Let's get back to clearing out 2013...
Another one of Jonathan Dryden Taylor's
Here and Now, 2013
So there's a much larger post to be composed about public space and online abuse and Newsnight, and something like that has actually been brewing at the back of this blog for nearly three years now. However, every time I come back to it, the blog grinds to a halt - sometimes for a month, as in October, sometimes for over a year, as in 2010. I'll give that one a miss for now then, and repost instead something I wrote on twitter, when Stella Creasy MP contended here (possibly buoyed by the Royal Charter) that online abuse should not be treated any less seriously than someone abusing you face to face. I wrote:
"The internet is not a public space. There is no word for what it is yet. But it's clearly not a space."
And that still seems about right. Actually, perhaps it's better to think of the internet as a Shared Private Space. It's not the solitude of this privacy that's the issue. It's the territory. Contributions are for the most part composed in private - as is this post I'm writing now - on the contributor's territory. But they are read, again in private, on the reader's territory, and there are no real rules for that yet, hence the who-asked-youness of so much correspondence. You could see this as an even heavier count against the trolls, but I see it as a mitigating circumstance. What I read isn't happening in my room, it's happening in the composer's. I think this has to be taken into account if trolls are to be prosecuted. Is there any physical equivalent to this idea of a Shared Private Space? The public toilet, I suppose.
Now we are all the toilet wall, and we can read what's written on us. And a lot of it is horrible, but I'm not sure how personally we should take it.
An actual public space