Weekly Wrap 336: Quieter, with another omnishambles

The dragon is sleeping: click to embiggenMy week of Monday 31 October to Sunday 6 November 2016 was quieter than the previous two, deliberately, and I’m grateful for that.

Articles

Podcasts

None, but check out the week ahead. There’ll be three!

Media Appearances

Corporate Largesse

None.

The Week Ahead

It’s a busy one, punctuated by travel from Sydney up to Bunjaree Cottages in the Blue Mountains on Tuesday afternoon, and travel back down on Thursday.

I’m finishing an op-ed for SBS TV. I’m finishing the production of three podcasts, namely The 9pm Edict Public House Forum 4, and two episodes of Corrupted Nerds from the Ruxcon information security conference. And I’m writing at least one piece for ZDNet.

On top of that, there’s work on the various geek-for-hire projects.

None of this work has been allocated to specific days. There’s still some uncertainty, including a chance the travel might be cancelled.

Further Ahead

This information is now on the new calendar page, Stilgherrian in Public.

Update 7 November 2016: Edited to reflect schedule changes.

[Photo: The dragon is sleeping, being a decaying roof in Lilyfield in Sydney’s inner west, photographed on 6 November 2016.]

Talking internet trolls on ABC TV Lateline

Screenshot of Stilgherrian on Lateline: click for video and transcriptLast week Collective Shout activist and campaigns manager Caitlin Roper told her story of the horrific misogynist abuse she’d received online, and what can most politely be called a disappointing response from the police.

I reluctantly went to the police station, already knowing that threats against women online are not regarded as a priority. “Why don’t you just close down your account?” asked the officer taking my statement.

I explained how I used Twitter in the course of my work for a non-profit organisation. She pressed further — “but why do you need to use it?” — as if it was somehow unreasonable for me to believe I had as much right as anyone to access social media without threats

Another colleague went to the police after one man described how he intended to mutilate her body and dissolve it in acid. The police officer suggested that the internet was “not a very nice place”, and maybe she should stay off it.

Last night, ABC TV’s Lateline did a follow-up story, the reported being John Stewart, and I provided a few comments.

It’s interesting that the one piece they used was about the internet putting everyone right next to everyone else:

It’s simply that within the past people were in communities, that were mostly made up of people like them or people they grew up with. If there was a violent part of town or a red-light district or whatever it might be, and you didn’t want to go there or you didn’t want to know about it, well you just didn’t go there. The problem is now on the internet all of that is right next to you as well and people are shocked by this. They’re suddenly discovering that there are people not like them. They have different attitudes to women, different attitudes to acceptable language, to religion, to class, to sporting teams, to clothing as we’ve seen in the media lately. Everything.

I also said that thanks to the internet, we are now building a global society, and yet policing is organised on a regional or even local basis.

While these women, and so many others, have experienced appalling abuse, in most cases there’s no credible threat. Even if the police cranked up the mechanisms of transnational police cooperation, there’d be little chance of a prosecution leading to a conviction. Their lack of follow-up reflects that unfortunate reality, as well as many police officers’ unfamiliarity with online life.

I daresay I’ll have further thoughts in this, because this story certainly isn’t going away.

Yes, I know they spelt my name wrong. Yes, I know they said “social media commentator”.

Look, about that damn topless gnome…

“The greatest challenge to implementing social media within any organisation is the willingness for that organisation to accept the cultural change that will ultimately occur. And occur dramatically and at a rapid pace. Social media holds a mirror up to an organization from the external customers/clients/constituents that shows an authentic, and sometimes unexpected, face.”Nick Hodge

“I’d add that that face is almost always unexpected.”Mark Pesce (in private conversation)

Topless gnome Gnaomi, standing near the book The State of Africa by Martin Meredith, from the opening to Stilgherrian Live episode 48

Clearly I’m not going to get anything else written until I respond to The Gnome Situation. I’ve been reading the comments and mulling possible responses for days. It’s getting in the way of actual, productive work. So here we go.

No. I will not be removing Gnaomi from my desk.

Discussing an issue as important as rape through the proxy of an anthropomorphised piece of clay seems, to me, a poor tactic. Nor will I compromise the actual or perceived independence of my media output, no matter how worthy the cause.

There’ll probably be people at ActionAid who won’t like or understand that outcome, so here’s the long explanation…

Continue reading “Look, about that damn topless gnome…”

Clothe the Gnome?

Photograph of Gnaomi the topless garden gnome

There have been objections to the presence in my video diary of Gnaomi the Gnome.

Gnaomi is topless and, it is alleged, this is symbolic of the degradation of women — inappropriate given what ActionAid stands for.

I will consider my response and post it in due course. However you may wish to join the fascinating discussion, as opinions differ.

Please post your comments over on the original thread so everything’s in the one place.

[Update 28 May 2008: I have now responded, in a post called Look, about that damn topless gnome… Do feel free to continue the conversation.]