Well, you know you’ve struck a nerve when people start researching you. It happened with Rebecca, of course. Juvenile jokes were blown up into “crimes” in an attempt to tell people they shouldn’t listen to anything she has to say. Information about her relationship history was passed around. Years-old insensitivity was posted as though it had been uttered yesterday as evidence of massive hypocrisy.
Think of it as a nifty little combination of character assassination and argument ad hominem. A particularly insidious way of saying, “If you don’t shut up, we’ll shut you up.”
Rebecca hasn’t been alone in this, of course. PZ has, once again, had the false characterizations of the comments on Pharyngula brought up, as in this comment from Tristan that hit moderation on the discussion of whether to out Franc Hoggle (though what it has to do with pseudonymity or anonymity is beyond me).
“Twelve voices were shouting in anger, and they were all alike. No question, now, what had happened to the faces of the pigs. The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”
Greg’s seen some old shit brought up, too. Ophelia is apparently squeaky clean, but that doesn’t keep people from trying to hold her responsible for comments she’s already condemned.
Now it’s my turn.
In a way, it’s kind of funny. You see, they’ve noticed that I’ve said publicly that I don’t talk about my work. Only the person who decided to post my employer info apparently didn’t notice that this is part of my bio on the right there. S/he had to dig it up from an old interview.
Then either that person or someone else who wanted to hurt me the same way was dumb enough to click on the search results that led back to my blog, as though I’d post the information I don’t talk about here. I’ve known for a few days that someone was looking for this information (which isn’t hard to find if you’re willing to click through some search results) by the search terms that have led people here. Or maybe they wanted me to know, and to be afraid.
The problem with that is that where I work is no big deal. The idiot who posted my information quoted my reasoning for not talking about it: “The information I deal with is interesting enough that I see my work in the news sometimes, but ultimately, none of it is mine, and the clients I work with shouldn’t ever stumble across me online and worry that some of it might become public.” Me not talking about my job covers that; I don’t have to hide where I work. Not naming my employer myself is just part of not talking about it. Someone else telling the world where I work is nothing, because they don’t have access to the same protected information I do.
On the other hand, it’s not nothing. It means someone wants to hurt me because I’m talking about this. Not that I didn’t know that from the comments I get. A couple of jems that have hit moderation:
Munkhaus: But with you Stephanie, it’s just funny; it’s a glimpse into your tiny mind: not much going on in there, and what there is dishonest and bitter.
Phil Giordana: So, ms Glenn Beck, who are you to decide if there is anything exciting in my comments?
The question is how badly they want to hurt me. They can’t do it with their disapproval. Their approval would have to be worth something for that. They can’t do it with public information. I know what’s out there. None of it’s a secret. And none of my secrets are online.
On the other hand, these are the people who spent a couple months working Rebecca over. How far are they willing to go for little old me?