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Stand Up and Speak Out

Sannse January 28, 2014 User blog:Sannse Google
A while ago I was asked about online or cyberbullying and harassment, how to deal with it, and how to help those affected by it. I thought I would share some of those thoughts on this blog

In any community there is good and bad. And when things are bad online they can be very bad. There can be nasty comments, over-aggressive reactions, and all sorts of bickering and conflict to disrupt the wikia.

Of course, even in the best wikia communities not all interactions will be nice. Disagreements are part of life, and can be a healthy part of a community working out what the right choices are for them. But in the past there have been extreme cases around the Internet where normal disagreement and clashes have gone way further into harassment and bullying - sometimes with tragic results. It's important to think about what you say, and how you say it. Being nice to others makes a big difference online... and offline too of course.

One problem is that people sometimes don't think of the Internet as "real life". So they think that being nasty here doesn't really matter, it's "only online." But this is just an extension of the rest of our lives. And what is said and done here is just as real and can have very real consequences.

That said, not all interactions described as "bullying" or "harassment" actually are those things. Cyberbullying exists and is a serious thing, but I have seen very mild comments or simple disagreements described as harassment - things that I would consider well below the level requiring staff (or even admin) intervention. The target of the comments may be genuinely upset and hurt but at the same time that doesn't mean that every comment that upsets people is cyberbullying.

However, if you see someone being attacked, it's important that you stand up for what's right and speak out against the bully. If that doesn't help, then it may be time to contact staff and we will look into the situation. We may not interpret the situation the same way you do, especially if the conversation is a two-sided argument, but we will do our best to be fair to all sides. If you contact us, then you will need to include clear links to the abuse—if you don't link it, we probably won't see it!

And if you are feeling attacked, the best place to start is by talking to the person concerned. Or if that's not possible, to an admin on the wikia. You should also consider taking a break from the conversation, either by doing something else online or even by (dramatic music) going offline for a while. Sometimes a breather can give you another perspective on the problem.

Ultimately, if you feel threatened or the situation becomes very bad, then you should talk to a parent or someone else trusted offline, or contact your local authorities.

As I said above, the results of cyberbullying can be tragic. There have been cases on some sites where bullying has lead to suicide. That's very rare of course, but if you think someone is likely to hurt themselves because of cyberbullying or any other reason, then it's time to speak out once again.

If you think someone is in immediate and serious danger from themselves, you should contact your local authorities or, if you are under 18, talk to your parents or another responsible adult. Don't be afraid to speak out if you are genuinely worried. If you think someone is at risk of serious harm then that is an emergency, and it's okay to call 911 or your local equivalent.

It's also good to suggest that the person calls the National Suicide Prevention Helpline on 1-800-273-8255 (see also If they aren't in the USA, you can point them to the international directory at

And, of course, you can always contact us any time you are concerned about someone on Wikia.

I should also mention that suicide and suicidal thoughts are always serious, and never something to say as a joke or as a way to try to manipulate others. If someone falsely claims to feel suicidal in order to get their way ("do this or...") then that is very bad and could actually be a form of bullying in itself!

But in most cases this isn't the motivation and someone talking about suicide is likely to be genuinely distressed. The advice above should help and, again, please remember you can always contact us if something on Wikia worries you.

We want Wikia to be a fun and safe place for all. So please be aware of those that might be feeling attacked or bullied, and stand up and speak out to play your part in helping them and your community.

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