A recent forum discussion about a dressage trainer in PA went a bit wild -- I do a lot online, and have seen a lot of bad behavior. Still, it was astonishing the way a group of adults used the anonymity and ease of the net to to rip apart this local trainer. He admittedly had shaky credentials, but that ain't unusual! For some reason the guy hit a nerve with people. They stalked him, berated him, they went on a jihad to undermine some events he was planning. If he had been making a living professionally, he is probably not now. People unearthed all kinds of dirt (finances, litigation) It was awful. COTH closed down several threads, but the damage was done.
I recently read an article in the New Yorker, "How the Internet has changed bullying." So this New Yorker article made an interesting point about bullys. The author writes...
Ask people why they bully, and they rarely say, “Because I can.” They say, “Because I need to.” Bullies believe they are teaching someone a lesson; they claim that their victims are, through their own actions or faults, asking for it, and that they need to be called out and corrected. They build narratives of their behaviors. Many of the bullies Swearer has dealt with don’t seem to have realized that what they did was bullying: they demonstrate “a lack of insight and self-awareness.” Instead, they see themselves as righteous crusaders.I read this passage to Bob. He replied, "I just think they're a$$holes."
I'm reminded of the Will Ferrell quote, "Stay classy." Not bad advice.