Who’s Bullying Whom?

Cyber-BullyingToday I observed a conversation between people online.  I’ve copied it here because it’s an interesting lead-in to the following questions:

(A) Is there bullying taking place here?  If so, (B) Who is the bully, and (C) who is their target?

I’ve removed references to names and business, because I don’t want to bias anyone while reading this; though I would very much like to read what you all think:


A: I think I may just have to make a point of visiting X and Y-ing there to support their owner’s right to free speech.  At least the wait won’t be too long…

B: Once again an infuriating misuse and lack of the concept or meaning of the right of “free speech”. You would be supporting him because you agree with what he said while exercising his right to free speech, A. In the IDENTICAL demonstration of free speech that I was exposed to, I can form an opinion that a prudent business move would be to keep his politics in the voting booth, shut his beak, get back into the kitchen and cook up some [product]. Just because I find him to be bigotted and reject his ideals with how I spend my dollars, his right of free speech was unchanged by the result of our different reactions to what he had to say. I should have the right and freedom to avoid businesses that hold morals and values I find questionable. I would never have a clue, nor even the inclination to find out the political views of who is churning out the latest heart attack on a plate creeping up from the USA. Freedom of speech is a double edged sword to wield. I personally would want everyone’s business, stop running my mouth and ruffling feathers, and take the buckets of money to a retreat and regail those in attendence with my irrelevent musings about something he has no stake or vested interest in.

There is not one country in the world that has legislation stating that a law regarding free speech makes them immune from people finding them morally repugnant and compelling people to support their business. This really isn’t genius level concepts we are discussing, A. His protection of the right to free speech could be best illustrated as being violated if he spoke out against the gay community and the government inspectors just start failing his [product] deliveries for what he said, or he spent a night in jail every time he sent a homophobic tweet.

Just another day in the contradictory idiology of an irrational theist. “I don’t like what you say or believe, therefore legislation banning it from my life is needed”, versus “I am allowed to make a speech about any topic I would like in a public place. If people don’t agree with me and choose not to buy my unrelated product, my right of free speech has been violated”.

However, the solace I find in the astounding ignorance is that your dollar contribution to purchase their [product] not only does nothing to support free speech. It just greases the pockets of an already wealthy opinionated American chain owner who is merely too chicken brained to stick to what he knows best. Contribution to [issue] rates. Go ‘Murica!

D: I couldn’t give a rat’s ass what they company believes. It’s damn good [product].

B: I wouldn’t give a rat’s ass either. I do not make a habit of requesting a list of ownership ideology when ordering food from a [establishment]. I would be curious, however, D, to hear how you would feel about the same chain saying that they did not agree with Christianity, that it was a lie and against the values of his company to be a Christian. Would you still go in and maw down the [product] because it was tasty? Or are you honest enough to admit that maybe….just maybe…a [establishment] making sweeping statements against any group of people for the pure indulgence of the owner needing to squak an unrelated personal opinion as included in company culture make you second guess trying it? I obviously have to take you at the word of your answer, so you can lie to me if you want. If you believe in God you can’t lie to him and you shouldn’t prefer to lie to yourself. The only part of your statement is that it doesn’t matter what the owner of X thinks or believes about homosexuality, Christianity, Korean foreign policy, the price of the average hotel room in Bali. or the going rate for a 12-year-old prostitute in Bangkok. That is, until acting like a blustering Fog Horn Leg Horn and strutting around sqwaking it around like anything he publicly opines on is any more important than any of the rest of us. He feels a bizarre and unexplicalbe need to tell us. I wouldn’t patronize a [establishment] that discriminates, period. It should matter first of all to you that your money flies out of your wallet and heads straight down south into the hands of a very arrogant American blowhard. But hey! Some of us really don’t care about bigger pictures. [product] good……

You do differ enough from most Christians I have met before. You are honest enough to say your would bury your face in it if it was smoked in the paper of ancient bibles. Because it is damned good [product].

D: If I avoided businesses that practiced policies/beliefs that ran counter to my Christian beliefs, I would have a tough time shopping and Y-ing. There is only one issue that causes me to initiate my own boycott – against companies that themselves are boycotting the oil sands. They do it not out of a sense of ‘good’ (facts is facts), but because it is fashionable. It’s a marketing ploy on their part, it’s provincial pride on mine.

B: We all have our lines in the sand. I think that there is a book somewhere that talks about some guidelines on that.

New tagline! “Give a man some gas, he will drive a compact car to work for a day. Teach a man to extract gasoline from bitumen, and the holy gift of daily abundance kind of seems like a rip off when you can drive a Hummer everywhere while watching Madagascar and feasting on African endangered rhino”. Ah, well. If that is your testimony.

B: And don’t fool yourself. X is a marketing machine. You aren’t going to stuff ethical and balanced people full of [product]. They tend to go [a different product].

D: lol! Everything in moderation. Except Guinness. Always lots of Guinness.

B: The Slogan used to be “It will put a shine on your shit!” Although I heard that from my parents and they had suspect info on Santa.

A: B – to be blunt, you are attempting to hurt someone for expressing an opinion. In that fashion, you are ACTING in a bigoted manner. X expressed an unpopular opinion, and one I disagree with; however there is no evidence they are discriminating against anyone.

Therefore, I would be far more inclined to boycott your place of business than X.

B: Ah A. We just got finished listening to the podcast with you, [the owner of this page] and C. We put it off as we were baffled at the selection of his two biggest thread bullies to discuss online behaviour etiquette. It was not shocking in it’s lack of introspection or personal behaviour ownership.

Pull a typical “A” and block me like everyone else who crosses you or asks you a question. OR, you could read what you wrote and what my response was. My other posts were *Gasp* not directed at you but an exchange with D. Your post clearly demonstrates that you do not understand free speech or you are of the mind set I very respectfully laid out in my response pointing out you were in error and did not either understand or make clear that “free speech” and “consequence free” speech are not the same. Very basic. However your historical record of non-insulting discourse does not make me optimistic. AS CLEARLY STATED, without knowing it was me and dragging the old chip on your shoulder along that you carry every time I make even a partially valid point you had missed, you would eat at my hypothetical business. Because all would be welcome. I am not a “bully & block” style girl. Refusing to patronize a business owned by me because I made a valid counterpoint and it hurt your feelings does not make me mean. It makes you a man quick to jump to conclusions. I am really not sure where you get the idea that disagreeing with the OUTSPOKEN idea of a business owner makes me a bigot. It makes me believe you do not understand some basic fundamentals. It is also causing blog migrations as I realize I just value my time more than your constant attacks and bullying when presented with a differing idea or an accepted dictionary definition. It’s ok. Use me as today’s punching bag, A. I worked nights, so I will be asleep and you will display, again, the problems with many people’s online behaviour. This all gets printed on the internet for other people to see. You know that, right?

A: First, ACTING to harm another based on their opinion is an ACT of bigotry. Holding and expressing a bigoted opinion is bad, of course, but acting in a bigoted manner is far worse.

People have a right to hold and express bigoted opinions.

But I find your response extremely rich – C and I are “thread bullies” for expressing and defending our opinions? Last I checked, I have never personally insulted or attacked you, nor have I advocated you come to harm, or otherwise caused you grief in a personal way outside of a heated debate in a message forum.

Nice try, though…

By the way, you do know that one of the first moves an online bully makes is claim their victim is bullying them, right?

B: Actions speak louder than deflections, A. You incorrectly defined what “free speech” vs. “Consequence free speech” was. I offered the correct definition and stated that you would still be correct to eat there, as correct as I would be not to. We are free to make decisions based on the free speech we hear. It is a really interesting feature of living in a country that offers the free exchange of ideas. I did not come up with you two being bullies. There was a large collective of private messages and laughs that you two were the spokes people for respectful internet treatment. I present exhibit “A” here this morning.

C: X is the bomb.

C: Also, B, as much as I don’t care how you spend your money, or whether you’re funding a cause I abhor, I don’t care how the CEO of a [establishment] spends HIS money. Were any donations made on behalf of the [establishment]? I don’t think so. Therefore, his actions represent his personal views, not the views of his business, which probably employs all demographics.

B: Anyway. You will feign attack by me because you called me a bigot for exercising free will to make a decision based on things that contradict my beliefs that were specifically bigotted by the original person who made them. It made no sense, it was not an argument, and the only way a person can “win” even a small point with you is to let the record stand. As you inferred on the podcast and have put on lovely display on this thread, nobody disagrees with A. You are never incorrect, just ask you and you will tell us. I would stand up for intolerance toward you if it was a policy instigated by an outspoken organization that said “your kind” were wrong and immoral. A rebuttal to a moot point (as this guys opinion bears no real value beyond his family and social circle. he is not creating foreign policy). My few paltry dollars matter as much as his opinion on the world scale. It is the principal of the matter, and that is something I believe is worth standing for. Not just bending issues to launch attacks.

A: B, I didn’t call you a bigot, I said you were acting in a bigoted manner. There is a difference there.

C: Also, since prior to this morning’s comments, I only commented once on this thread. One comment makes me a bully? Oi. Get a hobby, lady.

B: Ah! You have a new job in the beauty industry splitting hairs. Everybody has a way to control the manner in which they act and believe. And as far as this morning, A, I genuinely bid you good day as I am off to bed. Cheerio!

A: Sleep well, B. Sleep well. May you wake up refreshed and invigorated.

B: I have plenty of hobbies, C. I also clearly have a much longer memory than you. I have not interacted with you since the thread you were spewing hatred and venom regarding obesity and making personal attacks against many people. For that reason I do not care to know you and have not interacted with you again for that reason. You are not someone I care to know. I keep toxic people out of my life. Goodbye!

A: Weren’t you going to sleep, B?

B: Just had to remind C that the things she says don’t disappear because she has picked up a new cause and blocked them from her mind. I have said my goodbyes to a toxic, hateful person. Otherwise God only knows from her history on everyones threads I would have woken up to 85 venom filled vitriols. I do thank you for your concern for my well being and rest, though, A. All the best! Jealous I will have to slumber through such a sunny day.

C: Correct me if I’m wrong, but B chastised A for blocking people. Then, she blocked me.

A: Rather amusing, actually, chastising me for blocking people, then blocking C…

C: Ah well, c’est la vie.

B: Officially you made my phone bing, A. I am in bed. I read your posts on other peoples pages over time and you are actually funny, charming and nice when you want to be. I had no intention of engaging C, because she has said heartless and ruthless comments to really nice people who did not deserve to end up in tears for unprovoked cruelty on a thread discussing another topic. She selected to act shallow and emotionally vacant. Especially on threads discussing issues that she neither appeared to suffer from nor appeared by confirmation, knowledge or education to have any business being so rude about. She was asked by a long list of people to please refrain from her behaviour and she just kept going. How different she sounded in the studio with her adorable misconceptions of how she treats others online. That is a disturbing lack of self awareness. I genuinely wish her well to find a path of happiness that matches her intelligence to debate issues, I wonder if her words would have been so harsh had she not been “bravely” attacking as a computer commando and could not see their eyes and see the pain caused by such vicious verbal selections. I don’t see regret or understanding of her actions that day and to a lesser degree the way she acts in general. She certainly seemed to think her blast at me today to get a hobby was the first time we had spoken and seems poor form to assume things about strangers. I am actually embarrassed for her for that.

So find hilarity where you will regarding me blocking her. I was on a thread the other night where 4 people had been blocked by you or you by them and it was a weird discussion on the thread, lol! I have no intention to block you. I find you can be occasionally dismissive of my opinions but never mean spirited. C will not change unless she wishes, and clearly sees no reason if she can’t remember words she said that hurt so many people, reducing them to sobs. I didn’t ask to talk to C, she started to stick into me with exactly ZERO information of who I am and yet still jumped right into judging me making assumptions I think she should aspire to rise above. Well, only if she wants to have credibility. Something a LOT of people presently question.

Because I have a developing respect for you, I thought you may want more details. C was not blocked due to shooting me one presumptive message. She was blocked as she is mean, lacks credibility, and and presents to me as having never learned social graces. However I am glad it was also a source of easily obtained amusement to brighten your day. Sometimes the work day is much more humorous when a collection of half truths and facts make you laugh. Maybe as a bonus you can meet up with “Agreeable C” and she can direct some of that rage into a feigned cluelessness regarding her lack of social graces.

D: Everyone has an opinion. To me, C simply refuses to play the victim.

A: And good for her. It’s called security. When I first met C online, she and I went toe to toe, hard. She gave as good as she got, and I respect her for it.

B: Nah. Too busy creating them with cruel words and leaving them in her wake without a second thought to how words can be used as viscously as weapons. Anyway, I have said my piece about the things she should say sorry for and for what thread. She would never lower herself to be humble and at least pretend to be sorry. She prefers to leave the scars she makes and not learn the difference between being cruel and arguing a good point. Thus as a debater and a human she selected to be a lesser person. I wish her well. I really have nothing more to say about her. Her toxicity masked as “truths” is a cop out to be mean and even she knows that. “Never compromise, never apologize”. She can have a coat of arms designed by obese children chained to sewing machines.

A: B – you’re getting far too nasty. Your comments are delving into the realm of true bullying here. If you’ve blocked her, you need to stop talking about her.

D: You have every right to be offended by words. C has every right to speak those words. You may not agree with her opinion. So be it. If there is ‘hurt’, it is with you alone.

B: Always the fall back, A. Your feigned innocence. I blocked her for reasons completely unrelated to you or any conversation you and I had. In comes A with his wooden spoon, stirring the pot without knowing the back story. But you are always the victim under attack. With all due respect, sir, and this will be the last time you will draw me in with your cheap little bait hooks and follow it up with a holier than thou “Who me? I did nothing” I removed her. It was none of your business, so for one brief shining time on Facebook be the bigger man and stop making your side of the conversation look like it isn’t goading. Last message I will have with you today because evidently you are bored and have nothing better to do than rabble rouse. I forgive you. It is done.

D – the trouble about that day is she hurt about 8 people plus me. I am not the only one she hurt, but they can speak for themselves as although I have a great respect for you D, A enjoys days when he likes to stir things up. I have asked him to leave me be today, and I am hoping he can be a gentleman and do exactly that with no hard feelings. Feel free to PM me D, if you want to chat about any other topic than A or C.

A: B – I wasn’t referring to me; I was referring to your continual diatribes about C. You aren’t victimizing me here; you’re continuing on a campaign of attack against someone you’ve blocked – someone who won’t see what you’re saying about them. In hope, it seems, that you will, somehow, turn others against her. You’re engaging in character assassination by attempting to tarnish her reputation.

And that is wrong.

You chose to leave your phone turned on. You chose to respond to it when it went “bing”. You chose to read the posts. I have every right to post here — until [the owner of this page] declares I don’t, and, whether I am responding to you or someone else, unless you unfollow the thread, your phone will bing. And then you responded to me. Your choice. I elected to respond to your reply, as is my prerogative; but do not try to cast yourself as a victim here; because I haven’t done anything I wouldn’t ordinarily have done. This is all on you, B.

I suggest you turn your phone off and get some sleep. You clearly need it.

B: I shouldn’t have to turn off my phone because you cannot help yourself but throw things in your return messages that C can read and make it appear that I am not just responding. It is very manipulative and you must be bored, sir. I am unfollowing this thread. Either you can understand basic explanations regarding elementary definitions, but I do not believe you are an unintelligent man. If you continue to message and put words in my mouth on the end C is reading and making glaring assumptions as anyone would by your turn of phrase. I give you your full due as an intelligent man. I am not victimizing you, you are assuming that role. I ask you once again, very politely to be a gentleman and a bigger man and please leave me alone for today. We can perhaps have a more civil discussion via PM. For some reason you are working hard to weave information you wish disseminated into a public message to me. If I have somehow grossly misread what even Dan is reading as a method of manipulation and story spin, we can talk about it via PM tomorrow. I have a lot on my plate today. I found my partner not breathing, blue and unresponsive and had to not only resuscitate him until EMS arrived, but they had to defibrillate him on arrival. THAT, sir is why I am very tired and sleep deprived. Not a big party, and certainly not a situation completely unrelated to you that lead to the removal of someone who contacted me first. That could have been the end of it, but as you read back you cannot, for reasons you are only aware of,, just let this be for this afternoon. I am very kindly asking you to stop. Now. This is heading into territory of casting aspersions on my character when every message YOU are bringing up her name. I had more respect for you than that and certainly hope I am mistaken as these responses are being crafted to me. Please, Sir. Contact me tomorrow via PM and I will be happy to have a civil conversation. Please enjoy the rest of the beautiful sunny day.

B: And after reading the entirety of your last message, you are definitely playing the victim. Here is an idea. How about return to discuss [the owner of this page]’s original topic instead of focussing on a right to specifically address me. [the owner of this page] prefers his threads on topic. I know you have it in you to let go of being petty about this and move on today. I have to have my phone on for my small child.

C: As my mother says, I should be honoured to no longer sit at the dinner table, yet still be the main topic of conversation. I didn’t know I was so interesting. I’m flattered

About Steven Britton

Steve is a freelance programmer, partial billionaire, dad, Recovering Atheist, Conservative, and occasionally prolific blogger.