Calling It What It Is: the Unspoken Validation of Online Abuse
K. C. Alexander
16625

Well-written and I hear you but in the spirit of tough-love let me ask you a question: have you really tried the blocking method?

You gave two reasons: (1) they will go to someone else and (2) there are 5 more waiting. But if you really think about it, neither one of those sounds deeply true. Maybe superficially but deeply? (1) They’re harassing more than just you and even though theoretically their time is finite, it’s nearly fre for them to tweet out harassment. Not to mention that even if this was correct all that next person has to do is the same thing.

And (2),. i am going to claim this just ins’t true. I would have thought so as well but I recently had the misfortune of being on the fringe of a massive twitter attack. I’m a TV writer and friends of mine write on Sleepy Hollow and recently the fans were… not happy. Rape threats and death threats and the whole nine. There was much discussion about what to do much of it mirroring the things you mention. But then something surprising happened.

One of the writers solved the problem. He had been getting a few thousand message s a day from angry fans. A few thousand tweets from a few thousand people but we learned something very interesting about those thousand people. Not all of them are leaders. Most of them will only tweet you if they see a leader type has done it already. In 24 hours, his feed went from thousands of hate tweets to zero. He accomplished this by blocking the leaders of the hate. And he only had to block about 30 people. His algorithm was simple: when he got a hate tweet, he checked the followers of the person and if it was above a threshold he blocked them.

He thinks now having seen how well it worked that he could probably have gotten it down with less than 20 blocks.

So maybe, just maybe, and I didn’t used to think this but maybe Twitter is right. Just block them and move on?

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