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The Internet

The Inevitable Death of the Internet Troll 124

Posted by samzenpus
from the sticks-and-stones dept. writes James Swearingen writes at The Atlantic that the Internet can be a mean, hateful, and frightening place — especially for young women but human behavior and the limits placed on it by both law and society can change. In a Pew Research Center survey of 2,849 Internet users, one out of every four women between 18 years old and 24 years old reports having been stalked or sexually harassed online. "Like banner ads and spam bots, online harassment is still routinely treated as part of the landscape of being online," writes Swearingen adding that "we are in the early days of online harassment being taken as a serious problem, and not simply a quirk of online life." Law professor Danielle Citron draws a parallel between how sexual harassment was treated in the workplace decades ago and our current standard. "Think about in the 1960s and 1970s, what we said to women in the workplace," says Citron. "'This is just flirting.' That a sexually hostile environment was just a perk for men to enjoy, it's just what the environment is like. If you don't like it, leave and get a new job." It took years of activism, court cases, and Title VII protection to change that. "Here we are today, and sexual harassment in the workplace is not normal," said Citron. "Our norms and how we understand it are different now."

According to Swearingen, the likely solution to internet trolls will be a combination of things. The expansion of laws like the one currently on the books in California, which expands what constitutes online harassment, could help put the pressure on harassers. The upcoming Supreme Court case, Elonis v. The United States, looks to test the limits of free speech versus threatening comments on Facebook. "Can a combination of legal action, market pressure, and societal taboo work together to curb harassment?" asks Swearingen. "Too many people do too much online for things to stay the way they are."

Comment: Re:May I suggest (Score 1) 318

by PopeRatzo (#48211335) Attached to: No More Lee-Enfield: Canada's Rangers To Get a Tech Upgrade

I want them to have the tools that they might realistically need

I do too. I just don't want them to have those tools be less obtrusive or noticeable.

There's already some statistics on departments that have started using wearable cams for their officers, and the drop in police use of force, and in citizens' complaints about police abuse, are quite remarkable.

If police behave better when there are eyes on them, I don't want to take ears off them.

I realize your argument is more reasonable, by the way. Just so you know I'm aware of that. I'm just still a little raw from a summer with so many examples of the negative results when local municipal police officers become Tommy Tactical. I'm not talking about SWAT teams, I'm talking about regular rank and file officers.

I live two blocks from the Chicago Police Academy - walk the dog around the campus every day - and after decades of seeing the department start to hire more professional men and women, it's disheartening to see ex-Blackwater commandos training them in urban warfare.

Comment: Re:"general market" computers (Score 1) 117

by K. S. Kyosuke (#48211055) Attached to: Xerox Alto Source Code Released To Public

I agree that the comment that sparked this was talking about special purpose machines (tabulators, etc.) vs computers. I suspect that he went googling for computer history, though, and found the rather specialized definition of "general purpose computer" that the mainframe people created.

I didn't "google" for it, I have known this since I was nine or ten, a quarter century ago, when I got interested in the history of computing. Although I admit that in my native tongue, we called them "universal computers", not "general-purpose computers", which is obviously the same meaning in English, as per the IBM page. The English form of the same term is the only thing I found recently. (Obviously, all the historical publications I was reading as a kid were in my native tongue, not in English.)

Also, some of the old low-end business machines (even the stored program ones, of course, otherwise I wouldn't mention it) had more in common with the tabulating equipment than you might think: many of them were designed to be plugged into the tabulating workflow, given that they were very limited in their internal storage. Only the larger business machines were self-sufficient. I'm not really sure there was any fixed frontier between the tabulating equipment and standalone business computers.

Comment: Re:No. (Score 2) 224

by TheRaven64 (#48210917) Attached to: Will Fiber-To-the-Home Create a New Digital Divide?
When I was a student, sharing a house with three other people, we paid extra to get the 1Mb/s connection that was the fastest that the cable company offered. The top gradually grew to 3Mb/s, 5Mb/s and then 10Mb/s. When it hit 10Mb/s (I'd moved house and was living with a different group of people, but) we still paid for it. But then I stopped caring. The 10Mb/s went from being the fastest that they offered to the slowest. Then 20Mb/s and 30Mb/s became the slowest. I'm now still on their slowest connection (although living in a different city). At work, I have a GigE connection that means that most of the time the bottleneck isn't my local connection, and I can usually get 10-20MB/s to any moderately large Internet site. I very occasionally notice the difference between the speed at home and at work, but most of the time there's no user-perceptible difference. Oh, and my ISP sent me a letter a few weeks ago saying that they don't offer 30Mb/s anymore and they'll be moving me to 50Mb/s soon. I think somewhere around 10-20Mb/s was when I stopped noticing Internet speed as a bottleneck.

Comment: Re:Is it open source yet? (Score 1) 105

Unless I'm misreading something, Seafile seems to just do file sharing (for which a simple WebDAV server is mostly enough). The value of owncloud (for me, at least) is that it also does contact and calendar sync, so my phone and computer always have the same data for these.

Comment: Re:Is it open source yet? (Score 1) 105

I found it pretty easy to set up on FreeBSD - install the owncloud, php5, and nginx packages and then a tiny bit of configuration (mostly copying and pasting from the owncloud site). The only gotcha was that the default nginx configuration doesn't know the correct MIME type for svg files, so I needed to fix that or none of the images in owncloud worked correctly.

Comment: Re:Is it open source yet? (Score 1) 105

OwnCloud is open source and does the same things as Dropbox (although in really crappy PHP on the server, so you'd better have a lot of spare cycles to burn - it's the first time for several years I've seen file transfers across the Internet be CPU limited).

The problem is that they're comparing apples to oranges. Of course a direct local connection will be faster than two devices sharing the same Internet connection and going via a server, but most of the time that I want to use a server as part of a sync workflow it's because the devices aren't together and I want to do it asynchronously. The equivalent for BitTorrent Sync would involve having a central server somewhere (possibly in your own home) that's always on and is a party in the sync.

Things are not as simple as they seems at first. - Edward Thorp