Thursday, August 14, 2008

Internet Flamewars Got Me Down...

I've gotten involved in something I should have stayed out of in defense of a friend who was being treated badly. The thing is he could easily defend himself and was ignoring the situation because he didn't want to dignify it with a response. Well I threw my big mouth out there in his defense and am now in the midst of a flamewar.

The gist of this is my friend (really hubby's best friend) is a highly decorated combat veteran. He and another veteran decided to have a contest on MySpace to see who could get 5,000 friends first. Well his MySpace page is decorated up with his branch of service and he was doing great having 3500 friends at last count. Then things started going south - people accused him of being a fake, of not having served, of not having been wounded, of not being who he said he was. They started attacking his wife too and making fun of the scars from her cancer surgery. It got my hackles up when one of these people sent me a message on MySpace telling me that my friend "is not who he says he is" that he is a fake and a poser and sending me a link to a military discussion board where there were 5 pages of posts all bashing him and his wife.

Well I couldn't just let that go - no siree - so after telling the woman who emailed me what she could do with her "facts" I registered on the site (quite legitimately as the wife of an USAF veteran) and told these people that 1. I knew him personally! 2. I believed he was exactly who he says he is. and 3. I have seen the scars from the bullet wounds that earned him some of the awards they say he faked.

So that made me open season and here are some of the things these "officers" have said about me:
  • One accused me of being my friend in disguise
  • One said he doubted I even had a husband
  • Called me gullible
  • Called me clueless
  • Called me stupid
  • One found a picture of me on my friends myspace and posted it on the site without my permission and then refused to take it down.
  • Then these "officers" who are not gentlemen by any stretch started insulting my appearance - one said my picture cracked his monitor, another compared me to a hog. And the others all joined in for a good laugh.
My friend - who had stayed out of it - then got involved when they started attacking me. They jumped all over him insisting he post sensitive personal documents online to prove he was who he said. I felt bad - he probably would have stayed out of it at least on the site if I had. But these people have found his address, his phone number, and they are calling his home and harassing him, harassing his wife. He has contacted a lawyer to see what he can do to stop it all.

I did not attack any of them, I just defended my friend and they tried to assassinate my character and my appearance.

I'm off the site - logged out so they can't tell if I'm there or not but still reading a bit. I will not post again no matter how offensive they get but the people attacking me are the moderators - the leaders of the forum. One of them even changed the description under my screen name to "I am a troll".

I did the whois thing on the domain will be sending a complaint to the domain owner requesting that they better screen their moderators for professionalism.

And now all I have to say is "the few the proud the morons" !


verybadcat said...

Um, wow. That's all sorts of craziness. Sometimes I really don't understand the interwebs.......

Tricia said...

I wonder if the web makes them bolder? I wonder if any of these supposed USMC officers would look me in the face and call me a hog?

And it was a really cute picture of me too - not one that would incite any ugly comments at least I didn't think so! LOL

Good thing my self esteem doesn't hang on any of these guys opinions. The head moderator is about 5 years older than my dad - that puts him at 66 years old and behaving like child. Shameful really.


There can be some real ugliness out there, especially when "group think" mentality erupts. It's hard not to want to step in and defend or educate, but sometimes it's just not worth it.

The harassment at home is actually scary. People will do some stupid stuff. I hope that your friend is able to get that stopped.

Regarding the message board, perhaps the best that could be done is to close and delete the appropriate threads. Maybe find if there is a code of conduct or terms of use agreement which is blatantly being violated.

Other than that, stay well and stay safe.

Jennifer said...

That is awful. I don't understand how people can be so incredibly CRUEL. I think hiding behind the computer makes people do/say things they wouldn't do in real life. I'm not making any excuses for these people because there is no excuse, but I have witnessed this kind of behavior on various message boards before myself.

Good for you for sticking up for your friend. I hope everything dies down soon.

Meghan said...

Wow, that's really wacky. And yes, really scary for your friend that they have found his home/private info. That would make me scarce immediately. Maybe he should take his whole page down till things die down? You are like me, you're much less likely to get down and dirty unless it's in defense of someone else. I have heard that some message boards can be just over the top insane. I love a good debate now and again as you well know, but people like that are just goofy. I'm really sorry you had to listen to all that nonsense. They are boneheads!

Tricia said...

Yep two more insults and my picture keeps getting posted and re-posted. I'm going to make my husband's myspace private before he starts getting crap from them too.

So far I've kept him out of this, he doesn't know what's going on and I don't want him to get into it because he will take it too far in my defense. And I should have just stayed out of it to begin with.

It is frightening what they are doing.