Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Debating the psychology of blogging and stalking

Fascinating piece - and an equally fascinating subsequent discussion - about FJL and a possible explanation as to how and why the stalking of Rachel has taken place.

Of course we're all a little narcissistic in spilling our thoughts to the world online, and the difficulties of any single theory defining the actions of an individual human are clear. BUT, those elements aside where does factual description tip over into libellious assault? We're obviously gone well beyond the point of simple name-calling or "descriptors you dislike" (even if that's how the commentor Gerard feels content to define them).

Thought provoking anyway: the sidebar button will hopefully come down soon. It's taken a lot to get it to this point and with a limited amount of coverage from Rachel herself (if with an inspiringly supportive response from other bloggers). The internet is a powerful place though and this highlights the impact it can have.


Fidothedog said...

The woman is as creepy as John Wayne Gacy in his clown outfit, mad as a hatstand.

Lisa Rullsenberg said...

I've not met many "mad hatstands", but I take your point!

I think when it becomes personal; when the time invested in FJLs responses far exceeds the original perceived 'provocation' requiring a refuting statement; when the spiral of responses cannot be broken by either action (replying further, involving others or even formal authorities) or inaction (ignoring and hoping the problem will go away), then we've reached a point where we can no longer use any mental ill-health as an excuse for toleration.

From an excessively neutral perspective both FJL and Rachel deserve to not be on the receiving end of many (unwarranted) barrage of contact. The problem is that its hard to be neutral about a situation that has led to a successful prosecution and evasion from the law. Especially when ongoing contact and comment is precisely what led to the prosecution in the first place.

I'm sad for all concerned, but in truth I feel certain I am on the side of the angels in feeling greater sadness for Rachel.

I just want to be able to take the button down because we would no longer need it, because Rachel feels safe and FJL is receiving appropriate sentencing and, crucially, support. Until that happens though, the button stays.