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A brief note on Internet harassment

Certain people have a lot of hate to share for those who voice opinions outside their particular world view, and who (rather than engaging in sensible debate) will spout abuse, impersonate their target to defame them, publish their address online and send them death threats. If their victim has the temerity to call them out on it, they’re accused of “attention seeking” or “making it all up” even when proof is provided of what's happening.

All it takes is one angry person posting accusations of questionable accuracy on certain platforms and it's 'open season', where others pile on and escalate the situation to the point SWAT teams are called, people quit their jobs or social media, and some even flee their homes in fear of their safety.

You may be thinking from the above that the views that trigger this kind of "mob justice" reaction are extreme. But in most cases the only thing these people have done to merit such a harsh sanction is criticising a popular video game or beating a teenaged gamer in a multiplayer lobby.

While it’s great people feel passionate about the games they play and causes they believe in, what seems to get forgotten is that people at the other end of the phone line are thinking, feeling human beings who want to be treated with dignity and respect. These actions don't look like "making a point about ethics in video games", they look a lot like targeted hate campaigns.

Games and social media are meant to be a fun diversion from the mundane aspects of reality, not something taken so seriously it has people fearing for their lives.

Collectively we need to call out and condemn this behaviour publicly whenever we see it. No one is stopping us from disagreeing with or discussing other peoples' views, but we all need to remember to be respectful and work together as a global community to avoid being complicit and fix this problem.