Saturday, September 01, 2007

The civility of "outing" bloggers

Disagreement is rife in the political bloggysphere, opinion is what it's all about. When someone disagrees with what a blogger has to say but can't think of a good rebuttal, it usually ends with "We'll agree to disagree" or "You're an idiot" and that's it. But a few get a real burr up their asses and go (creepily) further, spending time researching a blogger to ascertain their real identity for the purpose of revealing it online. Which can be a nightmare scenario for a number of reasons, but mainly because it makes one vulnerable in real life. It's basically someone who feels powerless trying to rally an army of internet nutcases to go on the attack by waving a red cape of personal information.

This week there were a couple of outstanding examples of this kind of sleazy, gutless bullying, when two well-known progressive bloggers were either outed or threatened with it by, not surprisingly, two lower-tier right-wingnut bloggers. (My apologies to the more reasonable right-wingnuts, but you guys do seem to own the "bullying" gene.) Ironically, they bleat and whine that they're outing these bloggers in the interest of "civility". "Civility" in this case means silencing opinions they don't agree with and can't rebut, and facing up to their own dumbassitude. When they say it's all about the civility, what they really mean is, "I can't deal with you so I'll send every nut on the internet to deal with you, possibly to your home". That's hardly civility, it's an impotent internet bully trying to get someone else to do what he only wishes he could do.

And while we're on Civility: one of the bloggers who's so proud of outing someone "in the interest of civility" went on a rampage a few months ago, launching a series of bizarre posts making unprovoked personal attacks on another blogger, calling him a welfare case and bellowing that he should "get off his unemployed behind and get a job":So I guess this civility thing only goes one way?

The sad truth is there's something radically wrong with someone who'd go to the trouble of finding out a blogger's real identity. There's something doubly wrong with someone who'd even threaten to publish the information -- but someone who'd actually make good on this idiotic threat is possibly not only beyond hope, but beyond medication. Get a life, losers!