How to survive online possum-stirring*

A guest in the garden shedI wonder at the naiveté of people who publish material to the web, and then spit and scratch if it appears somewhere else ‘out there.’ I also think people who cut and paste clearly private or sensitive material from sites to other more public forums deserve all the un-friending they get – a sort of cyber standing-in-the-corner-till-you-learn-to-play-nicely approach.

By all means stir the possum, but know what you’re doing before you pick up the stick. Possums really bite and scratch when cornered.

I write having read some reasonably combative commentary by people passionate about a particular subject, and triggered by a blog post (not on this site) which referenced an earlier event.  Back and forth it went … angry at times, reasonable at others; mean and generous spirited in fairly even measures.  Sane and forward-looking, nutty and self-centred – typical you might say of the kinds of debates that flare up from time to time on the web.

What I found interesting was that the two things which really irked those who bothered to comment were firstly this issue of what’s appropriate to post and what’s not and in particular to share others’ so-called private (although named) off-guarded comments from one forum out into another. The second touched upon choosing whether or not to publish under one’s own name. Seems most of the participants appreciate a name to go with a blow, whether fair or underhand. Can’t say I disagree about that.

Cowards, bullies and cry-babies are just as distasteful in cyberspace as they are in real life. Kiss-and-tellers aren’t much fun either.

* ‘Stirring the possum’ is an old Aussie saying which refers to livening up debate, or creating a disturbance.


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One response to “How to survive online possum-stirring*”

  1. Katherine Lyall-Watson Avatar

    Love this post, Kate! Especially the note re stirring the possum. That’s a new one to me …

    Katherine Lyall-Watson’s last blog post..New start

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