I just unpublished an article: Here’s why (UPDATED)

I made what I thought were legitimate criticisms of Holly Baxter’s piece, premised on criticisms with her points in her piece for the Guardian on crowdfunding. I spent a long time writing it and trying to be careful, since I’m aware she is currently facing much unnecessary, unwanted and unwarranted digital hate.

I’ve decided, despite spending a long time on the piece, not to publish it (at least for now). I do not wish to add to the Internet’s hate or criticism of Ms Baxter. No one will die because I didn’t say something, but the least I can do is be sensitive to her position right now. Apologies all round. That was an asshole move on my part.

I will perhaps publish it later, but for now, I’d rather spend time making social media and Internet in general a better place for discussion and not add to Ms Baxter’s unnecessary catalogue of negativity.

No, she doesn’t deserve it. And, no, I don’t agree with her arguments. But right now, what matters more is her sense of safety and I don’t want to do anything – even minor – that might detract from that. I’m no one, of course, but as we all know, we are all public figures.


After seeing Baxter’s response on Twitter, I’ve chosen not to publish the article at all. Nothing significant will be gained by my publishing.




  1. says

    Very thoughtful and kind, and helpful of you to post about your decision.

    I have a visceral reaction to piling on. I get a little sick when I see it online, but it also angers me because of another issue your post suggests: it interferes with reasoned discussion. I’ve often chosen not to write or publish a comment or post or carefully edited them because of how I suspect, based on experience, they’ll be used in such a context. As a result, it can appear that I have no criticisms of the arguments of the person being piled on or even tacitly agree with them (and in any case those arguments and criticisms aren’t put forward). I’ve also loaded comments or posts down with so many caveats and disclaimers that the argument is diluted. The person being bullied or piled on, of course, is pressured to be silent or to try to placate the pilers.

    Piling on is completely contrary to open debate and discussion, and should be contested. It needs to be discussed not only in terms of the effects on its targets but in terms of the effects on democracy.

    • Tauriq Moosa says

      Thanks. You raise an important point:

      “I’ve also loaded comments or posts down with so many caveats and disclaimers that the argument is diluted.”

      I’d not considered that before.