Tag Archives: privacy

Stranger Shaming – The Next Level Of Social Degradation

Recently brought to public attention by the internet phenomenon known as Gamer Gate, doxxing (quite popular among SJWs in general) is seen by many as vile, unnecessary and the product of  inflated egos. Sending posses, either virtual or in real life, to harass people and many times get them fired, is fanatical in the eyes of anyone with a shred of respect for freedom of thought. Or for freedom as a concept, why not.

The only thing that can be said about engaging with these types is precisely that; engaging – one’s choice to interact with them, the risk taken while knowing (or suspecting) their rapaciousness.

The same cannot be said about the people who are randomly targeted simply for existing, without having initiated any contact with those who point the finger of scorn at them. Note: I am not referring to activists and people who make their opinions public in general, attracting debates and rebuttals. Those are ideological in nature and needn’t become too personal (or personal at all). And in case someone might accuse me of doing the same with PF, I must stress any observations I’ve made were not meant as a personal attack; these people form an ideological group seeking to proselitise.

This grotesque caricature of  Police Academy 4, “Citizens on patrol”, is very worrying indeed.

Stranger shaming refers to the public targeting of someone’s life choices or habits, flagged by a feature the “hunter” is looking for in a crowd or on social media. It usually consists of being photographed, paparazzi-style, and displayed on dedicated websites for all to see, along with poisonous comments – just for being in the bastard’s line of sight at the wrong time. The target, implicitly, does not seek out this attention and is often not aware of what is happening, until they find their image (and perhaps even some details) online.

Apparently, this trend was started by the famous “anti man-spreading” campaigners, who freely took photos of blokes sitting on trains or buses, minding their own business, in order to prove that their claim was legitimate. The revenge came in the form of a Facebook page showing women who eat on the tube, in unflattering images and with even more unflattering comments. This was a pointless thing to do for two reasons.

First, it picked on random – as in innocent – people, not on the ones who had engaged in the man-spreading ridiculousness (perhaps that would’ve been classed as stalking). Those who put the page together had no consideration for that fact and for doing the exact same thing those women had done, without even affecting them. Through that, they were indeed being sexist, taking their revenge on women in general. Secondly, there was a pointless backlash to that as well – a day of ostentatious eating on the tube, organised by some women. There’s nothing to suggest a connection between the people being stranger-shamed in any of these phases of the conflict; each group lashed out, in turn, at complete strangers, thus propagating this phenomenon.

As far as I see it, there are three possible explanations for it.

Infantile behaviour. Those who invented the gadgets we use daily gave a great gift to the world. But cameras, akin to other items such as guns and weed, can be dangerous when left in the hands of every idiot. Stranger-shaming can be perceived as flipping the bird to a certain category, though the implications can be more serious, depending on the trait one picks on. Infantile individuals, who laugh at banalities, such as someone’s fly being open by mistake or someone tripping in the street, think just about anything is worth pointing out. They think it’s tongue-in-cheek and does not cause real harm.Surprising funny blunders out there can be great if no one is harmed – take engrish.com for example. But when you make it personal, specifically targeting an individual and pointing the finger, that is needlessly hurtful.

The disappearance of the concept of privacy. Unlike those who laugh at small accidents, but not maliciously, gawking types (some of them pathological gossips) seem to think they are entitled to see and judge the lives of others through a magnifying glass. I’ve no doubt some do it to escape their own frustrations or conceal their true inclinations (holier-than-thou types often harbour deeply repressed aspects). In their quest to prove their superiority, they cannibalise any available target by virtue signalling. “It’s none of my business” does not reside in their vocabulary. It is no surprise therefore that they approach every new ability to snoop and immortalise trivialities as a good thing.

Social engineering at its best. An intelligent, decent person is rightfully worried when the general acrimony gets to the level of people being ready to attack anyone around them, albeit not physically, just for a mild disapproval. When ordinary citizens become data gatherers, informants on others, for little to no reason. This is the hallmark of totalitarian regimes, of having to look over your shoulder constantly to check who is watching and listening. It’s no wonder that social anxiety is growing and some people are simply unwilling to leave their homes except for strict necessity, while being bombarded with images of others being publicly embarrassed. This truly looks like a technique to make people fear each other and the places they live in or travel to.

Needless to say, not all self-labelled humorous material is for humour’s sake. Stranger shaming can involve anything from poor manners, whether accidental or habitual, to personal life choices, which are nobody’s business. These range from wearing leather, using too much electricity, not reusing reusable items and anything like that, to the way you bring your kids up (gender-designed toys only, no TV, certain restrictions or permission others do not agree with). Here’s where social media comes in. Those who are so quick to share details regarding their private lives should be aware of these vultures seeking to put others on “disgrace lists” for not fitting into their hallucinogenic-tinted utopias.

More and more, we are seeing a push towards standardisation in every aspect of life, where diversity, though so trumpeted nowadays, becomes intolerable. In their own heads, people run themselves through the mincer of public opinion before they dare to open their mouths. Just anything can cause outrage to some closeted fanatic, who becomes flushed with anger at the slightest “trigger”.

We might see a push-back from the slowly cooked communal frog, or we might not. Some of us are more hopeful than others.

I will edit sometime to add relevant examples.

My diary was once private. So was yours.

Disclaimer: This post does not refer to people who are distraught after suffering abuse and use the internet as a last source of comfort. It refers to the far more numerous who have incrementally been trained by our culture to bring every detail of their lives into the public arena, exposing small grievances as important and almost annihilating the notion of privacy, to their own detriment. It is, first of all, self-criticism, for having repeatedly fallen into that pattern, although the details themselves are fictitious.

Sometimes  I wrote in codes. Other times in foreign languages, unhindered by poor grammar or spelling. Most days my diary traveled with me, away from the prying eyes of parents or siblings; I was secretly proud of developing my individuality in ways no one could scrutinise,  judge or mock. The thought of a stranger entering that sacred space was unconscionable.

Most days I would write at my school desk, in the grass, against walls and on benches, with my diary on my knees. I would breath in the seasonal breeze, watch the world go by with the corner of my eye and ask myself: what should I do about this? What do I think today? How do I feel today? What are my values? Have I changed since this summer? Have I changed since last year? Think before you speak and think before you act  were ingrained, which made my world safer and my behaviour more dignified.

Today, I am Nickname Avatar.

I no longer know what I think and how I feel. I no longer know how to handle the smallest conflicts or decisions and how to relate to those in my immediate environment.

I let others vote on that.

So please, vote. Did my husband wrong me by making that unflattering comment? Should I forgive him? Should I tell him what I told all of you last night, while he was sleeping? Hurry up now; he’s taking me out to lunch; we’re having a very important conversation, the result of which I will of course make public while he’s in the restroom.

Sometimes I think they should legalise polygamy. We’ve lived in a polygamous arrangement for years. There are three pillows on the marital bed: one for him, one for me and another for Public Consensus, which goes to bed with us every night, and as you might imagine, it sleeps in the middle. It keeps asking for official recognition; and why wouldn’t it? It’s been part of my life all this time; I invited it.

My parents and grandparents, my aunts and uncles didn’t have perfect marriages. Perhaps because the mere concept is unrealistic, given that it’s human nature to clash in terms of opinions, plans and desires; no two human beings are ever the same. It’s human nature to argue, just as it’s human nature to get over it and move on. If this paragraph sounds naive, how is it that people today demand perfection, by making a mountain out of every cold look, every day of silence, every argument and every other slip-up past generations wouldn’t have bothered their minds with?

No, they didn’t have perfect lives, but at least they had dignity. Even while morose after prolonged arguments, if someone outside the family engaged in criticism or rumours, they would be firm. How dare you say that about my wife! I don’t believe a word of it! Who do you think you are…? What I witnessed would go both ways, as opposed to an abused person not speaking out for fear of repercussions. Personally, I think it’s a beautiful thing. They were aware life wouldn’t be a rose garden and that they’d have numerous clashes in the years to come, but when it came right down to it, they stood up for each other.

Dignity does not reside in proclaiming one’s emotional independence on the internet, shaming others by exposing shared intimacy and proclaiming one’s position of virtuous victim-hood. Not every mistake others make warrants such a response. If you’re active on a forum where people also discuss private matters, you often see members regretting having gone public with a transitory conflict. But it doesn’t keep them from doing it again, or anyone else for that matter.

We are so used to living life in the limelight, albeit an illusory one, down to exposing what we cook for supper on Facebook (though Facebook itself may cause supper to burn to a crisp in the oven, all forgotten). And every aspect of our lives, even said supper if not burnt to a crisp, is subjected to validation, criticism and advice.

Think about it: do we really need all the feedback? Why on God’s green Earth do people expose themselves down to the bone marrow and then complain about social anxiety and the constant fear of others judging them? It’s a paradox. 

The more you expose, the more reasons they have to pass judgement. Why think that on-line communities are somehow different from society in general? Because they proclaim to be so? You wouldn’t undress on a busy street corner, would you? Then why talk to a bunch of anonymous people about your favourite sexual positions? You wouldn’t bring a bottle of wine to work and expand on your worst childhood memories. Why do it on-line then?

A moment’s catharsis really isn’t worth the prospective gossip, mockery, unwanted feedback and criticism. People see the world through their own eyes; they are very likely to confuse your situation with theirs and push you towards a wrong decision.

Reserving a place for Public Consensus at the dinner table or in one’s bed will only cause distance between a person and those who supposedly trust them. Trust involves intimacy, discretion (or used to, to be more precise, as now these concepts are less real to people by the day).

Growing and learning together, supporting and defending each other against the adversities of the world leads to strong characters, to enduring relationships, as previous generations have proved. One has a different take on life when knowing at the end of the day there are people to always rely on, no matter what.

And what do we see today?

We see very lonely people, trying to figure out who they can trust, analysing others’ past transgressions down to small details. We see those who spend holidays with their cats, looking up disorders they can label their family members with for having ignored them or hurt them fifteen years before. And yes, in some situations that is logical, yet we can no longer deny this has become a trend, engulfing some who would otherwise live normal lives.

Paradoxically, in this age of befriending others so fast you can tell them anything about yourself within minutes, so many are utterly alone and aware of it.

Deep down, they know the on-line networks they have joined are volatile and that they won’t grow old still talking to their friends of conjuncture. On occasion, one finds a genuine friend, but that is a rare gem. It’s basically like going to a pub every night to meet strangers and share your stories with them, as all the lights at home are out.

In isolation, we fill our time with so-called entertainment, flicking through crime stories, detective series on gruesome murders, documentaries on how to spot liars, cheaters & Co, shocking psychopaths, depressing news or dramas full of pain and dysfunctional families. The end result of this flood, I suspect, is a raised level of paranoia.

How will western societies hold together if people become evermore isolated in real life? Our elders keep saying that if the family is dismembered, society as a whole will follow. I believe we are living through those times now – within the family unit, people have become intolerant and intolerable at the same time.

Cooperation is a strange notion nowadays; meeting people halfway; assuming our biological gender roles and taking on adult responsibilities in adulthood – all these common sense aspects have been overrun by the sense of entitlement our culture feeds day in and day out. You deserve more! You’re worth more! You’re a winner; don’t let losers drag you down! You’re the best; don’t settle for less!  Again, I’m not talking about people in abusive situations here; they obviously deserve better. One can climb onto the rooftop and shout they are empowered by cutting ties left and right, for the whole world to hear; deep down there will still be a stifled cry of emptiness or regret.

The fact remains that every time we metaphorically undress for all to see, the world chews us into small bits and spits us out again; our image of ourselves is altered. Many times the responses we get induce more anxiety than we already had.

We cringe when watching film depictions of ancient trials for private ”crimes” (such as adultery ), where people’s intimacy is humiliatingly discussed before a gawking, finger-pointing crowd – and yet subject ourselves and our loved ones to the modern equivalent on the internet, under the false blanket of anonymity. And very often, it turns into another hindrance in the way of reconciliation; a guilt-inducing, needless one. 

Psychopath-Free-For-All on Your Private Data

If you’re thinking about joining Psychopath Free because it’s such a safe community, please read this and save yourself a very likely headache.

By far the most vicious, arrogant and irrational description of the use of private info, the PF policy has been embellished several times, each time giving staff more prerogatives to misuse your information and abuse your trust.

Out of the ten rules put before prospective new members, only one refers to their implicit acknowledgement that they will inform authorities if you post about committing suicide. The rules never mention their discretionary sharing of your information with the owners or administrators of other websites to check out members they think show suspicious behaviour. But another forum page, referring to ”trolls”, indicates this is common practice:

I want to assure you that there were reasons beyond what other forum members saw or knew about, so some may have appeared to be unjustified, but they were not. Harassing other members through private messages, numerous complaints from people sent to us privately, known trouble-makers from other sites who pretend to be someone else using a different alias, people who have a reputation from other forums of trying to intentionally discredit those websites and the people running them, and people who are here merely for the purposes of “researching” the rest of us without our permission. Others have asked to be removed for personal reasons. We take security very seriously here, and we will not allow trolls, psychopaths, or people with a hidden agenda to try and derail what we are doing here and upset or re-traumatize the members.

What they are basically saying is they routinely try to find matching profiles of trouble makers and collaborate with other sites in this detective work.

But how would they find them in a time-effective way? If you’re a troll and you’re posting under a different alias, you probably made up a different story as well. Not that they would have time to remember the stories posted by tens of thousands of people. So how do they determine if you were ever active on those specific sites they collaborate with?

Simples, as Alexander the meerkat would say. Mere logic tells me they must use data which is very relevant and easily comparable, such as one’s IP and location – shared with third parties without that person’s knowledge or permission. If even aliases differ, there’s simply no other way to verify a match than these details.

When they register on a forum people often think the provision of data sharing only applies to authorities and will be used in exceptional situations. Most don’t register with any intention of being malicious so they think it will never apply to them. That is not the case with PF  – what they do is arrogant and dangerous; not to mention paranoid. It borders on stalking; it exceeds the common sense limits forum administrators are generally known to have.

In my view, they are seeking to play out the same scenario time and time again – that of finding people with ASPD and removing them from their entourage, as well as claiming to protect others from them. It’s a never-ending game they play and they seek out cannon fodder to keep it going. That’s how the admin gleefully admits he would rather receive ten potentially false reports in one day than receive none. Each report gives him a chance to play detective and invade the privacy of a most likely innocent person.

They will actually try to determine if you’re a psychopath just because you contradicted them or insulted them or their ”mission”.  This is the level and true character of the people you are looking to for advice on how to handle your relationships with others.

Wait, it gets even better.  Perhaps you’ve noticed a few threads about cults on the forum and feel safe in your assumption that staff denounce such groups and their practices.

Unbeknownst to some members, especially new ones, the security of the forum was entrusted to a doomsday cult known as  Cassiopaea, its leaders claiming to channel space aliens. One has to trust the realism and good judgement of these people, right…? This cult is known to organise really vicious smear campaigns against public figures or ex-members who pose an image threat to their financial – pardon me, spiritual – mission.

While they rake your trash hoping to find some dirt, they hypocritically insist you don’t reveal too much on the forum about yourself (details which could help others identify you), for you own protection. This would almost be funny if it weren’t so disgusting.

Now for some heart-warming stuff in defence of those who have been victimised by deranged individuals:

”We are here to heal, not to argue. I will not tolerate the disrespect or ridicule of another member. This is the one moment when I will stop being friendly and immediately suggest a ban – no survivor deserves more of this garbage after what we’ve been through. ” Peace

”Here at PF we have a zero tolerance policy for this kind of behavior. Call me a nazi communist fascist dictator, I don’t give a crap. We are all very well versed to the methods of manipulators who shift blame, minimize feelings, and mock others. ” Peace

”In case anyone wonders why we deal with trolls and other frauds strongly: they detract from the real comments of members who are here for sincere reasons. No contact with imposters! ” Victoria

Hence, if you call someone an imposter in public, dismissing or minimising their experience of abuse, you are banned immediately.

But if you do so in private, by reporting them and putting the PF Stasi on their backside, you are congratulated for helping to keep the community safe, even if your target turns out to be genuine. Your act of falsely accusing that person is no different in either situation, yet the outcome is.

How’s that for a mind fuck?

Remember all this is coming from self-proclaimed advocates of the defamed, who so deeply ”feel” for those who are targeted by smear campaigns and dismissed as crazy. Who so ”understand” what it’s like for someone in control to tarnish one’s image before a large group.

UPDATE

There’s a three year old thread I’ve only come across now; priceless in terms of the sheer hypocrisy. The emphasis on point 3 is mine.

“Dear Friends on PF:

The following announcement comes from a great suggestion by DawnG. As you know, PsychopathFree is a community for people to heal from relationships with a psychopath, and we are all here to support one another, start our own personal recovery and to learn.

This is a place to meet amazing people from all over the world who also share lessons and happiness that comes as recovery progress and as we maintain NC.

Most important for us all is to maintain your own privacy and safety, as well as to communicate with each other in a respectful manner. We wish to remind you that PsychopathFree welcomes people with different backgrounds, age and experiences – we expect from members to be sensitive to each other stories and opinions.

However, due to the content nature of PsychopathFree, at times there are impostors, mentally imbalanced people, fakes, troublemakers, and predators who come to register as well. The Administrators do their best to remove these people from the forum, but there are things that you might want to keep in mind in order to perseve your own safety and peace of mind.

In this community you always have a right to:

1. Say “no” to any requests, suggestions, or whatever you might come across, publicly or privately, that make you feel uncomfortable.

2. Not answer a private message or a friend request. Beginning today, we will be changing the default PM setting to “Receive Messages from Contacts and Moderators Only”. You may also turn off Private Messaging altogether, if that is your preference. If you are 100% comfortable dealing with unsolicited PM’s from any member, you may return to the old “Receive All Messages” option. These can all be found in the User Control Panel

3. Not give out your name or other identifying information to anyone, including the Administrators. This includes your country of origin, revealing story specifics, email/Facebook contact information, pictures of yourself, and workplace details. You are free to share any this information with anyone whom you have taken the time to deem trustworthy and non-threatening.

In addition, we would like to ask that you never post pictures of the psychopath you had relationship with, because this place is about your own personal healing and we would like you to stay focused on yourself. This is not a place for revealing and exposing.

If you are unsure about another member for ANY reason, feel free to ask or alert an Administrator by private message, or by reporting a post/PM. We have never judged any queries or concerns regarding safety. Your comments will always remain anonymous and we will appreciate it.

We hope that we can all participate in making this a safe place for everyone.

Have a good PsychopathFree day!”

This is Peace’s post, right after the one mentioned above (emphasis also mine):

“Thank you, MorningAfter – this is perfect! We really needed an expansion to the whole “Trolls on PF” topic. There are a lot of people who aren’t trolls but still make others feel uncomfortable. Private messages are a great friend-building tool, but they’re also a sneaky way for people to circumvent admins and other safety-conscious members.

Member safety will always be the top priority here. There is absolutely no place for trolls, drama queens, data-gatherers, manipulators, and pseudo experts. We crack down hard on these, because that’s what keeps the PF member base safe & uniquely pleasant.”

Notice that they fit into all these categories themselves, aside from trolls (as they obviously can’t troll their own website).

Is that so then? You have the right to deny them information – when in fact they take it behind your back without asking, going much further than one would ever imagine when registering?

The fact that they left this post up is proof that they’re actually lying to members (not that it hadn’t been established already). It’s no longer omission or an ambiguous situation – it’s plain lying.