Sunday, 1 August 2010

Nobody has the right to 'Not be offended' in democratic UK, 2010?













Living in a democratic society, we can expect to be able to challenge being offended, legally. A recent situation has alarmed me, how the internet opens the door to irresponsible behaviour to incite hatred, harassment and bullying by anonymous perpetrators.

Forums covering moral issues are particularly open to negative behaviour . Usually a safety net is provided, which holds the administrators of forums responsible, to a degree, by law. Something that is not set in stone though as forums can be hosted anywhere in the world, with varying laws.

Yet, one could expect responsible behaviour on a forum that supports a family with compassion and empathy, provides much-needed information, not available elsewhere and which evaluates it’s moral limits, hosted in the UK. The site being a free forum is hosted by a company that facilitates a complaints procedure. Very professional and quite right in a democratic society. Where would we be in the UK if companies, organisations and agencies did not provide a line of complaint? The alternative would be a requirement to put up or shut up.


Recently I had an issue with a specific thread within such a forum. An issue which had content I was offended by. The issue was not just personal to me, but also involved a charity I do fund-raising for. Following the insults I received., which contravened the sites Terms and Condition’s, negative links made on the thread were used to complain to my superiors in another organisation I do volunteer work for. An organisation directly linked to supporting the same people the forum admin claim to support. I deleted my account on the forum to end the stupendous invitation for a continued argument. An opportunity that had been deliberately practiced several times previously on the same site.

I had removed myself from the ensuing confrontation and complaints were met with the admin locking the thread and leaving it open to public view. The reason given for leaving it in the public domain being nothing short of deliberately trying to humiliate me for complaining. Confirmation that this site does not afford me the right to feel offended and have the right to complain about it. Complaints to the site host followed with further humiliation, insults emotional blackmail and false accusations.

I believe that I had a valid and reasonable issue of grievance. I followed the correct escalation of complaint procedure as I am entitled to, without publicising my grievance and complaint. Instead of being met with help of an amicable solution, I was met with very public escalation of humiliation from the admin. included were accusations that I am attacking the forum and attempting to close it, despite my making it clear to the hosts that the complaint was specific to one thread and my wish was to have it removed from public view. Accusations which were spread on several fora, based on what the admin had preached and taken as gospel by other sites. The admin also expressed the intent of closing the site themselves because of my complaints and preached to their membership that I am jeopardising the search for a missing child because I feel offended. Public demonizing, emotional blackmail and false accusations. All wrapped up, using the campaign of supporting the family of a missing child to demonize me. Not very responsible, democratic behaviour and that does not include the accusations I received from the admin via email of colluding with others to bring down the site.

Such is the virtual world we live in. That a site so important regarding information is jeopardized by its own admin who act irresponsibly by allowing a grudge against a member become more important to publicise than the case itself.

‘Nobody has the right not to be offended’ is a worrying right to be practicing.

“THEY CAME FIRST for the Communists,

and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist.

THEN THEY CAME for the trade unionists,

and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

THEN THEY CAME for the Jews,

and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew.

THEN THEY CAME for me

and by that time no one was left to speak up.”


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