How Barstool Sports Uses Social Media As A Weapon
Nick Stellini

Writing as a usenet veteran, this seems to me to be a tempest in a teapot. Although one commenter mentioned threats, I saw none.* So this turns out to be a longish article about how puerile trolling hurt some feelings.

Been there. More than once. (And I’ve taken my share of potshots, too.) I know how hard it is to walk away, to ignore, to block, but it’s what the targets of this kind of trolling must learn to do. Complaining about people who vent their spleen on the internet and call it a joke is a futile endeavor.

I have greater concerns about social justice, because it causes a cascade of dire consequences like public humiliation and job loss — often times for very minor offenses and even misunderstandings. Merely having one’s feelings hurt on the playground is not that big a deal. Excessive real world consequences for having hurt feelings on the playground is a pretty big deal.

Instead of trying to stop bullying — which is like beating your head against a wall— we need to give those who have difficulty with being bullied the tools and training to withstand the onslaught. Humor helps. Support helps. Holding the slurs up to the light of reality is always a good idea.

Turning it around and bullying the bully just perpetuates the cycle. Screed-production only makes the writer appear foolish and a little kooky.

I fear articles like this one, because they are a threat to our understanding of free expression. None of what was tweeted is libel — which would be the basis for legal action — it was mere hyperbole for the sake of questionable humor. People say and write stupid things, but going nuclear over words is never productive. Escalation of hostilities is a declaration of war, and no good ever comes of it.

Learn to walk away with your dignity intact. Be better. Be the change.

(*Back in the day, we knew how to deal with threats — we reported them to the police. No quarter. Threats against safety are illegal, and they should be treated with all the gravity and respect they deserve.)

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