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Simon Bestwick (Simon_b)
Username: Simon_b

Registered: 10-2008
Posted From: 86.24.209.217
Posted on Tuesday, April 12, 2011 - 10:28 am:   

In the context of a discussion on another thread, about how the internet makes certain kinds of behaviour almost consequence-free...

http://uk.news.yahoo.com/5/20110412/tuk-online-trolls-target-family-tribute-45db ed5.html

I'm not going to advocate bringing back hanging or anything. That would be silly.

Necklacing the fuckers wouild be far more appropriate.
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Frank (Frank)
Username: Frank

Registered: 09-2008
Posted From: 85.222.86.21
Posted on Tuesday, April 12, 2011 - 11:01 am:   

Simon - I wish I could say I was completely shocked, but I'm not. Somebody I know, somebody who served time in a young offenders institute and also served time in an adult prison, told me that he'd rather spend a year in an adult prison, than a week in a young offenders detention centre. He said the level of cruelty prevalent, the mindset, the warped psychology, was animal like.

He told me that a lad from Manchester hung himself, and that there were various 'messages' scrawled over the toilet walls hailing this as some sort of celebration. He said it was frightening how little humanity was left of these people.

But he also said that for every sick, twisted, cruel 'inmate' there were plenty more knowledgeable kids, plenty more with hearts, and consciences, who had simply made mistakes in their lives, and now regretted it.

He was quite inspirational. And no, he hadn't found Jesus. He was just older and more understanding of how life sometimes deals us shitty cards.

Don't lose faith in people, mate. I know what it's like, but there are good 'uns out there.

What does shock me are those supposed professional adults who use the internet to go about demeaning, and attacking other people, using it covertly organise their mates to do their dirty work for them.
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Ramsey Campbell (Ramsey)
Username: Ramsey

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.93.21.68
Posted on Tuesday, April 12, 2011 - 11:18 am:   

I'm afraid one thing that the internet has given many people is the courage of anonymity - the ability to use a poison pen without even needing to disguise their handwriting.
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Simon Bestwick (Simon_b)
Username: Simon_b

Registered: 10-2008
Posted From: 86.24.209.217
Posted on Tuesday, April 12, 2011 - 11:36 am:   

Absolutely, Ramsey. My belief that bullies- and the worst bullying is psychological- are lacking in some way, and in some way the humiliation or suffering of others fulfils that. Most likely a need for power, I suspect- I suppose it might be gratifying to see someone rendered impotent, in the sense of being unable to retaliate or punish. The internet is a great way of inflicting pain on others from a safe distance.

Frank- oh, I don't lose faith in humanity, believe it or not. Most people are good rather than bad, on the whole. Although in the right circumstances, under the right pressure, I do believe anyone to be capable of anything. But I know people who have worked hard with the kind of folks that are usually written off as scum and achieved results with them. To use Judaeo-Christian terminology, nobody's beyond redemption, but you can't redeem somebody else. You can give them opportunities to do so, you can show them the possibility exists. In that way you can help. But the will to change has to come from within.

Basically, I'll forgive anything except malice. Deliberately setting out to cause that suffering or humiliation to someone else- whatever inadequacies may have driven the person to it, I actually reach the point of being half-past give-a-shit very quickly. Social and environmental factors can't be discounted. But, sooner or later, you have to take responsibility for yourself. And some people are so fucking cowardly they'll go to any lengths to avoid doing that.

My head tells me that people who do things like this are fucked up and can be helped to a recognition of their behaviour's ugliness and to change. My gut tells me they're scumbags who ought to have the living shit beaten out of them with iron bars. I have a deeply divided attitude oin this one, and I recognise that...
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Rhysaurus (Rhysaurus)
Username: Rhysaurus

Registered: 01-2010
Posted From: 212.219.233.223
Posted on Tuesday, April 12, 2011 - 11:57 am:   

> My head tells me that people who do things like this are fucked up and can be helped to a recognition of their behaviour's ugliness and to change.

Yes indeed, in the majority of cases. But some trolls are "tactical twats" who think they can get ahead in some way by denigrating potential (or actual) competitors in any endeavour. In such instances, it is deliberately engineered; it's the result not of a psychological lack, as such, but a misapplication of the "get ahead" ethic.

I'm thinking specifically of the writing world but also any small business environment where there's a lot of competition. Trolling is just another dirty trick. I remember about ten years ago when I came under attack from three or four individuals using several pseudonyms each: they erroneously believed they could force me out of the writing world.

Obviously that's a different kind of trolling from the one you're referring to; but it's still subhuman.
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Gary Fry (Gary_fry)
Username: Gary_fry

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.31.24.131
Posted on Tuesday, April 12, 2011 - 12:03 pm:   

>>>My head tells me that people who do things like this are fucked up and can be helped to a recognition of their behaviour's ugliness and to change. My gut tells me they're scumbags who ought to have the living shit beaten out of them with iron bars.

Why do have to choose between sympathy and punishment? A problem I've got myself into regularly here on the RCMB is that I actually believe both are necessary to deal with such people. Maybe not the iron bars bit, but certainly zero tolerance. But also a keen appreciation of the source of such behaviour.
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Rhysaurus (Rhysaurus)
Username: Rhysaurus

Registered: 01-2010
Posted From: 212.219.233.223
Posted on Tuesday, April 12, 2011 - 12:08 pm:   

More understanding and more condemnation?

Not a bad solution to the either/or dilemma...
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.56
Posted on Tuesday, April 12, 2011 - 12:09 pm:   

Lets face it, if ugly behaviour has no consequence other than "Oh you must have been mistreated yourself, here's some sympathy", what compulsion is there to change the ugly behaviour?
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Gary Fry (Gary_fry)
Username: Gary_fry

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.31.24.131
Posted on Tuesday, April 12, 2011 - 12:10 pm:   

I think either/or solutions are appealing because they often avoid complex ambiguities. Nobody ever won an election campaign with a both/and message! :-)
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Gary Fry (Gary_fry)
Username: Gary_fry

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.31.24.131
Posted on Tuesday, April 12, 2011 - 12:12 pm:   

>>>Lets face it, if ugly behaviour has no consequence other than "Oh you must have been mistreated yourself, here's some sympathy", what compulsion is there to change the ugly behaviour?

But that's just a simpleminded definition of what might be done.

I've done it. With a real yob. Over ten years.
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Rhysaurus (Rhysaurus)
Username: Rhysaurus

Registered: 01-2010
Posted From: 212.219.233.223
Posted on Tuesday, April 12, 2011 - 12:15 pm:   

> I've done it. With a real yob. Over ten years.

I've never done it with a yob. I almost had drunken sex with a ladette once, though. And that was a one-off, not a decade-long arrangement...
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Frank (Frank)
Username: Frank

Registered: 09-2008
Posted From: 85.222.86.21
Posted on Tuesday, April 12, 2011 - 12:20 pm:   

I agree with Gary on this. It's complex. Also Like Simon says, there's a contradiction involved. It's a difficult one to understand.

I am of course NOT referring to, as Ramsey has pointed out, the faceless people hiding behind whoever and whatever. They are simply odious little trolls who deem themselves victims of some vast conspiracy to keep them from claiming what they believe is their inherent right to glory and universal acclaim.
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Gary Fry (Gary_fry)
Username: Gary_fry

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.31.24.131
Posted on Tuesday, April 12, 2011 - 12:28 pm:   

Well, mentally ill, then. But yes, let's certainly stand up against them.
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Frank (Frank)
Username: Frank

Registered: 09-2008
Posted From: 85.222.86.21
Posted on Tuesday, April 12, 2011 - 12:59 pm:   

Some things just keeping popping back up, though.
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Mbfg (Mbfg)
Username: Mbfg

Registered: 09-2010
Posted From: 82.6.90.22
Posted on Tuesday, April 12, 2011 - 08:19 pm:   

Letís face it, if ugly behaviour has no consequence other than "Oh you must have been mistreated yourself, here's some sympathy", what compulsion is there to change the ugly behaviour?

How right you are Weber.

As I have oft times (and no doubt boringly) mentioned before, I teach at a FE college. My course is for those who did badly at school so I get my fair share of bad lads. When I first started it took on a bit of a social worker type persona tried to be understanding of the lives some of my lads lived.

However, six years later Iíve stopped all that. Why? Because by the time they get to me these lads have been playing the bad-behaviour-followed-by-some-pathetic-attempt-at-punishment-followed-by-the man-to-man-whatís-wrong-dear-how-can-we-help talk. Over and over again. Itís a game, a way of life for them.

So, from me, as good an education as I can give them, including respect and good manners (I never respond unless they say please), praise and affable Terry when they toe the line and act like human beings, soulless, emotionless punishment (according to whatever college disciplinary process applies) when they step out of line. No, Iím not perfect and I make a lot of mistakes but this is the method I try to adhere to.

It works as much as anything can work. I donít care what anybody says, youíre old enough to decide whether to do the right thing or the wrong thing by the time youíre ten years old, so Iím not molly coddling the little buggers when theyíre 16 and upwards. Iím sorry if I sound like a granddad who read the Daily Mail Ė itís because I am, a granddad that is, I hardly ever read any newspapers.

Chees
Terry
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Gary Fry (Gary_fry)
Username: Gary_fry

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.31.24.131
Posted on Tuesday, April 12, 2011 - 08:41 pm:   

Understanding the context of behaviour does not mean sympathising with it. It means creatively tackling it at its root. In my own case, I set up a dynamic of zero tolerance between myself and the lad, to which - and by God, it was hell for many years - he eventually began to adhere by. I was tough, yet always willing to understand. And it had nothing to do with "molly-coddling", believe me. I'm talking about physical stand-offs, theft of money, police visits, etc. Nasty, dirty business. But we both stuck it out. And now he's pretty much sorted.
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Gary Fry (Gary_fry)
Username: Gary_fry

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.31.24.131
Posted on Tuesday, April 12, 2011 - 08:44 pm:   

Maybe you need to live with someone to achieve this - I don't know. Maybe it's beyond the remit of any public institution, and certainly schools/colleges. On the other hand, the teacher has the knowledge that ultimately s/he can leave the situation. When you live with them, it's a full-time, long-term commitment. You have no choice but to choose the only path that works. And in my experience, this is it.
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Mbfg (Mbfg)
Username: Mbfg

Registered: 09-2010
Posted From: 82.6.90.22
Posted on Tuesday, April 12, 2011 - 09:51 pm:   

You have my admiration Gary. The sort of patience and determination you had to show to achieve what you achieved with this particular individual is good, in the true sense of the word.

You are right, I could leave at any time - well, mortgage and bills allowing - and I haven't the time to devote to individual students to make such a life changing difference.

All I and my colleagues can do is try to show them that they are responsibe for their own actions and that there are consequences for breaking the rules, in our case very defined, institutional (but not unreasonable) rules that ensure you are safe, and that you treat those aroudn you with something resembling respect. Not that we should keep every rule thrown at us in life, God, most of us would never be writers if we did that!

Cheers
Terry
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Gary Fry (Gary_fry)
Username: Gary_fry

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.31.24.131
Posted on Tuesday, April 12, 2011 - 10:03 pm:   

That's the central issue, mate. Having the time, commitment and motivation to make life changing difference. In all fairness, I could have left, too, but it would have meant losing the boy's mother, which I didn't want to do. Yes, there are other women, just as there are other jobs, but sometimes it's what you want and the fight is worth it. Glad I stuck it out. The results are immensely rewarding, though I'm worn out from the battle, if also a little wiser. That's perhaps why I respond to what I perceive to be over-simplistic knee-jerk reactions to this issue from folk who have no direct experience of it, except seeing what happens occasionally through their lounge window.

I admire you for doing what you do for a living; paradoxically perhaps, I'd find that hard. My brother was once one of the kids you seem to teach: he used to turn up for many lectures on acid.
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Frank (Frank)
Username: Frank

Registered: 09-2008
Posted From: 85.222.86.21
Posted on Tuesday, April 12, 2011 - 10:25 pm:   

Personally, I think both of you need applauding for what you do and what you've done. God knows a lot of other people would have run the other way, or packed it in by now. That takes proper bravery, real insight, and empathy. I'm glad there are people like you two, it really does restore my faith.

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