By: Mara K.
The SM "community", as seems to be the buzzword, is supposed to be this
friendly place where everyone gets along; a place where ideas are
exchanged, and help is given. So it seemed to me...
The turmoil seemed controlled at first. Stupid things, right? Well,
it looks like it's gotten bigger. There is a new generation
of trouble brewing. This new wave of maliciousness is as indiscriminate
as a virus; it will affect any and everyone.
What are the symptoms? Guestbook flaming, mail bombs (I received a mail
bomb last week as a matter of fact), contest fixing, image theft,
What does this result in? Counter attacks,
bitter emails exchanged between the parties... all done as a vision of a happy,
innocent blonde in pigtails hovers in and out at the back of our minds.
The cause? Summer vacation is my theory. It's been one damned hot
summer here in the good ole' US of A. Kids are out of school, they've
got nothing better to do, so they flame people and cause trouble. As
the old saying goes, the devil finds work for idle hands. The problem
is that the people on the receiving end do not always react in the best
way possible, and end up escalating the situation by saying and/or doing
the wrong things... wrong things meaning sending a counter attack after
the originating party. Mom always said the best thing to do to bullies
is ignore them... you certainly don't ever give them the attention that
So, anyway, here are Mara's Rules of Internet Warfare:
1) NEVER flame first.
2) Name calling is only acceptable when they throw the
3) ALWAYS keep a copy of any flames you receive... mine go into aspecial folder.
4) Death threats, even if you don't think they are serious, are a
federal offense in the US. Yes, kids, it's illegal to threaten to kill
someone over a phone/modem. Forward a copy of any threatening email to
the offender's ISP and CC it to your own ISP as well. If you don't know
the email for forwarding abusive messages to, firstname.lastname@example.org
will always work.
5) If you get more than one offensive or harassing email
from someone, that's one too many, and you should forward all mails
received to the person's ISP or mail provider if it's a web-based email
account like Hotmail or Yahoo. Don't be afraid to request that the
person's account be canceled.
6) Don't get bent out of shape if someone sends you a mail that
criticizes your page. It might have been written with the best
intentions and not the best grammar. Only you know what's acceptable or
not to you, ask someone for a second opinion.
7) Before you accuse anyone of anything, especially
plagiarism orcheating, make sure you have solid proof. Statistics from a counter
like Extreme Tracking, which tells you everything but what size
underwear your pages' visitors wear, is pretty good proof for a
suspected web page ranking cheater, but it's not always enough. Compare
IP addresses, times, dates, names, etc. Be a good investigator and make
sure that you can answer who, what, when, where, why, and how, and
ALWAYS give a person the benefit of the doubt at first. Ask questions
and write email; what else do you have it for?
8) DON'T report "offensive" pages to the page reviewers or "watchdog"
groups unless all other means of reasoning with a person have failed.
Often times, things can be settled within a couple emails...don't be
hasty to jump into anything; you're toying with a person's reputation
9) Remember the golden rule: Do unto others as you would
like done unto you! :)
Have a happy summer, everybody!! :)
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