Monday, January 11, 2010

Here’s The Problem, Roblem

RoblemFails
In case you’ve been hiding under a rock, and don’t know, Plurk is a social networking website that a large number of SecondLife residents use to communicate and network outside of SL.  As you might imagine, drama abounds!  And while I normally afford things I read on Plurk the appropriate amount of deference, which is none, a series of events recently transpired that I found profoundly troubling.
Someone or a group of people signed up for a Plurk account under the nickname “SLFashionFails” and proceeded to post links to pictures and images from various SecondLife fashion blogs with colorful commentary that I suspect was intended to be humorous, though certainly contentious.  Word of the “SLFashionFails” account spread and there was no shortage of opinions.  When a SecondLife resident that I know only as “Roblem Hogarth” learned about the “SLFashionFails” timeline, he took to his own timeline and blasted “SLFashionFails” as being filled with “anonymous … hate” and let his Plurk followers know that “we can all see who you are, I give you all 24 hours to shun this krap…”  My understanding is that a number of people were encouraged or conspired to file abuse reports with Plurk regarding the “SLFashionFails” account in an attempt to have it removed from Plurk altogether.  The “SLFashionFails” account was ultimately banned.  “Roblem Hogarth” discussed the issue in more detail on his blog.  “Roblem” takes issue with “SLFashionFails” because it is (1) “hate” speech by (2) someone who prefers to remain anonymous.
I saw the handful of posts on the “SLFashionFails” timeline and, personally, didn’t find it anymore offensive than most of the content on Saturday Night Live or Comedy Central.  And while “Roblem” suggests that the person or people behind “SLFashionFails” were hate-filled homophobic, racists, I don’t think that using the word “queer” or uttering the words “black” and “white” in the same sentence make it so.  In fact, I’m pretty sure that people who have actually been victims of hate, like survivors of the Holocaust or Matthew Shepard’s family, would be pretty pissed that you trivialized their experiences and losses by putting them in the same category as people making fun of prim hair and pixel skin.  And even if “SLFashionFails” was fueled by bona fide hate, they have the right to speak freely.  They also have the right to speak anonymously.
Forget for a moment that “Roblem” uses revenue from SecondLife, where a huge number of people flock to find comfort in an anonymous escape from their real identities, to make “the real money to pay for [his] real rent and groceries.”  There are a multitude of extraordinarily valuable and meaningful reasons to write, speak, and vote anonymously.  Whistleblowers keeping corporate America honest, unpopular people who want their ideas to be given a fair shake, human rights activists and political rebels the world over represent only a fraction of a percent of the people that rely on anonymity to make their voices heard against the tyranny of the majority.  Mark Twain, Voltaire, George Sand, and Benjamin Franklin are either pseudonyms or people who used pseudonyms to express themselves.  John Jay, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison signed the Federalist Papers only as “Publius.”  The Supreme Court has repeatedly recognized a constitutionally-protected right to speak anonymously, courtesy of the First Amendment.
No, “SLFashionFails” isn’t a corporate whistleblower or Voltaire.  But you can’t have just a little bit of free speech anymore than you can be a little pregnant.  So next time someone decides to show his or her ass anonymously, perhaps you should do the opposite of what they want you to do and disregard what they say or write.  And if you jumped on the bandwagon to silence “SLFashionFails” then maybe you should consider what might happen if you ever decide to step left when everyone else is stepping right.

20 comments:

Anya said...

Well put. Free speech doesn't just belong to the people who agree with us.

Cajsa Lilliehook said...

I get so tired of people who think freedom of speech means freedom from criticism and opposition to their speech. Moreover, community opposition to speech is not a violation of any rights.No FBI agent carted SLFAshionFails off to a gulag. Plurk has terms of service and a thousand complaints would not have bumped SLFashionFails if it had not violated TOS.

EnCore Mayne said...

welcome to the powers that be. my own fashion blog was "hit" with this torrent of self righteous moralists who deign herd the sheeple to their way of thinking. i'm thinking your blog's next. good go girl. should you continue (if you are allowed) i'd just like to say...

Anonymous said...

Finally some sane people. Great post!

Isabeal Jupiter said...

What SNL and Comedy Central do isn't anonymous. They face the consequences of their actions.

Anonymous said...

And if your real name was "Isabeal Jupiter", you wouldn't be anonymous either. A secondlife identity doesn't make you less anonymous, it's the internet, anyone can be anyone.

Tess said...

It's absolutely moronic to compare or even suggest that this equates to any type of mass atrocity or focused attack on a person because of their sexual orientation and for YOU to do so mocks them, not what Roblem said in his plurk. What I will say on this matter is that even a little bullying and meaness is unacceptable. Where does it stop? Is it ok for someone to have an anonymous flickr called "the worst shit in SL" and post pictures of your work and if you think so, what kind of person are you? How about just a little gay bashing...is that ok? SL fashion fails clearly violated the plurk TOS and they were reported. And yes having an identity, a business in SL or a presence even under a second life name makes you responsible for your actions because I can mute you, avoid you and ban you from my properties. It's laughable that you think anyone, especially us have more power than that and to say so is at most, paranoid. Several people spoke out against this plurk, not just Roblem. God forbid people show empathy or feelings. You can't turn this around and say he was the instigator when what he did was stand up to an anonymous bully who didn't have the guts to put even their SL name behind their mockery. Not one person was hurt by taking it down and if you can name the person that was I would be very surprised. No one's free speech was "violated" It wouldn't even have been an issue if it was important, or positive or poignant. It was simply bashing for no reason. I'm sure lots of you enjoy laughing and pointing fingers at others, but it is certainly my right to report it if it violates TOS and if it hadn't it would still be there regardless of how many complained. The bullying has to stop. Criticism and satire where it is relevant and responsible are necessary but this bullying joke of a plurk was neither. For you to use it as a platform to attack someone you don't agree with, citing world events that have no relevance is sad. You have no idea what we stand for in RL or what we fight for outside of SL.

Roblem Hogarth said...

http://roblemrants.blogspot.com/2010/01/slfashionfails-etc.html

nimilsucks said...

I don't agree with Roblem, therefore I am 'DOING IT WRONG'.

I can only say 'butthurt' so many times.

Hmm, I say chaps what's next; let's bombard the web host for theinternetisterrible.com and get it taken down, for poking fun at people on the internets?

People have to take the rough with the smooth. Your content in second life will be liked, disliked, hated or mocked. Be prepared, that's all. I'm just sick of these ten-a-penny 'content creators', saying that their rep is ruined because of an inconsequential plurk. If you actually have any talent and make real monies from selling in second life, then great, go you...but seriously...you, you know who you are...'I sell 2 t-shirts a day, therefore I am having an inappropriately strong negative emotional response from a perceived personal insult because of these comments'. Step off, thankyouverymuch.

What I find most disturbing about this scenario, is that all the self-righteous, SL users need to get up in arms about this plurk account(Roblem seems to think that I am defending this plurker or something, I dunno). I don't see everyone rallying about to get the What the Fug blog taken down. Take one down, why not take 'em all? That's seems fair, no?

Oh, Roblem, you can find me in SL as Xtasy Cordoso.

(~nimilsucks - tech solutions of a strange fellow I once knew)

Roblem Hogarth said...

(really getting borred with you nimilsucks, just saying.)

Bottom line here is Plurk management saw the same Plurk TOS violations that several of us saw on “SLFashionFails”. So this is not a First amendment, Freedom of speech, Censorship case at all. When whomever, signed up for the Plurk Service, they agreed to the terms of that service, when they violated it, the service was taken away.

Beyond that “SHYAYN LUSCH” it’s nice that you,“…don’t think that using the word “queer” or uttering the words “black”…” is offensive, but you know others would be offended by my reaction to “SLFashionFails”. If you bothered to read my blog post instead of just react to it, you would have read that I feel there are times being anonymous is a needed and other time it’s just a way to have no consequences to your actions. Personally I’m going to put “SLFashionFails” in the no consequences column.

Now standing up for what I think is right as myself in this case gotten myself called a “Lynch Mob” a “Nazi” and now I see I have my own Technorati Tag, “roblemhogarthfails”, cute. Roblem Hogarth is not one of the “powers that be” by a long shot, but I’ll keep standing up for what I believe in rather than ignoring or disregarding it as you have suggested we do. After all “SHYAYN LUSCH”, that’s what you are doing here, right?

nimilsucks said...

butthurt

Anonymous said...

butthurt

nimil said...

why exactly does someone have a name on here stating i suck O_o

just wanted to mention that i am in no way this "nimil sucks" person. who ever they are is using my name to piss me off most likely.

personally i have no comment on the subject this blog is about.

Anonymous said...

Well all-my-eye-and-peggy-martin! You'd have to be daft-as-a-bush to believe that you're anonymous these days, right? But the way I see it, someone always wants to throw a spanner-in-the-works.

I for one am sick of these nosey parkers always coming along and saying they're sick of something. hard-cheese for you!

People that spend their time making things in second life are usually happy to hear criticism. That has nothing to do with being mean spirited, hateful, or vulgar for lack of having better talent yourself.

Oh but it's always easy to take the mick when you're the type of person that would laugh to see a pudding crawl.

Tess said...

To the last anonymous poster. Firstly your colloquial antiquated euphemisms actually lost me while you tried to make a point that missed it's mark completely. There is a very LARGE difference between valid criticism and telling someone they would commit suicide if they bought a particular product or saying that an entire group of RPers in SL are "queer" or making derogatory remarks about Native Americans. That's not criticism, thats incitement and it IS hateful and mean spirited and against the terms of service of plurk. But I can tell from your comment that you would rather defend people like that than oppose them and that's fine if that's how you feel, in the same way that I can have my opinion but the nut is it doesn't matter! If someone wants to say that in a format they pay for where they can spout off any personal vitriol they like, then go for it. Plurk as well as several feeds and blog hosts have TOS that do not allow it.

Anonymous said...

You read that wrong Tess.

Tess said...

After reading back over your comment and googling a few of the phrases and de-scrambling a bit I understand I think lol. Apologies to you. I was on the defensive. It's been a familiar position the past few days and I did get lost in the colloquialisms. The comment in general still stands though. Everyone has opinions and they are entitled to them for sure. I'm sorry I misunderstood yours.

Anonymous said...

I believe that if we all started reading what the other person says, carefully and to the point, none of this would be going on.

Argh. said...

@nimil

My brother is called nimil and he sucks. A lot.
No hard feelings, but not trying to piss you off.

A Snoodle said...

Jesus H Christ...when did the feeds become your personal Blog? Sick of seeing you already!