There’s an internet phenomena that is becoming increasingly prevalent these days and it’s a practice known as Doxxing. The range of issues and the fervency of the participants in the many internecine battles between competing ideologies and interests is the driving force behind this rapidly rising trend.. The practice of Doxxing commenters in heavily contested issues has become the new ‘thing’, and is often invoked as an attempt to silence any participant to a discussion who is seen as potentially troublesome to deal with.
Illusions of Anonymity
I’m not a particularly big fan of anonymity on the web in general, since it only gives the anonymous poster the ILLUSION of anonymity while simultaneously bolstering their own foolish (and often illegal) tactics. In the case of anonymous trolls making slanderous remarks or threats, there is no level of imaginary hell too low, nor any level of Doxxing too high for my tastes.
I heartily support the exposure at all these types of gutless miscreants.
There have already been more than a handful of these types of clowns who have been rightly exposed and shamed. I applaud the efforts of those cyber-vigilantes who have partaken in such exposure. While some may refer to it as a new form of frontier justice, it seems to me that in the ‘new frontier’ there is very little actual justice. It’s just us.
If you are afraid to stand up and take ownership of your beliefs then your beliefs aren’t really that important to you. It’s been a bedrock principle of my internet existence since the glory days of dial-up modems not to engage in sock puppetry, fake accounts, pseudonyms and other forms of anonymity, regardless of the criticisms that will be leveled at me by those in opposition to my positions. For starters, they’re mostly all asshat Republican wankers or religious goobers to begin with, a group only too happy to hide behind the curtain while slinging monkey shit all over the place. Expose the hell out of them!!
While I’m in total agreement with the doxxing (cyber or otherwise) of the aforementioned cowards and idiots, there’s a more vicious sub-genre called cyber-bullying that Wikipedia notes as “closely related to doxxing“.
The two are not alike UNTIL you start doxxing people that aren’t actually operating under anonymity and the ‘doxxing’ in question is being applied to invoke harassment to the person being doxxed. Examples include digging around to find unlisted phone numbers of non-anonymous posters or their work telephone numbers for the purposes of generating harassing calls to their workplace in an attempt to get them in trouble. This is a clear cut example of internet terrorism and I would gladly pass strong laws banning such practices.
I would also make it much easier for the NSA to share the data they’re already allowed to scoop up (not my rules) with the proper local authorities in cases where anonymous threats or cyber-bullying is taking place. I’m all for giving the cops something to do besides gunning down unarmed Black guys and busting down doors to snatch a fella’s weed while shooting his pet dog.
There’s something that I’ve noticed that seems particularly troublesome in the “new era of Internet debate”, where Roberts Rules of Order don’t apply, and the ‘gloves off’ nature of the medium tempts many otherwise too timid, into becoming brash and vulgar beasts. It’s full speed ahead. These are the folks you see who load up the torpedo tubes with ad hominems and wrestle a clip of logical fallacies into the breech of their machine guns. They are all too happy to engage in illegal actives (cyber bullying) against those who are doing nothing illegal at all. In too many of the cases I am familiar with, the doxxing is not being done to expose, stop or shame an actual cyber-bully, but to cyber-bully those whose views are not hidden behind a shield of anonymity.
I see too many commenters and bloggers making extremely well formed and argued points based on REASON, and the only reason they’re being doxxed is to attempt to intimidate them into silence and submission.
You Can’t Dox the Willing
I’m considered extremely controversial, not only because of my liberal atheist views, but also for the short shrift with which I dispose of feeble minded folks who flex on me. My inability to suffer fools gladly is something I’m both lauded and hated for. I’m on a perpetual self doxxing mission myself. I can’t get enough of my story and the details of my hoary life out there in the public quick enough. I thought that was the whole point of this SOCIAL internet exercise? LOL This is something that I knew I was going to be in for at the beginning of my overt activism, and not just from the illusory asides of anonymous internet trolls, but from my neighbors and co-workers in Mississippi, fifteen odd years or so ago when I decided to don the robe of reprobate carpet-bagging Yankee “Devil” down south.