Workaholics did a great episode not too long ago about a gamer troll antagonizing them.
Being that it’s “Workaholics” we’re talking about, the hapless potheads all gathered together, impersonated a SWAT unit, and hunted down the house of the man who’d been shiz talking into his headphones at them. What they were going to do once they actually got there was about as planned out as any hash-brained idea would be. But it was alright because ultimately, they find out the dude’s old, has a gay-but-not-gay son who also wants him to stop focusing on video games, and a bunch of other stuff that makes this show such a delightfully random reprieve from the pain of reality. What also is fun about this series is often that “what did we learn here?’ they manage to sneak in like a lesson-peen after a humor-roofie: that whatever assholery trolls are capable of over the sound waves of S.O.F. or the interwebs alike, they’re people too. Who probably hate their jobs and dunno how to connect with their families. So that’s a thing we all hafta remember when people act the fool online.
Why? ’cause if we take one douche’s rights away, the man might take away mine too.
And that’s apparently a real threat we’re all facing… for using threatening language.
Thus far, I’m only hearing about this happening in foreign countries, but it’s prettymuch terrifying to think of speech being shackled in this way. For example, England and Wales are trying to pass a bill about it. Per the Guardian:
“The justice secretary has backed an amendment to the criminal justice bill that would target new rules at combating trolls. People convicted of cyber-bullying and text message abuse could face up to two years in prison, under plans backed by the government. The justice secretary, Chris Grayling, has backed an amendment to the criminal justice bill that would target new rules at combating trolls that sexually harass and verbally abuse people on the internet or via mobile phones in England and Wales.”
Sure, bully-halting sounds fantastic in theory, but in application, it’s a bit Orwellian.
Especially when we consider the direction recent similar Indonesian laws are taking it. They’ve already punished posters of such commentary as “The police are corrupt”, “God is rotten,” (what’s next? No Nietzsche in the library? Wait… is Nietzsche banned there already?), and “you’re gay” (for good measure – just to make it look like they’re fulfilling the actual alleged point of the law). Per Vice, it’s been a thing for several years now, but now they’re getting outta hand with the whole troll management thing:
Under the 2008 Law on Information and Electronic Transactions, Indonesian citizens can serve jail time for insulting people online. And while the legislation has the potential to stave off cyber bullies, authorities have been using it lately to target anyone who poses a challenge to the status quo.Take Florence Sihombing, a 26-year-old law student, who recently spent the night in jail for calling the residents of Central Java, “poor, stupid and uncultured.” Or an Indonesian blogger who, several months ago, was sentenced to one year of probation for tweeting about a banking scandal. Or Alexander Aan, an atheist who spent two years in prison for questioning God’s existence on Facebook.
If you feel like you’re being bullied, just sign offline. That’s an option, you know. Don’t read the messages. Don’t send stupid sexts or upload your vagina to icloud. Right? Am I missing something here? Can bullies beam themselves into your kindle, classics, or current novels you should be spending more time reading anyway? Before they all get banned too?
Next thing I know, I’mma get called an enemy of ‘murca for challenging the fact that the people in power are destroying ‘murca. And the rest of the world.
If the gov’ment is gonna interfere with our interactions, I feel like jail’s the wrong answer. It doesn’t contribute anything to the betterment of some person who clearly has an internet based personality disorder. Far better would be to rehab them or ban ‘em from the internet like they did to that kid in “Hackers”.
I’d still prefer Adam & Co. come teach me non-lessons next time I’m being douchey online.
Which arguably is happening right now.