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Dealing with Bullying Online

Sannse September 14, 2016 User blog:Sannse Google
Bullying
Wikis are communities of people working together on a common project. It's almost inevitable that there will be disagreements and arguments as the community grows - that's just human nature. But when do disagreements become harassment or cyberbullying?

Harassment and bullying are more than just a mean comment or a nasty argument. In both cases they involve repeated attacks over time. They might involve nasty texts, threats on social media and elsewhere, and even posting personal details and pictures. These are serious issues that may have "real-life" or even fatal consequences.

Some examples of harassment or cyberbullying on Wikia might be:

  • Making repeated nasty comments, Chat messages, Wall messages, etc.
  • Following a user to other communities to continue a conversation, for example after being blocked from the user's main community. (One message on Community Central is okay.)
  • Revealing someone’s personal information (phone number, real name, school, etc).
  • Deliberately and repeatedly posting content in order to annoy, intimidate, or tease another person.
  • Using hate speech - attacks on the basis of race, sexuality, and so on.
  • Making sexual advances or comments.

The most important step you can take to stop someone from harassing you is to stop responding to them. Rather than retaliating against them, pretend they aren't there! Bullies want to know they are having an effect, so ignoring them takes that away from them. Remember, you never have to reply to anyone. You are in control of what you post.

Another tactic is just the opposite. Respond, but with very polite and friendly messages. This is more difficult to do well, because people may think you are being sarcastic or misunderstand the friendliness, but I have seen it work.

If you are being harassed on Wikia, then you can let staff know by using our contact form. It's important that you show us the harassment, which means links to actual comments or pages. We need to see that this is more than a normal argument.

If the harassment is on Chat, block the person from PMs and tell a chatmod or admin. Staff can't see what happens in your Chat, so we can't know when someone is attacking you.

Ultimately, if you feel your personal safety is at risk, you may want to consider contacting your local law enforcement. If you are a teen, talk to a parent or other trusted adult about this.

I have created some new help pages to give more advice on how to deal with the issues raised in this blog. Please see our new pages: Help:Harassment and Bullying, Help:Safety Online, Help:Online Security and Help:Suicide Prevention Resources

Have you got other ideas of what we can all do to prevent harassment and cyberbullying?


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