Survey: what harassment _is_ there on the Net?
Mike C Holderness
mch at doc.ic.ac.uk
Sun Oct 10 11:51:14 EST 1993
Harassment on the Net...
The Times Higher Education Supplement wants me to do a piece on
harassment on the Net. No, I am not about to go all
sensationalist. Neither am I about to abstain from the phone
system, let alone call for it to be monitored or shut down; in my
lifetime I have received one nearly-obscene call, one bomb threat
and dozens of silent harassers through that technology, but I
find it, like the Net, rather useful. Neither am I at all
interested right now in pictures, except for specific reports of their
being used to harass an individual.
I want to look at this phenomenon as a form of harassment, not as
a nasty mysterious technological thang. And I want to look at the
_debate_ around it. I hope readers will see this attempt to
communicte calmly with largely non-Net-connected academics as a
useful use of bandwidth.
I'm hoping for answers to the following. I don't expect any one
person to answer them all.
* How would you say that email harassment is different from other
forms of harassment -- by mail, by phone, in person?
* Would you comment on a _guess_ I make about the phenomenon,
which is this:
To senders, a harassing message takes place in the
"privacy" of their computer environment and/or may seem
impersonal; whereas to recipients the harassing message is as
deeply personal as a phone call, is addressed to them
individually, and is harder to "put down" than a phone.
* Have you experienced any form of harassment on the Net? Are you
prepared to (can you bear to?) describe the incident?
Do you personally know anyone else who has/can?
* Do you know of any statistics and where I can get them?
* What do you think is the best way of dealing with harassment?
With Net harassment specifically? Is there an appropriate
institutional response (e.g. from a harasser's system
* Why do you think the issue generates such excitement on the Net?
* Ironically, in dealing with the some of the preconceptions
which I know many Net users to have about journalists dealing
with this and similar issues, I have had to set out a pretty
thorough pre-agenda for the piece rather than asking open
questions. Do you have a comment on this?
Please indicate how you would prefer your comments to be used.
[ ] With full attribution including where you work
[ ] With name and occupation/post only
[ ] Anonymously
[ ] This is background. It never happened.
(Please check one in response and give any relevant info).
I look forward to hearing from you! Please reply by email. I will
summarise. Replies before Wednesday October 13 are more likely to be used.
The THES is _the_ weekly publication for people working in higher
education in the UK. I also write for New Scientist and (right to
left) the Daily Telegraph, the Independent and the Guardian.
I tried to post this on Monday Oct 5, but it never got back to
my site. Apologies for any multiple-posting to individual groups.
mch at doc.ic.ac.uk
mikeh at gn.apc.org
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