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This isn't a long diary.  I just want to put something out there for your consideration, in light of recent bullying events here at Dkos.

Free speech isn't a shield.  Normally, I write that in response to some Republican bitching about being held to account for lies, being stupid, or for their discriminatory and divisive advocacy.  They experience some real push back, often from the targets of their speech, and they respond with something along the lines of it being harder to speak, a violation of their rights, due to that impact being felt in a material way.

It could be something as simple as just looking really stupid, or losing some AD revenue.  On the other hand, it could escalate to death threats, vandalism, physical harm, or worse too.

The right answer to these things is more free speech.  Anyone can recover from feeling bad, or looking stupid.  Having to repair our car, perhaps replace tires, live with a scar, or worse isn't the right answer to these things.

Neither is outing or threats.

Most Americans get that.  I get that, and it's highly likely you too get that, but a few of us don't, and it's a problem we need to deal with as a community, because it is happening here.

When our politics are a threat to others, we run the risk of retribution.  Again, it could be simple vilification, in which case, I've outlined a great way to deal with that.  But, it could be more material, and that is quite simply a risk everyone takes when expressing their political views.

Sadly, we all have various levels of vulnerability in these things.  Some of us have family, or a sensitive job, lack of financial resources, or moderate physical attributes.  Politics is important, but family, health, property, kids, employment are all important too.

This is a big part of why pseudonyms are not only allowed, but mandatory.  The small fraction of us Americans, and Kossacks apparently, who don't understand the boundary issues and who are willing to exert real contact are dangerous.  The more vulnerable we are, the more dangerous they are, and that is a simple fact of life.

UPDATE:  Not mandatory as in everybody needs them.  Mandatory in that we must continue to allow anonymous speech so that we can get the great voices heard, even when they are personally vulnerable.

We have people here on Dkos, who are not really Kossacks.  They have crossed the boundary from responding to speech they don't like with more speech, into real, material, actionable in some cases, deeds that are causing, or present the potential to cause people real harm.  Not, "I feel bad over it." kind of harm, but more like "I'm scared I might get hurt, or my family will get hurt, or worse!" harm.

NOT OK.

I am deeply troubled by the fact that we have to deal with this here on Dkos.  Whoever you are, know that a whole lot of us are looking now.  You have crossed a line that should never be crossed.  I don't accept you as a fellow Kossack.  It is my sincere hope you get dealt with in a proper and timely way.

Maybe you can get help and fix whatever it is that drives you to attempt real harm over political disagreements.

What does this mean?

It means we all need to take a good, hard look at what vulnerability we have.  Some of us are strong, others not so strong.  For each one of us, we need to think really hard about the value of social media and our connections between it and Dkos, because it could matter for each one of us.

Dkos is a business, and it's advocacy is important.  Great voices grow here, and we have community, action, advocacy, and we grow stronger every year.  I get that, but given what is happening, I have to ask:  

Do we really want SHARE, LIKE, TWEET icons?  Are those responsible while our own house isn't clean?  I submit they aren't.  

Do we really want people logging in via Facebook, while our own house isn't clean?

How can we get our house clean?  That's an open question.  Can we crowd source the finding of the people who taint this place?  

It is bad enough to deal with outside influences.  Many of us get hate mail.  Some of us get worse, and a few of us --some of the best, brightest Kossacks I have had the pleasure of reading have gotten a LOT WORSE, and they didn't get it from outside.

IT CAME FROM HERE.  INSIDE.  That is my belief.

Maybe it's time to provide Kossacks an option for severing their Facebook, Twitter, Blog and other connections.  There are people here, who have made those connections with the best of intentions, who now may be at risk from those people who have the worst of intentions.

Bullying people, making material threats, doing real harm over policy preference differences is just shitty.  I don't know how else to put it.  Whoever you are, you lose, and you lose on form period.

Be careful people.  There are folks among us who would do others real harm, and until our house is clean, remember politics is a contact sport and the impact can be very real.

Let's figure out how to fix this.

Originally posted to You can call me spud on Sun Jul 08, 2012 at 04:50 PM PDT.

Also republished by Courtesy Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (11+ / 0-)

    ***Be Excellent To One Another***
    IF THEY ARE GOING TO SCREW THE PEOPLE, MAKE THEM OWN IT.

    by potatohead on Sun Jul 08, 2012 at 04:50:58 PM PDT

  •  I missed the mandatory pseudonym memo. (5+ / 0-)

    If anyone out there wants to find me, well, I'm in the phone book.

    I do understand there is a certain amount of risk in this, and such is the way of the world.  It's far less than our forefathers risked in everything they did in life, and, well, life is always risky.

    I figure if our front pagers can 'go naked', then so can I.

  •  Question (8+ / 0-)

    Why is everyone certain that this is the work of registered Kossacks?

    My understanding is that if you're lurking you can do everything but comment, rec, hide, and see hiddens. You can still search on users and, I think, view profiles and such.

    When it comes to information about a user, I'm not seeing why or how being registered here would matter.

    •  I don't know that everyone does. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      VetGrl, Smoh, Crashing Vor

      I very strongly suspect we have some Kossacks who do not like the new Kossacks.

      I very strongly suspect these efforts involve more than one person.

      I very strongly suspect these efforts involve people outside of Dkos.

      That is based on a long reading of the info we have here, comments, etc...

      ***Be Excellent To One Another***
      IF THEY ARE GOING TO SCREW THE PEOPLE, MAKE THEM OWN IT.

      by potatohead on Sun Jul 08, 2012 at 05:19:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It seems like a weird mix to me. (5+ / 0-)

        TN, SJF, weather, Chris, etc, all post on such disparate topics.

        And for someone to to start stalking them rl like that seems mentally unbalanced to me, and there aren't many Kossacks I tend to think of being that far gone that I might consider them being so unstable, even if they developed a dislike to any or all of them.

        •  Indeed. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Smoh, Crashing Vor

          What I can't get past is multiple references to the "Facebookification" of Dkos, envy, jealously, etc... sprinkled throughout the whole mess.

          It just reeks of some borderline person posing here.

          The thing is, I want to be wrong about it, and the best way to do that is to investigate at some deeper level.

          ***Be Excellent To One Another***
          IF THEY ARE GOING TO SCREW THE PEOPLE, MAKE THEM OWN IT.

          by potatohead on Sun Jul 08, 2012 at 05:50:33 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  It's my thought, for whatever it's worth, that (5+ / 0-)

          this is not about topics, political or otherwise.  It is about our "young Turks" being so incredibly bright and active and articulate.  And above all, getting attention, acclaim, and great respect.  Their talents draw large audiences and large accolades.  I think this person/people can't stand to take a back seat.

          Cats are better than therapy, and I'm a therapist.

          by Smoh on Sun Jul 08, 2012 at 05:55:22 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yep. I get that feeling too. (3+ / 0-)

            ***Be Excellent To One Another***
            IF THEY ARE GOING TO SCREW THE PEOPLE, MAKE THEM OWN IT.

            by potatohead on Sun Jul 08, 2012 at 05:56:15 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  More than one Kossack ... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            potatohead

            diarist has revealed in the past how important it is to them that their work is rec'ed, and how devastated they are when that doesn't occur.  Public attention is clearly something some of them thrive on.  Insecurity is likely a major underlying problem for them.

            What do the ones being attacked have in common besides "youth"?  Nothing much, it seems, they're just popular ... and liked.

            The clues do seem to confirm that there is a true psychotic narcissist behind the attacks.  Someone who deeply resents the attention young writers get without having "earned" it.

            "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity, and I am not sure about the universe." -- Albert Einstein

            by Neuroptimalian on Sun Jul 08, 2012 at 08:26:16 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yes. I have also seen a recurring theme of... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Neuroptimalian

              improper use of the Rec list.

              This has been expressed in several ways:

              --we need action / election / cause diaries on there, because it's valuable and it matters

              --multiple diary / posts now allowed means clutter and a dilution of the impact / importance

              --that authors cause isn't getting attention, and it's more important than this cause over here...

              ***Be Excellent To One Another***
              IF THEY ARE GOING TO SCREW THE PEOPLE, MAKE THEM OWN IT.

              by potatohead on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 08:21:38 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Yes, I get that same sense. Some of the (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            potatohead

            comments pretty clearly reference the youth of those being targeted.  It appears to be "agism" in reverse.

            Great evil has been done on earth by people who think they have all the answers. - Lynn W Andrews 1987

            by Spirit of Life on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 06:13:36 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Don't know if you're right that these are (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        potatohead, Lost and Found, kaliope

        older users who don't like "the new kids." The messages related thus far sound (to me) more like fly-wing-pulling RW assholes who came in here to fuck the place up.

        Just my gut.

    •  I don't know (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Crashing Vor, VetGrl, kaliope

      the tech stuff - easy enough to find out, though, just log out and browse the site - but I am by no means convinced that this is the work of "registered Kossacks" in the sense of regular users, people who would otherwise be posting diaries on issues, commenting, reccing and tipping like the rest of us. That said, it's pretty easy to register here.

      I (desperately want to) believe that a lot of this, if not all, is trollery, maybe even paid trollery by some RW dirty-tricks shop. It makes more sense to me than any other theory I've seen advanced. Drive away some of our best young contributors, drive a wedge between young Kossacks and older ones, besmirch the reputation of the site. I'd call that a good day's work for some smarter version of James O'Keefe, wouldn't you?

      "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."........ "The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little." (yeah, same guy.)

      by sidnora on Sun Jul 08, 2012 at 05:51:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not really (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        potatohead

        I don't see an effective strategy there. Attacks from the outside tend to bring those on the inside together, even if only temporarily. Moreover, I think a coordinated effort to bring division here would have to take place within the site, not against a select few members outside of it.

        What I think it is is full-on trollery by someone or a group that's meaner than, say, a Ramdove. Or those people who send malicious viruses that get into the computers of ordinary people who never did the sender or anyone else any harm.

        But I'm neither a detective nor a techy. My question was more directed at the extent to which this site allows someone will bad intent to follow another, gathering enough information to be scary.

  •  I've chloroformed my FB account (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kaliope, potatohead, WakeUpNeo

    (after explaining to the admins there my reasons).

    I will not hang there until they flush out the stalkers.

    •  Good call. (0+ / 0-)

      I've been tempted a time or two, but a quick look at my FB reveals trouble.

      Sometimes our circle of people we grew up with isn't well aligned with our politics.

      Some of us can take that heat, others can't, or don't choose to.

      My only concern is that people are aware of the dynamics so they can pick their battles.

      ***Be Excellent To One Another***
      IF THEY ARE GOING TO SCREW THE PEOPLE, MAKE THEM OWN IT.

      by potatohead on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 08:23:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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