Damon Poeter at PC mag takes a more rational view than Redditt. (Probably 99% of human beings take a more rational view than Redditt.)
This isn’t very complicated. Posting pictures of people without their knowledge is both an invasion of their privacy and a form of outing them to the Internet. Doing so may be protected speech, but it doesn’t mean it’s good speech, or speech that shouldn’t be shamed from the hilltops as an exercise of one’s own free speech. What’s more, Adrian Chen himself didn’t “do anything illegal” by exposing Michael Brutsch (and yes, Redditors didn’t do anything illegal by blocking Gawker links, etc., etc. — the Ferris Wheel can go round and round, but at some point we have to get off and take a stand for something, I think).
If you live by the sword of exposing strangers to ridicule, contempt, and objectification on the Internet, it’s pretty rich when you throw a hissy fit when the other side of that blade swings your way.
The last refuge of Violentacrez and his supporters is the claim that upsetting people’s sensitivities via trolling is socially valuable in that it breaks down cultural taboos and pierces the grim veil of political correctness. Perhaps, in some instances. Trolls come in many shapes and forms, some much more aware of the subversive nature of their activities than others, as explained quite well by Whitney Phillips over at The Atlantic.
Well, there’s a difference between rick-rolling someone, disrupting the flow of an online conversation, or even pointing them to goatse, and actively invading people’s privacy IRL. There’s a difference between using anonymity to speak more freely than you otherwise could and using it to bully, smear, and slut shame others.
Well actually there isn’t, not literally. That is, using anonymity to bully, smear, and slut shame others really is using anonymity to speak more freely than you otherwise could. The description fits. That means you have to make the distinction in a different way. You have to point out that “more freely” is not all there is to it; you have to note that “more freely” covers a lot of territory, and not all of it is good or valuable or fair.