Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Death threats

This Needs to Stop

The recent talk of the internet is a series of reminders that humans are still social primates, a species known for pack behaviour and escalating aggression against outsiders. The internet gives you a broader range of outsiders to reach and the digital equivalents of punches to throw.

If you follow the links in some recent collections of stories about incidents, you will find an indie developer driven from the market, death threats for changing reload times in FPSes or advocating cosmetic changes to currency, and add rape threats if the target in question is female.

I would prefer to discuss what is a reasonable level and form of negative feedback to deliver online, but we as a society do not seem to have reached a sane place yet. We have yet to craft an enforceable consensus that death threats are not acceptable. One police agency arrested someone for “terroristic threats” that no reasonable person would interpret as threats, while another suggested that Twitter should address the direct threats to specific victims rather than having police treat them as a criminal matter. I imagine the same approach is taken in asking Verizon to stop people from phoning in bomb threats.

I do not think it is possible to have too many voices condemning violent threats. I do not know how much good it does adding a voice here, given our readership.

No comments:

Post a Comment