I edited my last post. How so? I changed the link I gave to my anti-Vick page. Why? I changed the NAME of the page. How come? Because the Troll Patrol was let out of their cells early. The page was rocking along, hitting 100 subscribers, and crawling towards 150. Then the assaults started coming.
Three people told me they reported the page to FaceCrook. One, and then another, told me they called the police to inform them of my page (again, titled at the time as Mike Vick should be shot, electrocuted, hung, and beaten) and that they thought it was a credible threat upon Vick’s actual person. Of course, those doing the reporting have pictures of themselves in Eagles jerseys and pictures of Vick as the banner photo. Perhaps I bit off too much, perhaps I was trying to be too cute in making my point that these reports usually fail (from reporting the obscene things I listed in my last post). Perhaps it was naive of me to not see more attacks on the page than just reporting to FaceCrook. I certainly didn’t see calls going to the police that I was an actual threat to Vick’s life.
Then the subscribers started engaging in verbal warfare with the trolls. I kept asking them to stop retorting, but they wouldn’t listen. I didn’t want to block anyone; just as I believed I was exercising freedom of speech, I wanted to be fair and let the jerks say their piece in opposition to my page. But putting up warnings that the arguing wasn’t going to help our cause wasn’t stopping anything. What could have been 10-comment posts became 96-comment posts. I eventually decided I had to block the assailants. I had to figure out exactly how to do that, since I’d never encountered trolls on my other pages, but then again, those other pages were never provocative. When blocking the comments and those posting them, a feature came up to report abusive comments to FaceCrook. It seems petty to have done so, but I guess fair is fair. They reported me for commenting that I’d like to see Vick come to physical harm (though I didn’t actually say I’D be trying to do it), and I reported them for calling my subscribers fat, ugly, unfit mothers and white-trash (insert nickname for female anatomical part that begins with “C”).
I asked the subscribers what they thought of a name change, and I was worried that it was like conceding defeat. But they were very supportive, and even suggested names. After digesting what they offered, and a day to think it over, the page is now Vick-timized: Giving Voice to the Voiceless Ones. I think it’s good timing to change it now, because I have the subscriber base to share and get the page out there now, where the title was what drew the early ones. It’s got the flavor of the original, but not the “Oh, you’re threatening my crybaby dogkiller quarterback vibe”. Now the page’s standards can do it rather than the fireworks display.
I did also put up legal-ese statements including: “This page, while educational in nature by trying to raise awareness of dogfighting and animals abuse, obviously provides some satyrical release for those that are disgusted by Vick’s actions. I am making it clear that this page is not in any way suggesting that anyone seek Vick out or attempt to harm him in any way. You may wish whatever you like upon him, but I’m not suggesting anyone actually pursues vigilante actions.”
One woman, who was actually rather sweet, eventually was able to talk to us and not have to be blocked. She said that her sister, an activist, was taking posts from my page and bombarding her with them. So that’s probably how they all found me. My own subscribers might have been hate-bombing Vick fans with my content, which was traceable back to my page. I had to put up another statement that this is not acceptable, and I apologized to the woman for her being accosted that way.
It has been crazy. What a night–I had gotten up at 4 a.m. that morning for work, and other than a one-hour nap, I was still up at 5:30 this morning. I got perhaps another hour of sleep then. It’s all so surreal.
I wonder what will come of the calls to the police (if, indeed, they were made). Perhaps the fact that the title is changed and the fact that all the content on the page is about dogfighting awareness, debunking the stereotypes about pit bulls, some non-violent jabs at Vick, and lists of his endorsers to boycott (which seems all legal to me) will save me. I guess, if the police even bother to look into it, they’ll just look at the page and see that. With the name change, they might not even be able to find it at all. I changed the link to it as well.
So there we are. Tales of censorship and love (for the cause).