Thoughts on brawling and banning.
“... there are two reasons for wanting to turn invisible: to get away from something or to get away with something.”
“ . . . the trouble with invisibility is that it is tantamount to impunity; it liberates a corrupt species from the obligation of behave.”
“ The internet is crawling with trolls, behaving under their virtual cloaks if invisibility in ways that most of them would not if they could be identified.”
“But if invisibility stands in for absolute power, it is also the opposite: our governing metaphor for powerlessness.” (meaning the experience of disenfranchisement, being neither seen nor heard, but rather ignored, or stereotyped). In this sense, “Invisibility is impotence.” What makes a difference is whether one chooses invisibility, or whether it is forced upon you. In seeking more connection or greater recognition, one might choose to be visible. If embarrassed, one might wish to be less visible, just as one would choose if up to no good.
Anonymity, Invisibility and Ello
I don't understand the recent brawl, except that at least one person was banned, several felt that they had been victimized, or bullied, and many felt compelled to explain their behavior and why they were right and others were wrong. I did hear some say that something similar happened previously - so it is likely to happen again, we might assume.
I heard some requests that Ello management be more clear about the rules, but I don't think that is going to help. Any member of Ello can be anonymous. By using multiple alternate accounts, anybody can also be invisible, at least to the other members of Ello, although not to those who are managing it. As the above quotations suggest, invisibility is not likely to bring out the best in us.
Perhaps the use of alternate accounts – seeking invisibility – places a member at risk for being banned. Should any member become the subject of complaints the Ello management can easily detect whether the complaints are being provoked by the same person, or persons, regardless of multiple identities. Bottom line: Become invisible by means of multiple anonymous accounts if you wish, but with the understanding that there is risk in doing so.
It is also easy to imagine that after several brawls, some bans will become permanent. The structure of Ello necessarily places those managing in a policing position. Presumably, that task grows tedious, if the same people keep making the same choices in their manner of engaging others. Brawling is destructive to the larger community.
Quotes above from: New Yorker, April 13, 2015 Sight Unseen The hows and whys of invisibility by Kathryn Schulz, who refers to Invisible: the Dangerous Allure of the Unseen (Chicago), by Phillip Ball, a British science writer, former editor of Nature, author of 19 books.