These three things are not exactly the same, although which is which is very often a question of perspective. My opinions on the whole matter also tend to be fluid. Bullying, of course, is always bad. The internet variety, some say, is even worse than the old fashioned, hands on variety. I don’t know about that because at least it’s not likely to lead to physical injury, but sometimes people take it too far. Maybe because it’s not physical so there’s a tendency to think it’s not real, and go totally crazy with it, but it has caused suicides.
Doxxing is posting somebody’s contact information, i.e. name, address, phone number, e-mail address. In my calmer moments, between outrages, I think it should be illegal. It’s dangerous. A mob could gather, somebody could get hurt. Then along comes somebody like Martin Shkreli, who smiled as he jacked up drug prices, or a cop kills somebody for no reason at all, and I am usually very happy that somebody publishes that stuff, because screw them. It’s certainly resulted in exposing some of the Charlottesville Nazis, who the police probably would never have found. There is a risk, though, of mistaken identity.
Shaming, though, straight up shaming, seems to work. I’m talking about Joel Osteen. He’s the fuckstick megapreacher who’s got a stadium for a church, seats 17,000, and it happens to be in Houston, near but not in a completely flooded area.
At first, he wasn’t going to open his church to refugees, but he got so much shit on Twitter and Facebook and all of the others that he reversed that decision. Good. Success.
BUT. People are not stopping. Now, I agree that just opening his church and doing the bare minimum doesn’t necessarily make him a good person. I don’t think he was a good person before this, and it’s not proof that he’s had a total change of heart. But, he did change his behavior. The shaming worked.
So, people continue to yammer on about it is kicking a man when he’s down. When you want to housetrain a dog, you might force his nose down to smell his own poop and speak to him (or her) sternly. But once they’ve learned, you don’t keep pushing their nose in it. That might be counter-productive.
So, let Joel Osteen be for a while. We can always start the shaming again next time he acts like a dick.