Date: September 25, 2010 04:36PM
I'm sorry this is happening Cheryl. I don't do FB (need time at some point to figure it out) so can't personally track some of these things that go on. I'm always glad, though, to see people try to set the record straight.
"Nothing left to do but: Laugh it off. It's not real. It's just cyberspace!"
I somewhat understand SQ's take on how to handle this kind of thing. It's true to some extent that there are some things you can't change and some minds that are forever made up that don't seem to bother with facts. But I wouldn't say "it's not real" about "cyberspace". There are many examples of how something on the Net can negatively impact a person's real life. This is particularly so if the matter relates to one's reputation, behaviour, integrity, beliefs, actions and so on.
I've seen some untrue and/or negative comments about myself on boards I've never even heard of til that point. It's difficult to just let it be and not try to correct the misinformation or unfairly negative remarks. You may not change the poster's stubborn, unfair, deceitful mind (or whatever their traits are that cause them to post in such an unfair and unjust manner) but many readers will at least get the opportunity of hearing your side of it if you decide to answer the untruthful statements.
Too, I think of it somewhat like a trademark issue. If an entity that owns a trademark does not rigorously defend its brand it can lose the trademark, which has obvious devastating impacts. The owner of the trademark must be seen to be correcting instances of misuse (for example, when its brand name is used as a general term for an object instead of as a proper name for a specific product with capital letters). If Kimberly-Clark, which makes Kleenex, allows the world to use the word "kleenex" as a generic term for a disposable hanky it could lose its right to own the brand name. That is why you will see announcements to that effect in various publications (i.e., in writers' magazines,there are often blurbs to remind writers to respect brand names by capitalizing them and using them correctly).
I consider that our reputations should be protected by ourselves, as far as is possible, if we value them. This is especially so for people who have name-recognition, in my view. In that case, I consider that they are a "brand" and should strive to protect their reputations, in the same way that companies protect their products by safeguarding their brand names. You can see how disgraced athletes, for instance, lose sponsorships. That is how important a brand image is in this world.
One example of the individual-as-brand is Tal Bachman. If his reputation were under attack, especially by people lying and misrepresenting his views, character, actions, beliefs and behaviour, he may need to take steps to protect his brand as being tarnished in that way could adversely affect his reputation and his livelihood.
Another example that comes to mind is when a poster here, years back, stated that Steve Benson's family were Nazis. It is a serious enough charge - and blatantly untrue - that Steve didn't just take it as part of the normal discourse, part of the usual cut and thrust of debate here - it went way too far over the line for that.
In times like that, you need to protect your "brand" and there are valid reasons for doing so. In recent memory in my own posting life, another poster repeatedly called me "deceitful". I asked many times for examples of such, as I couldn't just sit back and allow someone to make such a comment and let it go unchallenged. I strive to exhibit integrity in all of my life, including my interactions on the Net, and I value my reputation in that regard. If someone wants to charge that I am not truthful, they need to prove it, and I will always demand such, in order to protect my "brand", even as an anon poster. I still see that "Nightingale" is a brand that deserves protection from lies.
Too, it is very often the case that silence is seen as agreement or at least as having no defence to the charges. Silence from other posters in the face of a fellow poster being attacked or maligned can be seen as agreement with the attacker, especially by the poster under attack who may feel all alone in cyberspace if nobody speaks up - not in knee-jerk defence mode, due to side-taking, but in defence of what is true.
I think that it is *not* "just cyberspace" when the printed word can impact a person's life.
That is why I understand why Cheryl is annoyed at what is happening (even though we don't know the details of the attack) and why she and Steve and any of us would seek to set the record straight.
Silence isn't golden in cases like this. Rather, it can be seen as being a position of weakness or worse, agreement with the (false) charges that others may so unjustly throw out there onto the World Wide Web, and mud does stick, if you let it.
I'm all for "brand" protection, including one's own personal reputation. If someone misrepresents me or otherwise lies or trashes me in some major way, I am going to respond to that. How much more so would people who use their own names and identities, like Tal, Cheryl, Steve, and others in that category.
Thanks, Cheryl, for the interesting topic, even if we don't all know the whole story.
(Edited for clarity)
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/25/2010 04:47PM by Nightingale.