Over the weekend I’ve been raising awareness about online bullying, after an incident within the writing community where an artist attempted suicide over the immense pressure and bullying brought on over a writing group.
I’ve faced a tremendous amount of online bullying, from big name authors to the anonymous cowards following them who decided to push on every post I make to say some of the nastiest things about me, and though it’s been hard at some times, I persevered through it. But a lot of people aren’t nearly as strong as I am, and can’t face that kind of pressure — I get told so on almost a daily basis by new fans and friends who come along to encourage me (in private of course). That’s why it’s crucial for me to do what I do and to speak up, and instances like this only make it more important.
Writer Will Shetterly wrote a piece about the dangers of the mob, based on his experiences, something that first got me thinking about the topic early in the weekend.
More people than anyone knows have been attacked by fandom’s New McCarthyites. After posting Positively Fourth Street, or On being banned for … vague reasons about nearly indescribable things?, I was told more stories. I should have expected that–people whose fears keep them silent will tell things in confidence to those who speak out. Once, in an online argument, I was foolish enough to say I was supported by lurkers in email. The people on the other side assumed I was lying and mocked me. I only pitied them—if you’ve never been supported by lurkers, you’re the bully in the room.
It was terrible what happened to him. And I’ve been trying to raise awareness ever since, as it’s eerily similar to the way WorldCon treated me over rumor, innuendo, and because the leadership there had dangerously cut off conservatives from their circles, to where they view our entire movement as “literal nazis.”
But the problem only exacerbated because a woman, cover artist, was bullied by an online mob into attempted suicide, as I’ve mentioned. I don’t want to bring undue pressure onto her by naming, so I’m being careful about that, but this is the end result Will was warning about, and why we need to fight. I did a video this morning going over Daniel Arenson’s wonderful facebook post on how to prevent yourself from engaging in bullying tactics online. It starts with us. Hopefully more and more people read this until it changes the culture:
And despite the heavy message of today’s blog post, do check out my new book tomorrow, The Stars Entwined. I wanted this week to be a week to celebrate, but I have to speak when called to. My characters change their plans based on what their hearts call them to do in the book. Read it here: