Friday, October 7, 2011

When is it ok to take the internet into real life?

Recently there has been a spat going on regarding Thunderf00t and Dawahfilms. Now I have gone on record in 2010 defending Dawahfilms because I believed that Thunderf00t misrepresented him. I along with many others came to his aid and reached out to him to help him rebuild his online reputation. I also offered to debate him on BlogTV and that helped expose his views to a much wider audience. DawahFilms has basically been spitting on our help ever since then.

Back in late 2010 he began his quest to hunt for Thunderf00t's docs and in a skype conversation made public by dixiecomic (now removed) he announced his plans to use that information to try and get Thunderf00t fired.

The only time it is acceptable to bring the internet into real life is when innocent people are put in danger. Now some could say that the students who attend the University that Thunderf00t does his research at could be put at risk by his videos, however up until a week ago, that University was not public knowledge. It has also been asserted by Thunderf00t that he no longer works at that University and that he has a new place of employment. However, the only person putting anyone at risk from Muslim extremists was Dawahfilms himself.

I may not agree with all of Thunderf00t's views on religion, but he does have a right to express them. Furthermore, he should have the freedom that all of us enjoy by expressing our views on the internet. Many of us live in communities where having a minority opinion can not only get you exiled, but some places of the world that carries a death sentence.

So when is it acceptable to take what happens on the internet into real life. The answer is simple, when innocent people are put in danger. Allow me to give you two examples from my own experiences.

Recently a user by the name of Variablast began filming young children and encouraging them to use racial slurs without first getting their parent's consent. He moved to a much smaller town and continued this practice. Unlike his former hometown which was so large it would be impossible to track him down, his new town was very small and rural. So I contacted the police and later informed the school district to be on the lookout for this individual. I also sent the school information to share with the parents on how to remove the videos from YouTube if they so desired. The police department was more than cooperative, hover didn't even get a reply from the school.

While I have had disagreements with Variablast in the past, such as his attack on the It Gets Better campaign and also DoctorsWithoutBorders, I chose to get involved with the police and school because I now had a better opportunity of stopping him from filming children without parental consent.

However, at no time did I attempt to contact his employer, I don't even think he has one. I made no attempt to contact his landlord or do anything else to affect his real life. Furthermore I never shared his docs with anyone.

Dawahfilms has no such excuse. His only motive is clearly laid out in that recorded skype conversation. If anyone has a copy please upload it so I may embed it here. Dawahfilms, I do not regret helping you as I try to help everyone and my intentions were pure. However I do regret ever knowing you. You are the type of user on this website that makes this place not as fun as it used to be.