What society are we building here?

There is no single solution to the plague of trolls, abusers, harassers, lunatics, imposters, and assholes online any more than there is on earth: no one algorithm, no one company rule, no one regulation will do it all, though they can help. The most powerful weapon in any case is our own norms as a society.

What exactly are our norms online? And what are we — you, yes you, and I — doing to establish and enforce our standards as an online society? Anything? Twitter, Facebook, and other platforms bear responsibility. But so do we all.

I cannot imagine any civilized being who is not appalled at the treatment of Robin Williams’ daughter Zelda at the hands of disgusting trolls after the death of her father. This forced her to leave Twitter and that, in turn, forced Twitter to decide that it should “improve our policies.” The Washington Post, in its report, pointed to other egregious cases of abuse. It’s worth pointing out that this week also brought us Jezebel bringing its own corporate parent, Gawker, to public shame for not dealing with trolls’ abhorrent rape GIFs.

I want to make this crystal clear: I in no way will compare my own situation, which I’ll now recount, to any of those horrid crimes against decency. But I had a moment this week that gave me some insight to the difficulty of controls. I don’t want to give my minor tormentor, my idiot imposter, my personal troll any further attention but you probably already know who this is. This week, with shocking nastiness, he went after a prominent person I’ve met and I respect and with whom I share a number of friends. That person reacted appropriately — angrily — thinking I was the shithead going after him. I don’t follow my troll so I would not have seen this had it not reached some Twitter notoriety. That at least gave me the opportunity to tell the prominent person that his tormentor was my tormentor, not me.

What bothers me even more is the reaction of others who egg on the imposter trolls. One was a prominent columnist for a famous financial newspaper with funny colored paper who endorsed out loud the idea of trolling an important person whom he covers. That’s not what they taught me in journalism school. It’s sure as hell not what I teach there. Is this net we want to build? For that matter, is this the journalism we want to have? Is this our society?

Now I tried to talk to my imposter-troll earlier in his two-and-a-half-year and 17,500-tweet campaign against me. He didn’t have the balls. After he affected my reputation with someone I’ve met, I sent him another message, saying he’d crossed the line. He still doesn’t have sufficient balls or the decency or the mere maturity and civility to talk to me. Hasn’t he had his fun already? But there’s no reasoning with trolls; indeed, that’s the definition of a troll.

I contacted an executive at Twitter. I was invited to file a formal complaint. They might kill my troll-imposter’s account. But then I know what would happen: I’d be accused of being a humorless party-pooper because I don’t like being mocked every day or finding people thinking I’m a horrid shithead. And if I oppose Europe’s idiotic Right to be Forgotten fiasco, I could not stand for muting someone else. No win there. It’s obvious that a prominent person mistook my imposter for a real person because the user name gives no clue. But Twitter’s policy is that imposter accounts are OK. Now I don’t assume that anyone who’s being attacked should have to spend a damned second researching his tormentor. But that is Twitter’s policy.

So what should Twitter’s policy be with the much, much worse cases recounted above? On This Week in Google, my esteemed cohost, Gina Trapani, has suggested that Twitter could enable users to share their own blacklists of harrassers to give them less of the commodity that fuels them: attention. On this week’s show, Mathew Ingram mentioned Blockbot and the Washington Post pointed to Danilo Campos’ suggestions on signals to block bad users.

In the end, Twitter — like Facebook and all social and content-creation services — must decide their own standards. I learned that when I ran local sites: The days of anything-goes ended in our forums once we realized that we bore a responsibility to police the communities we offered. Then I had no problem killing mean, abusive, and just off-topic bullshit in our discussions. Does Twitter have standards?

Do we? I will repeat that when you egg on a troll, you are an accessory to the crime: You are a troll. Shouldn’t you scold and shun those who behave badly online? If you don’t, what are you saying about the society we are building?

I hate the ABC show What Would You Do? but I will say that we are living a version of it online. When you see a troll or abuser online, what do you do about it? Do you egg on or ignore the miscreant? Do you shame the fool? Do you support the troll’s victims? Or do you laugh at them?

You — yes, you and I — are creating the norms of our new society. What are those norms? What is our new society? Is it something we are proud to pass on to our children? Does it improve society for them? Or is it easier to snark and snigger at some stranger’s expense?

  • carlvlewis

    The solution is to recognize the web has evolved from a separate, not-IRL “cloud” into an actual “thing” that is a part of society, and has real consequences. While I’m all for internet privacy, when it comes to voicing your thoughts, more SaaS platforms (like Disqus here!) should require airtight identity verification for participation. Not saying *all* should. There’s a limited, albeit crucial, need for digital anonymity in many situations (i.e., whistleblowing). But far too many platforms allow anonymity, including Twitter, without even publicly logging IP addresses.

    • Eric Hydrick

      Anonymity is for more than whistleblowing. It’s what helps people feel confident and relatively safe expressing unpopular, albeit not trollish opinions. Saying too many sites allow pseudoanonymity is like complaining it’s too easy to publish under a pen name, or putting dummy name on a name tag at a mixer.

      • carlvlewis

        Neither of those examples afford the same type of absolute anonymity, though, like web platforms do. I agree, there’s a place for anonymity. Just not every single site, blog or news portal.

        • Eric Hydrick

          Most web platforms don’t offer absolute anonymity. They offer pseudoanonymity, which is like pen names on other written work. The issue is that because there’s such a low barrier to entry with putting something on the Internet, it’s much easier for the dregs of society to do something very publicly, where other people can reinforce the behavior.

          The biggest problem in all of this is that we don’t believe all trolling is equally bad. Trolling people/entities we can’t stand is OK, but doing the same thing to people/entities we don’t want to see trolled is bad. Until we get over this petty “screw those guys” mentality we have for just about everything we disagree with or don’t like for whatever good or petty reason, nothing will change or improve.

      • David Church

        I think that anonymity should only be used for whistle blowing and other legitimate personal security issues. As a society, we need to evolve our thinking about the right to speak freely. The anonymity of news website comments encourages people to voice their random thoughts and uninformed opinions. Serial commenters visit the several newspaper and media sites frequently to ensure that their pet peeves and ax grinding rants are refreshed to be discovered by other readers (like a dog scent-marking his territory by pissing on the same street post on his daily walks.)

        I believe that if you want to give the world your opinion, you have an obligation to attach your real name to it, even if you anticipate that your opinion will not be popular. You should be able to defend your opinion by citing the relevant facts, statistics, news events and historical analysis you considered in forming that opinion. (Of course, most opinions are uninformed, based mainly on emotional reactions or ideological preconceptions and biases. If facts or verifiable sources are cited, they are often cherry picked to support an existing opinion. I suspect many people use anonymous and fictional profile names precisely because they know their opinions won’t withstand the most cursory fact checking.)

        • Eric Hydrick

          So, because people could post opinions or thoughts you find distateful (warranted or not), they should have to have a real name attached to it? Why? So the threat of having a thought posted online haunt them offline? Pseudoanonymity empowers people to share things they otherwise wouldn’t because it creates a barrier between the online post and their real lives to avoid harassment from those who can’t stand the opinion.

          It’s not just trolls that rely on pseduoanonymity. Pseduoanonymity allows people posting under things like the #YesAllWomen hashtag or the “What picture would they use” campaign to keep any trolling or harassment online and not at their house, job, calling them on their cell phone, etc., and those were hardly “random thoughts and uninformed opinions…pet peeves and ax grinding rants are refreshed to be discovered by other
          readers (like a dog scent-marking his territory by pissing on the same
          street post on his daily walks.)”

          What you really want is the ability to for people specifically target other people in the real world for having opinions they deem unjustified, or really just plain “bad”, whether warranted or not. See Brandon Eich, who was forced out of Mozilla for an “incorrect” political contribution (I’m not defending Proposition 8, it was wrong), despite there never once being a report that homosexuals were treated differently or mistreated at Mozilla while he was an executive (pre-CEO). This kind of retalitory behavior is precisely *why* pseudoanonymity on the Internet is important. Would it have been nearly as OK in a dark red state if a CEO who supported a campaign for marriage equality was forced out for being on the “wrong” side? Whose the arbiter of worthy opinions and thoughts? Or what deserves the protection of pseudoanonymity if not full anonymity? You?

          Trolls aren’t the only ones hiding behind pseudoanonymity, and the easiest, fairest way to determine that those who need the protection it offers is to offer it to everybody, trolls too. If you want to keep off-topic, harassing, etc. messages out of your community, you need community moderation, not a real name policy that leaves the prospect of retaliation hanging over people’s heads. The ability to be pseudoanonymous or even anonymous on the Internet is too important to take away because a small, vocal minority is abusing the privilege. We as a people are smarter than this, we can better target solutions to this problem, and we should do that rather than wage a war on anonymity.

        • David Church

          “What you really want is the ability to for people specifically target other people in the real world for having opinions they deem unjustified…”

          Why would you even presume to tell ME what I really want?

          What I want, and what I think I said fairly clearly, is that I think people should publicly stand behind the statements and opinions they make in public. (“Have the courage of your convictions” is the old colloquium.)

        • Eric Hydrick

          I say that because when real names get attached to online posts, people get harassed offline. See: http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2014/08/the-death-of-the-gamers-and-the-women-who-killed-them/ as a fairly recent example.

          All too often, trolls aren’t the ones posting comments, they’re the ones reading and reacting to them. Anonymity and pseudoanonymity are attempts to mitigate that risk, and to say it should be off the table is dangerous for the very people that need that protection most.

        • David Church

          I’d argue that your example (the horrendous misogynist abuse directed at women online by insecure microdicked men) actually supports my point.

          Why should women with an opinion (especially about something as inconsequential as gaming – we’re not talking about women advocating for equality and human rights in male dominated countries) be forced to hide because of anonymous abusive trolls? That just rewards the trolls and perpetuates the problem. The wrong people

          Those trolls post their “opinions” anonymously because they don’t have enough courage to go public. They are afraid of the same abuse and targeted invasions of personal privacy they inflict on women online.(And I doubt they actually truly believe the crap they spout. They know their mothers and sisters would be appalled by their rhetoric.)

        • mclare

          That person you think is a whistleblower I think is a traitor engaged in espionage.

          With you and me on the internet it makes it hard to agree on limits to anonymity.

          Perhaps it’s better negotiate anonymity issues as they arise as a community?

  • I understand not wanting to give your parody/troll any extra attention, but he’s easily found and the lack of specifics in your post make it impossible to judge whether you are absolutely justified in your outrage or simply failing to take a joke in good humour.

    I’ve followed your chap for some time now and his tweets have always seemed like light-hearted parody at best or tiresomely formulaic at worst (and even that, one could argue, is an intentional part of the parody).

    Okay, I found posts on Slate and a better one on The Awl. I have to say, I think it was actually pretty funny. Sorry, I just don’t see the harm when compared to even slightly more serious cases of trolling. I certainly wouldn’t have even mentioned poor Zelda Williams in this context. I appreciate how invasive it must feel though.

    I wonder if there’s a way to deal with this kind of parody account, short of getting the accounts shut down? Perhaps Twitter could introduce a ‘parody’ badge, like the ‘verified’ badge but maybe a comical ‘red tomato’ icon instead. Something that would indicate that the accounts were ‘for entertainment purposes only’.

    Just a thought. It would serve to minimise confusion and could even become a badge of pride for the attention-seekers of Twitter.

    • Eric Hydrick

      I really like the idea of a “Parody” badge. Really what has to happen is people seeing a tweet should know instantly that they’re coming from an account designed to be satire, not an actual person’s opinions.

      • Laroquod

        Great idea! Maybe we could also have a ‘Criticism’ badge. Because what has to happen is people seeing a tweet should know instantly that it’s negative and they should avoid it.

        What we need to remedy at all costs is this situation where people are forced to read words first before they decide what they think and have to make up their own minds about what those words mean. This is what will lead to the death of our society.

        • Eric Hydrick

          I think you’re taking this idea a lot farther than it’s intended or designed to go. The idea is an unambiguous indicator that te person posting the content is parodying or satirizing the name in the account, and to take the comments in that context. It’s not a problem with probably 90+% of these accounts (@BoredElonMusk, @phpceo, or @BPGlobalPR during the Gulf oil spill), where you can very obviously tell they’re not the real people writing this content aren’t those named. The issue is with accounts like the one mentioned here, which apparently is @ProfJeffJarvis, that aren’t immediately apparent. It’s especially problematic since good satire and parody has to sound like it could plausibly come from the subject involved.

        • There’s actually quite a useful side-effect of these parody accounts that could at-a-glance be mistaken for the real thing: Occasionally the ‘real’ mainstream press get fooled and jokes get reported as facts. It’s a strong indicator of the quality of journalism (or lack thereof).

          This is one of my favourite examples: http://halfblog.net/2011/11/29/the-telegraph-thought-councillor-thought-cloud-computing-depended-on-rainy-weather/

        • Thank you for your support. I was of course suggesting exactly that irony and subtlety should be stripped from Twitter. In fact, I think colourful badges should be plastered all over the web telling people what and how to think until such time as our society falls apart. Smartass.

      • Eric Gauvin

        A parody isn’t humorous if you have to announce in advance that it is a parody. Part of the joke is figuring it out on your own.

  • mclare

    The parody/satire was funny for most of those 1000+ tweets, but the impersonation was always unnecessary and choice driven by the impostors own interest in immediate notoriety. The imposter has enjoyed that notoriety for sometime and could have “pivoted” (in imposter’s parlance) to a new handle long ago.

    Satire has very important role in society (even more so in Canada), and it often borrows on other’s notoriety, but impersonation for its own sake can only ever be funny for a short time and there are a good number of milestones when that passed (detailed above and elsewhere).

    Clearly a troll. Jeff abided it well and strategically until a critical moment.

    I think the need for a sub-community driven ban list/system is evident and it is my hope that Twitter is working on a similar solution and taking time to not create a new weapon in an arms race, but rather solve the problem.

  • Chromejob

    Great post, Jeff. I closed my Twitter account and invited friends on G+ and FB to do the same, boycott Twitter, last night. I see from past news that this has been a very public problem — Twitter’s policies and lack of decisive action against imposters and trolls — and the company is wallowing in the blanket of “Oh, well, um, I guess we’ll have to look at doing something.” It’s time. Twitter has to re-tool and fix the system that allows anonymous haters to add anguish and pain on top of a young woman’s grief, and I mean Really Fix It.

    Anyone can do the same search I did. Years and years of reports of women subjected to rape threats, death threats, all manner of abuse, with Twitter being prominently mentioned. Twitter has not acted like they feel at all accountable for being the conduit of all this psychic violence. It’s time to hold their feet to the fire.

    • Eric Hydrick

      What do you want Twitter to do? It’s a public broadcasting platform, designed to blindly put messages out for anyone to read, or allow people to message each other directly (privately or publicly via the @tag). Trying to get into doing anything based on specific content opens them up to a whole host of potential legal concerns since they’re no longer just a messaging service.

      I’m not saying don’t put any moderation tools on Twitter, I’m just curious about what form they can reliably take. I like the idea of shared blacklists discussed on the most recent TWiG, but I’m not sure what else can reasonably work given the way Twitter is designed and operates.

      • Chromejob

        I guess I would want a responsive and responsible mechanism for them to remove posts that are abusive, threatening, or divulge private information. In the case of Zelda Williams, it seemed to take way too long for them to act.

  • Seems like growing pains to me for publishing content online. In print people had to pass editors to get the word out and that controlled quality mostly. It seems that the Twitter issue to me though is the same as tabloid journalism of yor. Back then they did it for money. Now they do it because they are the disenfranchised with a gun. The dumb comments online don’t bother me (except for the impersonation is over the line) anymore than seeing tabloid covers that I never bought anyway 20 years ago. They are both dumb comments that don’t contribute to me.

    We’re not there yet though to use technology to take the gun back from disenfranchised kids. Hypothetically you could have a federated reputation system whose function it was to limit the reach of messages to match their reputation level, but that’s not today.

    It is a matter of reach though that is like how journalism works (worked). Good stuff gets into the NYT’s because there is a curation process. That’s still centralized. There is yet a decentralized curation process.

    The solution is not on limiting free speech though. It’s on increasing / decreasing the reach of comments to fit the audience. Once the kid with the gun has no audience, he/she will just go away anyway.

    What kind of society are we building though? An inclusive one.

    • mclare

      I don’t think you can place exchanges happening 100% in Twiiter inside a publishing (writer -> editor -> to press) metaphor.

      I’m not sure a metaphor even helps, but it would have to at least be two-way communications and then probably one with much more discrete messages.

      Federated reputation is interesting, but there’s little incentive for a “dynamic” company like Twitter to get involved with something so bureaucratic. Further, G+ and Facebook would like to be considered your canonical source for online reputation, so they would not be allies.

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  • Hi Jeff, Rurik Bradbury here, writer of @ProfJeffJarvis.

    Couple of errors in your post. I have no problem talking to you: that one exchange we had by DM, I said “yes let’s talk” and we discussed a time (I was about to travel to Russia) but then you never answered. And earlier this week you followed me, DMed me a threatening message… then immediately unfollowed so I couldn’t respond! Then an hour or so ago, you did another “drive-by” follow/DM/unfollow — complaining I don’t have “the guts and decency to reply once”(!) I’m not sure what kind of dialog you’re looking for.

    The parody is silly and the tweets are nonsense. The “hallmark” of ProfJeffJarvis, if there is one, is making up absurd jargon, which I don’t think you do much. Jason Pontin summed it up well:

    [email protected] has long ceased to be any kind of parody of @jeffjarvis, but has become a gloriously surreal satire of modern vanities.” (https://twitter.com/jason_pontin/status/383754706797211648)

    The ProfJeffJarvis character is a composite of you, plus five or six other thinkfluencers. It bears almost no resemblance to you, except the name. I really don’t know very much about you, and I’d guess that fewer than 1% of the ProfJeffJarvis tweets have any direct bearing on you personally.

    Anyway, happy to discuss anytime, publicly and transparently.

    PS a final point: the way you describe ProfJeffJarvis as a “tormentor” and “troll,” and talk about a “crime”, then, with a half-hearted disclaimer, conflate this light-hearted, parody with the *real* trolling and horrible abuse of Zelda Williams — isn’t that a bit distasteful?

    • Rurik,

      Well, there you are.

      Get your facts straight. I recall you dropping that ball.

      And I did not follow you. I do not follow you. You follow me; that’s what enabled me to DM you.

      What is possibly “threatening” about this message, and I quote, in full: “You have crossed the line. Enough.”

      You have crossed the line. You have affected my reputation with people I know. Those people should not be expected to perform a content analysis of your drive-by attack on them to determine who this really is. You are using my identity to harm my reputation.

      And I’ve fucking had enough of it. You’ve had your fun, mate. You have your blurbs from Jason Pontin. (Wow!) Can’t you retire now?

      Think for a moment what it’s like for me with you using my identity for two and a half years and 17k tweets. Just try, eh?

      I work hard. I try to do good. I teach and research for what I think are good ends. I put up with your humorless humor for two and a half years. But now you’re trolling other people under my identity.


      Get your own life.

      • Guest

        It’s like a clown finally realizing he’s been wearing makeup all this time and refusing to admit it.

      • Julien Sorel

        “You have affected my reputation with people I know.” If this is indeed true, the fact that there was such apparently deep confusion speaks volumes.

      • Chris Caesar

        Jeff Jarvis deleted my comment because there were screenshots of him telling people to “kiss his d*** and other delightful examples of Twitter civility. What a joke.

        • carlvlewis

          There’s a between “civility” and impersonation/near libelous satire. If Jarvis or anyone else says something demeaning toward someone online, I think Jarvis would agree that free speech is free speech, as long as it’s not under the cloak of anonymity and persistent personal mockery of an individual/brand.

      • Ken B.

        Good old Jeff – deleting comments he doesn’t like, that or maybe this poster requested the ‘right to be forgotten’ and Jeff was just obliging?

      • margaret

        I’ve read all this and all I can say as a Psychotherapist is trolls and other vile people are exactly that. http://www.collective-evolution.com/2015/01/13/why-its-important-to-understand-your-dark-side/

    • I’ve been following ProfJeffJarvis for some time, and I think Pontin put it very well there. Since it’s true that your account has so little bearing to the real Jeff Jarvis, wouldn’t it be fair to change … or *pivot* if you prefer … and drop the connection to a real person?

    • mclare

      Change the ProfJeffJarvis handle. You get to keep the followers (technically) and you can prove your point.

      Seems like a simple solution.

  • Eric Gauvin

    I don’t think calling someone a “troll” is helping your argument. Can you more accurately articulate what you’re talking about in a way that could lead to positive change? Otherwise it looks like you’re just blowing off steam and shouting insults.

    • Patrick Andrzejczyk

      verb: troll; 3rd person present: trolls; past tense: trolled; past participle: trolled; gerund or present participle: trolling
      1. make a deliberately offensive or provocative online posting with the aim of
      upsetting someone or eliciting an angry response from them.
      “If people are obviously trolling then I’ll delete your posts and do my best to ban you”.

  • JoeP

    Wow Jarvis – all about free speech and protecting all that exists, good or bad but you cry over a parody account. Hypocrite.

    • I’m not asking anyone to censor it. I am asking its creator to be reasonable and not use my identity to attack people I respect. That’s not a lot to *ask*.

      • Guest

        “I’m not asking anyone to censor it.”

        • bob

          Listen just because he’s asking for the account to be deleted doesn’t mean he’s asking for censorship

        • Chris Caesar

          What would really be the difference between censoring it and having the account silenced?

        • I’ve not asked for it to be deleted. I’ve asked for him to stop impersonating me and trolling others while doing so.

        • Chris Caesar

          Jeff why did you delete my screenshots of you telling people to “kiss your d***” etc? Is this how you foster civility online? You are a brutal, ruthless hack. Just, wow

        • Chris Caesar

          What do you think happens when impersonators are reported to Twitter, exactly? What were you hoping to accomplish instead?

        • I didn’t fill it out. I didn’t know it existed. It’s called sharing.

  • Jason Pontin

    Since I’ve been quoted, I suppose I should affirm: it’s pretty whimsical to believe Rurik Bradbury is still parodying the real Jeff Jarvis, a (usually) mild-mannered professor of journalism who has never said anything like the remarks attributed to him. Jeff Jarvis is sane and thoughtful; Professor Jeff H Jarvis is a moral imbecile; he has never seen an intellectual fad he won’t abase himself before.

    However it began, the twitter account is now a satire of new media hyperbole and triviality. It’s very often funny. Perhaps the account needs another name. Maybe Twitter could create a parody badge. But Bradbury isn’t just impersonating the real

    • I agree – and made the same points elsewhere in these comments – but I’m not so sure that PJJ is a million miles from the real JJ. In recent episodes of TWIG Jarvis has been declaring that he’s going to move ‘into the cloud’ for all of his computing needs – embracing the future – while simultaneously using Leo and Gina as on-air tech support for all kinds of problems. Cheerleading for something you don’t really understand is one of the hallmarks of PJJ.

  • Glenn Kenny

    Do you REALLY think you try to do good, Mr. Jarvis? Because every time I peek into your little corner in the world I see a guy with his arms crossed celebrating the fact that writers are losing their livelihoods while announcing, “Hey, I got mine in the new media!” Not sure who or what that benefits, your own ego aside.

    Hence, I’m of the opinion that you ought to be able to take some parodic ribbing. And Bradbury’s right: your conflating your situation with Zelda Williams’ (if you—”crystal clear”—really didn’t want to do that, you wouldn’t have brought it up in the first place; your flimsy argument makes “I was for it before I was against it” look like a model of intellectual cogency) is a little on the not-compliant-with-human-decency side, but I’m hardly surprised you’d go there.

    • Pete

      Spot on.

  • Beau Giles

    I (along with 10,000 or so other people on twitter) have been following @ProfJeffJarvis for a few years now because Mr. Bradbury has created very funny parody of a humorless internet intellectual who is perpetually convinced that he and the industry are changing the world. This humor-free post in frustration is perhaps the most unintentionally funny thing I’ll read this year.

    When considering the breadth of vile things that are said and done on the internet every day @ProfJeffJarvis barely registers.

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  • Marc Love

    What’s funny is Jeff Jarvis has spent the last several years lecturing the world on why they should embrace the lack of privacy that the internet brings to their lives and mocking people who get upset when that lack of privacy affects them. Now he’s throwing a bit of a fit that a parody account temporarily confused somebody he knows. Sounds like Jeff Jarvis needs to talk to Jeff Jarvis.

    • carlvlewis

      You’ve got to view it in context of how quickly things have changed in the past few years as unfiltered social platforms (Twitter) have rapidly gained the monopoly on conversation . And there’s a huge difference between the issue of privacy vs. committing impersonation/parody. Given Jeff’s support of truthful publicness – and the value of his own personal brand that acts almost as a trademark – he has every right to be upset, not that he is terribly upset. He’s just making a point about maintaining ethical standards as a platform. Notice how the trolls on this very thread have not evoked his response or censorship. If they’d used his photo and name, though, it’d be more than trolling; it’d be an impersonation. It’s the very reason why we have trademarks, which Twitter seems to disregard until an attorney sends a letter (in my previous job, we had an impersonator using our branding as parody; Twitter never replied until we got the corporate attorney involved).

  • Jeff, if you knew anything about this medium, you’d know the only thing you have going for you is Bradbury.

    Any of your “associates” who don’t know how brilliantly you have been run through and marginalized, well they can’t be very good friends.

    Your friends have told you to start owning your “I don’t really get this stuff today” reality, right?

    “Be Andy Rooney, Jeff!” thats what your friends say right? They are your friends. That’s how you know people care about you.

    Be Andy Rooney.

  • c

    I thought his username and your real name were a funny coincidence. ProfJeffJarvis is quite good at mocking the absurdities of Silicon Valley folk. I would be upset if the account were deleted. Maybe a rename would settle this?

  • Prof. Jeff H Jarvis

    It’s identity theft when you engage in discussions using a false name and they think you are the person who you say you are. Plain and simple. PS. Jeff, don’t block @profJeffJarws – it’s not you nor Rurik Bradbury. Just a parody of Rurik’s parody, soon to change name to Rurik Bradbury and start making fun of identity securing services on the Internets.

  • Liz

    Re: Trolls in forums – “Then I had no problem killing mean, abusive, and just off-topic bullshit in our discussions.”

    I don’t see how filing a complaint of impersonation is any different. This is not an account that calls itself @NotJeffJarvis as many parody accounts do. It doesn’t have “parody account” in its bio.

    It’s clearly an impersonation, intending to fool users that it is you Tweeting. This is a clear violation of Twitter’s policies and I don’t think most people would object to you filing a complaint. Most likely, the account would have to rename itself or identify itself as a parody account and not be totally shut down. I think this is a situation that might, at least partially, satisfy both you and Rurik.

  • What say you, Rurik, to the good suggestion of your blurbing hero, Jason Pontin: Change the name. You are impersonating me with my full name and no indication that it is fake and using my real identity to troll others and affect my reputation as a result. Change the name. Oh, and get a life, too.

    • Eric Gauvin

      I don’t think he’s impersonating you. That would be like identity theft. Do you think people follow @ProfJeffJarvis thinking he is you? That’s absurd. There are many other people on twitter with the name jarvis, even another guy named Jeff jarvis.

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  • richardya

    Jeff Jarvis “You have crossed the line. You have affected my reputation with people I
    know. Those people should not be expected to perform a content analysis
    of your drive-by attack on them to determine who this really is. You
    are using my identity to harm my reputation.”

    But he is against the European “right to forget?” Wow

    • mclare

      No one is arguing for a court case – but I think there might have been grounds for one in the EU pre-“Right to be forgotten” around identity.

      But again, no courts, you’re reading the better (messier) alternative to legislation.

  • ProfRurikBradbury

    Geez, Mr. Bradbury, why don’t you just change the name because Jeff Jarvis asked you to. You don’t have to, but that’s the whole point. Its not censorship if you decide to do this yourself. It’s just simple and civil, more of which we need on the internet. Hilarious tweets by the way.

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  • carlvlewis

    I feel like everyone attacking Jarvis is just a bitter, stubborn unemployed former reporter taking out his/her rage at technological change and industry disruption on a single individual who’s not afraid to voice his thoughts. I don’t always agree with him on every issue, but there’s no denying he’s made very valuable contributions here and elsewhere in the larger discourse on media disruption and innovation. He’s not vain. He’s just brazenly outspoken, and often willing to say what everyone else in the industry is afraid to say or not smart enough to grasp. Sure, you can point out possible minor conflicts in his viewpoints as the landscape has evolved, but he’s an academic. He’s supposed to be examining issues from a critical perspective.

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  • Steven Santinelli

    I was completely devastated by Robin’s death, a man who always put a smile on my face no matter how happy or sad I may have been at the time. I felt horrible about what happened with Zelda, and shocked that anyone, ANYONE could have tried to cause that woman any pain, more than she already had.

    I say, you pull a Jay and Silent Bob, sell the movie rights to your comic book, and use the money made on the sale to go to each and every troll’s house, and give them a beating. :)

    And yes, that’s silly. But sometimes I think you just need to get to the troll’s parents and tell them what there kid is doing. Because, anyone who is a troll? HAS to be a kid, even if he/she is forty.

    I doubt a blacklist will work. I don’t KNOW what the answer is. I think you’d almost have to have personal blacklists, that allow blocking down to the IP address, since someone can easily just create a new account and continue there bashing…

  • ReportrBot

    ……. They create a digital world. They spy on us. We buy into it. We all jump on board and can’t live without it. Why do we all need to exist there?. On Fb, Twitter, Google? – like we can’t live without it. Please remember it’s all fake. You’ve bought into all this digital life. When they turn off the electricity, or the net, or whatever, we can all go back to our normal, previous, life – like we did for tens of 1000’s of years. It’s all just a game.. They gave it to us. And they can take it away.

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