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Sexual Harassment

Discussion in 'Communications' started by Only-One Cannoli, Aug 3, 2008.

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  1. G-FETT

    G-FETT Force Ghost star 7

    Aug 10, 2001
    I have every confidence that the new policy will be excellent. I have a huge amount of faith in 506 and MS to work this out and come up with something that reduces the chances of this ever happening again.

    The way I see it, theres really two issues going on here;

    1. Theres a general harassment issue and an issue concerning attitudes. Whilst we can't change attitudes, I have every confidence that MS will come up with a policy that will address the concerns of most people and will help take us all forward.

    2. Theres the specific issue of this one user that has over many years manipulated people, abused his position, conned us all and, under the guise of being the public face of the largest star wars forum in the world, has actually been little more than a sexual predator.
    Now, obviously this is the most serious issue, because it effects so many people and it shatters confidence, even for those that have not been the victims of this users abuse. If the reason for not naming said user is a legal one, then fair enough, but I think we should hear it from Philip himself and perhaps a few general comments and some reassurance would go a long way as well.
  2. solojones

    solojones Chosen One star 9

    Sep 27, 2000
    =D= dp

    I completely agree with Carmen about how angering this essential gag-order on the victims is. However, I can also understand the legal concerns given our ridiculously litigious society. And yet I definitely want a clarification on Wise's position as well. I think it's only fair. I think any of us who've been around for a while have come to expect next to nothing from Philip Wise, but this has to be an exception where we can't settle for that.

    Now, however... I think turning the discussion back towards what we can do to prevent harassment from happening would be useful. At least as far as community attitudes go. Rule-wise, obviously that's dependent upon the MS's forthcoming decision. But perhaps we could turn back to some 'cultural' issues and discussions while we wait on the rule and mandate-based things.

    [hl=darkred]-sj loves kevin spacey[/hl]
  3. halibut

    halibut Ex-Mod star 8 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Aug 27, 2000
    To G-FETT

    See, this is what I don't understand. You said point 2 was the "more serious" issue. But why is naming the person (who everyone here already knows) more important than how sexual harrassment cases are dealt in the future? Surely it's more important to see what has gone wrong and get that sorted, rather than say "Unnamed_User was bad" when everyone already knows that.
  4. G-FETT

    G-FETT Force Ghost star 7

    Aug 10, 2001
    Its more important IMO, because the effects are potentially limitless. We don't know how many people this user has harassed. How many people have never spoken up? How many people have left the Boards over the years? How many people suffered at his hands? Has he been doing this at other sites? And perish the thought, what are the ages of all the people he's been doing this to? Because of the position that the person thats done this had, it becomes such a breech of trust. Its the one person you would think/hope would be safeguarding users from this kind of behviour. We're talking about potential legal issues here, and depending on ages of those harassed police involvement may not be out of the question, either. This is an utterly extraordinary situation. Thats why its so serious.
  5. George_Roper

    George_Roper Jedi Knight star 7

    May 1, 2005
    If people know that an individual like the banned user (i.e. former Admin, VIP, friends in high places) can and will be banned for such behaviour, perhaps they will be more willing to step forward if they are being harassed (regardless of who the harasser is).
  6. Dantana Skywalker

    Dantana Skywalker Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Apr 7, 2002

    Which is what many of us have been saying for days.
  7. poor yorick

    poor yorick Ex-Mod star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA VIP - Game Host

    Jun 25, 2002
    Just an issue of security going forward:

    This is the information that users at different permissions levels can see. If you have a stalking/harassment problem with someone who was recently above the level of VIP, you might want to seriously consider changing this information:

    Moderators can see IP addresses

    Managers can see IP addresses and private e-mail addresses

    Admins can see IP addresses, private e-mail addresses, and user passwords

    VIP's don't have access to other users' information, but I believe their posts do bypass the profanity filter. If a VIP is sending you obscenities, then please report that right away.

    Passwords and e-mail addresses can be changed by using one of the links on the "Options" page. IP addresses can be either very easy or very hard to change, depending on what kind of internet service you use. Check with your internet provider and see if you have a static (always the same) or dynamic (changing) IP address. If you have a static IP and strongly want it changed, talk with your internet provider's help desk and see if there's anything they can do for you. Changing internet providers altogether is a drastic solution, but you could do this if you needed to.

    Regarding the feelings of people who have been harassed: nobody is required to feel a particular way about anything. No one has to "move on" because someone else is uncomfortable with having an angry woman (or man) around. Also, no one is required to be enraged if someone behaved improperly toward them, but the would-be victimizer just failed to make much of an impression. There are certain things people can do to help reduce the chances that e-predators will continue to operate, but no specific emotions are necessary to accomplish that. Telling people "You have to feel ___________" is inaccurate at best, and may be very hurtful at worst.
  8. somethingfamiliar

    somethingfamiliar Jedi Knight star 5

    Aug 20, 2003
    And perhaps, gentlemen posters of good cheer, you fail to have a knowledge of the shameful and degrading experience of having a fellow of somewhat aged aspect making comments of a most disturbingly creepy and sexualized nature about your sister of a younger-than-yourself agehood at every opportunity for so doing. Perhaps you know not, my fellow participants in Y chromosomitude, the sting of your protesting cries of ":mad:" being met with welcoming tides of lolishness in a ritual of sportive churlishness that casts behavior indicative of creeposity in the gleaming light of legitimacy. For it is this experience, this experience I tell you, that some of our posters of the gentler sex have been subjected to on a basis grounded in dailitude, the legitimizing consequences of which occurrence spread like a virulent butter upon the warm toast of the forum. The duty imperative upon us all is to stick not our heads into the sand as does the ostrich, that great bird of exotic splendor, but to have the righteousness to stand up to abuses and the courage to peer into our own souls, and oy i can't go on like this anymore
  9. ApolloSmileGirl

    ApolloSmileGirl Jedi Knight star 8

    Jun 18, 2004
    Why? So he can just come in and say it's his way or the highway, like he did back in that incident?

    Which ironically sent Darth_He who shall not be named packing for a couple of weeks, before he managed to worm his way back into the MS?
  10. PrincessKenobi

    PrincessKenobi New Films Manager star 7 Staff Member Manager

    Aug 12, 2000
    I want to touch on this not as someone who received pm's and emails from said person. But on something that I do not discuss because I don't like the feelings that I feel. And you can judge whatever but this is the last I will speak of it.

    Victims regardless of the crime, can not help how it makes them feel. From the date of my birth till I was 11 years old, I suffered countless bouts of emotional abuse from the one person in the world who was suppose to love me but never did.

    Why am I only paying attention to this comment after the fact that we move on. Because this comment ticks me off and makes me angry because you don't understand abuse or harassment of any kind. And when you make comments like that, you can't.

    The feelings they don't go away. Feeling helpless, feeling like you can't go to your own father to tell him what your own mother is doing to you and to your brothers because you think no one will believe you if you tell them. No one will listen, just keep your mouth shut and lock yourself in your room.

    And I don't think anyone really cares about this side story. But if you have never been on the inside of the mind of a victim you can never truly understand how they feel. Or if you've never had a friend or family member victim you can't even began to understand how helpless you feel being on the outside.

    You want to tell me to forget everything fine go ahead, guess what I'm still going to wake up in the middle of the night from the nightmares that I do have.

    And that's all the insight I'm giving you into the mind of a victim. And this has nothing to do with the other issue. But you know what, this is how most of us are feeling about this issue not on the same scale but it is something that we can't simply just forget and move on from. We were violated our trust lost.

    And the countless forms of harassment that do happen on this message board, I pray that a policy is finally put into place that will help people feel safe and help to put their trust back into these forums.

  11. HL&S

    HL&S Magistrate Emeritus star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Oct 30, 2001
    I'm just trying to figure this out.

    Wise is afraid of legal action against him mainly coming from the Sap who did this for defamation of character in a public forum. If he's afraid, then he's afraid that the proof that comes from pm's and usernotes and the administration behind the scenes would not be admissible in the defense. Just by that, it would say that Wise would not be afraid of a lawsuit coming from the victims (who clearly outnumber this one guy) for the same reason. Because the burden of proof would be on them to prove that they were harrassed or betrayed or used and the sap in question would have to prove that he is not what they say he is or that he betrayed anyones trust and Wise is responsible for letting it all happen under his roof.

    But if in this one case, he is afraid that everything behind the scenes wouldn't be enough proof, then shouldn't he be afraid of a much larger problem? If nothing behind the scenes is proof, then usernotes, unban requests, pm's and admin threads are useless in the event that a banned user sends a lawsuit saying that they were illegally prevented from posting on this board and that being banned is public humiliation. As the public proof of them breaking the TOS would be edited out by the mods, how would you stop them? Yes, it sounds like a weak case, but wouldn't the harassers case be one as well?

    And in the specific case of HWSNBN, filing a lawsuit (on very weak ground) that would in turn jeopardize his family life (wife, kids) and possibly defense contractor career would seem unlikely. Unless of course he was lying about all of that in which case we have evidence all around this board of him saying it was truth and thus his word would be discredited on the very public medium he would be sueing over.
  12. G-FETT

    G-FETT Force Ghost star 7

    Aug 10, 2001
    Well, I would hope Philips comments would be more constructive than that. :)
  13. AaylaSecurOWNED

    AaylaSecurOWNED Jedi Master star 6

    May 19, 2005
    For the record, there is no filter/censor in the PM system.
  14. Only-One Cannoli

    Only-One Cannoli Ex-Mod star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Aug 20, 2003
    Will someone be so kind as to explain to me what kind of legal action, specifically, might be taken against Wise? I want specifics, no glossing over the details like what's been mentioned.

    Exactly what is the worst that will happen.
  15. Maulfly

    Maulfly Moderator Emeritus star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Oct 23, 2001
    I can understand the legal reasoning behind not naming the alleged perp. It could be that one or more people don't like him and would be trying to ruin his reputation. He, in turn, could sue. And being realistic, the concern that people would misuse the ability to "accuse" someone they don't like on these boards is quite real, unfortunately.

    But at the same time, what's the legal liability of the site, the mods, and the owner if this person (generally speaking...not talking about the former Head Admin here) was uncovered truly to be a sexual predator (or stalker, or whatever) and the "site" did nothing to warn potential victims and he then was able to contact more after being discovered? If you guys run across a child predator or someone who's into child porn, do you report it to a legal authority (as is mandated in many cases) or do you just ban them and wipe your hands of it?

    And how would other already victimized posters know that something's been done or that you guys are investigating? Just saying "well, they should've said something themselves" doesn't really cut if the perp held the top spot, eh? It would also bring into question the handling of every sexual harassment case brought to this person. If they're involved in the behavior themselves, how can you be confident that he appropriately handled any separate cases brought to his attention....and could THAT be a grounds for legal action by victims if something brought to his attention resulted in an escalation?

    I don't know the answers. Those are just the questions that this situation bring up for me. This situation just strikes me as something that could cut both ways, legally, depending on who knew what and when they knew it...and what they DID with that knowledge.
  16. KnightWriter

    KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus star 9 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Nov 6, 2001
    Did anyone even read what I posted?

    The same stuff that led the perpetrator to do the things that he did are the same things that lead people to harass, abuse and rape in real life. Ultimately, I think that's one of the biggest reasons that this is so important, if not the single biggest reason. This is real, serious stuff. The medium is almost incidental.
  17. Grand Admiral Strife

    Grand Admiral Strife RSA Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jun 21, 2001
    I think only a lawyer would be able to give you the specifics, SLG.
  18. Maulfly

    Maulfly Moderator Emeritus star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Oct 23, 2001

    Very true.

    The internet is just another venue...another medium...for people to interact with each other. It's often an extention of what you'll get in RL. Sure, some come online and play around...but in many cases people act online much as they would've in RL (though some might be a bit more outspoken or such).

    If a person uses the internet to find "victims" or to cheat on their spouse, don't be surprised if that behavior extends to what they do using more "conventional" means. And now a days, the law looks at what happens online in much the same light as they would if it had happened in person at your house.

    Because of how this field of law has grown so much in just the last few years, you probably would need to ask a lawyer (and/or law enforcement) what would be consider liable at this point which may not have been when this site was first created.
  19. jp-30

    jp-30 Manager Emeritus star 10 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Dec 14, 2000
    I cannot forsee any legal action that can or should be taken against Wise. That whole notion sounds preposterous to me.

    But if someone here did try to serve him somehow to make some sort of point, you can bet his first course of action would be to shut down the boards.

  20. lexu

    lexu Jedi Grand Master star 6

    May 28, 2002
    Re: The blocking PMs issues... If it's bothersome enough that you have to block the person, then the person should be banned. Very, very simple.

    Just to drive it home a little, I'll volunteer in letting you know how I felt during a couple of the times when I was sexually harassed on the boards.

    The most recent comment was relatively minor, in my mind. I don't even remember the topic now, but apparently I made a comment that pissed another user off. Out of nowhere he said, quite directly, that I had large breasts in place of a personality. Actually, the wording was more offensive than that, but that was the gist. The first thought is: "Wow. Was he really stupid enough to just say that? Wow. I can't believe he said that. He's so going to get banned." Then I start to wonder if he's going to get banned or not. I don't remember now if he was. I told a mod friend and it was at least edited. And you'd think that would pretty much be the end of it, but outrage and the sense of privacy violation sticks. My thoughts all the next day were "How dare he? I don't even know him, not even a little. How would he have heard that I had big boobs?! Have I advertised that somehow? I don't think you could see anything in any pictures I've ever put on the JC... There was that bra thread, but that was like over a year ago. How does some random user know enough to even think that? Is this somehow public knowledge? Is someone talking about me behind my back? Do people really think of me like that?" etc. And what is initially just shocking and actually kind of funny (that he would say that) quickly becomes extraordinarily maddening. It's internet people using your body to insult you. It's very unexpected and violating, even when it's something minor.

    Another experience was much more personal and involved a former member of MS making a comment of a very sexual nature that I would understand and be very affected by, but was clever enough to fly under the radar of other moderators. This person had been making many comments towards and about me, increasingly harassing, and this last one was clearly meant to hit me in a way that I couldn't ignore. It was meant to not only anger me and prove I couldn't do anything, but attack my self-esteem at the same time. When I complained, even mods I trusted took their word over mine. It was beyond angering. It was the kind of anger that makes your face flush and I seriously considered leaving the boards. I'm pretty sure the vast majority of people who noticed it didn't realize it was a reference to me, but at the time I felt so exposed and with no outlet for any kind of justice. Even if there had been "justice," all of the insecurities associated with having someone make derogatory comments about me in such an intensely personal way would remain. And you can probably tell, while I don't at all dwell on it, it still bothers and confuses me when I think of it many months later. Even now I'm not sure I want to post it for fear that some people will know what I'm talking about.

    This is how I felt even as a very confident adult woman. Obviously the targets of harassment in this medium are usually younger, more easily-confused and impressionable girls, and as was the case with the most recent situation, it can happen in much less obvious ways.

    So anyway, that's pretty personal to share... :p But let's not have any confusion whatsoever: It's a big ****ing deal.
  21. Only-One Cannoli

    Only-One Cannoli Ex-Mod star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Aug 20, 2003

    Gahhhh that describes it perfectly. Unfortunately, I've been in that place many times before.
  22. KnightWriter

    KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus star 9 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Nov 6, 2001
    I truly don't understand how or why anyone (be they in a position of authority or not) could brush off comments like lexu described. It just doesn't compute. I'm sure I'm not alone in that, which begs the question of what precisely is the thinking of those that do brush it off.

    Also, I don't think it really does it justice to say "internet people." None of us exist in a vacuum, and our personalities exist both in real life and online. Some of us behave a little differently depending on where we are, but our real essence is constant. If someone harasses you here, it's not unreasonable to think that they've probably harassed someone in real life as well.
  23. dp4m

    dp4m Chosen One star 10

    Nov 8, 2001
    Well, yes and no, Josh. Some of the people I've met in RL don't compare necessarily to their personalities here and some of the same doesn't translate to the Hat, etc.

    I don't view it as a Jason Bourne (the good, book kind) situation necessarily, but a solely text-medium adds a layer of complexity.

    Now, having said THAT, it shouldn't detract from the overall point still trying to be made here.
  24. Maulfly

    Maulfly Moderator Emeritus star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Oct 23, 2001

    Reminds me when some little troll got mad and called me a derogatory part of the female anatomy. Unfortunately, when I reported to a Mod, they said they couldn't do anything because the word could also double as meaning a kitty cat. So the little turd wasn't even edited...even though I'm pretty sure the context was pretty clear in how he used the word.

    Yeah, I was ticked at that one for at least a week. :p
  25. KnightWriter

    KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus star 9 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Nov 6, 2001
    I understand that, David. Clearly, people sometimes act differently online than they do offline. I don't think any of us who have spent years online would dispute that. It's a fact that we use different parts of our brain to speak and write. Those who are best equipped to write articulately and intelligently have a distinct advantage over others who aren't quite so formidable in that department (even if the odds shift when in person).

    That said, I think there's a part of each person that transcends the medium, and one can make an argument that how we behave online is as good an indicator of our personalities and real selves as anything we do when in person. Anonymity (perceived and otherwise) is a powerful thing, as is lack of accountability. Clearly, unnamed_user lacked anyone to be accountable to (literally so for years on end), and nobody really fixed that. Those of us who should have held him accountable did not, and he took advantage of that.

    The point I've been wanting to bring to this discussion is just how serious all of this is. The internet has a way of bringing out parts of a person that might otherwise stay hidden, dormant or otherwise undeveloped. That's not automatically a bad thing. I'd say many good things have come about from people's online interactions, and in fact that's so obvious a statement as to be unnecessary to say. But, what I really want to say is that what makes us do the things unnamed_user did come from his essential personality or self, and is probably not something that is limited only to the online world. The same is true for countless others, I'm sure. Sometimes, all a person needs is the means to make something happen, and he had that here. What drove this person to harass and manipulate women over the years is something that took a lot of thought, a lot of planning, and a lot of ability to rationalize. These are not things that exist only in an internet personality. They transcend that, and that's what makes him and others like him so dangerous.
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