Sunday, October 21, 2012

DBTWP 10.2 Violentacrez, Trolling and the "Right to Anonymity"

Yet another claim which has been raised in Brutsch's defense is:

If women don't want their pictures distributed they shouldn't post them online, and if women don't want men taking sexy shots of them they shouldn't dress sexy. 

Here is a typical comment in this vein:
From Vanulfur: Now stop and think about jailbait. Why do you so adamantly call "rapists" fat sweaty dudes who make sexualized comments on photos posted by teens online? You want the freedom to post your breasts online, or to pose in "sensual" lingerie positions with your teen friends and freely post those pics on social networks, and you seriously expect guys will see it and do nothing? Come on...
Let us put aside the fact that Facebook's privacy settings are notoriously opaque (not to mention leaky).   Let us even ignore the moral issues with blaming naive teens rather than the middle-aged men masturbating to their bikini pictures. For the sake of this argument, we will accept that the girls and women whose photos appear in /jailbait/ and /creepshots/ are responsible for any embarrassment they may suffer.  And, accordingly, we will assume that Michael Brutsch was responsible for protecting his anonymity and keeping his secret identity as Violentacrez, well, secret.

Here's Adrian Chen, from the article which originally revealed Violentacrez' name:
I had initially told Violentacrez I was interested in profiling him in light of the new controversy surrounding creepshots. I arranged the Gchat interview without hinting that a former online friend had tipped me off to his real identity during the Jailbait scandal, after the friend had become disgusted with his obsession with underage girls. Since then, Violentacrez had recorded the geek podcast The Drill Down with other high-profile Reddit moderators, outing his voice. All I had to do was call up Michael Brutsch and match his voice to Violentacrez's. My plan that Wednesday was to have the chat with Violentacrez before calling Brutsch. I didn't want to risk calling Brutsch first, only to have him shut down completely once he realized he was outed. 
Unfortunately, I've never been good at keeping secrets. My poker face is so bad it can be read even through a computer screen, apparently. In our Gchat, I pressed Violentacrez about his anonymity enough that he grew suspicious. We were chatting about why he feels comfortable attending IRL meet-ups of Redditors if his anonymity was so important to him when he caught on.
Brutsch shared his offline identity with several online friends.  He attended and was photographed at numerous Reddit meetups in his area.  He even appeared on a popular podcast as a call-in guest, and apparently made no effort to disguise his voice.  If we're going to cast aspersions on the "camwhores" and "teen sluts" who distribute risque pictures, surely we must acknowledge the role Brutsch played in his own downfall.

Herr Reichsmarshall Adolf Grossenstrudel (affectionately known as "Der Reichsmarshall") had a long if not necessarily honorable career on Usenet.  Upon hearing a despised member of alt.satanism was terminally ill, Der Reichsmarshall offered condolences and called dibs on his gold teeth.  He chastized the Holohoaxers of alt.revisionism, telling them he won all his medals fair and square.  Later he showed up on a Burner list, informing them that he had heard of this "Burning Man" and wanted to offer his expertise.  ("Ein camp full of artists, degenerates, drug addicts and anarchists in der middle of novhere? Zis ist not unfamiliar to der Reichsmarshall.")

I've been talking about relying on the experience and expertise of others when discussing cross-cultural issues.  Given my *cough* limited experience with trolling, I am going to allow Der Reichsmarshall to provide his thoughts on the Violentacrez story.  I should also note that there has been some idle and utterly untrue speculation that I am Der Reichsmarshall. But. Zey. Can.  Prove.  NOTHING.... *ahem*

Anyway, here's Herr Grossenstrudel.
It is mein pleasure to be on der Internet again.  Money vas tight after mein layoff at Blackwater.  (Vaterboarding? PAH! No one told der Reichsmarshall zis vas amateur hour!) But  mein grandson -- der Third Reichsmarshall -- introduced his Grandpa to der Etsy.   Und so de Reichsmarshall has a new market for mein varehouse full of vintage eyeglasses.  But ve digress.
Herr Brutsch, your heart ist in der right place.  (You could skip der miscegenation, but nobody's perfect.)  Trolling ist like genocide: go hard or go home. But vhile you go hard, you do not go smart. Does der Reichsmarshall go to meetups und say "Guten Tag.  Ich bin ein var criminal. But you can call me Adolf?"  NEIN!  Der Reichsmarshall ist just an aging drummer boy, und in der vars he used to play; und Herr Knopfler, it stops THERE.
But der Reichsmarshall ist not ein gloomy Gestapo.  Herr Brutsch vill return to his Violent Acrez as surely as ve vill return to der Champs-Elysees.  Ve Germans take a licking und keep on ticking.  (Und no, Herr Brutsch, I do not vant to hear again about your stepdaughter).  However zis reminds me: mein grandson says der steampunks of Etsy might have ein interest in slightly used pocket vatches.  Und so it's back to mein other varehouse.  Until der next time I remain
Herr Reichsmarshall Adolf Grossenstrudel
Der Original Net.Nazi
In the immortal words of Gilbert Gottfried, "I'm sorry. That last one was in poor taste."

My Paraguayan expatriate acquaintance does have a point.  If you want to be anonymous, you need to take steps to preserve your anonymity.  And you have to remember that your "culture of anonymity" means nothing to people outside that culture.  They did not sign on to your social contract or agree to your clubhouse rules; they have no vested interest in protecting you from the consequences of your actions.  If you push their buttons they may push back in ways which you did not expect: the results may range from embarrassing to catastrophic.