On dealing with griefers

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

Griefer. It’s a new word. A griefer is a person like Jason Fortuny, who posed as a woman and put out an extremely suggestive sex wanted ad at Craigslist and then published all the results–including actual names, emails, photos, and other contact information of the men who responded. I’ve always thought the term for this type of person is ‘passive aggressive loser with a desperate need for attention rather than respect’, but I’m not up on the social software scene.

Dare Obasanjo asks:

Different services resort to different mechanisms to prevent griefers, however most of them are preventive. There is little that is or can be done once the malicious act has been committed by the ‘griefer’. Given that I work with the teams that produce services that can be harmed by griefers as part of my day job (e.g. Windows Live Spaces and Windows Live Expo) this worries me. What can sites like CraigsList do to prevent people like Jason Fortuny from turning people away from their service because they fear having a negative experience? My gut feel is that Craig Newmark would go a long way in reassuring users of the service if they stepped in and took [legal] action against “griefers”. Users feel a lot safer about using the service if they know that someone is looking out for their well-being if something bad happens. Consider it the social software equivalent of a “money back guarantee”.

What do you think?

What do I think? I think people should get a cat.

Barring this excellent advice, I think we have to expect people to use a reasonable level of common sense. Many of the people who responded to this ad were thinking with body parts other than their brains.

I also think that Craiglist should feature this story prominantly, without names of all parties, like the skull and cross bones on the poison bottle.

And then I think we should consign Jason Fortuny to the obscurity he richly deserves.

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