It’s one thing to disagree with someone online, perhaps even exchange heated tweets or emails. But the form of bullying that essentially uses crowdsourced harassment as a form of entertainment (“for the lulz”) is especially pernicious: sending threats, piling on, doxxing– the function is terrorism: scaring people into “staying in their place.” Just as in offline harassment, online harassment is disproportionately directed at those occupying marginalized statuses, (which others may not even recognize).
Targeted harassment is not simply about disagreement:
“[Harassers] don’t have to listen to me. They could (as I do) use the tools at their disposal to block everything that annoys them, bores them, or angers them. They could make podcasts, blogs, or videos about their beliefs and leave the people they disagree with alone. If this was about defending some ideal, or espousing some particular ideological difference, then that is exactly what we would be seeing happen.”
Once you’ve been a target for internet harassment, it doesn’t just go away. It can pop up again ad infinitum when you least expect it:
“There is no life after being harassed if you’re a marginalized person speaking up on the internet.”
Read Mikki Kendall’s original essay here.