I don’t like forwarding negative topics on social networks such as Facebook, largely because of an internal intuition that has since been confirmed scientifically about how emotions are contagious ( http://www.scientificamerican.com/…/facebook-emotions…/ ). Instead, I prefer to focus on solutions and the positive.

However, this particular article crossed my domains on so many different levels I felt a need to pass it on.

• I have a career of owing, moderating and participating in online communities.

• I have long experience with and have written and taught about trolls and trolling.

• I try in my own small way to be a positive influence on gender issues (with some recent success in venues as http://www.iOSDevCamp.com ).

• I highly respect the person being affected, Kathy Sierra @SeriousPony, who writes about many of the diverse topics that I write about in my own blog (http://www.LifeWithAlacrity.com), including java development, teaching, game design, user interface, psychology, etc. (as well as many more topics that I don’t write about, like horses 😉).

• Recent events are connecting me more to my roots in the online privacy movement. I know there isn’t an easy solution to this problem, but I’m not even sure that there is a hard solution. I seek answers.

KEYQUOTE: “The real problem — as my first harasser described — was that others were beginning to pay attention to me. He wrote as if mere exposure to my work was harming his world.

But here’s the key: it turned out he wasn’t outraged about my work. His rage was because, in his mind, my work didn’t deserve the attention. Spoiler alert: “deserve” and “attention” are at the heart.” …

“I now believe the most dangerous time for a woman with online visibility is the point at which others are seen to be listening, “following”, “liking”, “favoriting”, retweeting. In other words, the point at which her readers have (in the troll’s mind) “drunk the Koolaid”. Apparently, that just can’t be allowed.

From the hater’s POV, you (the Koolaid server) do not “deserve” that attention. You are “stealing” an audience. From their angry, frustrated point of view, the idea that others listen to you is insanity.”

Kathy Sierra of Serious Pony on Trolls

Life With Alacrity

© Christopher Allen