Ms. Olga, perhaps part of your problem is that real-life concepts like "bullying" and "stalking" don't universally map to cyber-life the way you expect them to.
First of all, I don't see it as solely "my" problem. The worst of the trollish behaviour I've seen here hasn't been directed toward me, personally. But it has concerned me enough to believe it warranted discussion by the forum community. I see the airing of such issues, bringing them out in the open, as a very healthy thing. Even if immediate "solutions" cannot be found. (I'm a realist.) It is the acknowledgment
that such behaviour is actually happening here & the discussion of it within the broad community that's the important thing to me.
Take bullying: on a schoolyard, bullies subject their victims through physical violence, or credible threats of physical violence. How does that map to cyber- life? How does one swing a fist online? One doesn't. It's all just words.
You may have hit one something by your school analogy, Thomas. It works for me, anyway.
The most damaging school bullying I've witnessed has actually not been of the physical variety, but more of the psychological variety ... the persistent, systematic undermining of the victim's self esteem by the school bully or (often) group of bullies. (Not that much different to the intentions of a particularly nasty cyber bully, or troll, really.)
As teachers we are constantly "working on" the perpetrators of such bullying. We have no choice really. Where would that leave the victims of the bullying, saying nothing of the bullies themselves, if we didn't? You work on the premise that everyone, even the worst bully, must have some redeeming features there, somewhere. And often they do.
Possibly a life-long work habit of interacting with bullies in such ways has influenced how I interact with people in general? (Actually I do
believe that most people have redeeming qualities.) So perhaps that's how come I find myself interacting with trolls (in my "lovely" way
) when some sort of reasoned interaction is actually possible?
And don't worry about them ruining threads.
But I do, you see.
Because the good threads are the reason why I come here. (Not the only reason, of course. I also really like a number of A2Kers I've gotten to know over the years.) But if the thread discussions that keep me interested are being ruined by systematic destructive behaviour, well there's less enjoyment of the experience & less reason to be here. Simple as that for me, really.
Threads are not schoolyards ..
No, they're not. And cyber bullies are not children, either. Agreed.
It honestly didn't occur to me till reading some posts to this thread that what I might consider offensive posting behaviour might actually be entertainment to some others. (As I said in an earlier post, I seem to be a bit of a slow learner about such cyber issues. Duh) That it might actually be part of then fun for them. I get it now.
If this thought makes you uncomfortable, you need to reconsider what, and how much, you're posting here.
I think you might be right about this, Thomas. It is definitely something that I'm seriously thinking about.