Maureen Brian at Pharyngula, on PZ’s post about the limits to any perceived right to anonymity on the internet. She addresses a couple of commenters.
You both seem to be to be ignorant of or deliberately ignoring a key aspect of how we human beings work.
Plead innocence and confusion all you want but it is a factor which the bullies and harassers know well and exploit to the full. Bullying and harassment work by the cumulative effects of abuse, lies, threats over time. We may appear to brush off an individual incident but that does not mean we are unaffected or that we recover instantly from the hurt. Bullies know and exploit this, keeping up the pressure and even working as a team so that their target never, ever recovers and can then be “teased” by which I mean abused for being over-sensitive / making it up / having no evidence. (Sock-puppeting is just a pretend version of working as a team in the hope you won’t be spotted quite so quickly.)
This is why it is so hard to get, say, the police to take matters seriously – they look at a series of discrete acts no one of which is absolutely outrageous and fail to spot the cumulative effect.
This is the psychological equivalent of the old death by a thousand cuts and it’s time that all the “yes, but” brigade recognised that and stopped pretending not to understand.
It’s cumulative all right. Trust me on that.