on harassment, a departure from things librarian, briefly

This is just to say that I think harassment of other people is wrong. And anonymous online harassment of people is wrong, and cowardly, and deserves to be called out. I agree with Ryan and Walt and Rafe, especially Rafe’s most recent post where he discusses how for many female bloggers this sort of harassment is nothing new. There was an incident that sparked this particular post — well two, one in the blogonets and one that has been taking place over email — but it’s something I’ve been thinking about generally for some time now.

I haven’t gotten a lot of harassing email and comments, but I have gotten some. I have gotten more of them than I would want. When I was running a blog about civil unions in Vermont — a hot topic at the time — I got an awful lot of hate mail including the “I hope you die of AIDS” variety. I’ve only gotten one “I hope you die” sort of email message related to librarian.net and the scary thing about it was that it was not anonymous. I’m also fairly certain that it was not serious, but it sure did creep me out. I get a bit of razzing and eye-rolling from people on other blogs, but the “hate mail” type communication has stopped, mainly since I left ALA Council. Sorry, but it’s true.

It’s a fine line between calling people out on their shenanigans, and starting a fight that you don’t wish to be involved in. I generally try to steer clear of hassling other people and for the most part they steer clear of hassling me. This doesn’t work for everyone, and I always worry that it won’t work for me forever, this “I have all my personal information on the Internet” thing. In any case, that’s all I have to say on this. More update on things librarian this week.

Update: a few more liblogger responses from Meredith, Dan Greene and Impromptu Librarian. I’ll add more as I see them.

4 thoughts on “on harassment, a departure from things librarian, briefly

  1. Hey, you got the “I hope you die of AIDS” e-mail, too? Well now I don’t feel special anymore :-(

  2. Those were some shocking posts.
    I should hope that sooner or later people would get over the formulae of; Internet + Assumed Anonymity = Idiotic vitriol far above what they would express in the flesh.

  3. Hi Jess,

    Member me? We met a zillion years ago in Toronto – I’m one of your biggest fans! And you’re going to need a big fan soon because summer is coming. So to comment on the harrassment thing; because you don’t like it, I feel obliged to now harrass you. But since I’m not really an evil guy, my harrassment tends to be a bit fluffy (even sublime). So please consider yourself harrassed by this statement: “I hope that tulips spring up all around you when you walk around outside and that they also provide a pleasurable frisson for your olfactory senses.” Take THAT!


    Doug your old pal who can’t help but harass you a little

  4. I think if a woman tries to make a point in an argument that men will soon attack. In a discussion of anonymity at the Blatant Berry Blog an anonymous man called me a left-wing wh*** even tho I had not made any personal attack on him.
    Here is more on the topic.

    Men who hate women on the Web.
    By Joan Walsh.
    March 31, 2007 | Is there really any doubt that women writing on the Web are subject to more abuse than men, simply because they’re women?

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