Sometimes the Internet isn't so Anonymous

Discussion in 'Off-topic Zone' started by Sam I Am, Nov 19, 2009.

  1. Sam I Am

    Sam I Am Unfriendly and Aloof!

    37,576 Messages
    5,519 Likes Received
    Let this be a lesson to you losers! :laugh2:


    Leaving a Vulgar Comment Online Might Cost You Your Job
    Written by Sarah Perez / November 18, 2009 7:50 AM / 27 Comments


    A backlash against anonymous commenters and trolls seems to be underway. Only last month, a court case was settled where anonymous commenters ended up having to pay big fines to the women who they defiled using vulgar, derogatory remarks on an internet forum. And previously, an anonymous blogger in the modeling industry was forced to reveal her identity after numerous malicious posts about a colleague showed up on her blog. Now the latest scandal in this new trend of "giving the trolls what they deserve" is causing a controversy all of its own. And this time, the nasty comment didn't just lead to an embarrassing reveal or a heavy fine, it cost someone their job.
    A One-Word Comment Cost a School Employee His Job

    A vulgar comment was made by a reader of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's website on Friday on an article about the strangest things you've ever eaten. The headline was practically asking for a juvenile response and, thanks to the anonymity of the internet, that's exactly what happened. In the comments section of the article, one user posted a single word response referring to a part of a woman's anatomy. Of course, the site's moderators quickly deleted the comment but it soon reappeared - obviously this juvenile was intent on having their say.

    But this time, instead of just deleting the comment in question, the site's director of social media, Kurt Greenbaum, did a little sleuthing too. He found that the commenter's IP address was coming from a local school...and that's where this story starts to get interesting.

    Greenbaum contacted the school and made them aware of the situation. In his defense, he probably thought he was simply tattle-telling on a naughty student who would learn a valuable lesson about internet anonymity and would have to sit through a week's detention or something of the like. Instead, he cost a school employee his job.

    Yes, as it turns out, the commenter in question wasn't a juvenile after all, just someone with a juvenile mind. Greenbaum learned of the firing when the school phoned him back six hours later to report their findings. They had confronted the employee and he had resigned.
    Crossing the Line? Or Justice Served?

    The question being hotly debated now is did Greenbaum go too far? Or did the commenter get what they deserved?

    Mathew Ingram, the blogger and communities editor for Toronto's The Globe and Mail, writes on his personal blog that his paper's site has seen hundreds or even thousands of comments, most of which are much worse than the one Greenbaum saw, but he would never - and has never - contacted someone's workplace about them. He calls Greenbaum's actions "over-the-top" and apparently, many commenters on's website agree, calling out Greenbaum over this incident.

    And yet Greenbaum seems to show no remorse, responding to one commenter who accused him of hating moderating so much that he decided to get someone fired by saying: "Yeah, you caught me! I made him log on to his computer at work, visit's Talk of the Day, read the item, type a vulgarity and hit the 'submit' key."

    Sixteen pages of comments now follow that initial interaction, and the majority of them seem to agree that Greenbaum crossed a line, save for the occasional concerned parent who didn't like the idea of this vulgarity-posting person hanging around their children instead of doing his job.
    Lesson to Be Learned: Watch What You Say!

    We can't blame Greenbaum for the sleuthing bit - any blogger will tell you they've been tempted to hunt down the identities of nasty commenters from time to time. But calling someone's work? That's just wrong.

    Yet while Greenbaum may have been seriously misguided to do what he did, this should be another sobering reminder to anyone trolling the net that what you type may come back and haunt you one day. There's no such thing as true anonymity on the net these days, and thanks to new technologies like Facebook Connect, the days where you can hide behind a made-up web handle may be numbered. In fact, Facebook itself may even owe its success to how it forces users to post with their "real" name and identity notes blogger Kent Newsome. "With a name comes accountability, and there is a direct correlation between accountability and behavior," he writes.

    That may be true, but the fact of the matter is that the STLtoday website allows anonymous comments. When you make that choice, then you have to expect that some of them will need moderation - it's just part of the job. Regardless of the site's policies about vulgarity, phoning the employer seems like an over-reaction to the incident. But that's just our opinion. What do you think?
  2. Bob Sacamano

    Bob Sacamano Benched

    57,073 Messages
    2 Likes Received
    heh, this is funny considering you continually drag me through the mud

    I might think about suing your ***
  3. vta

    vta The Proletariat

    8,746 Messages
    6 Likes Received
    In the grand scheme of things, what some stranger say's on the internet is of little consequence and to get all bent and look to screw up someone's job is just lame.

    When you start crying to lawmakers to regulate things or just generally get involved, you invite them to dictate terms and eventually start taxing your ***.

    Maybe this generation should just grow a pair and stop propagating this hyper sensitive crap over trivial nonsense.
  4. Sam I Am

    Sam I Am Unfriendly and Aloof!

    37,576 Messages
    5,519 Likes Received
    I don't drag you through the mud, I only call notice of you being in the mud. ;)
  5. Bob Sacamano

    Bob Sacamano Benched

    57,073 Messages
    2 Likes Received
    this isn't helping your case
  6. davidyee

    davidyee Maple Leaf

    3,794 Messages
    88 Likes Received
    ...if you have a difference of opinion with a person at work and you call him a racial slur or comment on his sexuality what would happen to you?

    So if we extrapolate this to the public forum are you allowed to call someone a derogatory name or slur and get away with it?

    Does removing their posting rights actually improve the person's behavior as he/she continues to surf around with anonimity?

    I'm sure we can come up with numerous variations to both arguments, but real crux of the issue is about behavior.

    Where in society are we to be accountable for our personal behavior to others - real or virtual?

    Just another thought here.

    BTW, I'm not sure how this argument can be tied to taxes???
  7. vta

    vta The Proletariat

    8,746 Messages
    6 Likes Received
    I'd probably be warned. You also can't correlate a controlled situation where sometimes avoidance is impossible to the conditions of the public, where you have every opportunity to simply get away from whatever is bothering you.

    Yes, see above.

    Is that the goal? How far do we have to delve into personality control before it gets out of hand? He doesn't need to be fired, because somehow I doubt anyone was crippled due to his actions. Nor does anyone need to be sued over 'libel'. It's over sensitive nonsense and a real cheapening of our legal system.

    Every where. Every one should govern himself under the simplistic, but all too often unsaid principle of do to someone what you would have done to you. That said, I really don't want faceless entities like governing bodies to start impugning on that personal choice, short of hardcore criminality. Talking trash isn't criminal.

    :) And welcomed.

    Because what props our legal system aloft is our tax dollars. The more we leave it up to them for what we should be handling on a personal level the more they'll lord their power over us, monetarily and otherwise. Like I said above, we don't need to run to faceless governing bodies to manage all aspects of our lives. Let's have a little self sufficiency here and independence.
  8. HoleInTheRoof

    HoleInTheRoof Benched

    3,265 Messages
    0 Likes Received
    If it were me, I'd just tell people I lost my job because I ate ________.


Share This Page