Here's a little personal context -
10-12 years ago I was a regular on the Amazon forums. I had written a fair number of reviews, and got involved in the reviewer forums, where there were several of the top reviewers - there were reviewer rankings at that time which were a big deal, you could get LOTS of free stuff out of it, some people got $10,000+ worth of free stuff to review per year direct from manufacturers. Anyway it was almost totally unregulated and there certainly was no ignore function IIRC, or it was useless. One of the things we used to do quite a lot was to point out fake reviews and reviewers to each other, and occasionally try to push Amazon into doing something about it, which they almost never did. $$$ is way more important than integrity. But one guy - who I think was in the top 50 overall reviewers at the time (out of millions) or maybe even top 10 - we found to have plagiarized virtually 100% of his 4,000+ reviews. It was easy to track him because nearly everything he reviewed was about gay and/or Jewish or Southern (USA) issues, it was nearly all books, and most of them had very few other reviews. And he stole all of his stuff, and was getting rewarded for it with lots of free shit. We notified Amazon over and over, they did nothing. THEN he came onto the forum and started threatening us, and using lots of vile racist and misogynist invective - he was gay and Jewish himself, but he was perfectly ok attacking black or Hispanic or Asian people or women. Eventually he started doxxing people, including me (though he hilariously got my info 100% wrong), and threatening to kill us. Amazon still didn't do anything - until they found he'd plagiarized some NYT reviews and they started worrying about legal action. Eventually he did get booted entirely, all his reviews removed, and I think he was investigated by the cops.
In the 2 years before the IMDb forums self-destructed, there was a particularly awful troll who started posting heavily on the two forums - Film General and the Classics Board - that I frequented. He had dozens of names that I and others figured out - I think around 70-80 that I figured out belonged either to him or someone allied with him, but of course there were probably more, because he had many accounts that were wiped within 24 hours. He also threatened to doxx me and wipe my account out - and my account was given the "red letters of death" over and over during this period, meaning that I'd been reported multiple times and I'd best be careful. This person attacked lots of people - he was a fairly sophisticated troll so there were lots of different gimmicks he used to build support for his trolling and build hatred for the people he'd decided to attack - but I think I and a user who last went by "Dusty6" were the most frequent targets. Dusty killed himself during this period - for reasons not having anything to do with the trolling I should be clear - and this troll continued to attack and mock him. He got many of my threads wiped on the Classics board, and he was joined (spiritually you might say) by another troll in the last couple of years who usurped one of my yearly polls and posted the results himself, because he was pissed that I wouldn't allow his (clearly fake - he posted lists of all lost or nonexistent films) participation in another poll. IMDb DID have an ignore function, and it also had a report function, but it was all fairly useless, and this is much of the reason why they ended up closing the forums - it was clear that the only way for them to have non-troll-racism-etc infected forums was to spend some money, which they adamantly were against doing.
Now when they closed the forums of course those people (like me) that were regulars all migrated to other platforms (like this one). The two IMDb trolls I just mentioned had lots of support from people - including somebody who has since become a regular here. This particular person always comes off as a nice, polite person, but he always loved to interact with even the worst people on IMDb, as long as they weren't insulting or using nasty language (and again, trolls had multiple accounts, and often would have a "nice" one that was less abrasive and overtly insulting, which wasn't hard to figure out if you were paying attention); either he is terribly naive, the kind of person who thinks you're not a racist if you don't use the n-word, or dissembling in his behavior. Because anybody on those forums as much as he or I were could see that these same people kept coming back, changing their names, and attacking me and others, over and over, trying to get us wiped out, and in the case of the first IMDb troll I mentioned, trying to wipe out the forums altogether; he had in fact nearly destroyed a forum devoted to chess before moving on to IMDb. This same troll-sympathizer now on this forum also said a lot of pretty reactionary things over the 5 years or more I've "known" him (like being against gay marriage just because "tradition"), and apparently still thinks our current fascist Pres is a good guy. So though I gave him the benefit of the doubt after joining this forum - and frankly over time sort of forgot about some of the bad stuff from IMDb - I have to say I consider him a very bad actor, at the best like I said hopelessly naive, at worst a terrible bigot and supporter of abusive assholes. Because "free speech", y'know? Well, I'm not interested in his particular conception of free speech, and I'm not interested in reading anything he has to say anymore, even if he does have good taste in movies. The whole picture is important.
So I've taken a LOT of abuse from people online, and seen others take a lot more than I have. And yeah, this forum is different, and we have very few people like the ones I've mentioned. But they can still cause harm by trolling or attacking people, and frankly I don't think it should be entirely or even mostly on us to grow thicker skins, as Onderhond seems to imply is the right thing. Just because we don't want to interact with a few people - I have 5 people on ignore, and two of them don't post much at all anymore - does not mean we're' in little bubbles or crybabies; it's not an either/or where you let anybody say anything or you clamp down on everybody's "free speech". And in the real world we have some choice in whom to associate with and to ignore, so I'm not sure why cyberspace, which over the last year has become the only world for a lot of us, should be radically different.
Last edited by OldAle1
on January 11th, 2021, 3:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.