimes offensive pseudonyms add a degree of colour and provide a target for the sensible writer so long as those contributors are not intimidated by them.

justin heywood 10:23 am 01 Dec 14

Antagonist said :

justin heywood said :

The OP makes some strong yet vague allegations. I’ve had a bit of a look at John’s previous posts – I can’t see any bullying going on at all, but perhaps his definition of bullying different to mine.

Perhaps he can give us some specific examples of where he considers he has been bullied?

Then we can compare it with some of the things he has said.

I have seen the picture that accompanies this used on RiotACT before. I would suggest it is a stock photo – not one supplied by Mr Hargreaves.

Perhaps you can show us where Mr Hargreaves has used the word bully? Otherwise your post is entirely redundant, and serves only to (rather eloquently) make his point.

Thanks for your interest as always and I’d love to spend my day discussing your point.

However my post was directed to the organ grinder.

Antagonist 9:18 am 01 Dec 14

I feel for those who disengage because of the louts who aggressively bully others for some sort of gratification, only they know about.

Found it … 🙂

Antagonist 8:54 am 01 Dec 14

justin heywood said :

The OP makes some strong yet vague allegations. I’ve had a bit of a look at John’s previous posts – I can’t see any bullying going on at all, but perhaps his definition of bullying different to mine.

Perhaps he can give us some specific examples of where he considers he has been bullied?

Then we can compare it with some of the things he has said.

I have seen the picture that accompanies this used on RiotACT before. I would suggest it is a stock photo – not one supplied by Mr Hargreaves.

Perhaps you can show us where Mr Hargreaves has used the word bully? Otherwise your post is entirely redundant, and serves only to (rather eloquently) make his point.

dungfungus 7:37 am 01 Dec 14

Who is that guy on TV who says “you need help”?

justin heywood 4:41 pm 30 Nov 14

The OP makes some strong yet vague allegations. I’ve had a bit of a look at John’s previous posts – I can’t see any bullying going on at all, but perhaps his definition of bullying different to mine.

Perhaps he can give us some specific examples of where he considers he has been bullied?

Then we can compare it with some of the things he has said.

Ben_Dover 11:09 am 30 Nov 14

Postalgeek said :

I think its safe to assume ‘Ben Dover’ is a pseudonym.

It’s not!!

It’s an instruction…

Postalgeek 10:27 am 30 Nov 14

Leon said :

Interestingly the seven people who have commented so far have all (with the possible exception of Mr. Dover) used pseudonyms, even though I for one would not have been ashamed to put my name to such considered and polite comments.

I think its safe to assume ‘Ben Dover’ is a pseudonym.

Leon 9:54 am 30 Nov 14

Interestingly the seven people who have commented so far have all (with the possible exception of Mr. Dover) used pseudonyms, even though I for one would not have been ashamed to put my name to such considered and polite comments.

rosscoact 8:59 am 30 Nov 14

All good points. I’m pretty tolerant of new media, I think it has created a form of expression that wasn’t there before and has taken away much of the power from the media barons who used to tell us how to think. However a few things have suffered.

1. Keyboard warriors abound and they use anonymity to bypass the accepted rules of etiquette that they would never do in person
2. Comprehension has dropped as people skim through what other people have written (or don’t read it at all) in their eagerness to write some more about their own point of view. There has never been a problem solved, or somebody’s opinion changed in a forum, ever.
3. For the above reasons, people with something to contribute or who are positive about life in general tend not to last long on forums such as this
4. I realise the irony in everything I have just said

Masquara 6:23 pm 29 Nov 14

I don’t accept John Hargreave’s definition of cyber-bullying: basically, anyone who disagrees with him online, even politely.

Vindalu 5:24 pm 29 Nov 14

John – I thought you were fashioned of sterner stuff! Yes, for some people their “On line life” is probably their only life and they could no more face up to (or dare I say it) shirtfront an opposing view or opinion in real life than fart in tune. They don’t belong to political parties , they don’t put themselves out for anybody, they care little for anybody but themselves and whinge and carp ad nauseum and they’re probably (expletive) liberal voters.

Ben_Dover 9:16 am 29 Nov 14

I’ve heard of shameless cyber bullies who use privileged positions within forums to harass, castigate and belittle their political opponents, safe in the knowledge that the site is moderated.

The proletariat now have an online voice, and do not use it with the charm, grace and elegance of their betters. Oh dear me, who let the plebs online to voice their stupidity!

John is quite right of course, only the well mannered and intellectual should be allowed to post, keep the riff-raff out. Vote Liberal!!

miz 8:47 am 29 Nov 14

That’s the thing about a soapbox, people will get on and say stuff!
Seriously though, anonymity is a good thing in Canberra as it is difficult for people who work for government to express their personal views without it.

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